Gamers and Bad Attitudes Toward Others

I’ve been playing games at home since my parents bought a Tandy version of Pong in the mid-1970’s.   I didn’t play much when I was in my early 20’s, but I got back into gaming with the Super Nintendo and I’ve had ever new generation of consoles since the SNES.  Games have improved so much in the past forty years.  While the quality of games have continue to improve with each passing year, the attitude of the gamer as been on a steady decline.

I found this article back in August.  I want to comment on this paragraph….”I could go on and on about this, but I’m just going to consider one example: the word ‘noob.’ If you decide to take up almost any other hobby in the world, you can find beginning classes teaching you how to do it. If you want to knit, you can go to a yarn store and meet fellow knitters who will help you get the basics. If you want to play basketball, you can join a rec center or community league at a beginner level. And generally, the people already involved in those hobbies are thrilled to have someone with whom they can share their passion. But if you want to get started as a gamer, you get told, ‘go home noob,’ because people in this hobby hate newcomers so much they turned the word itself into an insult. How are we supposed to thrive as an industry if we are actively hostile to growing our audience?”

When I read this article in August, the above paragraph hit home with me.  I’ve been in the receiving end of the insults because I was new to something in a game.  People don’t think twice about insulting someone on the internet.  We’re all anonymous.  What does it matter if you call someone a ‘fucking retard’?  Gaming is all about you and your desires correct?  Never mind you are playing in a small group with people you’ve never played with before.  Someone in the group might be new to the game and doesn’t know what is going on or hasn’t fully grasped everything and is still trying to learn.  Berating them doesn’t help.  It makes you look like an utter and complete asshole.  It makes the new player question if they want to continue to attempt to learn the game or not.

I’ve been playing video games since Pong.  I grew up with them.  I play games on console and on a PC.  I even play some on my phone if I’m that bored and not home.  I did take ten years off from PC gaming and just this past winter did I finally build a gaming PC tower.  Trying to play games on a cheap laptop wasn’t cutting it when I keep hearing how great games look on it compared to the consoles.  At the time, I wasn’t seeing it.  I have noticed the difference since building the gaming tower.  I do think my monitor looks better than my TV.  That might have something to do with it.

In the years I was only playing games on console, I never really had any horrible experiences playing with others.  I have met some very nice, helpful people on Xbox Live.  I think the worst thing that went on with me was when Mircosoft ran the 1 vs 100 game.  I got many hateful messages because my gamertag was listed in the top 10.   The hate towards me was nothing compared to what others in the group I played with were getting for being in the top 3.  Being called stupid when you were listed in the top 10 for high score in a trivia game is actually funny.  I did laugh those messages off.  The vulgar ones got turned in as a complaint.

Even playing with random people on Xbox Live, I never really had any horrible experiences that caused me to quit playing in the middle of a match.  I wish I could say that with the PC.  I really do.  Some of the experiences I had these past few months while playing with random people has been unpleasant at times.  I’ve never been one to just rage quit on a match with others.  I’ve seen others do it on a whim, but I always try to work my way through the rough stuff and finish.  Whether or not it was successful or not didn’t matter to me.  At least I stuck around to finish and didn’t quit when things got hairy.

I have quit on groups out of frustration while playing on my PC.  Mostly it’s because someone has an elitist attitude and starts berating me because I wasn’t doing what they felt I should be doing.  Too many players have no patience to help a fellow gamer grow as a gamer.  Instead they’ll talk down to them and make them feel unwelcome to the community.  I am curious on how many new MMO players tried any of the bigger title MMOs and quit playing because they didn’t know anyone else playing and those they meet treat them with contempt because they are new?  I’m sure it happens more often than people think.

It’s bad enough when we treat our fellow gamers with contempt, it crosses the line when gamers start harassing game developers like what was going on at BioWare with one of their writers.  Games only thrive when players play them.  When gamers treat other games with contempt because they don’t know everything there is to know about this or that game, it puts gaming in a negative light.   Mass Effect 3’s ending is the prefect example of this.  I, personally, did not hate the ending.  I felt it fit with the story.  Me and one of my Xbox friends had long talks about the ending.  He, like me, was fine with the ending.  Could it have been better?  Yes, it could have.  The original ending should have had the epilogue in it and I think that would have quelled most of the fans frustration.

The easy access to gaming companies make is easier for us, gamers, to communicate with developers of games.  We, as gamers, have a responsibility to communicate with them in a civilized manner.  Nothing turned me off more reading comments at BioWare’s Social Network than those that called the writers of the story lazy.  Those people were not lazy, they had to take choices the player is allowed to make into everything they wrote.  To tied everything together.

The attitude of many at the BioWare’s forums caused me to stop posting there.  Then the one area I was posting in got closed because of the infighting between players over certain characters.  I don’t even know what character thread the problem was in or if it was in many threads.  I was at the site a few days ago looking at stuff for the next Dragon Age game, and took a look and that sub-forum of the forum for Mass Effect 3 is still closed.  A year later, it’s still closed.  Sad.

This is because people can’t get along.  Has the internet jaded us that much that typing an insult is done without a second thought?  Do people forget there is someone on the other side of that connection playing along side them reading the insult and know its towards them?  Or do people just don’t care about anyone but themselves?  The attitudes I have seen while playing MMOs have left a horrible impression on me and makes me question if I want to continue to play in the genre in the future.  People need to take a step back and remember a time when they were new to something.  People need to learn patience with new players.  Either ignore their questions or help them.  Being a smart ass doesn’t help anyone but your ego.  Communities only work and thrive when people work together.  That means the experienced player needs to help the inexperienced player or leave them alone.  The community is at its strongest when everyone works together.  This includes helping the new player gain experience and help them to grow as a player.

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