Dealing with that aggression...

I have talked a few times here about the nature of forum rage, and the hostile environment that it can sometimes create. What about in game though? Personally I find the majority of MMO game communities to be quite welcoming and friendly. Over the last two years or so however I have been playing more games that can be considered 'competitive', whether it is partaking in PvP in my current MMO, or playing a game like Starcraft 2, League of Legends or Bloodline Champions.

In some of those titles you can't but help notice a certain degree of hostility, often directed at new players, or born out of a frustration that something isn't going exactly the way someone would like it too.

Some games manage to maintain a reasonably civil, or even supportive, community...while some do not, and thus you add a 'thick skin' to the list of personal skills required to really enjoy being part of those communities.

Personally I have never really understood the mentality, much in the same way I can't vouch for the motivations of a bully, or those that just like to put people down. I play games to have fun, test my skills. Thus I really struggle to really relate to those who seem to get their satisfaction out of annoying others, or are simply completely incapable of controlling any kind of frustration at encountering a less experienced player.

Perhaps it is tied to the way in which games make progression, in some form or other, the most important factor for many players. Has it reached such a point that even the slightest delay to the 'optimal gain' provokes the most aggressive of reactions? As those games (or parts of games in terms of an MMO) become more and more akin to a sport, has the competitive elements begun to overtaken the entertaining elements?

To me, I can still enjoy playing a game, even one I am not skilled at, in the same way I could still enjoy playing soccer, golf or any other sport I enjoy without worrying that my team mates, partner or even myself, are not up to professional standards.

That type of player also doesn't always seem to appreciate the difference between playing an organised clan match, with some kind of status being played for, and a 'pick-up' game with random strangers on the internet.

It is probably fair to say that it isn't even restricted to PvP scenarios. I have both observed and played with raiders who also suffer from that rage at inexperienced or newer players.

'Does it really matter that much?' I have heard some say, they argue that there are always some anti-social types out there, and they are simply loud and easy to notice, and not necessarily representative of a community. While there is something to that, it is also important to consider that we, as developers, will always be trying to find ways to mitigate negative elements to our games, and that includes negative aspects of our could even influence the design of a game (A developer might, for example, consider making sure the accessibility of the game is paramount, in order to limit the skill gap between new players and veterans, possibly at the expense of depth)

So when I read about the novel approach that Riot are taking to try and battle this major issue in League of Legends, it reminded me of one of the comments in reply to my last post where sveisvei suggested that you can take a similar approach to forum management. That prompted a couple of questions for you all... I thought I'd ask you out there what you think about this subject. Do you find yourselves tempted to rage at people? What motivates it? Is it the frustration of wasted time, or do you not take it seriously enough to actually consider it a really negative thing? Or are you as white as snow and immune to gaming rage?

...does all this aggression effect what you play and how you play it?


Slith said…
Its people at their best. We act that way on daily basis so why would we leave it when logging on? Road rage is very good example of this. Ever seen someone honking at other guy who happens to go just a little below speed limit?

Oh and annonimity encourages antisocial behavor, like a lot.

So this says it all about teh internets:
Anonymous said…
Too be honest, new people to a game or sport is not a problem.
The problem is forcing a veteran to play with a new player, much like putting Wayne Gretzky (in his prime) on a junior hockey team against USSR's top team. Ofcourse he wouldnt be happy.
Anonymous said…
The only time I genuinely feel upset due to the in-game actions of a fellow player are players who only care about achieving their goal, in a multiplayer game with many people trying to achieve the same goal. Like being in a group with a guy who rolls on everything. It's frustrating and inconsiderate. Same could be said for any real life cooperative situation I imagine.
Anonymous said…
People rage when they are losing because of someone a bit less experienced ("Stupid noob, we are going to loose because of you!!"), they rage when they are like godlike and winning flawesly ("AHAHHA, you're such a stupid noob, you suck at PvP!! xD"), and that also happens sometimes on PvE...they rage for nothing and everything because there are no consequences.

Instead of trying to be nice and help someone, they just call them noobs or worse most of the times.

