Friday, April 1, 2011

Vlog #5: Origin of "Perfect Catch"

Topics: Announcement on the Mount Giveaways and the explanation behind the team name.

Transcription starting at [03:52]

Kevin:  I've got this picture up, and you're probably looking at it, going, "Ooh, what the heck is this?  Perfect Catch?"  If this is your first time watching KBB (Kevin Battleblood), you have no idea what this picture is about. But, you see four players, and you figure, "Well, they're all friends!"...[chuckles]...which is true...but, more specifically, we're actually a PVP team.

When I posted this wallpaper -- in which AutumnalDusk was really kind to say, " could make this into a mousepad!" [chuckles]...and the "epicness" of this; we got a lot of comments on this -- Sierra Starsong, my good Petnome Teammate, asked me on Twitter (and wanted to pose this as a question for Ravenwood Radio), "What's the story behind Perfect Catch?" -- regarding our name.  At the time -- and this was around Monday or Tuesday [of the week of recording this] -- because of a test this Thursday, Ravenwood Radio on Wednesday, and [releasing] the transcription for the very last show...before last night's show, I had a lot of priorities to take care of.

So, [to answer now], Perfect Catch.  People have been wondering, "What's up with this name?  You guys aren't named The Intimidating Rainbow, or some other obvious name."

Perfect Catch has a ring to it.  It's a little obscure, a little mysterious.  Definitely, I chose it to ensure that it did have that kind of mystery to it, that you have to ask [either of] us -- if you were really interested in our history or our name -- that there'd be a solid answer for it.

So, Perfect Catch.  Let's break this up into two words.  Now, "Perfect" -- you don't want to take too literally.  [It] falls in line with my philosophy that "everyone's perspective is different."  So, "perfect" for one person is not going to be "perfect" to another.  I really don't think that there's a "perfect standard" that everyone shares -- that there [isn't] a universal definition -- because we all have different backgrounds and religion.  So, when you get into specific situations, you're going to have some grey areas.  You're not going to be able to say, "Well, this is always going to be defined as 'perfect' for me."  We're always changing; we're never the same the very next day.  So, that philosophy behind the word "perfect" itself ties into our team.

We do change up our decks, almost all [of] the time.  Our cards never stay the same -- so we can't really write out a guide for how Perfect Catch functions [chuckles].  We're always taking out cards, and adding new ones in, and testing this, and testing that, trying to see, "Hey, can we do something differently that makes us unique (in a way)?"  We're not just based on one strategy that narrows our weaknesses.

If you have a weakness -- and a great analogy to this is:  the Death Star in Star Wars.  If they've got this little tunnel that is the weak point -- and if any kind of shot gets fired into this (and I'd imagine that some kind of flying space debris happening to enter this) and destroy it.  No matter how large a team can be, it will always have some kind of weakness.  So, we're always changing and evolving, and developing our decks differently each day so that our weak points change and shift around.  If you think about it, [you'll realize] it's kind of like a shape-shifter who can move his heart around.  Yes, this [concept] is stolen from Heroes -- which, unfortunately, was cancelled; but yeah, they were digressing a bit, and the material was failing.  But, this was adapted from the idea of the character Sylar, who can shape-shift.  Eventually, he got to the point where he could move his heart to a different portion of his body.  So, when people were trying to kill him [by aiming] where the heart normally is, it did not kill him, and that was because he could change up his anatomy when he required that skill.

So, that's kind of what Perfect Catch refers to, in terms of functioning as a team.  We're always playing together -- we're always the same, four people -- but the Catch is: we're not using the same decks, all the time; we're not using the same spells.  The Perfect Catch you see in each video: yes, we're the same players, but our decks -- different story there.

Another layer [about] Perfect Catch is: the word "catch" itself, as defined in [the example above], has a lot of significance; a lot of different definitions.  I've told you [the first]: it refers to functionality.  "Perfect Catch" also refers to the pets we have, and I can safely say we were one of the very first teams to develop the Double-Resist Spritely Defender Pigs -- maybe even the Double-Resist Spritely pets -- or, maybe even the first team to bring in four people with Spritely Pets.  Everyone was freaking out; all of our opponents -- for the first 2-3 months -- were shocked when our pets were healing us out of order.  If we would go first, and the pets skips [the other] team to heal one of our members, we were called "cheaters," "hackers," and sometimes [they] even speculated that we were KingsIsle (or related to them), and therefore had special benefits.  

[In regards to KingsIsle]:  we talk to them sometimes, but they don't directly help us in any way.  They treat us the same way that they treat everyone else:  as customers, but also as players.

