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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 community...it 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...

...so 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?



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