Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 26 Club Tour
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"Phew." Julia sighed in relief. [I somehow made it in.]
"Good." Yuel nodded, not really surprised by the results of the entry exam. He and Lars were pretty much guaranteed to pa.s.s, they left great impressions on the examiners. Julia was the only one in a rough spot, it was impossible to tell how the examiners perceived her skill. Thankfully, she made it into the club as well. All three friends were now part of the Cla.s.smancers club! It was a small, but important step. They got just a little closer to Cla.s.smancers' pro scene!
The new members were told to visit the clubroom after school for their first day of club activity. Unsurprisingly, they ran into Taison and Gregory on the way.
"Hah, you really all made it." Taison grinned and glared at Lars. "Good, now we can settle who's really da best Carry, yo!"
"And who's best Support." Gregory added. "I heard the final round was some serious s.h.i.+t, you must've fought real hard to ace it. But too bad, you're not getting your favorite roles on the team while we're around."
"Welp, we'll see about that." Lars shrugged.
"We won't know until we compete for them." Yuel said in a matter-factly tone.
Their reactions were lacking somehow, even indifferent. Until recently, they thought of Taison and Gregory as strong rivals. However, that changed during the entry exam. Now, there were bigger fish for them to deal with: Howard and Ellen, Aeigs and Athena. Until they can beat these two, competing against Taison and Gregory was of secondary importance.
"Welcome, gentlemen. And lady." Howard greeted the newcomers at the entrance like a butler. "You're going to be the future of our club, so we're expecting great things from you."
"Kek, what's with this 'school princ.i.p.al speech'? Lame." Gregory chuckled.
"That's just my way to tell you that you have no chance of becoming a starter until your seniors graduate." Howard smiled, but his glare was sharp. "You are the [future] generation. Remember that, rookies."
"We'll see about that." Yuel retorted with a glare of his own.
"Heh. Anyway, come in." Howard led everybody into the room and introduced the club members. Yuel met most of them during the exam and some of them left quite the lasting impression, such as Aron, Trever and, of course, Howard.
He also heard a lot about a girl named Ellen, Lars couldn't shut up about being outplayed by her during the exam. Her playstyle sounded unconventional, but it managed to beat a beast like Lars. Interesting, to say the least. Yuel wanted to look into her tactics in more detail.
"My, freshmen~ How cute~" A girl circled around the group, scanning everybody from head to toe. Based on process of elimination, that had to be Ellen. She's supposedly the strategic and calculating type, but she... she wasn't quite what Yuel expected.
"Oh, July~ Long time no see~" Ellen wrapped herself around Julia.
"What do you mean 'long time'? We played like twenty games literally two days ago." Julia tried wiggling her way out of the embrace, to no avail.
"Oh, you're here too, Larsy." Ellen's expression changed somewhat. She still technically smiled, but something about the smile was disturbing. "And here I thought you'd quit Cla.s.smancers after losing so badly to me. Oh, wait, don't tell me you actually enjoy that kind of abuse and came for more? My, what a maso~"
"No freakin' way!" Lars proclaimed and pointed a finger at her. "I came here to beat the heck outta you! Me and Yuel gonna take the Carry and Support roles from you regulars, just you wait!"
"Oh, so this is the other golden rookie I heard about. Hmm," Ellen s.h.i.+fted her attention to Yuel, ignoring Lars's provocations. She scanned Yuel from head to toe, wearing a thin smile that was impossible to read. What was she thinking so hard about? He didn't have the faintest idea. After staring at him for a while, she finally spoke again. "Let's get along, Yuyu~" She stretched her hand.
"Yuyu?" Yuel raised an eyebrow, reluctantly accepting her handshake.
"Yeah, that's gonna be your nickname. July, Larsy and Yuyu." She pointed at each of them in order, as if naming her pets.
"Huh, is that so." Yuel frowned. ["Yuyu"? Seriously? It sounds like a nickname for a toddler. She's looking down on us, isn't she?]
"Hey, what about us?" Gregory asked. "Surely you heard about us too, we're way better than these losers."
"Oh, sorry. What were your names again?" Ellen c.o.c.ked her head and blinked.
"Wha... tch." Gregory clicked his tongue, clearly upset his name wasn't as widespread as Yuel's in the club. While he was busy sulking, Taison stepped in.
"I'm Taison, and this scrub here is Greg."
"Your mom is a scrub."