So, even with all these accusations and criticisms, we stuck in there with each other.  We had this mutual understanding -- and a mutual identity.  As Perfect Catch, we were not four separate players with the same pets and the same goal of wanting to win.  We were a single team.  We have this really strong bond.  So, with our pets, it was about making sure we all had Double-Resist and Spritely on our pigs.  

The reason we chose the Defender Pig is because it allows us to heal any teammate -- in time of need -- for any amount of pips.  For example, let's say that our Life player is down to about 100 HP, and the other side has someone who can cast a Meteor -- and Meteor does go off.  Going second, if any of us tosses our Life player that [pig's card] for any amount of pips -- sure, with seven pips, we could use it on a Storm Lord or Frost Giant or Nova, but that's not going to save our teammate from healing the rest of us [with seven pips] to make sure our team does not fall as quickly.  So, Defender Pigs were chosen for its innate card, the Dryad.

It was just about spreading that model, and I had the only one, at the time, so we had to spread it amongst all of us.  There were a lot of hatching attempts.  Secondly, getting the right Talents on there.  Months and months -- and hours and hours -- of farming Coven (this is all pre-Celestia, so we didn't have the benefit of Calypso or Stormriven) and using the Wayfinder Gear Trick to help us out to boost our income.  Literally over a million gold -- maybe a million and a half (or more than that, since we're still optimizing our pets) -- between the four of us was invested in hatching, feeding, and raising our pets.

So, the very beginning of Perfect Catch was very frustrating.  "Ughh" was exclaimed from someone, "I had three of the four Talents needed."  Or, "I spent my Crowns and Mega Snacks believing that this is the pet (because it had three out of four) -- and then it had a fourth talent that is a fail!"  We had a lot of instances of that.  Trying to get this pet, with the different schedules of ours with different backgrounds, values, and perspectives, I felt like there was a time where this team could not [make it], that this would be more of a 1v1 thing, and we would have to wait months and months before all four of us would have our [intended] pets.  But, we never gave up on each other.  Hence, that's another aspect of this team that I'm really, really proud of.

Missy got her pet first -- in fact, I think she was the first out of us [to get our planned talents], but she didn't get it on the Defender Pig.  She actually got it on the Deadly Ninja Pig.  So, it wasn't even the right model.  Ronan was second, [but first] to get the Double-Resist Spritely on a Defender Pig.  Then came me.  Finally, Fallon got her pig.  It was a very, very difficult process.  

I honestly felt that Michelle (Fallon) wanted to quit at some point, but [she didn't.]  Eventually, we got [her the pig,] and finally, Ronan, Missy (who is also Scarlet Deathblood), Fallon, and I got our pets!  Finally, we had Double Resist on every pet.  It was the most over-joyous moment of our lives...well, our wizard lives, that is! We were so excited -- it took a lot of work, so we made this pact to not spread the genes anywhere.  "Do not let this get out!  Let's work with these pets...let's be this PVP team with Spritelies and Double Resist (the only ones out there."  It was kind of a little niche we had.

Along came Cassandra Dragonheart, and this is the most awesome thing, because there was something about her.  She was starting to enjoy PVP, understand the concepts of it, and taking up 1v1 as a Life player -- which is a really difficult task, considering that (at the time) your matches were at least an hour long -- trying to work up her Arena Gear (which she succeeded in).  I was impressed by that.  She detested PVP at first, but she really got into it [eventually], succeeded, and applied everything.  I figured, "Hey, let's further your interests in PVP [to a higher level].  I'm going to hatch this pet with you, but, please, do not spread it."  She pretty much kept her word!  Eventually, she became our fifth member.  When there was just three of us, we said, "Hey, you know what, we could use a Life wiz!"

Initially, Ronan was playing Balance or Life, interchangeably, and Missy could play Storm or Balance, interchangeably -- so, again, we're a very flexible team.  So, with the addition of Cass, Ronan was able to play his favorite school a lot more:  Balance.  It was the one school that he PVP'd the most on, and the one where he was very familiar with the mechanics, and knew how to anticipate with that class [well].  So, that's how we became a five-player team.  Even Cass got her pig to match ours.  So, all five of us had Double-Resist Spritely.

That fell into the idea of not being able to find a better pet than this, or achieve our main goal to create the optimal pet.  After succeeding, that's the "perfect" essence of it.  These pets: you have to work for them.  It's like fishing for pets.  Thus, "Perfect Catch," referring to our pigs.

