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["Stop It" is a weekly feature which serves as a forum for me to express my opinions on things in the video game industry or community that need to stop. Despite the fact these things may never stop, this will, at the least, fuel discussion. Got something to say? Hit up the comments and keep the discussion alive. Got a lot to say? Register for a Gamer Limit blog and write a response.]

Gather around gamers. Yes, I am especially looking at you whores of all kinds – selfish gamers if you prefer the more socially acceptable term. Pick your poison: achievements, trophies, points, kills? What will it be?

Whatever your choice is, I am sure it makes you feel uber leet. Multiplayer games are both collaborative and competitive, and the former is being ruined by the likes of you. All so your epeen can be slowly stroked. Stop it!

Multiplayer games are some of the most popular games available on the market. Many first think of the success of games such as Modern Warfare 2 and the like. Not I though. I think of the games that have been hurt by the selfish gaming community out there that is only playing to get theirs instead of attempting to achieve the end goal.

Take Fat Princess for example. Fat Princess at its best is one of the most refreshing multiplayer experiences available on the PSN. However, while the stupid gamers out there are also ruining such a game, it is the selfish gamers that are hurting it the most. And thus, the game was a huge disappointment.

Now let me first distinguish between the selfish and stupid gamers because, let’s be honest, they can be easily confused for one another. A stupid gamer doesn’t prepare for the game they are playing, lacks the proper knowledge to contribute, or doesn’t communicate. While there are certain exceptions to the previous examples, the consistent exuberance of such qualities makes them stupid. You may have many more examples and so do I, but let us move on. A selfish gamer is in it not to win it, but instead to accomplish their sub-goal, or personal goal, which conflicts inherently with the overall team goal.

We all should hopefully be clear on what I am defining as a selfish gamer. And unfortunately, these gamers lurk everywhere. From XBL, to PSN, to Steam, they continue to negatively impact those of us that are playing the game as it was designed to be played. The point is that conflicting goals in a team game usually don’t end well.

This needs to stop. Perfectly good games are being ruined by such gamers and it is not fair for those of us that would like to enjoy the game. I know, I know, the world isn’t fair. You’re right, it isn’t. But selfish gaming is in our control.

I bring up this problem not just for us as a gaming community, but for the gaming industry as well. Games designed in such a way that helps alleviate such problems should be a priority in a game’s multiplayer design phase. However, we should never expect such inventive design all of the time because sometimes, it either can’t support it or it isn’t worth the effort for the developers.

Let us look at Battlefield Bad Company 2. The support class, or Medic as it is called, is one in which can continually top the score charts. This is a simple and effective way of providing selfish gamers with a way to realign conflicting goals that are usually misaligned in shooters. And while this in no way makes Battlefield Bad Company 2 immune to such gamers, it undoubtedly helps alleviate the problem.

So while I only gave less than a handful of examples to the problem, I don’t want to continue supporting something that is so blatantly obvious in gaming today. If you don’t see it, you might want to look in the mirror because, odds are, you are the problem.  So please, stop and think what you are doing the next time you are playing a multiplayer game. It is possible to bring yourself to align such conflicting goals if you just try.

Unfortunately, these gamers won’t go away and we will continue to see games with inventive and fresh multiplayer only to be brought down by the immature, selfish gaming community. So what else can we do as a community and industry to stop this problem? Have you been exposed to such gamers? Join us in the comments below as we continue to discuss this problem that needs to stop.

  1. Personally, I couldn’t care less about trophies. I really like Killzone 2 for the fact that the goals are largely team based. People who charge in just for kills aren’t really rewarded. You could get zero kills and still help your team get victory by reviving people as a medic, delivering the propaganda speaker, blowing up objectives, etc. However, I have noticed people fending for themselves in the event that the match becomes 0-4 (out of seven). When they can’t win anymore, it just becomes an opportunity to get more kills for that next rank.

  2. You said it brother. If I had a nickel for every time I sit on defense at the Blacksmith in Arathi Basin while everyone with me abandoned the flag to farm kills on the road so I could be triple teamed by stealthed night elves I would be rich.

  3. avatar bob

    Why hate on the medic? If played right one person can keep a team of 3 or 4 alive and cap points easier the other classes. Now I can see where people just make a mad dash to res someone, and ends up getting them both killed. I’ve done it, most of the time because I lacked the foresight to maybe look around first. But people screw up, I actually get tense in this game and there will inevitably be a point where my anxiety will do me in.

  4. avatar Red

    You want selfishness to go away? Demand developers create multiplayer games the way they used to, where a community is formed directly through the gameplay itself, not through dozens of tacked on social media gimmicks.

    You know why selfishness like this used to be much more rare? Because we werent forced to use matchmaking systems, we got to play with only the people we wanted to. For the most part, the top 20% of players all stuck to their own rooms, always playing each other, and getting to know who was cool and who wasnt, while the rest of the games population created their own communities within the game.