As for myself i can speak of Age of Conan. It was my 1st real MMO and when i 1st came to the PvP server Fury i was in shock, people were really competitive and crazy about PvP, deaths and kills ratio, etc.., Most of the time i was killed by/or killed some random guy, i received a tell full of hate/rage with things that included me, my family, my k/d ratio, etc... I still remember the horrible experience in White Sands, players were so "mean" with the inexperienced people.
I was really disappointed to the point that several weeks later I was "forced" to move to a PvE server where i found a much better global environment, much more friendly(even if at some point some ragers/haters/flammers from Fury joined the server and started flaming/trolling the Global chat 24h per day :P), all this to say that the more "competitive" the environment is(PvP), the more people tend to rage.

The only times i loose my patience is when someone "acts" in some stupid way on purpose, spoiling the experience for the rest of the people, like someone that goes afk on purpose in the middle of PvP, or someone that acts stupid on some raid/instance spoiling the fun of the rest, but even at this moments i try to speak/write something useful and do not go in some offensive "rage mode".

Its so easy to rage in a "virtual world" and with almost no repercussions, so i think its a very good move from the creators of LoL to take this seriously and try to do something about it, because these ragers/haters can "ruin" entire communities/games, etc...
Blinker said…
I think it relates to some players high opinion of themselves and how seriously they take the matches. There are those that treat a pug mini-game as if it was the Olympics or a championship game when in fact it is just one of ten of thousands of games that will take place that day.

When people are taking it seriously, as if they were that proverbial Wayne Gretzky, then they will get frustrated.

The irony is of course that they are really no more Wayne Gretzky than you or I, effectively just a slightly above average amateur, but since when has that stopped people from being obnoxious back-street drivers or Monday morning quarterbacks?

The real pros, from what I see online, on video coverage etc, are usually really respectful and courteous to their opponents.
Anonymous said…
Raging is something that happens in real life(sports games, work, racing, shopping,etc..

The problem with communities/games, is that the anonymity of the internet amplifies that problem by a thousand.

Like this post written by an Anonymous :)

Instead of saying this, i just could go rage and write lots of garbage. ;)
Tobin said…
That is exactly why I never touch any form of PVP or competitive play :(

I play MMOs to relax and have fun. There is no place in that for the type of a$$hats that get attracted by that type of a game. They are no better than a high school bully and probably just as insecure.
Novell_Guy said…
Personally I see rage happening when the game has become more then a game for a player. Addicted people tend to be more aggressive about the game then anyone else. It has become their center of the universe. Scary somehow, but it is the cold hard truth. Due to the fact that only the GOOD stuff in games is obtained through insane grinding the creators of the game make these addicts themselves and I feel are responsible for the aggression in the game.

Creating more relaxed ways to obtain loot would help im this. Just take a look at the way the new pvp armor can be obtained in Age of Conan. Endless hours of mini games........against pre-mades.........that is just an aggromonkey machine in the making. I have seen it in my own guild, friends turning on eachother, leaving guild, swearing.......and for what??? A piece of stupid loot designed to put you in a mental hospital 1st before you can enjoy playing with it.
Trigger said…
I kind of filter it out now, and will sometimes respond with like for like. So if someone is being a bit of a d!ck then he might find me being a bit mean and needling him, or maybe not gg-ing out when maybe I shoud. Karma is a b!tch.
Craig Morrison said…
So would you folk say that it doesn't really bother you? Do you just accept it now as 'coming with the territory'?

What would you think about the approach that League of Legends is taking?


I think that hits on an altogether different issue, which is where reward lies in the tiers of motivation for PVP. Sometimes, when designers simply want them to be an added bonus to taking part, there are always those who see such items as 'the point' when that might not be how they were is an interesting challenge in and of itself. Offer reward and many people focus on the reward rather than enjoying the actual game-play...don't offer as much reward, to make the game about the actual game-play and not enough people are tempted to use it...which of course knocks onto the timing of the rewards. The reason they usually take some time to achieve is that the developers fear / know that they are the only thing motivating certain portions of the players, so it is only natural they try to keep them there. Personally I think it is a very interesting element of the PVP part of MMOs...personally just taking part and enjoying the challenge is motivation enough for me to take part...this is one of those times where I definitely don't seem to be representative of the general populace.
Prowler said…
think the idea that League of Legends have is a decent one as they seem to have thought it out well and built it to not be abused by cliques. That is usually the problem with 'community policing' - the wannabe power brokers form cliques and voting blocks and the devs have an equally disruptive problem. The devs at Riot seem to have thought of that with the level requirements and the anonymous elements of their proposed system.
Anonymous said…
What I accept with the "territory" is inexperienced people, not stupid ragers, but what should I do as soon as someone calls me a b!tch after killing me in PvP, or after several rages from several stupid people? Log off? Quit the game? Or just ignore and try to enjoy the game as much as you can? I find the last the best thing to do.