Now, [the name] also relates on a deeper level: the support that we have for one another.  You can think that we're just four different players across three different timezones (East, West, and Central) with four different lives (I'm still going to school; the same for Ronan -- medical school, relationship, and work; Cass and Fallon have experienced much more than Ronan and I -- they've got history and families).  So, you'd figure, "Hey, Perfect Catch is just a get-together of four different people," but in a way, we've created somewhat of a distant family between ourselves.

First, we're really supportive and helpful with one another -- again, referring back to the pigs: the extent that we went through to ensure that this team is possible.  The name "Perfect Catch" didn't come out until after four of us had our pigs for PVP.  I just randomly said, "Hey, we're team Perfect Catch."  At the time, it had about two distinctive meanings:  first, it was about the pet; and second, it was my perspective of my friends.  Looking at Ronan, Missy, Fallon, and Cass, I honestly could not ask for any more, nor would I ever want any less.  So, the "Perfect Catch" aspect was based on just those two ideas, but it's actually evolved in itself, which contributes more to the flow of our story.  We were helping each other get our pets.  If we needed some gold or a pet that someone didn't care about, we would help each other through that channel.  It's really tough being able to find people to have the same kind of interests that you do, on the same level.  Fallon -- and this occurred even before we created the PVP team -- was farming endlessly for 2+ weeks for the Ianthine Spectre.  We spent hours and hours there, every day, just to find disappointment each time.  But, we never gave up on each other, and that has never left this team.  That's the supportive and helpful part of it.

We're also really comfortable with each other.  We're able to share anything with each other.  If it's criticism, or a really bad joke, or taboo, we're able to handle that.  We can say anything to each other, basically.  There's nothing more comfortable than just having that kind of peace, in that, "These guys aren't going to look at me differently, no matter what I say or think."  We share that understanding about one another.  We don't judge, and we have a really high tolerance level.  So, as humans, we're not "perfect" -- we slip up, sometimes.  There are flaws -- this ties to people and the realm of PVP.  I know there are some teams -- I've talked to Michelle Shadowcaller; she's explained to me that, in the past, there have been a lot of pointing fingers or stealing credit, as if one person was responsible for a team's success, or one person was responsible for their loss.  Perfect Catch doesn't have any of that.  If someone makes a mistake during a match, we all feel as if we made that mistake.  That one person, whether knowingly or unknowingly, doesn't feel alone in that aspect; they don't feel as if everything's placed upon their shoulders -- whether we've won or lost.  We win as a team. 
If we're doing 2v2, [our] other two [team members] know they've had a part in the successes or the failures of those [participating in the match].

We represent each other as a single image -- which is kind of ironic, since I've split us up here in four different elements...but that's just for aesthetics.  If I could recreate another picture, we'd be a murky brown, combining all these different elements together.

[laughs]  It's a great feeling.  I've done team sports, team management for other games (Guild Wars, Atlantica Online, Rock Band 2, DotA, Counterstrike).  This team is...  It's really hard to describe the feeling that I have for this team, because I haven't felt it with the [teams of other games], and I've been involved in those a lot longer in those teams.  I didn't have the same comfort with them; I've only had it with [Perfect Catch].

You run into people, and the different types of interactions and interests you have with them...  The possibility of having [our] type of synchronization are one to the millions.  Sure, you can have a shared interest [with each other] in PVP, but do you have a shared interest in getting each other the right gear (not to win more in PVP, or improve in PVP alone), to ensure that this person feels "whole" and "satisfied" as a player?  Does it come up in your mind -- at a random time of the day -- that, "Hey, I need to farm for this person's...whatever...because they really want that, even if it does not contribute to our friendship or our team."  Just being able to have that connection and that understanding...I couldn't ask for any more...or less.  

Once again, "Perfect Catch."  I look at my teammates, and BAM, I just know they're the greatest "catch," and that they're "perfect."  They're the "perfect catch."  

On another level, there is a negative part of this name, and the sad part is that there is a "catch" to our team.  Most recently, Missy had, once again, left the game -- and I think it might be permanent this time.  Those of you who have seen my video for her awhile ago know that, for so long, we've been waiting for her to come back.  We knew she had some priorities to take care of in life...but, we were expecting a return.  This time, we aren't.  That's the hard truth of it: we're now down to four people.  Being represented by that name, Perfect Catch, being able to have five players work so well together but are now reduced to four: hard fact of life.  "Hey, while you're enjoying the game...things happen."  So, that was a "catch."  This event didn't happen to someone happened to Missy.  So, BAM.  There's one "catch" right there.