    Back in the day, if someone played like an asshat, people simply stopped playing with them. You were motivated to play and act like the people you were playing against were sitting on the couch next to you because you knew the 400-500 people you played with regularly. When you actually know, or know of the people you play against, you play right because you dont want your friends to outcast you for being a jerk. Today, matchmaking systems, ranked/unranked ridiculousness, and non specific game hosted servers create a community where you can make a party with people you already know, but everyone else is a stranger. There is almost no real community in most modern multiplayer games, and anyone who was a multiplayer fan before online multiplayer became vogue understands this without a shadow of a doubt.

  5. avatar Verdict

    Let me give you a classic example that I experience every week playing COD:MW2 in Headquarters Pro. Myself and 5 other anonymous teammates will search out the headquarters. Then myself and another 2 teammates will battle to capture it. One will die, then I’ll die just as we capture the Headquarters. So I took out 1 or more enemy while attacking or holding back their attack as we take the headquarters, but I die seconds before it gets captured. Now I sit in the lobby getting ZERO points, while the 3 other camper, non-team player team members are hiding, not even guarding the Headquarters! They end up with points and I get SQUAT. I died fighting to get to and capture the headquarters point, while half the team is out playing Team Deathmatch, utterly oblivious to the goal. In COD4/5, you would still get points sitting in the lobby. But another one of those I.W. “improvements to the game” took that away.

    And to test this, I just wait until someone else captures the HQ and then I camp. End of the 2nd game, I have more HQ points (from capturing and holding) than I do if I actually make an effort to be a team player!

  6. Interestingly, this behavior seems to be self-reinforcing. This happens constantly in Team Fortress 2, a game with a normally credible team-play record. On maps that require heavy cooperation, such as 2Fort, people attempting Sniper/Spy achievements or campers make tactical attacks, even things as simple as Medic buddy teams, impossible. This forces everyone else into the same deathmatch mentality and usually leads to accusations of the map being unplayable.

    On the other hand, this can actually work to the team’s advantage. In Killing Floor, people going for the difficult grind achievement “Pound This” might seem to be a liability. However, the achievement requires kills with a ludicrously expensive weapon, the AA12 (starting at 4000 pounds), meaning players spend the early rounds looking for every opportunity to kill something. And that often means killing the enemies attacking teammates. Needless to say, people with or going for the achievement tend to be highly competent and serious players.

    I may or may not write a blog in response to this. It’s an interesting topic, Kevin, and I enjoyed reading your ideas on it.

  7. avatar Your Mom

    @Verdict

    How exactly are these players hiding and racking up kills while not contributing? One more dead player means one less player attacking your HQ.

  8. avatar Edgar

    I think your comments regarding “Stupid” gamers really refers to noobs. This is completely unfair. We were all noobs at one point, and we all have to start somewhere. You also need to remember that not everyone can dedicate as much time to video games as you. Many of us have full time jobs, or we’re going to school. Just because we can’t dedicate every waking hour to video games doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy video games as a past time. On a side note: have you considered spending a little less time on your video games and spending a little more time on your education? I would recommend you take a course in writing.

    • Well I won’t comment on your nice display of internet asshatery despite it being a top flight douchebagging extravaganza. I will say you need to learn the difference between a stupid player and a noob though.

      A noob is a person who is new and needs to learn, they can ask questions, get advice, practice, and eventually move on to being good players of whatever games over time.

      A stupid gamer is someone who will never ask a question, and if you ask if they know what they are doing and what the team goals are will espouse from on high they know it all and you are being a dick by even asking. However of course their actions consistently will prove they don’t have a freakin clue. They also typically don’t want to get one, have no intention to learn or practice, and have no patience for actually taking advice much less asking for it.

  9. It is rather difficult to win a Rush round in BC2 if ones attacking squad-mates consists entirely of snipers, who expect to win by simply harvesting kills. Most players won’t even arm any charges. I can understand it being scary charging into an enemy base and planting the charge, but it’s when I’m able to do so alone on foot that my teams level of competence becomes apparent.

    BTW, if you drive a tank, die with it or make sure it gets destroyed.

  10. avatar Sandy

    Being a gamer who is relatively competent, but nothing special, who owns no microphone, I’m often the one being yelled at for not communicating with the team. This is fine in team based games and I accept full responsibility in games that are heavily team-play focused, but I also often get yelled at by petulant children that think they run the team because they’re the first person to start barking orders at others via whatever method the game has to allow team voicechat.

    Man, I hate that. I didn’t sign onto MW2, or BC2 (which has made me totally quit playing MW2, actually, due to being a generally superior multiplayer game) to get yelled at by someone who hasn’t even broken the ripe old age of 13 for not following their orders in a game that generally doesn’t put one player in charge. There are some servers with rules that try to enforce an organized, squad-level play style, and there are servers that just dump you in and say “Have fun!”. I play in the latter specifically because I don’t generally care for more than incidental coordination (meaning, that BC2 games become “naturally” somewhat coordinated because squadmates are the best spawn points).

    Is it any less selfish to forget that not every gamer is looking for the same experience you are? Who died and made you king to tell players how they -have- to play, or to not play “your” game if they don’t want to “play right”?

    I’m not accusing you of being one of these petulant children, but please remember that the d-bag that walks into a server and starts barking orders is no less selfish than the guy that drags the team down due to experimenting instead of sticking to a working strategy.

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