It’s been a long day; you’ve been berated by your twit of a boss since 9am; the neighbor’s dog is barking at that car alarm that has been screeching for the past ten minutes; and your girlfriend just left you for a man three times her age. 10pm rolls around and you finally have a few minutes to yourself for relaxation and stress relief, so you pop a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops II into your videogame console of choice and hit up the multiplayer lobbies to vent your frustrations.
You’re a few rounds in and having a decent run when you notice that every one of your current opponents in Team Deathmatch on the Drone map are all hiding in the trees at the other end of the map. You sneak around the side, pop up besides the unsuspecting snipers and take them all out. You hardly move two steps before they try to exact, same revenge on your head, but they prove to be easy pickings. You know they are just going to keep coming back, so you hide on that small ledge of the rock face that they don’t seem to know about. Covered by the large leaves of whatever exotic plant the developers added for effect, you sit and wait for the over eager team to return and make swift fools of them. The round ends and you see you have a message incoming from one of the opponents that reads, “camper U bad!” [Intentional, recreation of actual message]
Minus the part about the obscenely bad day that led up to an intense gaming session, that exact scenario happened to me a few weeks ago. I could care less about what an inconsequential, sore loser who ended up on my team in the next match (whose SPM and K/D ratio were pitiful next to mine) thinks, but the fact of the matter is there’s a massive stigma when it comes to multiplayer FPS games in general in terms of how people play and frankly, I’m sick of it.
People who consider themselves hardcore gamers, purists, the try-hards if you will, look at a game like Black Ops 2 and claim the only proper way to play is to run-n-gun. Their cries and complaints over campers, snipers, knifers and over-powered weapons shamefully litter YouTube and the internet. Now, I’m not so delusional as to believe a videogame should hold to the realistic aspects of life, but let’s be honest kids; the theory that a team of developers sat around for years to create a highly detailed game complete with perches, hidden corners and tools to aid your killing spree just so you can go Leeeeeeeroooyyyyy Jenkins all over the place, is a sad misconception.
There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “Sometimes a good offense, is a great defense.” If I start up a match in BO2 and notice my opponents are all in a clan together and cutting through the map like a plague of locusts, mowing down everything in their sight, I’m not going to simply sit there and allow them to violate my poor avatar without trying to do something about it. Though just a game, the object is to win and if my best chance at doing so is to bait the enemy into a trap and calmly pick them off one by one, then that’s what I’m going to do.
Certainly, if you’re playing an objective style game, there are some different rules that apply and it’s easy to flip out on someone who isn’t playing said objective and is just running around killing everyone instead; but that harkens back to the idea of an offense and a defense. Just because everyone has a gun, doesn’t mean everyone is on the offense. If you have to capture a point or defuse a bomb, it makes sense that only part of your team focuses on achieving that goal, while another helps stop the opponent from deterring your goal oriented team members from succeeding. The people who get angry at other players for their actions have a very narrow minded view of what the online gaming experience should be.
You might be a stout SMG carrying run-n-gunner reading my previous statements and say, “Sure, I understand that, what upsets me is the n00bs who just run to a spot when the game starts and sit there the entire time, never moving.” Yeah, I can see where that becomes an annoyance for both the opposing team and the random players you’ve been assigned to assist in computer generated warfare glory. I’ve been known to become upset when my team is loosing 60-30 and there are two guys sitting in the middle of nowhere, far from the action with their thumbs up their asses, waiting for anyone to pass into their view. Again, this is a videogame, but it’s difficult not to compare certain feelings about the situation, to real life. This doesn’t just pertain to the previous situation either; this is a working fact of the entire game.
Imagine yourself in a dilapidated complex, in a war torn foreign country. Your platoon has been cut down by a tyrannical enemy attack, leaving you and four others left to fight for your lives. Every, single member of your remaining friends is carrying short range weapons and a couple of flash grenades. You’re unaware of the exact locations of your rabid attackers, so you put your heads together to concoct a plan for survival. Though the options are limited, more than one strategy exists. Finally, you all agree on what your next move should be and on the count of three every man runs head first in the enemy’s direction in a tight grouping. It won’t be more than a few seconds before a bullet smacks you directly in the face and your killer is off to a relaxing meal seated beside your severed head.
