With nearly 200 teams and over 1,000 players in the Good Games League this season, it’s easy for a Grifballer to feel lost in the crowd, especially considering that 90% of players are in their first or second Grifball season. Being the new kid on the court can be a frustrating experience, particularly in a sport like Grifball that is heavily reliant on knowing other Grifballers to be able to play your games, practice, learn, and even to ensure a better game experience in matchmaking. How do you, one player out of one-thousand, achieve name recognition or respect for your team?
1. Be Active
One of the best ways to get your name out there is by being an active participant in the forums and in site events, such as Grif Rushes and GRUNTs. Posting in the forums and leaving comments on articles is a way to foster daily communication with a wide audience of Grifballers and participating in events exposes you and your team to other squads. This communication and contact is important because, generally speaking, people need multiple exposures to a new word (such as a gamertag) just to be able to remember it in their immediate/short-term memory. In order for a new name to stick in your long term memory, a person needs to hear or see the word or name once or twice a day consistently over a period of time. In addition to repetition, another effective way to get your name noticed is by having it paired with something that’s interesting or engaging. People remember others who make them laugh as well as those who piss them off, but only one of the two is likely to get you an invite into a custom game. If comedy isn’t your thing, having an interesting forum signature is a great way to get noticed, and being able to pair a name with an image creates two pathways (visual and lexical) for recollection.
Basically, people are more likely to send invites to gamertags that they recognize and associate with a positive experience, so having positive name recognition is the first step to establishing your Grifball reputation.
2. Be Proactive
Being proactive means reaching out to other teams and players. As is always stressed in the Looking for a Player/Team thread, Grifballers are strongly encouraged to send Xbox live messages to prospective teams/teammates. By taking the first step, you dramatically increase your chances of finding what or whom you are looking for. Being proactive makes you look confident and capable, and in the case of a free agent, interested and invested. If you have a team, messaging other team captains to set up scrimmages is a great way to get experience and expand your Grifball friends list. This last part cannot be emphasized enough! Having a friends list with as many Grifballers as possible means that you have a better chance at getting invited to play in custom and matchmaking games, which in turn introduces you to a lobby full of new faces and strategies. Additionally, reaching out to other Grifballers – whether you are in need of help or are offering help – is a great way to be proactive in the community.
It’s not enough to just be active, you must engage others! Remember that nothing asked is nothing gained and that the worst that can come from messaging a team, inviting a captain, and asking for or offering assistance is silence.
3. Hold on to Your Identity
Building a reputation takes time, and the worst thing that you could do is squander the time that you’ve invested. Changing your team name and gamertag is a fairly common occurrence, but Grifballers often don’t consider the impact it can have, especially newer players. Teams that hold on to their names have distinct reputations, reputations that are lost when the name changes. For example, the team Grunts of Fury had a reputation for being one of the best Grifball teams the league had ever seen – everyone knew their name. However, after several seasons the team name died, and with it, went that indomitable reputation. Although the team mostly re-formed under the name Mario Party, that throat-choking intimidation, that psychological advantage, was lost. If a team disbands, the team captain should consider keeping the name because just the name alone has weight, has familiarity. For rookie teams, maintaining a name is even more crucial. If a sophomore team changes the team name from their freshman season, their notoriety will almost always be set back to zero.
It’s no different for individuals, even the most acclaimed. One of the best examples is that of I CITI I aka MenztrualCramps. I CITI I played for Separate Intelligence, another powerhouse team with a prominent reputation, and he was widely regarded as one of the best tanks in Grifball. At the PAX 2009 Grifball panel, people waiting in line registered expressions of admiration when I CITI I introduced himself because his reputation preceded him. Then he changed his gamertag. Still the same guy, still the same great tank, still well regarded by his teammates and friends, but to the community at large, the power, the je ne sais quois, the reputation of I CITI I did not transfer from one sobriquet to the next.
The key to keeping your reputation is keeping your name. There may be situations in which you want to shed the reputation you’ve developed, but if you’re content with what you’ve built up, don’t tear it down.