Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Ten Worst Fraggers Ever
I came to this realization after I decided to stop playing Call of Duty: World at War. It was a game with everything I could have wanted: realistic historical weapons, customizable equiment and a great World War II setting. Yet I had to quit.
It's not that I lack the talent. Nor do I lack the time, although my free time is precious now that I have the little one. So what was it? After many hours online, I keep running into the same personalities over and over again. Some are worse than others and some make playing not fun anymore.
Here they are, my least favourite reoccurring assholes that we've all met and killed a thousand times. What makes these people special is that they are representatives for larger themes within human existence, which I note in each entry. I dislike these personalities so much that I am really not sure if I'll ever play a FPS online again.
10. The Guy who only says, "Aw fuck"
He sounds urban in a vague kind of way, kind of a half Afro-American half Hispanic drawl. I imagine him sitting at his console dressed top to bottom in Nike gear with his cap spun sideways. Regardless of his socio-political origins, his vocabulary is limited. You know this because every time he dies he says, "Aw fuck", "Oh fuck, meeee-an!" or "Fuck, this is bullshit!" And he dies a lot, resulting in a constant stream of banal profanity.
9. The Singing Kid
I find attempts to shelter children from mature-rated games to be absolute nonsense. Regardless of your moral stance on this issue, everybody has the issue backwards. Children don't need to protected from content. Adults need to be protected from children.
I've often tried to speculate on the motives of The Singing Kid. At first I thought he was a troll attempting to goad people into telling him to shut up. Now I'm not so sure. The world of FPSs is comparably silent and it has been a long time since I've heard somebody tell a Singing Kid to shut up. I now believe there is no motive, that the truth is much more horrifying. The Singing Kid is an agent of madness, sent to bedevil our games, by some dark power beyond the veil of reality.
8. The Teamkiller
Most games these days, including CoD:WaW have safeguards against teamkilling. In Hardcore mode, in which team damage is "on", one occasionally hears the in-game announcer saying something very satisfying like, "Get that sonofabitch outta here" or "He ain't fit to wear the uniform" as somebody is kicked.
City of Heroes. Her new "friend" asked to teleport her to his location and she agreed. She suddenly found herself hundreds of feet in the air and fell to the ground with a splat.
The teamkiller is the brooding psycho that lurks in humankind. He delights in sowing mayhem and sneering at his victims. I will never understand the appeal of teamkilling.
7. The Neo-Nazi
Okay, that's a lie. I do understand teamkilling, but not for the standard reasons. FPSs attract a certain section of society, and with WWII games in particular, the Neo-Nazis appear. The other day I played a Team Deathmatch and some asshole called "junglbunnystomper25" was on my team. My goddess, did I ever want to hunt him down and shoot him over and over again. But he was on my team and I was forced to cooperate with him. I was so angry.
First Person Shooters are one of the last civilized places you can hang with crazies like these (and no, the American South doesn't count as civilized). Other than the Army, I guess. I suppose I'm not the only college-educated Marine who's had to share a foxhole with a racist mouth-breather from Arkansas.
6. The Guy who Leaves his Live Mic Lying Around so I Have to Hear his Rap Music.
You know he's there because he's killing you and you sometimes hear him clear his throat or cough. He's just happily listening to his music and playing his game. Only his mic is on. And we can all hear his music. For some reason, it's always, always gangsta rap.
There's no point trying to tell him his mic is on. The sound is going through his headphones' mic and he's obviously not wearing them. Even if you were to shout loud enough for him to hear, the rap music would drown the sound. If there's no option to mute him the only way out is to quit the game.
This guy is a reminder that human society is very closely knit. No matter what you do or don't do today, you are going to ruin somebody's day even if you never find out.
5. The Hotshot "Leader"
To be fair, he's pretty good at the game. He would probably be better, though, if he didn't expend so much energy ordering his teammates about and badmouthing them. Everything his friends do infuriates him because his ego is too huge for any game to contain. Here's some sample dialogue:
And God help thee if thou teamslayest him in error. For then thou shalt unleash a deluge of abuse and be thyself teamslain by Him, that thou shalt know the idiocy of thy ways.
Just as in real life, bad managers exist in the world of video games. However, in video games, nobody asks them to be in charge.
4. The Inquisitor
Whenever you actually do well at a video game, Inquisitors materialize to accuse you of cheating. Swearing ensues. No arguing will convince them. So sure are they that you are hacking that they sometimes follow you into other games or send you personal messages. It's never skill or bad connectivity, it's always cheating.
3. Captain Echo
Here's a hint for all you dumbasses out there: either turn down the sensitivity of your mic or turn down the volume of your TV. I am so goddess-damned sick of hearing every shout and explosion echoing through your voice port.
Captain Echo is significant because he's... uh... he's just fucking dumb, okay?
Oink-Pig is a nice symbol selfishness of consumer culture. He could take measures to curb the "externalities" of his consumption which cause misery to others, but honestly it's too much work and he doesn't care. BUUUURRRRRP!
This is by far my least favourite personality. Which is too bad, because the Game Breaker is the ultimate symbol of excellence in humankind.
In the world of RPGs, such individuals are called "Power Gamers". To be a true game breaker, you must want to win and nothing else. You don't play to have fun. The only fun is in triumph.
First you must know your equipment. Where equipment is customizable, choose only equipment that causes the most kills, not that which is coolest or most fun. If equipment is not customizable but collectible on the map, head straight for the good guns. Headshot anything in your way.
Secondly, you must know your maps. Every map has nooks where nobody can see you. Find them and take up sniping position.
Thirdly, you must know the broken-rules and glitches in the game. Find which ones you can exploit. Ones that defy physics and graphics are especially useful because n00bs won't expect or understand them. If there's a way to walk through a wall, you must find it.
And lastly, you must be the best. You must play and play until your reflexes are unrivaled. You must be able to headshot a n00b the quarter-second you see him, not the half-second. This is what is truly admirable/scary about Power Gamers is the sheer devotion to mastery of a useless pasttime. One wonders what these people could do if they devoted half the energy to real life what they sank into first person shooters.
It was this last personality that finally soured me on online CoD. In my final game, a Game Breaker stood directly behind a concrete wall, fired through it with a rifle and head-shotted the guy in front of me from a room away. I had just enough time to process this before I too was shot in the head. My goddess, such devotion!
Game Breakers are utterly predictable in their behaviour but what makes them frustrating is that it doesn't matter if you become wise to their tricks. Their skills are so ultimate that you can't defeat them on even footing.
Right now, the console version of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes is utterly unplayable because of Game Breakers. If you try to play it online right now, some 161st level guy will slaughter you using the undead team, the cursed shield as an artifact and either Death Knights or Bone Dragons as a special unit. Every online game becomes broken like this unless the designers constantly monitor it, seal the glitches, depower the abilities that are too tough and constantly thwart the Game Breakers as they seize some new angle. I remember people complaining about Blizzard constantly tweaking StarCraft, but it absolutely must be done to maintain the fun. Video Games are supposed to be fun.
So that's it with me and online competition for awhile. All the games I'm craving are one-player only. There, the only annoying personality I have to deal with is my own.