The Autobiographical Farewell

Once upon a time, on a fine May day of 2001, a young man was searching the Internet for a place where he could play online Pokemon. He found a site called Pojo.com, where he was advised to download a program called Apprentice and download a Pokemon patch with it. So he did.

He decided to tinker with the Apprentice program before attempting to play online. So he began making decks and test them against his brother over his house network. He was amazed at how many cards there were in the patch. He did not know most of the cards, but he still had fun playing against his brother.

Then, in August of that same year, he felt ready to play on Apprentice. So he downloaded mIRC and entered #pojo. He asked, "Hello, Iím new here. Can I play a Pokemon game against any one of you? I need help because itís the first time Iím playing online." The answers were similar to this: "OMG NOOB ATTACK!" But someone decided to play against the man.

The man was playing an Erikaís Victreebel deck with Team Rocket Oddish and Base Koffing. His deck didnít include a single Professor Oak, but at least it did have two Erikaís Maids. He was thrashed in 5 turns by his opponentís Steelix. All the way, his opponent was taunting the man, saying things like "Oh, he put an Erikaís Bellsprout! Thatís sooooo powerful!" "Oh my god Erikaís Bellsprout is going to attack for 30!" He treated the man like a 7-year-old child. "Your deck sucks!" he said after clinching the easy win.

After the game, the opponent asked the man his age. To the reply of "21", the opponent suddenly got serious. "Oh, I didnít know you were that old. Sorry. But seriously, your deck needs a lot of help. Status effects arenít big anymore dude. Iím not even half-good. Many people on this server kill me."

The man was almost going to give up immediately, but he didnít. He went on the Pojo site again, seeing what were the good decks in the "Killer Deck Reports" section. He found a deck featuring Blastoise, Articuno and Neo Genesis Mantine, and copied it. After playtesting a bit by himself, he realised that Mantine wasnít good enough and replaced it with Wooper.

The next day, he went in the #pojo channel again and asked for other matches. He started winning this time, albeit only about half of his games, but it was enough for him, it was better than before. He then decided to make a deck himself, and made a Clefable deck having Erikaís Jigglypuff among other things. He entered the pojo ladder and started climbing up the ladder. He got up to #51 from about 400 players.

Little by little, the man started to acquaint himself with the people in the channel, even though nobody took him seriously at this stage. Nobody knew that the person in front of the computer with the nickname X-Act was, in fact, a 22-year-old man from an obscure, tiny island in the Mediterranean, whose first language wasnít even English. Everyone thought he was, at best, a noob, and at worst, a lamer.

Things turned for the worse when someone in the channel said, for some inexplicable reason other than maybe hedonistic, "letís force X-Act to be banned". So he starts telling all sorts of nasty things to the man. The man defended himself without insulting the guy back. But on the next day, the man found himself banned from the channel. When contacting the ops, they werenít very helpful, but he did find out that the ban was set about two hours after leaving the channel the previous day. This enraged the man, and vowed to quit the channel forever.

However, after about three months, he found himself double-clicking on the mIRC icon again and playing Pokemon. His ladder nickname had dropped during his three-month leeway, so he registered it again. He was improving in leaps and bounds, but he was finding the Modified format difficult. He couldnít accept that he was constantly being beaten by Feraligatr decks. And he didnít want to play a Feraligatr deck himself, because he didnít want to copy other peopleís ideas again. So he had no other option than to play only Unlimited matches. He was getting more and more noticed in the channel, however. People started to actually talk about him and to him. In short, he was starting to become someone.

It was February 2002 now. X-Act, as everyone was calling the man now, had just graduated with a B Sc in Computer Science and Mathematics and had started a postgraduate M Sc course in Mathematics. He quickly learned how to script in mIRC, and started writing his own script, called X-Act Script. But there were still the pesky guys who thought X-Act was a noob: "Ah, youíre ripping Weedle Script right?" He ignored them, knowing that he might get secretly banned again if he said a single word.

