Boosting Positive Points in Online Gaming

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Hi again, internet!

LightningEllen here and happy to be writing another post for the prestigious AmbiGaming website! This time around I’m going to be talking about online gaming experiences. I bet that triggered a few awful memories, didn’t it? Kids yelling at you in their angry squeaky voices for stealing their killz, the l33t on your team making you feel like a horrible failure because you don’t match their epic skill level, tiny alpha male trolls insisting that weak women can’t be on their teams because they suck, that random person who just hates you for some reason and won’t stop insta-killing you at the respawn point, and all that, right?

Yeah. I get it. I don’t play games online anymore for various reasons including those. I play video games to relax and unwind after a hard day in reality, not to lose what little faith I have left in humanity as a whole. I can certainly see the appeal of online gaming if you have a solid group of friends to play with. Conquering gaming obstacles with your loved ones seems like it would be a great thing to bond over! Unfortunately, not everyone has a close crew to roll with all the time (or even at all). That’s when you have to deal with randomized social elements of the online gaming community.

I just don’t get what makes a lot of people devolve into total jerks whenever they have the opportunity to hide behind a username and/or avatar. I bet some of them are decent humans in reality, just using the anonymity as an opportunity to unleash their pent up hatred on others. Whatever the reason, it’s just not nice. I wish people would remember that every avatar they see online is, in reality, a fellow human being with thoughts, feelings, and someone who has possibly spent a lifetime dealing with who knows what. Empathy seems to be a rare commodity both on and offline these days, let me tell you. But I digress.

I have done the random gaming online thing quite a lot in the past. Pre-teen me was big on Jagex’s web browser MMO RuneScape. After that, I spent 8 years playing Blizzard’s big MMO World of Warcraft (clean since 2015… but please don’t ask how many game hours I’ve logged in total over those 8 years). I also roamed around in GTA Online for an hour or two. And various multiplayer sessions of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag come to mind. After witnessing one negative thing too many, I decided I was just done trying to play nice with people who don’t wanna play nice with each other. Thankfully, I also discovered a way to get all the multiplayer PSN Trophies in Black Flag without actually playing with other people… but I’m digressing again.

Positive Points 1
This was my mighty RuneScape character, the great Im So Bored7 (yes, I actually named my character that and that started a lot of interesting chats, I have to say). I was so proud of the cool cape I got for beating all the quests… sigh.

I’m not sure if there’s really anything that can be done to truly fix the social problems that crop up in online gaming communities. People will always be jerks anywhere, and that’s a sad fact of human nature. And trying to reason with a troll is like talking to a wall that just wants crush you no matter what you do (a Whomp from the Mario series, if you will). Raging at a troll just makes them stronger since that’s exactly the kind of hostility they feed on (like Rage Demons from the Dragon Age series), and the response they were probably trying to provoke in the first place.

If you want to tough it out in the random online jungle, your best bet is to make use of player-blocking and report abuse features that developers clearly put in their games for a reason. Don’t take anything personally, don’t be afraid to just log off for a bit to get away from the jerks (that’s not submitting to them, that’s putting your sanity first, in my opinion), and do what you can to ignore them in-game, as hard as that is (especially if they’re on your team or if they’re really, really good at killing you).

I do indeed have a ton of stories about all negativity that I’ve encountered online. Those bad things should absolutely be condemned and talked about rationally (as I see various bloggers do), but what about highlighting the good things that happen online? I think that if we truly want to see change in online gaming communities, it is important to give the positive points a boost while dealing blows to those negative ones. Positive reinforcement is what that’s called, I think! For all the headaches some people in WoW gave me over the years, there are several happy moments I can recall as well.

Postivie Points 4
Ah, Nightnova, I really miss you, girl! She was a Night Elf Druid and my main character for those entire 8 years.

Oh the memories are flowing back now! My Night Elf Druid was just awesome to play as. She could shapeshift into various animal forms and I remember spec-ing her as a Balance Druid purely for the Moonkin Form’s silly /dance animation (For those unfamiliar with the WoW universe, a Moonkin looks like a giant humanoid bear-like bird with antlers. Sure, I could’ve shown a screenshot, but that description was too fun to not write, sorry). Yeah. Jerks constantly assumed Nightnova was a dude IRL, but I eventually stopped caring what gender they thought I was, and ignored their attempts to get me to prove I’m a woman by going on voice chat. Seriously. I really hated the whole “Man until proven otherwise” rule most idiots went on. Wait… I was going positive with this, right? See how easy it is to talk about the bad things??

