The title of this post portrays an event that happened to me during my 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathon last week. It’s not the sole reason I’m writing this post, as the hatred toward teammates is a subject that I’ve often pondered throughout my history of playing many different online games. However, it does serve as a gleaming example of just how ridiculously over-the-top some people can be in their reactions to losing a game.
Here’s how the event in question played out:
I was probably around halfway through my 24-hour charity marathon at the time, during which I’d decided to play StarCraft 2 for the duration. After grinding out 1v1 ladder games for many hours, I decided a short break with something a little more light-hearted was in order. I turned to StarJeweled, a mod made by Blizzard themselves; it’s essentially a clone of Bejeweled, in which you can play 2v2. Matching gems spawns StarCraft units who march toward the enemy base — whoever matches the most gems in the fastest time gets more units, destroys the other base, and wins the game.
I played a few games in a row, winning each one and blessing both teammates and opponents with a “good game” as the match finished. Then, I lost a game. I wasn’t deeply concerned, after all it’s Bejeweled. As someone heavily into StarCraft 2 e-sports, and the 1v1 competitive game, Bejeweled is — as a competitive game — nothing more than a place to mess-around, waste a little time, and relieve the angst of long ladder sessions.
My teammate was apparently a little more concerned about his extra-important Bejeweled results, however. “You’re terrible, why don’t you just go kill yourself?!” appears in a chat window as the game ends. I responded with nothing more than, “Dude, it’s Bejeweled.” But it seems my inherent lack of knowledge about the competitive Bejeweled scene did little but wind him up even more. More insults followed, of which there’s no need to go into detail, but let’s just say he didn’t accept my offer when I asked if he needed a hug.
It spreads much further than Bejeweled, though.
My time in StarJeweled, and the resultant order of suicide, is simply an extreme example as to just how mad people get. As well as how keen they are to put the blame entirely onto other people when the outcome of a game is losing. But that’s not my point, this behaviour happens in just about every team-based video game in existence — and the fact it’s even happening in Bejeweled proves how bad it is.
MOBA games (whether you like the term or not) are rife with such happenings. This is perhaps an even worse scenario; a new player comes into a fairly complex game, and despite how keen they may be to learn about the different heroes, items, strategies and abilities, they get beaten down by other players — possibly to the point where they never want to play that game again.
The scary part is, that’s exactly what these raging teammates will suggest you do. They’ll even tell you outright to log off the game and never play again. That makes them happy. That makes them feel like there’ll be one less person who could aid in their team losing next time they play (with no consideration towards the law of averages that says a good matchmaking system will produce a 50% win-rate). And I’m sorry to have to inform such people that there’s a fatal flaw in this idea. Every player who’s helped you win a game, has probably contributed to a whole lot of losses when they started out. The people that help you win, and the people that “make you lose” are, essentially, the very same people when you look at the bigger picture.
If you love a game to the point you’re this passionate about it, you should want as many people as possible to keep playing it. No matter their skill level, a large player-base is what’s going to keep these games around in the long term, ensure that developers support the game post-release, and perhaps even whether or not the game gets a sequel further down the line.
If you want less people who are “bad”, how about you give them a hand? Offer some advice other than “switch your PC off”? It’ll result in far less people who have no idea what they’re doing, far more people having fun and playing more regularly, and the most important part, far less people who leave the game thinking that its community is filled with nothing but… how can I put this… dicks?
Yes, perhaps I am an idealist…
Idealism, however, is not impossibilism — and impossibilism is not a real word, but you get my drift. Do you know what’s also an idealistic way of thinking, though? That would be the idea that whenever your team loses, it must be somebody else’s fault. Chances are, Mr. Professional Bejeweled Player, that either directly or indirectly, you played a part in the team’s loss.
I’m a proponent of the “all just get along” theory in all aspects of life — but there seems few places where people are so horribly and obviously nasty to each other than in online team games. Gamers are portrayed negatively enough by outsiders, we don’t have to prove it to them by acting like complete pricks and treating our fellow players like dirt.
Personally, I’m the sort of person that can look at your ill remarks and see that it can only be your own insecurities or life-experiences that cause you act out in such a repulsive manner — so it’s no skin off my back. However, not everybody shares my outlooks, and ultimately you’re harming your own game of choice as a whole, for everybody, including yourselves. Which, to put it simply, is just plain silly.
Remember, if you really want to trash-talk, do it in a friendly, banter-like way — and at the very least, aim it at your opponents, not your damn teammates.
Have you experienced such behaviour? Or perhaps you feel it’s perfectly okay to hate on people less experienced that you are? Whatever your stance, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.