"My, aren't you close? How lovely~" Ellen smiled. "So, Taison and Gregory, right? Let's see..." She put a finger on her lip and tilted her head from side to side. "Tai? Nah, that's too generic. Taitai? Yes, perfect! I name you Taitai."
"Geh. I mean, thanks, I guess." Taison forced a smile.
"And, let's see..." Ellen tilted her head as she turned to Gregory. "Hmm. Gregy? Yeah, that'll do."
"Gregy? Are you for real?" Gregory made a face. "Can you stick with either Gregory or Greg? To be honest, your naming sense sucks."
"My, how rude. In that case, I'll call you G."
"No, wait. 'GG', that's even better! From nowforth, you'll be called GG~"
"Khaha, GG on the nick, GG." Taison laughed out loud while pointing at Gregory.
"That doesn't even make sense." Gregory sighed, no doubt regretting his rebellious acts. Ellen had the authority here, so making an enemy out of her was going to screw him over, he must had realized that now. The carefree and confident way she carried herself radiated the aura of a queen, especially against this pack of newcomers. No matter how disagreeable her actions were - n.o.body could oppose her.
"Just ignore her shenanigans." Howard returned. "Don't worry, she's the only one who gonna call you these stupid names"
"My, Wardy, how rude." Ellen pouted and pinched Howard's cheek, but he didn't care. He just rubbed her hair and she peacefully retreated, it was pretty amazing. Everybody felt like they were wrapped around the queen's finger, but Howard brushed her off like she was nothing. Were they all going to master that level of Anti-Ellen Resistance after spending enough time in the club? Yuel sure hoped so.
"Speaking of names, you gotta decide on your IGNs, your in-game names." Howard said. "Club members are registered as official compet.i.tive players, with unique static IGNs and everything."
Unlike most online games, Cla.s.smancers didn't force players to pick a permanent display name. Players could change their IGN at any time, so only their player ID was truly unique and was always shown beside their IGN. It was a nice degree of freedom for those who changed nicknames often, but it also felt like each player was represented by a number, not an actual name. They were all random numbers in a huge pool of n.o.bodies.
However, that wasn't the case for those recognized as "compet.i.tive players". They were granted the privilege to register a unique static IGN, which no other compet.i.tive player would be allowed to use from there on. They transcended being a mere "number", becoming distinguishable individuals. On top of that, their names were painted gold and no longer had an ID beside them, Yuel faced a few such players in Ranked. He was jealous, no lying.
Naturally, all pro players had this privilege, so Yuel already knew about this feature. However, he didn't expect it to be given to middle schoolers as well. Just by joining this club - he was already recognized as a strong and distinguishable individual within Cla.s.smancers' community. Though faintly, he felt like he got closer to grasping the dazzle of the pro scene. It was a huge step forward, it was great!
"You also get some rewards for your account," Howard continued. "You get enough gems to buy at least one skin and receive some premium skins for compet.i.tive players. You'll also often get extra rewards during events and all that jazz. We tell everybody the number of club members is restricted because the club is 'super compet.i.tive', but I bet these freebies are the real reason they don't allow many members. Cla.s.sSoft is such a generous company, am I right? Haha."
"Cla.s.sSoft? More like CashSoft." Taison corrected.
"We'll give you a couple of days to decide on your nicks." Howard explained. "It's an important decision, especially for those planning to go pro in the future. You can't register an IGN more than once and it's pretty much impossible to change it after it's decided. Think of it as a homework a.s.signment. If you can't decide on a name by Friday, we'll borrow Elly's eccentric naming sense and roll with it."
"G.o.d help us all." Julia retorted, drawing out a few chuckles.
"Next, let's go over the club's schedule." Howard continued. Club activities were held after school almost everyday, from Tuesday until Friday. "You're free to come here on Monday as well , but it's just such a depressing day, right? Haha."
Club activity was three hours a day, a rather intense schedule compared to the average junior high club. Freshmen had to attend the club every day, but juniors and seniors were allowed to attend as few as thrice or twice a week respectively. "You rookies got a lot to learn, so you gonna work your a.s.ses off. The first year is when you're molded into real compet.i.tive players."
Despite how intense the training was, the club didn't have a coach. "There's a teacher responsible for the club, but that's just a formality. His only job is to make sure there are no problems in the club. Me and Aron organize the schedule and all that."
