Nerd Rage: You got it?
Written by James Anderson Saturday, 25 December 2010 06:00
There's that scream again. "Nooo! I shot him first!" "How are they moving so fast?!?!" "Damn it!"
I could crawl in to that comfortable space and say, "Your tears fuel me.” But, not today. No. Today I'm going to take a step back and look at this from a different perspective. How has the attitude of online gamers changed? What caused it?
After playing the last few weeks of Call of Duty: Black Ops and a few PC MMO's, I've been freshly reminded of just how much people like to complain. My first true experience with online gaming was back when the original Xbox was released. It was so exciting to play with people around the globe. When people would enter the game lobby and start talking, it would inevitably lead to them asking what state or country they were from. The environment was friendly for the most part and even after losing a number of times, players seemed to rarely go on rants. Trash talk, for the most part, was mild and dare I say, almost friendly.
Oh how times have changed. Play a few matches of any online multiplayer game today and you will most likely be subjected to a verbal lashing or bear witness to a player blurting out a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush. Vulgar language aside though, it's more common than not to have a few outbursts during a match.
I've never broken a controller or something in my house over a game. (Though my dad did break a toe trying to "roll" Asteroids years ago...story for another time.) Is it that I don't care? I don't think so. Maybe I just know, in the relative scheme of things, where the outcome of a game falls in matter of importance. Perhaps I just don't have an anger issue. Or maybe my subconscious keeps in check that I really don't want to have to buy another controller for a few seconds of nerd rage. We've seen the videos and likely some of you have done the same or worse. The rise of these situations may be attributed to the market saturation and availability of gaming systems to younger players. I'm not saying every younger player is immature, oh no. I hear an equal mix of high pitched whines and bellowing voices complaining.
Online ranking, leveling up and leader boards all add to the tension and angst of online players. These things all help increase the amount of time someone spends online, but they also add to the attitudes. Imagine playing a game of Free for All and there being no score. How long would that hold players attention? Perhaps that is an idea for a new type of match for online games ... no score until the end. No way to gauge how well you or other players are doing. What would be the affect on players during the match with no way to track how well they were or were not playing? I can imagine a player doing quite well in a match and still being a screeching whiner until they see how well they placed.
To take the rage one step further, players are often seen leaving a game if it looks like they are going to lose. If a game has a penalty for leaving voluntarily, players will even go so far as to turn off their internet connection (disconnect cable, turn of their modem, etc.) Though it might be difficult to tell the difference between a rage quitter and a true disconnect, it would be interesting to see a severe penalty for leaving early. One online game, World of Warcraft, gives the player a debuff for leaving a match early such that they can't enter for a time period. There are cases where a player’s internet connection may go down or their system locks up. But, it would certainly be interesting to see a tally or ranking based on number of matches quit/abandoned put in to most games.
So what makes the rage player? Is it the protection and anonymity of the internet? Perhaps the instant gratification of the current generation that makes them freak out at having to work at something. Maybe it's something entirely different. Maybe it's that a lot of the younger generation (poke, poke, sorry) get participation ribbons and don't even keep score in sports at younger ages. There is the possibility that learning that "everyone is a winner" is doing more harm than good. You think?
Have any unique rage stories? Post them below.
Oh and in the holiday spirit, over the next week or so, when you see that guy that can be revived in a match, revive him. If you see someone online getting railed by NPC's, take a moment to help out. It's the least you could do and I'm sure you'd want the same. Happy Holidays!