Planning your attack, even if it’s a slow developing one, is a positive move in both the real and virtual world. It’s no secret that the military have had games created to field test prospective soldiers for actual deployment. If a top military strategist watched some of the kamikaze tomfoolery that persists in the world of online gaming, they’d probably shoot themselves in the head. If the world spun into disaster and our country was taken over by armed terrorists turning our skate parks into strategically configured war zones, Colin Powell isn’t choosing the guy who wasted a total playing time of three months on Call of Duty as the man he wants standing by his side. That individual will be trotted out as a brick in the human wall intended to serve as cannon fodder. Though, as a player, you’re not worried about the real world implications of your carefree play, you’re here to win, but so is the guy hiding in the shadowy corner surrounded by claymore mines and shock charges.
Just last week, I listened to some poor soul whine during the final kill cam, because the player featured was using the target finder scope. Put yourself back into that real world line of thinking again. You’re in a room preparing for your next battle and there’s a huge toy chest filled with unimaginable weapon attachments that help you see your enemies through walls, or highlights them with a huge read square even if they’re cleverly camouflaged, there’s even a drink that makes you virtually invisible to the enemy! You start grabbing for all the equipment that will make you the most efficient killer when a squad mate rolls up next to you and says, “Those things are for pussies and n00bs, real men don’t need that shit.” This is the same guy who careens blindly into the middle of the battle field jumping head first onto his belly after being shot three times and miraculously stands up and runs off to do it again after killing a man by throwing an axe that ricochets off the target’s toe.
The game hands people tools, says choose ten and do the best you can. You can’t fault people for taking advantage of the tools the maps offer them. If the intention of the game was to have players run around in cloud of random fire, the intentional sniper perches and hidden corners wouldn’t exist, it’s that simple. Some people have a talent for being patient, sharply following your animated representation run foolishly around the confined walls of the battle arena through their super magnified scope until the perfect line of sight aligns, leaving your character’s body limp and lifeless from a single shot. Get upset if you want, because they just broke your score streak or because you just can’t deal with any aspect of negativity in your life, but don’t rant and rail against a whole group of people because someone decides to do something differently than yourself. In the saddest turn of events this side of the whole “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier appearance, the internet and multiplayer videogame lobbies have become a breeding ground for the most offensive generation of sorry twerps in world history and that bigoted overtone has mutated into a loathsome fervor of petty squabbling. When all is said and done, it’s just a game people, not a way life.
In ways, it’s tough not to get mad at every type of player out there. It’s your right to get upset when something doesn’t go your way or when something happens that you disapprove of. The fact is though, just because you disapprove of something doesn’t mean it’s wrong or improper. Stomp your feet all you want, get angry and scream if you need to, but don’t openly do so into an un-muted microphone or your pathetic YouTube channel; you’re just making a fool of yourself at this point. If there’s one thing I personally can’t stand, it’s trick shooters. I don’t understand the concept of the whole thing, it seems pointless and meritless; especially since I’ve never actually witnessed anyone successfully pull off a trick shot. Then again, I don’t send these morons messages filled with poor grammar and spiteful intentions. I just rewatch the sections of me shooting them over and over again as they spin around whilst falling off a ledge in an attempt to randomly shoot me or another teammate, from multiple angles in my own personal replay room.
There’s a laundry list of player types who do deserve the hatred and anger built up against them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve rewatched some of my matches to find teammates who spent the entire time laying down tactical inserts onto a bridge only to throw themselves off the edge, the second the spawn in. I’ll never understand players who need to shoot off their gun the second a round starts or spend time blowing up the cars in the garage on Raid. Yesterday I watched a teammate spend 5 minutes shooting at a fire extinguisher; only to swipe at it with his knife for another minute before someone finally sent an RPG heading his way. Why do you even turn the game on at that point? Obviously, there are people who just want to be trolls and get on other people’s nerves, but those people actually spent $60+ just to do so; there are few scenarios that exist in life more pathetic than that. Those types are all people who deserve to be the focus of anyone’s ire who is just tying to enjoy, or yes, excel at a game. But any energy expended on these people is too much. The fact that a casual gamer has to endure the misdirected anger of another’s misguided life is petty and distasteful.
No one can control the rampant mess of crying fools who inhabit the World Wide Web and everyone has their right to complain, but it’s time a movement started; a movement to try and broaden the thought process of those who put too much weight on the importance of a videogame. The chances that you’re a professional gamer with money riding on your success at an online match are slim to none. If you’re going to get upset, fine, no one can stop you from reacting to what you deem unfair; but keep it to yourself for the love of God, because no one really cares that you’re a sore loser.