The club offered a variety of activities: playing practice matches among members, playing Ranked as a premade team, practicing specific lineups, theorycrafting, a.n.a.lyzing pro matches and so on. "Aron is disgustingly organized, so he prints the whole schedule at the beginning of the week." Howard showed them the printed timetable hanging on the wall. It was indeed very organized, with each and every single hour accounted for. Yuel approved of how well thought out it looked, but something bugged him.
"I only see activities directly involving Cla.s.smancers." Yuel pointed out. "What about physical exercise for maintaining optimal condition?'
"Heh, you're sure hardcore." Howard chuckled. "We're not some prestige team that's expected to win the nationals. I agree that exercising is good and all, but we not gonna force it on you. If you recall, the first round of the entry exam filtered out lazy b.u.ms who couldn't exercise for s.h.i.+t, so those of you who made it are expected to be in good shape."
"It's unfortunate." Aron added. "The school doesn't give us enough club activity hours, so I can't fit exercising into the schedules. In other words, I expect you to exercise of your own volition in your free time. "
"Haha, don't scare them too much. It's not like they [must ]exercise, we're not some hardcore school like Ivy. You gonna make them quit if they take your jokes seriously."
"That wasn't a joke, I'm quiet serious." Aron squinted his eyes. "Don't tell me you stopped exercising again."
"Haha, no way!" Howard replied instantly, with a laugh that sounded hollow somehow. "Anyway, don't be scared off by Aron's high expectations. Not everybody have it in them to exercise regularly, so no need to push yourselves too hard."
"No problem, yo." Lars said. "We all work out anyway, right, my dudes?"
"Yes, sadly." (Yuel)
"Like, it's a pain, but yeah." (Julia)
"h.e.l.l yeah! I sprint dat one kilometer every day, yo!" (Taison)
"I actually planned to drop it, but guess I have no choice..." (Gregory)
"Huh, so you're all doing it. How great, haha..." Howard produced a dry laugh.
"Seems like these rookies have more willpower than you." Aron said. "At this rate, you may lose your spot as a starter-"
"Anyway! Let's move on." Howard continued the club tour by force. Aron sighed and dropped the topic, for now.
"And here, I present you the most impressive part of this club." Howard grinned and theatrically spread his arms. "We got 15 computers in this clubroom! 15 of them! Hard to believe the school arranged all that for some video gaming club, right? Haha."
"These monitors look so last gen, though." Julia said.
"Yeah, and these units look ancient." Yuel added. "They even still support floppy disks."
"Floppy disks? The heck is that even?" Lars asked.
"Alright, alright!" Howard raised his voice. "Yeah, I get it! The comps are pretty old, I'm aware, thank you. You know how generous schools are about these things , so that's the best we can get, alright? You should be thankful we got any computers at all, you spoiled brats."
"By the way, two computers are broken, teehee~" Ellen smiled like a fox.
"Agh... yeah, that's true." Howard sighed in defeat. No matter how hard he tried, n.o.body was going to get excited over a pile of relics.
"Broken?" Yuel asked. "They don't boot at all? Or, they just don't work well?"
"They turn on." Howard answered. "But, they work at a snail's pace and sometimes crash when you run Cla.s.smancers."
"Even when you run it on the lowest settings?"
"Yes, I tried that." Aron said. "For some reason they can't handle it, even though they seem to have the same specs as the rest."
"You tried editing the configuration file?"
"Configuration file?" Aron raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, you can edit the file to set some settings below what the game offers in the settings menu."
"Interesting, I didn't know that." Aron was dumbfounded. "Won't it break the game or anything?"
"No, it's safe as long as you know what you're doing." Yuel said.
"Honestly, even booting these PCs is such a pain." Ellen said with a long face. "They just make so much noise. They sound like an airplane when we run the game, it's maddening."
"Airplane? Sounds like a ventilation problem." Yuel deduced. "The ventilators probably got dusty, so cleaning them should help."
"You're saying you can fix them?" Howard asked.
"Possibly. If I open them up and-"
"Awesome!" Howard exclaimed. "Listen up, rookie! Your first mission is to make these PCs run Cla.s.smancers without hiccups! Get to it!"
"Wait, I need a screwdriver first." Yuel sighed. How did things come to this? "I'll bring one tomorrow."
"Alright, tomorrow it is! Fix that thing, kid!" Howard was overly excited about this whole affair for some reason.
"My, Yuyu is such a geek~" Ellen giggled.
