I appreciate that accidents happen. I know that in my limited experience I've swung and hit someone in the neck, or my moving sword tip has combined with a dodging player to leave a stinging spot on their cheek. I've never aimed for the head, face or neck and I never plan to, and do you know why? Because it absolutely sucks when you get tagged there, and there's only one way to make it not suck.
That's for the person who did it to step back, put their hand up and say 'Sorry, are you ok?'
I was clanged around the ear with a pole of some description and heard a 'Sorry!', so I gave a thumbs up and carried on. I got a spear to the mouth and the player apologised, so I spat on the floor (because there would totally be blood in my mouth from a real spear to the face, right?) and I yelled at him to bring it on.
Then I get caught right across the bridge of the nose and nothing. Well, I say 'nothing' but actually it was a backswing in return that got me in the side of the head. One guy using his sword to play whack-a-mole with the top of my head was particularly irritating.
"Well," they say "wear armour and carry a shield and that'll happen," like that somehow makes the headshot worth receiving. It's not like I haven't got legs, arm, body and big shiny shoulderpads to hit, oh no. Even when I yelled over to a ref, barely ten yards away, that I'd already been struck in the head four times by that point, he seemed to think I was sharing an amusing jape.
Yeah, thanks for that. The silly thing is most of the blows came from the front and my almost fully open and completely viable right-hand side, while my shield protected my left-hand side (and badly, because I'm crap).
- You must avoid hitting the groin, neck, or face; you should avoid aiming at the breasts or head where there is a viable alternative target.
At one point on Sunday, needing water, my asthma inhaler and with no physical way of moving back against the crush of other players, I was being continually and repeatedly hit in the head by a group of five players. Oh, sure, some of them aimed for my body or arm when the shield wasn't in the way, but every other hit I suffered was on my head. I stepped forward, swung my sword around to try and either simply get killed or make them take even a single step back so I could get away, one of them told me that I wasn't 'fighting safely'. I almost certainly wasn't (as now I'm not being poked with sticks in places that aren't supposed to be poked, two wrongs don't make a right) to my eternal discredit, but right then I'd have pushed over my own mother to get out of that horrendous situation and even take a breath.
Then she probably wouldn't call me handsome any more, and I'd be down to one person in the world.
Don't get angry, get a ref. Lesson learned.
That battle is the one real negative experience I've had at Empire, as not once after the first five minutes did I actually enjoy it. Sure, it's supposed to be tense, exciting, nerve-wracking and even scary. You're not meant to walk off the field and think "That was a pointlessly shitty way to spend an exasperatingly frustrating hour being bullied in a dangerous forest by anonymous twats, remind me why I'm bothering to do this, again?"
I'm paraphrasing, of course, there were more words beginning with F going through my mind at the time.
It's sad, really, as it very nearly ruined my weekend. Literally (not figuratively) everything else at Empire has been amazing. Then I go and get kettled like an anarchist scumbag with a molotov cocktail outside a G8 meeting. Not fun at all.
Maybe I'll write about the wonderful things that happened at the Summer event once the bruising goes down, because there are plenty of stories to tell. This one needs to be told, because it won't be repeated.