Playing with randoms

I reckon my first ever online gaming experiences came playing MUD’s (Multi user dungeons) at university.  Way back in the glory days of 1993/4 the internet was something not many people had really heard about.  You could tell by the type of people who you found playing MUD’s back then.  Mostly helpful and keen to enjoy the shared experience, other players you met within would tend to be there for the game.  Yes, the odd noob would show up and just cluelessly ruin things for a while, but usually an admin would be nearby, and they would swiftly issue a kicking or banning. 

It was a short-lived experience.  I moved away from the gaming to making friends with random people across the globe in IRC, taking full advantage of the social experience offered to a typically shy guy by anonimity.  Then, as time went by at University, i became more likely to be in a pub or club than in the computer room, but that’s another story.  (Which some of you may well feel like you’ve lived through as well.) 😉

The next time i returned to the online experience was playing Socom 3 on my PS2.  Aside from the fact that i did myself no favours, by going in having just about scraped through the first level in single player, playing online was VERY different.  Gone were the helpful others.   Gone were admins regulating the gameplay and looking out for others.  What you got instead was inane chatter, swearing, verbal abuse, glitching and far too many pre-pubescent, self-proclaimed “experts”

I stuck with it and after a while i was rewarded for my perserverance.  It did take a long time.  It did take a lot of hate from fellow players.  Yet, i started to find that just by focusing on the game above all else, i could start to win or at least assume fairly commanding ranks in the games i played.  The strangest form of abuse i found was from people who just plain didn’t like my choice of weapons.  If i was playing a long range game (note : I hate sniping and snipers) i would change to heavy machine guns – hated for their rates of fire, strength of firepower, and large clips – and for the close, something light but with a high rate of fire. 

I knew what it was that drew so much ire.  They were the weapons that were believed to make playing the game easy.  What i didn’t understand was that these weapons were available to everyone.  If you wanted to get revenge, then you could use them yourself.  If you couldn’t beat them, then you just weren’t as good as you thought you were.  Did these people believe that in the proper warfare that was supposed to be simulated, soldiers would hurl abuse at each other if they had an unfair technological advantage?  No.  You just work out how to deal with it.

In the end I think one too many spawn-campers and glitchers made me give up on it, but i’m still glad to have had that particularly lawless right-of-passage to console gaming. 

I don’t tend to play with randoms that much any more.  With a group of fellow gamers to go online with, there’s usually someone else who has the same game who’ll be willing to play a friendly versus or co-op game.  Oddly, i do miss the days of struggling against the odds, fighting against those who just take the easiest route or are in it for the griefing or bragging.  The fact is, although the affectionately named “randoms” are often irritating and sometimes just plain offensive, i find struggling against the odds and eventually coming out on top is far more satisfying than any number of achievements.

Posted by Bob

Published in: on 21/05/2009 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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