By mid-June, X-Act had become quite popular with everyone in #pojo, a fact which surprised even himself. People started realising that X-Act is, after all, 22 years old and lives in an island called Malta. They also started to learn his musical taste, and his own musical, scripting and mathematical talents (ranging from average to excellent, in that order). They learned that his favourite Pokemon is Dewgong, and other stuff.

At this stage, he started entering online Pojo tournaments, playing in the New Modified format. He felt really comfortable with New Modified, unlike Old Modified. He won his third tournament using an Entei/Ninetales deck, and went into a +12 unbeaten run, going up to number 6 on the ladder in the process.

X-Act was riding a crest at this stage. Not everyone believed that X-Act was a good Pokemon player though. Some people who got unakicked or returned to the channel during this time still thought X-Act was a 14-year-old American noob who sucked at Pokemon. But the powers-that-be thought otherwise.

At about mid-July of 2002, X-Act was suddenly given VOPs. It was like that, out of the blues. It actually surprised X-Act more than anyone else. It meant that X-Act was becoming an op in #pojo! He duly became one in mid-August of 2002.

Because of this op thing, he started to write a bot script called X-Bot. At first, X-Bot was only used to fend off flooders in the channel, but then it became much more than that, as the #pojo people can attest to. But that wasnít all. At about mid-September, X-Act became a Tournament Director and debuted his first tourney on his 23rd lucky birthday in the same month. The format was Expedition only and attracted a nice (for that time) amount of players.

X-Actís rise from zero to hero was almost overwhelming himself. But the best was yet to come! At about mid-March of 2003, he was appointed Card of the Day reviewer for the Pojo site. There were still the people who thought X-Act was a lamer, but he ignored them. He knew he was doing a good job. He also took the responsibility of the Pojo Pokemon patch during this time, patching the Expedition set and the latest Ruby and Sapphire set (he couldnít patch Aquapolis and Skyridge because he was working on his M Sc thesis at that time). In June of this year, X-Act was also made Head Tournament Director.

But then things started to wane. X-Act had finished his thesis by this time and he set out looking for a job. This job searching made X-Act lose a bit of interest in Pokemon. He didnít play online matches much anymore, if at all. He applied for a post of Assistant Lecturer of Mathematics and was interviewed at the end of July. By mid-August, X-Act was accepted for the post. He started working as an Assistant Lecturer as of today: 1st September 2003. Yes, Iím writing this short autobiography shortly after I returned from work today.

This post of assistant lecturer, together with the fact that my Pokemon playing has drastically been halted, means that I cannot continue to write any COTDs anymore. Also, I cannot be in the channel as often as I like. In fact, I can barely be in the channel at all.

For this reason, I am calling it quits guys. I know some of you are disappointed by this decision. I know some others of you who donít care. I love you all, even if you are in the latter category. I understand that Iím not a legend, but on the other hand, nobody is (apart from Radiohead, who are living legends). I typed this whole thing so that you realise that yes, if you persevere, you can turn from zero to hero.

I never thought mIRC could lead me to make so many online friends. Iíll mention a few here. The first five of this list are my very special buddies: Popaa, Pidgeot5, mozaemonpico, monkeybeany, sssentret, RaNd0m, Lord_Gothmog, Dallasama, SSgirl, Underdog. It doesnít mean that whoever isnít mentioned here is not my friend. I tried to be friends with everyone. Seriously, I did. And I hope you guys felt that I was your friend.

This doesnít mean that Iíll never be online again. I will be, but only rarely, at most once a week (probably Saturdays).

I cannot end this farewell article without thanking Pojo himself for letting me work for his site and for his channel. I sincerely hope I did not disappoint anyone with my services in both endeavors, especially Pojo himself.

If you really need to contact me, try the following four methods:

AIM: X Act Creations (Iím almost never on)

ICQ: 30151240 (Iím almost never on)
Yahoo Messenger: xactcreations (Iím almost never on)
Email: xactcreations@yahoo.com

Bye guys. Continue to play Pokemon. Iíll miss you all.

X-Act