Friday, August 12, 2016

Why I Decided to Run Team Snake Cult at QoH by Nataliya "Shader" Kostenko

Photo by Jesse Gifford

Why I Decided to Run Team Snake Cult at QoH
by Nataliya "Shader" Kostenko 

I decided to run a team primarily for two reasons: so I could get newer UCONN players involved in the game, and so we could all have a little more fun. 

Last year at UCONN, Alexa and I really focused on recruitment for SMAC and the Oaken Guard. While we did get a lot of people initially, interest and attendance started to wane midway through the year. We also noticed, at last year’s Queen of Hearts, that the larger the teams got (and the fewer of them there were), the less we as newer players felt like we were actually contributing. I thought that maybe if I could throw a team composed mostly of newer players and give many of them important roles at Queen of Hearts—one of the largest events of the year—they would feel less like canon-fodder and be more likely to stay with the game past their first few months of SMAC. I obviously also wanted to make the team as fun as I could for everyone on it. I have definitely noticed that the competitive spirit at events as big as Queen of Hearts—while a good thing over all—sometimes makes the more veteran realms players lose sight of the importance of just having a good time over winning every single battle. 

With the exception of a few last-minute additions, our team was mostly composed of the people who practice at UCONN. Obviously I put my buddies Alexa, Masha, Kai and Cory on because we all came up with the whole idea of the team together. From there we reached out to Mayerling first because they’ve also always been dedicated to helping out newer players and prioritizing fun.
The prep for the event was somewhat challenging. We had to make weapons as well as our craft entries. We were successful mostly because of how much help we got—Ashenmark helped make great weapons, my grandma taught us to sew and helped me make our tabards, Masha’s mom helped us with our banner, and Carol taught us to work with leather and helped me, Masha and Alexa make our team’s bracers and greaves. I’m super thankful for all their help and all the new skills I learned from them. I do wish we had gotten more than one team practice in, and that more people could’ve made it to the one I did hold. 

For the actual event I think we succeeded in both our major goals. Though I wish more Oaken Guard members could’ve actually made it to the event, I saw all the ones that did having a great time participating. I definitely had a great time fighting with all my friends on our team, and I hope fighting against us was also fun for everybody else!

Editors Note:
I was lucky enough to compete against Nataliya in the Couples Tournament. She brought a great attitude, challenge and determination to the field.  I was glad to face off against her, and would happily do so again.

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