Anyway and back in the day, to get the Aquatic Form a novice Night Elf Druid had to make quite a walking trek from the Night Elf starting area (a big tree in the ocean off the northwestern coast of the continent) to the Human starting area (over half a continent away and through some dangerous high level zones). I really wanted that cool seal form so I could swim real fast, but I had no idea how to get there and the high level monsters were destroying little noobie me.

Out of the blue, a random stranger noticed me struggling. Instead of laughing and carrying on with whatever important high level business he had to attend to, he stopped, said hi, and took the time to escort me all the way to my destination, while telling me about some of the areas we were passing through. When we got there, he wished me luck and went on with his quest. No words to describe the warm fuzzy feeling that interaction gave me. I’ll never forget that!

Postivie Points 5
RAWR! My secondary character Saayuko, the fierce Orc Hunter and the rare fearsome ghost kitty pet I was somehow able to tame. For the Horde! (Nightnova was part of the Alliance, the opposing faction *whistles innocently*)

Not ashamed to say that I liked playing both sides in Azeroth’s Horde vs Alliance war. For the experience more than spying since I played on a PVE server (no open fights with the opposing faction while questing, unless you flagged yourself). My secondary character over those 8 years was on Team Horde, and I love Saayuko just as much as Nightnova. The funny thing is that since the Orc female model was considered “ugly” by most players, jerks more willing believed I am a woman IRL when I was playing as Saayuko. But I can feel my rage building with that thought, so let’s go back to happy places! What I loved about the Hunter class was the ability to tame pets that fight with you. I mostly went for feline-like creatures since tigers and stuff are awesome!

Saayuko was the character I PVPed with the most. It was incredibly fun, and probably a little unfair, to unleash my arrows and angry kitty on any “pretty” Alliance scum who dared to look down on my “ugly” Orc. WoW had something called Battleground areas where the opposing factions duked it out in various scenarios. I will never forget one epic match of Warsong Gulch I had the pleasure to fight in. For those not in the know, Warsong Gulch was basically a team capture the flag game (TL;DR version – run into the enemy’s base, steal the flag and bring it back to yours, but you can’t capture the flag if your team’s flag has been stolen too… the enemy flag carrier needs to die first). A typical game was usually over in 10-15 minutes, but this match went on for over 2 hours (this was before the patch that enforced a time limit on the games).

It was so crazy and the most amazing battle of my whole entire gaming career! I remember I constantly found myself in a direct confrontation with a Night Elf Hunter on the other team. Sometimes I killed him and triumphantly took my team’s flag back. Other times he killed me before I could capture his team’s flag, robbing me of my glorious moment. Needless to say, we had developed a very close rivalry over those 2 hours, and we really connected on some level, even though you can’t actually talk to the opposing faction.

When it was finally over, my team had lost by a hair (ouch… the sting of defeat was hard to take after all that), but I was so pumped after the match. I decided to make an Alliance character on my rival’s server to have a chat with him. I congratulated him on his victory, he told me how impressive he thought my skills were, and we spent a good 15 minutes typing about how fun that battle was before parting ways. Even though we were fighting each other, it was just such a great experience and I’ll never forget that guy! That’s the definition of friendly competition right there.

And…. I could really tell many more happy WoW stories, but I think I made my point: good things do happen in online gaming, even if all the bad things happen more often. So yes, we need to keep discussing the bad things and find ways to make online harassment stop once and for all (as impossible as that may seem to actually achieve). But it’s also nice to just sit back and reminisce about the good online times every now and then, eh?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find my willpower so I don’t resubscribe to World of Warcraft. Be strong, Ellen…

What about you, internet? Any thoughts on my thoughts? Have any happy online gaming memories you want to share? Or do you need to vent about some of the negative ones? I’m here for you either way so feel free to use comments section thingy down below!

Thanks for reading!
~ LightningEllen

You can totally help the Goddess of Wisdom’s Video Game Relevancy Crusade by supporting AmbiGaming on Patreon. You know, only if you wanted to, of course!

