Online Gaming Etiquette
Since the release of a certain Elder Scrolls game I have not recently ventured out into the world of online gaming, however, I am well versed in the way of the multiplayer. As gamers, we are biologically programmed to be competitive but is there really any need for screaming profanities and making homophobic, racist or sexist remarks towards our fellows? If you’re struggling, the answer is no. I’d like to start off by showing you a website, the inspiration for this article. Before you click the following link , please be aware that you will be greeted with dialogue that may be offensive to some, you have been warned. Click here to be directed to the website.
If you did decide to take a gander at the website then you will have noticed that it is based around messages received by ‘girl gamers’, on a side note; why do we subcategorize gamers by gender? We’re all gamers when it comes down to it and we all love video games, but I digress. The purpose of this website is to highlight the abuse that gamers have received whilst playing online. They post pictures or quote message as a means of ‘naming and shaming’ these foul mouthed, for lack of a better word, douche bags. I think this site is a step in the right direction with regards to combating online bullies.
Now, if you were brave enough to follow the link then you’ll already have a pretty good idea of the ugly side of the online gaming community. In hindsight, ‘community’ is not really the right word. To me, the word ‘community’ means a group of people who support one another. As you may have experienced firsthand, this is very rarely the case. For example, back in the days when I was able to tolerate the Call of Duty franchise I would always play online mode. As a team based game you can imagine that communication would be the key to winning right? Wrong! When I used to play Modern Warfare 2 I’d sometimes be in game chat. When in game chat I’d either be greeted with the stereotypical high pitched American teen, who by rights shouldn’t even be playing the game in the first place, or a general whirlwind of racial or homophobic slurs. Now I’ll admit to my fair share of trash talking but I do not go as far as to shout obscenities down the microphone when somebody is beating me, it ruins the whole experience.
These days, my interactions with players outside of my friends list are limited. I tend to stick to Xbox Live’s party chat and just talk with friends whilst playing games. Because of how the online community currently is, my current social preferences are much more enjoyable. Banter with friends is much preferred to strangers becoming irate and abusive when beaten in a game. You can’t escape it all however. From time to time I’ll still receive a message or two, calling me names or just being overly obscene. Fortunately, I find it easy to ignore such comments. Blocking communications is probably the best way to go about things. That, or head straight back into the game show them that you’re better than them.
You may be thinking “what could I do to help?” Well a good start is to report any player who is being a bully to the services enforcers. Be it PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, these online services will have enforcers to which you can report people and attempt to get them banned. If you do follow this advice however please make sure that the perpetrator truly deserves the ban.
Also, it’s not just messages and voice chat that brings down the online community. In my experience, I have known people to get away with some really offensive GamerTags, usually the enforcers are pretty good at picking up on these types of things but every now and again a ‘leet speak’ name will slip through the net. So, when creating an online handle or username do try not to be offensive or even too personal as the last thing you’d want to do was to bait a bully.
I hope that this article has opened your eyes, even in the slightest. We all know that the internet can sometimes be a truly awful place.