Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh online gaming

My first encounter with multiplayer games in general was, if I recall correctly, either the original Starcraft or the first (and truly glorious) Unreal Tournament. I wasn't much of a gamer back then (and, to be honest, neither am I now), but even so - playing with other people was a new and extremely interesting experience for me. I sort of sucked at Unreal, yet I always looked forward to when programming class (programming is a hobby I have, sadly, failed to get into... took a few classes in the later years of elementary school and that's about it) was over and the teacher let us play on the school computers for about half an hour. There's just something about playing with (or against) other humans that makes it just so much more fun (for me, at least) than playing a single-player campaign.
Sadly, there is (as I soon found out) a huge difference between being in the same room as the people you're playing with and not even being in the same country. There is a certain degree (it could also be called a threshold) of stupidity that people in your immediate vicinity are very unlikely to cross. On the internet, however, stupidity has no limits to speak of. You can be rude to people, you can play terribly and ignore advice, you can just flat-out refuse to cooperate or stop doing something someone - or even everyone - you're playing with considers stupid and unless you overdo it, it is unlikely that there will be repercussions.
Thus, the same thing that makes online gaming beautiful - a virtually unlimited number of allies and opponents to choose from - also makes it, at times, incredibly frustrating. When playing with a total stranger, there is a rather high probability that they'll be an idiot, a troll or some other variant of a person who's just on a royal quest to ruin your day and then some. This applies to MMORPGs, games with matchmaking systems (more on matchmaking and some of its less pleasant quirks later) or public servers. Some people are apparently fine with that, choosing to just roll with it and see what happens. Some enjoy being trolled and/or flamed, possibly as a release from their otherwise dull and uneventful lifes or a sort of masochistic guilty pleasure.
Most people, however, eventually figure out the real solution to this problem - choosing who you play with. Using the internet for finding gaming friends. Forming communities with (more or less) strict entry requirements. This not only gives you, in many cases, a deeper and more enjoyable gaming experience, but also produces an effect similar to the aforementioned after-class gaming session. You obviously still meet idiots - whether you're playing World of Warcraft, League of Legends (you should totally play that game, by the way) or Counter-Strike, as long as you don't limit yourself to playing with your friends exclusively (which is not even possible in many games, WoW being the prime example), there will be strangers - and when there are strangers, there are dumb people. But the big difference is that you can choose to play with certain people again you avoiding the idiots after finding out what they are. You can, in a way, filter out the assholes if you try. This vastly improves the all-important cool:dumb ratio.
In conclusion: if you play online games, get friends and work on keeping them. Become a member of a guild, clan or whatever other flavor of closed community your game has. Pick your allies and pick your enemies. When you do this, there's a fair chance of you finally getting to enjoy that game you so love. Or stop worrying and learn to love it. Or something completely different, but still mostly related to generally deriving more pleasure from online gaming.
Glad to help.

Opinions go in the comments section. And you should follow me on Twitter if you know what's good for you.

15 comments:

  1. I totally agree, whenever you're playing anything online with random people, you come across a lot of dumb ones.

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  2. I agree, I think it's an interesting experience especially when you're forming communities with people who live several thousands of miles away. It makes it seem like the world is truly a smaller place.

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  3. I agree with your points, and have noticed some of the same things through my years of gaming. It's funny, as soon as it became economically viable for game, console, and PC developers to start offering online/multiplayer gaming, everything started to change. It is loads of fun without a doubt. It still is odd when you observe how human beings respond to one another when they're faceless and realize that there are no consequences for their actions, or spoken words. Silly kids.

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  4. Hahaha, my friends are terrible at Lol, and I don't think I am any better.
    Still we keep playing together because we are friends, we get mad at each other and the next day we forgot everything, and play again.

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  5. thats teh thing about online games.. you do run into a bunch of dumbasses... SPLITSCREEN MULTIPLAYER FTW! >:3

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  6. i tried before it was very interesting experience.

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  7. We should play LoL sometime. My name there is also Auatarch.

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  8. Oh, definitely! That would be totally sweet.

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  9. i got unreal tournament 2k3 as my first online game, unless you count me playing my dad's wolfenstein from time to time. i sucked at it!

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  10. I agree, some people just may not be very good but many are just plain retarded, it gets annoying after a while.

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  11. Good post. I was addicted to WoW couple of years ago... luckily I got clean.
    Cool blog, will follow ya.

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