"Not sure how I feel about that word, considering we're all in a video gaming club here." Yuel made a face. "But yes, I know a thing or two about computers. I have a potato PC at home, so I can't run most things these days. Had to tinker around with the settings to make Cla.s.smancers run."
"Yeah, dude is legit genius." Lars grinned. "He even installed all these extra custom modes, like that sick training mode where you can edit tons of stuff on the map!"
"Cla.s.smancer Trainer, I take it?" Aron asked.
"Yes, that's the one." Yuel nodded. "The default Practice mode is very limited, so we've been using Trainer."
"Agreed. It's a useful plugin, we're also using it here." Aron said. "Though, we only have version 2.3, because anything beyond that isn't supported on these operating systems."
"2.3? That's ancient." Yuel said. "I believe there's an unofficial release for version 4.5 that can run on older OS. You should try downloading that."
"Unofficial release? I didn't' know they had such a thing." Aron was dumbfounded.
"Alright everybody, it's settled!" Howard announced. "If you run into any technical issues, turn to Yuel for help."
[How did it come to this? ]Yuel made a face. "Sure, I'll accept the job. I expect to be paid at least 10$ an hour, though."
"Haha, snarky brat." Howard laughed.
After a bunch of random tasks were forced on Yuel out of nowhere, the tour came to an end. There weren't any specific activities scheduled for today, since the whole day was reserved to welcoming the new members. Therefore, anybody could do whatever they wanted now.
"Cool." Lars smiled like an excited kid. "Then, I wanna challenge everybody to a 1v1! Starting with you!" He pointed at Ellen.
"My, how rude. Your parents didn't teach you to not point at people?" Ellen shook her head. "I'll pa.s.s. I'm not a fan of 1v1, find some other brute to bash heads with. Me and July rather play together, right, sweetie?"
"Eh? W-Wh!?" Julia was dragged away.
"Heh, I'mma take you on any time, bro." Taison challenged Lars.
"Nah, dude." Lars shook his head. "I wanna fight someone from the club. We've dueled like a hundred times by now, I want some fresh challenge."
"Heh, running away? What a wuss. I still gotta rek you like 20 times to beat your d.a.m.n score, so c'mon!"
"We're at 43-25, remember?"
"Wut? You legit counted our duels?" Lars blinked with a blank face.
"d.a.m.n straight I did! I ain't gonna lose to some scrub like ya."
"You wish, dude." Lars said. "But not today, I wanna play someone new. Hey! Dudes! Anybody here wants 1v1? I'm no noob, I promise. I got Platinum III in duels and all."
"Heh, you sure sound confident, kid." Trever appeared behind them. "I'll take you on."
"You're late." Aron frowned. "I told you we're welcoming new members today."
"My bad, my bad." Trever smiled apologetically. "I was kept busy. I'm such a popular guy, haha."
"And, by 'popular', you mean you hit on girls who like you as much as they like c.o.c.kroaches."
"Ouch, rude." Trever turned to Lars. "So, what were you saying, kid? Platinum in duels? That's cute, I'm Diamond though. Don't worry, I'll go easy on ya, heh."
"Diamond? Sick!" Lars's eyes lit up. "Let's do it, yo!"
"I don't believe you've been introduced." Aron interrupted. "This is Trever, he played Pirate during your entry exam. And this is Lars, he played Trickshooter back then. I'm sure you remember?"
"Uh, huh." Trever's smiled faded.
"Oh, you're that Pirate dude from back then!?" Lars asked.
"Yeah, I am..." Trever averted his eyes, looking troubled.
"Dude, you were so strong back there! You almost got first blood and all!"
"Eh? Me? Strong? In that game?" Trever blinked with a dumb impression.
"Yeah, that Cannon Kraken combo really got me. I heard you were sick that day or something? Real shame, I wanted to play you for real."
"Yeah, you could say I was under the weather that day, haha..." Trever's smile twitched a little. "Anyway, let's do it then! I'll show you how compet.i.tive players really play!"
"Come at me, yo!"
"Hey, I also wanna be a part of this, yo!" Taison said. "I'mma rek both of you at once!"
"Heh, kids don't know how to respect their elders these days." Trever shook his head. "Okay, we got a special map that supports 1v1v1. Let's do dis boys!"
"I'mma mop the floor with yo ugly faces!"
The wild bunch departed to play together.