13 comments

  1. I tend to be more of a solo player but with exception of a few MMOs. I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky as I’ve had few negative interactions in the MMOs, the worst I think was in WoW when a guy stalked me through the Night Elf zone after he found out I was female because that was a good use of his time.
    I do have a good memory to share. It was in FFXIV, when I was doing a random dungeon, as a healer, with a group of people I didn’t know. It became apparent that the tank either had no clue what he was doing or trolling the rest of us; which culminated in him pulling all the mobs then leading them back to the rest of us. It was a mess. Anyway, somehow this caused the tank and one of the DPS to get locked out of the boss area, leaving myself and the one remaining DPS, who was a ninja. So a ninja and a conjurer tried to take on a boss designed for a four person party. Somehow, we actually did it. It was crazy but remains one of the best boss fights I have ever done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoa! I’ve never been stalked before. That’s hella creepy, haha.

      Ah, tank and healer problems. That was a big thing in WoW too, haha. Nice job in XIV!! That’s very impressive the two of you took that boss down. I must also stay away from that game (let me know if the Lightning event comes back, though… 😀)

      Like

  2. I’ve never had brilliant interactions with people online, so I count myself lucky just when I get matched with people with basic courtesy (gl, gg etc)….it didn’t help that my game at the time was Rocket League, which is probably one of the most toxic communities I can think of (other than CS:GO, but I’m not that masochistic). If you win, opponents get salty. If you lose, your teammates get salty. It always felt like a ‘lose-lose’ scenario. I made the change to indie games and never really looked back 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s sad what most people become when they can hide behind an avatar, eh? Yep. I’ve seen communities like that. Good job switching to something more enjoyable! Your enjoyment is ultimately the only thing that matters in gaming, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to play a lot of MUDs. People were very nice there. I think in a lot of ways, the culture was predisposed towards it. A lot of those games have guilds pre-set up that you automatically join based on your class, and making sure the new players get better leads to your guild getting stronger, so they have the cooperation and helpfulness built in. I had a lot of really good experiences with that.

    Otherwise, I’ve found that you can get some good stuff in cooperative games. I’ve made some good connections online in Left 4 Dead or Portal or Castle Crashers. Just have to stay away from them when they have too much of a competitive scene. Seems the average player just can’t be good to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MUDs seem like a drama free time!

      Cooperative games definitely bring out the better in random online people. And now I’m also remembering some, um, friendly fire “accidents” I’ve encountered in the past, haha. I swear, it wasn’t me 😛

      Like

  4. I think the troll problem online aligns really well with the bullying/jerkdom problem IRL. You have people who hate being told they should be nice to other people and how there will be consequences if they’re not i.e. the anti-PC crowd when really all PC is is treating people with respect. That’s…literally it, but people want the ability to say what they want with no impunity, and it doesn’t work like that. Sure most countries (not just my wacky one) have free speech, but if I had a nickel for how many times people misconstrue that concept, I’d have a Scrooge McDuck type money bin. No one is required to LISTEN to your vitriol or give you a platform for it. So these people find ones like games or Reddit and they use it to unleash all the shit they have to curb. It’s honestly a much deeper problem that centers around a lack of empathy. Hell…I once curbed my desire to write a scorching book review because I saw a picture of the author and realized I’m not just attacking this book; I’d be attacking a human being. So while gave the critiques that were needed, I didn’t meander into the realm of cyber bullying and cheap insults, but…you have to be self-aware, and that’s a major problem. Most people can’t think about anything/anyone outside of themselves as having as rich and complicated of life as we all do. It’s ironic that self-awareness helps this, because if you’re aware of yourself, it’s easier to be aware of other selfs. Like I used to interrupt my hubby ALL the time and it really upset him and he told me about it. So I became more aware of the behavior. I still kind of do it, but I catch myself more when I do, acknowledge it, apologize, and tell him to continue. But again people have to care that they’re hurting others, and sadly that care is lacking 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You freaking said it all perfectly!! This world needs far less jerkdom and much more empathy… Alas 😦 And I definitely consider my own self-awareness my biggest strength and weakness in today’s messed up world, haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s one of those things that’s useful for getting along with other people, but it sucks because so many people lack it, and that’s both self-awareness and empathy. It’s easy to be a jerk when you ARE you (so long as people let you get away with it, which many of them do). It just stinks for everyone else. Same for willful ignorance :\

        Liked by 1 person

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