The score line was 3-0 Meteorites over Little Bois. With the clock ticking down to the one-minute mark and my team captain repeating, “That’s not good, that’s not good, that’s not good” as the ball trickled across the box in front of our goal, I knew we were pretty much hosed. Our communication had devolved into strings of expletives, complaints about being on a west coast server, and juvenile comparisons of the size of our respective pings. At some point, we were even blaming Discord for causing our lag. Our best player ended the match with a whopping 35 points and an impressive triple-digit ping. It was a rough game.
You see, hubris is real, my friends, and I think I became its victim. I went into that game foolishly focusing on the Meteorites’ record and assuming that meant they weren’t any good. At one point during that first game, I even commented that they played really passively. In response, I started playing like a wildman. Turns out that was a real dumb move. The Meteorites weren’t being passive because they were afraid of the ball; they were studying us, and they learned how to pick us apart.
Here’s what I thought was the most important part of the story: lag. One of my teammates was clearly flustered by the lag, even complaining about it in the in-game chat. Inexplicably, after the first match, the Meteorites all backed out and then created a new server–this time on an east coast server. Now, I’m not one to inspect every nook and cranny in a gift horse’s mouth, but I still ask myself just what in Savage Rocket Valhalla they were doing! Once we loaded into the second game of the series on an east coast server, the lag monster, fickle as a Psyonix goal post, had switched sides. Suddenly, my team once more looked like it had remembered how to hit the ball, drive in straight lines, and even baby-aerial (we are only in minor league, after all, folks). My team captain asked, “Why are they bottlenecking themselves by playing on the Eastern server? Because their pings are obviously not good for East.” The score lines can attest to that. The next games were 4-2, 2-1 (in OT), and 4-2 in favor of the Little Bois. Notice none of those games were shutouts like the Meteorites put on us. The Little Bois’ team motto has always been less “Go big or go home” and more “Jesus Christ, let’s just make it out of here alive!” By the end of that series, I was ready to declare Lag as the Fourth Man, say thankya for the wins, and rumble on back home on my now-squealing axles (maybe to a nice, slow-paced single-player game).
Then I later interviewed a couple of the Meteorites players, Potatogamer and Brimurizzle, and I learned the real lesson here. The Meteorites are an honorable bunch. In ORSA Dynasty Cup Season 2, they demonstrated a level of grit, maturity, and professionalism I think we would all be fools to ignore.
When I asked the Meteorites what gives with their record, with all those losses piling up over the season, they gave me answers like miscommunication, over/undercommitting, failing to synergize playstyles, etc. I had to prod them on the Lag (you remember that guy, right? Carried the Little Bois through three wins against the Meteorites). It was almost an afterthought for them. I mean, they’re not unobservant; they all know that playing on east coast servers causes them lag issues, but they do not make excuses. That bears repeating: the Meteorites do not make excuses. They show up to their matches, they play them through, and they take their lumps when they have to. They also will punish you for underestimating them, as I and a few other teams learned over the course of the season.
So, what keeps them interested? When I asked the Meteorites why they joined ORSA in the first place, they told me they liked the structure, having a consistent team, and getting the opportunity to improve. When I asked how they keep morale up and keep at it when the season hasn’t gone according to plan, they responded that they enjoy the game (GASP!) and particularly have fun playing with their teammates. Their responses were some good reminders of why we all got into this game and this league in the first place; I mean, let’s face it: none of us are ever going to be Kronovi, so that clearly ain’t the reason we play.
All in all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Meteorites, and I think their team has some real potential next season. And while they’re too upstanding to make excuses about lag, I’m going to advise them to stick to the west coast servers for home games and just let the other teams deal with it. Sure, I think the Meteorites were exceedingly kind to accommodate us with east coast servers, but with a little more ferocity instead, their team can do some damage.
I’d be remiss to end this story without acknowledging the Meteorites/Little Bois rematch in the I’m sure soon-to-be-famous Little Bois vs. the World series. The Meteorites played like men on fire and tied that series. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play that night (stupid Hurricane Irma). In our interview, Potatogamer called out the Little Bois for getting a lot of “really lucky saves.” My team did a fine job racking up the saves in the rematch, too, but I’m sad I wasn’t there to help prove to Potatogamer that there’s no such thing as luck in Rocket League. I guess I’ll have to wait until next season to demonstrate that point, but I’m looking forward to proving it to an even stronger Meteorites team. The Little Girls are coming for you! (Maybe soon I’ll write something up on that name change, if you all don’t already know the story, but for the record, I think it’s an improvement). Good luck in the playoffs, everybody!