I love when i play a LoL game and someone leaves the game with some stupid quote "My team is noobs, i'm getting the f*ck out!", because I know that he just received another warning on is account after that rage, and sooner than he might expect, "is out of the game". :D

So to answer your question, yes, it really does bother and we don't want to be "forced" to accept it with the "territory", that's why I really support what Riot is doing with LoL and how they are approaching it, its something that must be done.
Anonymous said…
Slightly off-topic:
IMO - before focusing about the in-game community, FUNCOM should rethink their public forum policy.

Strictly from a PVE player point of view:
threads like:

- x "class is OP"
- xx "class needs serious nerf"
- xxx "class is GOD MODE"
-xyz "ability needs nerf"

Should be closed and OP should be warned. AoC PvP forum, the class forums and nearly every single thread on TL forum are flooded by same 10-15 people who engage in a very flaming and biased un-constructive discussion.

The is no wonder no developer even dared to make 1 comment on TL, guardian class changes thread (over 1k replies and over 40k views). So a developer has to think twice before making a comment in their OWN test server forum due to the flaming trolls, I consider that a bigger threat then what is happening in AoC game.

...until that is fixed, the in-game policy discussion can wait.

Sorry for the offtopic, though if you read the post careful it is not THAT far from what is discussed here.
Zevon said…
I think the system League of Legends are trying sounds really smart. I would have thought something like this was a bad idea, but they appear to have thought of everything and worked with it.

I hope they succeed because those people do drive genuine players away.
Anonymous said…
Game rage is brought by multiple types of people.

-The veteran of a game sick of answering the same questions over and over.

-People that absolutely hate everyone and their selves and feel the need to degrade others to make themselves feel better about them self.

-The new person that gets no help or is a subject of rage and retaliates.

-Your typical bully.

I myself don't suffer from game rage, and I have been a victim on the receiving multiple times in many MMO's. Its like a virus, it spreads, you have one sour person and they rage, then the victim retaliates back, then others jump in becoming a community of people to where raging becomes a habit.

I find game raging extremely negative. It just goes to show how people really are, and how they are willing to treat people so negatively. Especially strangers. I have left MMO's because of communities like this. Age of Conan would be my prime example, play on the Tyranny server. Watch how the community is. Other servers aren't so bad, but I prefer PVP servers.

And no I didnt leave AoC for any other reason. Its just the community is so negative and it starts to effect you as a person. So before it got to me I left.
bandytaz said…
I'm rather both calm player and calm person irl, but sometimes (rarely, but still...) I'm really raging.

When I do so I just usually turn off my mic, think twice before writing anything on chat and as soon as it is possible (for example in AoC when mini ends I logout (rage quit during pvp is not an option for me), so people usually aren't harm in anyway by me being mad for some reason.

What's important:
- I never rage in game because something irl goes wrong;
- I never rage irl beacuse something online goes wrong.

What might make me mad (AoC and other online games):
1. Inexperience of other players - everybody was new at some point, but thats not a case, sometimes you may explain, ask, beg, but others will make it still their own, often wrong way.
2. Losing something what sould be easily won by avoiding basic mistakes.
3. Losing few times in row (thats probably the worse thing).
4. When somebody is just stupid (like calling other names for no reason, acting like "pr0" and other stuff like this :<)

When somebody send me hate tells I usually ignore or laugh at him, but it happens that I'm getting into flame war "just for teh lulz".

Anyway, people - always remember - it is just a game and on the other side there are usually people just like you, so be cool ;)