How To Hire An In-Game Bodyguard, And Why You Should

Games like Battlefield and Call of Duty are worst when they are played by casual fans, people who may enjoy the occasional match but who don't take the time to daily hone their skills.

I fit neatly into that category. Despite being a big fan of military shooters, I'm not very good at them. But I am good enough, I have played enough, to sense the peril I'm in the second I drop into a bout.

That's why the idea of hiring someone better than me to protect and train me in live matches has some appeal. I wrote about gamers Toby Smith and Roman Vysotsky earlier this week. Both are proficient first-person shooter gamers who hire out their services as bodyguards.

I stumbled upon the story weeks ago, noticing the online ad on a site and tracking it down to two people in Europe. I decided the best way to write about these different sorts of pro-gamers was to hire each of them and see how they did. The hiring process was very easy. Both used a site called fivesquids.com. I just paid the converted $US7 or so through PayPal and received an email with instructions within an hour.

I started with 30 minutes of in-game time with Smith, a 15-year-old kid from England, who guided me through Battlefield 3's many multiplayer maps expertly, giving me advice as we played. It was obvious from the get go that I was going to be a challenge for Smith. I managed to die a handful of times before our first 10 minutes in the game wrapped up.

Five Tips For Mastering Battlefield 3

1. Know your load-out: Make sure that you know what every accessory to your weapon is, as well as your specialisations, secondary weapons and gadgets.

2. Situational awareness: Know what's going on around you all the time. If you see skull-and-crossbones', that's where your team-mates have died. It's also a rough guide to where the enemy are. Keep an eye on the mini-map icons as well.

3. Know your play-style: Don't be afraid to try something new, but make sure you match your weapon and load out to how you play.

4. Help your team win: Talk to your squad. They're there for a reason, and the more you communicate with them and work as a functioning unit, the more chance that your team will win. Don't forget objectives.

5. Have fun: Games are about entertainment, and if you're stressed out from the game, then stop for a while.

Tips provided by Smith.

It was an odd-experience, meeting virtually a person you paid real cash in the real world to play with. It also took me a bit of time to get used to the idea of having someone so fixated with protecting and healing me. Good to his word, Smith jumped between my avatar and approaching bullets more times than I could remember. When he didn't die for me, by accident or fluke, he was apologetic. As we played he kept up a constant patter of techniques and tips. Stay aware of your surroundings, he kept telling me. Know your weapon and its limits. Talk to your squad, he said.

An hour later I met with Vysotsky on the PC version of Battlefield 3. Instead of communicating with headphones, we used text to chat. Vysotsky was a man of few words, more of a brute bodyguard than a guide and tutor. I found myself using Vysotsky as a sort of second skin, letting him take the bullets meant for me before returning fire, sort of like a living flak jacket.

I sent him ahead into buildings to scope out the area for me. I cowered in corners waiting for him to respawn before charging into battle.

Where Smith felt like an instructor, someone who could over time improve my abilities in the game, Vysotsky was muscle, a player who could help stack my stats and clear rooms for me.

While both serve a purpose, if you plan on hiring an in-game bodyguard you might want to know what you're getting from the service before you drop the $US7 or so for 30 minutes of gaming.

If used right, in-game bodyguards aren't cheating, at least that's how I see it. What do you think? Would you ever pay someone to teach you how to play a shooter inside the game, or to protect you as you play?

For the Right Price These Gamers Will Die For You

This story starts, as so many great ones do, with a classified ad: "I will take bullets for you," it read.

And he did.

Contact made, cash transfer confirmed, Londoner Toby Smith met me on a bluff overlooking the border between Iran and Turkmenistan on an early December afternoon armed with an M416... More »

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Comments

    I myself is very casual when it comes to fps. While i played mw2 for as much as 3 days worth of time i have maybe clocked up 5hrs in mw3 i even bought the hardend edition!
    As i see the fun in them (and the obession) if i ever wanted to hone my skills i have friends who are very decent and in the past helped me out when needed as they did in mw2.
    I see no problem in hiring somebody if you really have no one to ask. Wont suprise me if Activision jump on the bad wagon.

      I've got around 22 days logged into MW2's mulitplayer.

      Time in MW3's multiplayer = 0

      I would imagine the difference between one of these guys and a friend is that they're used to teaching people who don't know how to play well. A friend probably isn't prepared to tell you how to counter the common complaints from casual players or how to work your way up to things. Professionals would be much more at home watching you, assessing what you're doing and how it can be improved upon.

    Gives me a few ideas on how to make some extra $$$

    Nah I think most sane people would rather spend the money on something else. Good luck to them though I imagine this kind of thing will only become more predominant, and reminds me somewhat of that game date idea a while back.

    Is Kevin Costner available? I might pay $7 for half an hour if it was Kevin Costner. It's not like he's got anything better to do these days, is it?

    Man I wish Morgan Freeman offered this kind of service. Not to be a bodyguard, I imagine he's terrible at games, but just to hear his soothing voice comfort me should anything bad happen and just hang out.

      Do itttttttt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpujTp21cmk

    I wouldn't say it's cheating at all, you could liken it you you and a mate playing with skype, or even in the same room, giving tactical advice to each other.

    What... I just.... ? Why?.... What?

    I think that using someone like this to teach and guide you in a game is a fine idea, kinda like a coach, with the ultimate aim being to improve your own skills to the point where you can comfortably play alone.

    If you're just using them as a bullet sponge, taking your damage and dying instead of you, then I rekon that's a bit cheap. If you want to play online, you should be able to stand on your own 2 feet, otherwise what's the point?

    so..... many...... thoughts on how BAD this is

    Great now everybody will be running around in pairs.

    If you're willing to pay for something like this then so be it.

    Personally, I consider myself an average player but I cannot see myself paying someone to guide me through a match. I don't need to be the best player in a game to enjoy it and that's exactly why I play. It's because I enjoy it.

    Feeling like you need a trainer in game may end up feeling like more of a chore. How do you know you're getting your monies worth? And

    If you're willing to pay for something like this then so be it.

    Personally, I consider myself an average player but I cannot see myself paying someone to guide me through a match. I don't need to be the best player in a game to enjoy it and that's exactly why I play. It's because I enjoy it.

    Thinking you need a trainer in game may end up feeling like more of a chore. How do you know you're getting your monies worth? And, why would I pay for another player to take bullets for me? That's what the rest of my squad are for anyway :)

    Shit, sorry.

    Maybe I need someone to make sure I don't post stuff twice...

      I can do it for $10/min ;-)

    When I was 15 kids used to mow lawns for allowance money.

    This is just sad.

    Fair enough if you're a casual gamer to think about getting someone to help you. However you'll find that if you can put together 4 people in a squad, and have audio chat, you'll be able to do just as well by working together as you would having someone experienced along. After all that's exactly how they got decent, they played for a while with mates, and learned the game. The biggest thing with these games is just understanding how the map works, once you've got that down life is a lot easier. 37 USD per half hour? So for an hour and a half's lesson time, you could buy a mate the game and do it that way instead? Not to take away from these guys, it's actually a really cool idea. To be honest though, heaps of the older BF players would probably help out if you asked. Just my point of view.

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