Another is -- as I mentioned before -- we have different time zones, schedules, and lifestyles.  We struggle together.  There's a "catch" to being part of this team, and it's not like we can always PVP everyday -- we do actually have to wait until the weekends.  I know, most recently, a lot of people have been wanting to return to the PVP Parties to improve and learn from us through playing with us.  For us -- we've been longing for more PVP in Ranked, because that's where it's strange...that's where we don't recognize anyone, and surprises can happen.  It's been through these surprises that we've been able to draw our experiences from, and bring it to the party attendants, and teach them something about PVP and the styles that we've learned.

Being part of this team isn't all cut out as it's supposed to be, but we have a good time.  But, there are some conditions that we have to accept.  Sometimes, three of us will be ready to PVP, and a fourth person may be on, but if we're ever on -- if any four of us are on, we're ready to PVP -- but if it's just three of us, and we know one person has a chance to make it home, but can't...we do have that limitation.  We're not as flexible with our head count, basically.  We're not always ready to have four players ready to be able to do 4v4 anytime we want...let alone, even [the night I'm recording this], Fallon is sleeping early, because it's the night after Ravenwood Radio.  So, it's just up to me and Cass, or me and Ronan...which is fine, but even now, I don't think even some of us are ready to PVP at this point.  Right now, I know I'm Vlogging...  So, we have that little "catch."  We have some background interests that we have to take care of, too.

A positive "catch" is, "Hey, we succeed together."  We've got Hatching and our wins.  We're able to share those moments.  I know there was a 3v3 that Fallon, Cass, and I participated in -- it was Ranked -- against a notorious team, and we ended up winning that one.  When Ronan came on, during the late night, I did a play-by-play for him.  We record our matches, so I was able to relay every detail to him, and he sat there throughout the entire 45 minutes (it was even sped up to about 2x, just to offset the Spritely durations), just listening to me commentate and relay the game to him.  He felt as if he was there, too.  There's that connection, too.  

So, as I said, it's only between the four of us.  We're not necessarily exclusive; we just have this comfort zone with each other.  You can't replace me for another Ice, Fallon for another Storm, Cass for another Life, or Ronan for another Balance...unless you want to put one of us on a different school -- like if I play Balance, instead -- we could do that.  But, with others -- this isn't to exclude anyone, but we don't feel comfortable [with them]...we don't have that connection or that bond...that cohesiveness with one another.  There isn't a background with a substitute.  So, even if we set up Fallon's Storm Deck and gave that to another player, and said, "Hey, we need you to play a Storm for us," (1) no matter how great they are, they're not going to be able to synchronize with us.  [Perfect Catch] has as a flowing connection between [its teammates], metaphorically like souls entwined.  We don't have to say too much over Skype -- the only thing we have to say is what we expect the opponents to do.  We don't necessarily have to say, "Okay, which card should I play?"  We have that aspect down, already, and we have a feel for what we each carry.  We start to read each others' minds.  That plays on the "perfect" portion of it, and a little on the "catch" portion.  

One person can be missing, but our harmony still exists. For example, if I'm missing -- and most of the time, I am leading the team; I'm calling the shots -- I know that even without that leadership, the other three would be able to carry on their own very, very well, as a team.

Last, but not least, I just want to explore how we balance each other out:

  • Cass is basically what keeps our team structured; she makes sure we're doing things on time, that we're not overlapping and digressing to something else.  Sometimes she helps me do gear-checks, to make sure everyone has the right pet and gear on.  She helps us keep organized.
  • My part is more of the logical, reasoning, and numbers.  I analyze a lot, on a numerical basis.
  • Fallon is the emotional logic.  She would actually take into consideration other people, and think about others, and how we reflect upon them, or vice versa.  She carries that emotional balance -- she is a mother, and so is Cass, so these ladies are keeping Ronan and me in check, and ensure we still have our humanity, in a way.  They make sure we're not so focused on PVP, but that we're focused as a team, and that we're interacting as friends.
  • Ronan is more about perspective.  He's able to see things that I actually wouldn't, because I'm more involved in what's going on in the battle, whereas Ronan actually takes a step back and looks at our team from the outside.  He explains what he feels, and where he sees the team going, etc.  He's sort of keeping a check on us, but in a specific way -- like how we're doing as a team.  He's able to judge and critique us.
Hopefully this all explained what Perfect Catch is.  It goes beyond just a symbol or label for the four of us.  We take a lot of pride in the name itself because of how well it relates to what we do, how we do it, and what we see.

So, Sierra Starsong, and everyone else that's been waiting for this answer:  I hope that's explained and explored as much as you liked it to.  Feel free to leave a comment on my blog or Youtube Channel, if you have any questions or want to point something out.  It's been an honor and pleasure to have you sit through all of this, and for giving me the time to share what we have.  Thanks for joining; I will see you in the Spiral!

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