[I'm feeling sick. ]Yuel sighed. The overdose of hyperactivity he just witnessed was radioactive for sure, he'd develop cancer if he was going to be exposed to that on a daily basis.
Anyway, everybody were free to do whatever they wanted and Yuel knew exactly what he wanted. It was something he had been wis.h.i.+ng for ever since the entry exam: to fight Howard again. Last time, Yuel was thoroughly shut down by Howard's counterplays. Howard was truly worthy of the name Aegis, the impenetrable s.h.i.+eld of G.o.ds.
However, that was just the result of their first match. Yuel never faced such an opponent before, so he was at a grave disadvantage. He did a lot of thinking since then and rewatched the match countless times The meat of the match was the part where Howard got serious, that's when the match transformed into a sophisticated chess match. Yuel exploited holes in the enemy's formation, while Howard countered by covering up said holes.
Sadly, requesting a "revenge match" against Howard wasn't quite simple. Unlike the mechanical beasts, Lars and Trever, Yuel and Howard couldn't settle things with a simple 1v1. Their strengths laid in their ability to craft team strategies, make smart shot-calls and counterplay the enemy team. Therefore, they had to fight in a team to exhibit the full extents of their talents.
On top of that, said teams had to be balanced enough to not tilt the odds in anybody's favor. Not only that, but Yuel also had to be familiar with his teammates to craft the appropriate tactics. None of that was possible to arrange right away, so a proper revenge match against Howard was impossible.
But, Yuel had the perfect alternative in mind.
"I challenge you to a game of chess." Yuel eyed Howard intently. If there was a playground where both teams were perfectly balanced, excluding the unproven possibility of first move advantage, it was chess. Therefore, playing chess would allow them to face each other as team strategists and determine who was superior. There weren't many chess players at Yuel's age who gave him a real challenge, so he was excited to see what sort of chess Howard would-
"Chess?" Howard raised an eyebrow. "Where that came from? I don't even know the rules."
"Eh?" Yuel blinked. All this time, he imagined the Cla.s.smancers match against Howard as an sophisticated chess game, but that picture crumbled to pieces now. "I-I can teach you how to play then-"
"Not interested, it's a game for nerds." Howard shook his head. "Why chess anyway? We're a Cla.s.smancers club, you know."
"I suppose that's right." Yuel averted his eyes, feeling stupid. He was so convinced an amazing strategist like Howard would be into chess, but he was completely wrong. "Then, how about we play 5v5 with four elite bots?"
"That's just dumb, we not gonna practice much of anything that way. You're sure pus.h.i.+ng hard for a match." Howard smirked. "Oh, I get it. You're still salty about losing to me in the entry exam, right? Haha."
"You just had the advantage back then." Yuel insisted. "I'm sure I can defeat you if we have a rematch."
"Heh, don't get ahead of yourself, kiddo." Howard sneered. "You still got a long way before you should even think of challenging me. Anyway, I'm p.o.o.ped after this whole tour, so I'm off to take a break, play with somebody else." He turned around and left.
[Just you wait, I'll surpa.s.s you for sure. ]Yuel glared at Howard's departing back. He came this far after overcoming many obstacles, now all that stood between him and the compet.i.tive scene was Howard. Once he were to prove himself as the superior Support, he'd get his spot on the main team for sure.
"You're sure obsessed with that guy." Gregory said while touching his gla.s.ses. "You better not forget who you [really] gotta beat to secure the Support role, kek."
"Oh, you're here too." Yuel rolled his eyes. "You haven't seen Howard play, right? He's on a whole different level."
"Heh, implying I'm a scrub? Running that stupid one kilometer isn't the only thing I practiced over the summer, ya know."
"Oh, how exciting." Yuel replied with an indifferent tone. Gregory was a decent Support, until recently he even was Yuel's rival, or at least something along these lines. However, after playing against Howard, Yuel lost all interest in competing with Gregory. Well, at least it might be worthwhile to see how much Gregory improved over the summer. "Fine, I'll take you on. We need to arrange a team, though."
"I can help with that." Aron said. "A 3v3 is good enough?"
"Bring it on, kek."
With that, the club tour came to an end. Yuel made a huge step toward the compet.i.tive scene by getting into the club, but he wasn't quite there yet. His next challenges were to decide on his compet.i.tive nickname and to take the main team's Support role from Howard's hands.
Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 26 Club Tour
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Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 26 Club Tour summary
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