Improving Game Communities

A lot of the time, the online video game community gets a bad wrap for behavior.  League of Legends, for example, has the absolute worst community of any game I have ever played.  The whys aren’t important today, and not what I want to talk about here.  What I want to talk about here is the existence of good players.  I’ve had several surprising experiences lately, and I want to share them to remind everyone that with a little humility, it’s easy to be a ‘good’ player.

Surprisingly SWTOR

All three examples recently have happened in SWTOR.  I would give SWTOR an average rating as far as communities.  It’s nowhere near as bad as League of Legends, and no game is anywhere close to the level of awesome that is the Guild Wars 2 community.

My first experience came in the 10-29 bracket of warzones.  PvP, what a great place to meet nice people right?  I was queuing with friends Imperial side, and we happened to get this one PuG player on our team.  We’ll call him Gerald.  Gerald got a little ragey, and started badmouthing the team when we lost an objective.  He went on to tell us how bad we were, and that we had already lost the game.  Stop me if you’ve met someone like this before.  Well, we ended up winning, and Gerald said nothing when the game ended.  Next queue pops, and low and behold, there is Gerald.  He gets a little fussy, but the match is handily ours.  He talks a little trash as the game ends, so I whisper him.  I wasn’t prepared for his response.  Gerald apologized, to our whole group.  He said he was losing a lot lately, and very frustrated.  He promised to try and keep his cool from now on.  It was a very rewarding conversation, and all it took was a little nudge from me to get him to talk to people like a normal human being.

Next up is an incident in General Chat.  Another fountain of generosity and kindness eh?  I’m running my Bounty quests on Ord Mantel, and this player starts trolling another player.  We’ll call him Albert.  Albert progresses quickly into trashing transexuals, and pretty badly too.  Now I don’t know any transexuals, but I can tell you that they are human beings too.  So I started trash talking him back.  Albert quickly whispers me, asking me why i’m trolling him.  Albert explains that he’s only trying to troll the one player.  I remind Albert that someone other than his intended target could be reading General Chat.  He apologizes, admits he knows a transexual himself, and ceases his harassment.   Albert also promises to be careful in the future.  Again, a simple intervention on my part, and a big behavior modification on their part.

Last up is a different kind of an example.  I’m playing GSF, and we are really taking it to the Imperials.  There was one player I recognized on the enemy team as a particularly good player, so I focused him and managed to kill him.  Let’s call him Francisco.  It was a one-sided match, and we won handily.  After the match, i’m tooling around Coruscant and I get a whisper from Francisco’s Republic character.  He compliments me, tells me I broke his winning streak, and says I am the only person ever to kill him with a proton torpedo.  He then invites me to a custom channel for GSF players.  It takes a big person to compliment their opponent, especially after losing.

How You Can Make A Better Gaming Community

I always try and offer a ‘Great job team’ or ‘Good try team’ or something positive at the end of every game.  Even if you lose, it’s nice to know at least one person isn’t holding everyone (but themselves) responsible for losing.  Try a simple ‘doing good, keep it up’ during a game, then a ‘GG’ or something else at the end of a game.  Raging in chat only distracts the team, even if they don’t respond.  Teammates still have to weed through the trash talk to get to pertinent messages.

So take a step yourself to making your game of choice a better place.  PvE, PvP – it makes no difference.  There’s always going to be a ‘that guy’ who ruins everything on purpose, or because he or she refuses to accept any helpful pointers.  A lot is going to depend on your own approach.  How you word something will make all the difference in the world.  Ask yourself if what you are about to say would irk you, if someone else were to say it the same way.  I’ve had a lot of success, and I think you’ll be surprised at your own results.

I challenge you to log into a game right now, and take the first opportunity you can to praise your own team, or congratulate an opponent.  You don’t have to lob a compliment at every chance you get, but at least let your fellow gamers know there’s one less person they need to avoid.  Also, leave me some fun(ny) names I can use for future posts in the comments.

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