Since the pandemic started, gaming has taken the world by storm as people seek alternative forms of entertainment due to the need to stay at home. My mind was blown when I recently found out that nearly 3/4 of all U.S. kids between 9-12 years old play Roblox! Gaming has permeated every single fabric of society and it is here to stay. Of course, gaming with friends is the ultimate form of entertainment, but what if your friends aren’t free? I found the perfect solution.
Personally, one of the most miserable experiences is playing team-based multiplayer games alone. At the end of the day, 15 seconds before a round start is hardly enough time to build a rapport with your teammates, and if you’re the only stranger in the solo queue, there’s the unending paranoia that you’re going to be the first one in against the wall when things go pear-shaped.
At times, it’s not even about winning. I mean, sure, you’re playing a competitive game like League of Legends, and winning’s the objective of the game. But sometimes, all you want is a good social experience, where you can look back at some sick plays with your friends that didn’t work out but everyone had a good laugh anyway.
Gaming is a social experience — even the most competitive esports is still best enjoyed with friends by your side, like in League of Legends or Valorant.
Looking at all the different games that Gank’s Gamepals were playing, I thought I’d have a fun exercise: could a Gamepal get me into Valorant? It’s a team shooter with a lot of nuances, from its Overwatch-esque skills and Counter Strike-level of actual player skill. And so, I set off into Gank’s marketplace, looking for Gamepals to introduce me to the world of Valorant.
Opening New Doors
Going into it, I had a few fears: one, the same fear every gamer has— flubbing your performance in front of people infinitely cooler than you. After taking all the effort to negotiate and hire a Gamepal, there’s nothing more embarrassing than getting killed 30 seconds into a round and hearing the disappointed sighs of your newly-acquainted Gamepal.
The second was something that anyone who’s played a team game would be familiar with — what if they got mad at me? After all, I’m here sauntering into their favorite game and playing it poorly. Wouldn’t they get frustrated?
Thankfully, neither scenario ever came to pass. After a cursory glance through the Gamepals, I landed upon NEZG60 (Nez for short), a specialist in coaching Valorant beginners. A quick chat with him on Gank led to him doing exactly as advertised; he sat me down, helped me figure out a main, explained a more efficient button layout than the default one, and even took me on a tour of all the different game modes so I could find which one I actually liked before committing to that for the rest of the session.
After a great introductory chat, we settled on an agreed timing and duration of the coaching session. Everything was done through the platform. There’s even a countdown timer once the session starts, so both of us had no worries about accidentally going overtime.
Honestly, it felt nice to be guided by people who are in it for the love of the game, rather than trying to rush you to some minimum competency checkpoint. Nez provided live constructive pointers throughout the entire session. He reminded me not to do things like leaping out of cover, but also affirmed me when I’d done something right, like lucking out and scoring big headshots despite having my vision obscured.
Sage’s walls are the bane of every new player experience, including the ones on your own team
Even when we did lose by fault of a misplaced barrier of mine that resulted in our entire squad getting murdered made me MVP of the enemy team, Nez was really chill about it. After all, I’d come here to learn about Valorant, and hopefully, grow to like it. A bout of violent cussing out would have only left a sour taste in my mouth and deterred me from the game completely.
I was pleasantly surprised by Nez’s answer when he explained why he was so cool with losing:
“People come from after work, after class, turn on their PC and they just wanna game”, he explained. “When buyers play with me I try not to get toxic, because it’s bad for my image. Also, the game is new and I don’t want it to get toxic like other games”.
For The Love Of The Game
My session with Nez was particularly eye-opening for this very reason: You wouldn’t agree to sign up to play games with strangers if you didn’t really like games, after all. Following the great session with NeZ, I went on to hire another Gamepal from the Philippines, Karlish, who told me that despite everyone being on the same marketplace, there’s no animosity between anyone. Everyone’s here to mutually help and assist, elevating each other’s gaming potential to the fullest or simply, making new friends and enjoying a fun gaming session.
[Even if] you don’t like me, there’s plenty of players on Gank for you to play with.”
In line with what Karlish said, no Gamepal’s profile was off-limits. I could easily view any Gamepal’s availability on the platform. While some have preferred hours like Nez- who only works nights- there are others (like Karlish) who have a more open and flexible schedule to interact with supporters and fulfill gaming service requests.
Both Nez and Karlish have also shared that Gank highly values their Gamepals and user protection is key to the platform. They provided supporting anecdotes of how buyers had to terminate a session early, but they still got paid the full amount. This made them feel well taken care of and being respected as a professional working in this industry. It makes sense after all since by making a booking, you are paying for an expert’s time.
More importantly, there’s no hierarchical distinction between buyer and seller accounts. Anybody can plan their own services for one game while seeking out a Gamepal for another. So in essence, everyone can assume the role of both a buyer and seller as preferred. I personally really like this because it creates a much greater sense of community, with gamers supporting one another and sharing experiences together in the games they love.
Wrapping It Up
Gamepals are a godsend for people like me. There’s just so many games out there, and to have someone truly passionate about them share their arsenal of tips and tricks with you is indeed the best way to learn a game. Even if you’re not an exploratory gamer, there’s still power in having good company. Having someone to laugh with even if you go 0-6 in Valorant is a great way to not feel discouraged or burned out on a game, compared to if you were solo queuing by yourself.
Apart from community, there’s also a sense of social responsibility and respectability upheld on Gank’s platform. As it turns out, most Gamepals are also streamers or esports athletes. Thus, this empowers many users to feel supported and included when so many local pro gamers are active on Gank too. There’s a genuine air of camaraderie where you’re not only supporting your local scene but also benefiting by spending time and learning from experienced and passionate players. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
In light of that, Gank keeps the community spirit alive by planning special collaborations with key games industry talents. Right now, Gank is having an event with Master Ramen, so you’ll want to get in on the platform to stand a chance to game with one of the top gaming content creators in Malaysia.
Combine that with their newly-launched Gank web platform, and there’s never been a better time to enjoy gaming on Gank. All you need to do is sign up, start searching through their marketplace for the talent or companion you’re looking for, and you’ll never have to worry about a lonely gaming session ever again.
This article was also published on Gamerbraves