If you couldn’t figure it out by the title alone, this is one of those “You know what really grinds my gears?!” articles/opinion pieces/rants. If you agree with my thoughts on the matter you’re bound to be amused and feel compelled to say “It’s funny ’cause it’s true!”, and those of you who disagree will obviously feel the overwhelming urge to flame me into oblivion.

Anybody that plays online games has no doubt run into their fair share of idiots. From the infamous foul mouthed 12-year old to the teenage stoner that laughs at everything and thinks blasting Mc. Hammer and Family Guy clips over his Microphone is hilarious. Their stupidity ranges from constantly blurting curse words and racial slurs to team killing and just generally being nothing but a giant black hole that sucks all fun out of the game.

A good example of what I’m talking about is my recent experience with the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars demo (part of what lit a fire under my ass regarding this subject in the first place). While I like the game itself, the vast majority of the people playing it totally ruin the experience. The problem is that people these days don’t seem to have any concept of teamwork, communication, and a fair and balanced playing field. Player classes are designed to support each other in various ways, but unfortunately the vast majority of human players are not. Unsurprisingly, the game suffers from the same problem that other games of its type (the Battlefield series comes to mind) have regarding uncommunicative players and a lack of teamwork. If players have no understanding of how the classes work, or if they simply don’t care, the core gameplay starts to break down and matches quickly turn into nothing more than a Deathmatch with people either only paying attention to objectives to stop the game from ending early or just downright ignoring them completely as they race to have the highest score.

The class system in ET: QW really isn’t complex, so it’s hard for me to grasp the idea of people not being able to understand it. After about 15 minutes of playing I had already figured out the various ways that the classes are designed to support each other, and if I can learn it that fast then anybody should be able to. One example of how the various classes in ET: QW are designed to daisy-chain their abilities is if a Strogg Oppressor builds artillery: a Constructor should lay down an anti-artillery deployable to prevent the Oppressors artillery from getting destroyed from the opposing teams artillery, thus allowing him to bombard the enemy endlessly (one of that classes main duties). Of course, the oppressor can’t bombard the enemy if they have anti-artillery as well, which is why there should be an Infiltrator ready to sneak behind enemy lines to hack the enemy anti-arty, which in turn allows the oppressor to take it and anything near-by out. Obviously, while all this is happening the standard Infantry should be doing the grunt work of protecting the objectives along with the help of Technicians and any Oppressors who have a little free time to deploy temporary shields while not busy finding an artillery target.

The inability for the average player to work with a team and communicate absolutely boggles my mind. I shouldn’t be forced to hunt down clans comprised of people in their late 30’s to have a good team play experience. Is my generation really that retarded? If so, what causes it? I’m not even going to try and figure out the reason for it, lest my brain implode from attempting to comprehend the absurdity of it all. The fact of the matter is that it’s sad and disgusting to think that a simple concept like teamwork is a rarity in online games, especially considering the fact that a large number of games are ones in which an understanding of these basic concepts is supposed to be a prerequisite.

Team stacking is fairly common in games like this as well. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s basically when all of the “good players” (i.e. the ones that don’t suck from a purely technical standpoint, not necessarily the ones that have the best teamwork) are all stacked on one team, thus tipping the odds of winning largely in their favor. This wouldn’t be a problem if people realized when stacking was happening and took measures to balance out the playing field. Unfortunately, they don’t. Most people are too focused on winning to care, so they say no to votes on re-balancing teams. Why would they want to change things, right? They’re winning, your team isn’t. If you think about it like that it sounds like an unfair, but viable tactic. However, just as there are rules in Football, Baseball, and other sports, there should be rules in online games. Unfortunately, servers are rarely monitored by admins these days, so the general populace is largely unregulated and free to do almost anything they want until the rest of the players on the server finally get fed up and actually use the games built-in voting functions. Of course, these rules should not need to be enforced by server administrators or voted on by the few smart people on the server simply because they are basic guidelines that should just be followed for the overall good of the community. Team killing, team stacking, spawn killing, and various other things should just be looked upon as something you just don’t do.

In addition to the aforementioned annoyances, vehicles offer another prime opportunity for murderous rage inducing frustration to make you feel like kicking field goals with Puppies. One of the biggest problems with vehicles is how people rush to them and drive off alone in something with multiple seats. Yeah, smart move there. Go ahead and take that Hummer clone to the enemy base without anybody manning the machine gun or waiting in the back seat to support you when you get out. What about the rest of your team? No, don’t worry about them, they can walk it. They need the exercise anyways, right? Genius idea… NOT! These vehicles have more than one seat for a reason, you know. Now, I can understand if you drove off in one because there was nobody currently at the base and the next spawn wave was far enough off to warrant driving away alone, but most people do this without taking such things into consideration. All they think about is getting back into the action as soon as possible.

Team killers driving vehicles is another problem. Now, to be fair some games have some pretty horrible vehicle physics, others have terrible network code, and a select few have both. In games with such issues the occasional team kill is nigh-unavoidable when you’re driving near other players, and it’s forgivable unless it was obviously not a mistake. Unfortunately, it’s usually not a mistake. I’ve been in many matches where some idiot will just drive around running over his own team mates and using the vehicles weapons to destroy the teams other vehicles.

Of course, even in games that do not suffer from horrible network code or bad vehicle physics things like this are still common even if there are no people in the server with the intention of team killing. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to drive and/or fly any vehicles… ever. Almost any game with multi-seat flying vehicles is subject to a minimum of one accidental team killing by way of retard pilot per game, but these situations can also occur in ground vehicles. I have one piece of advice to give to the people who cause such incidents: Do everybody else a favor and practice with the damn vehicles offline before you decide to take off in a transport vehicle with half of your team in it. However, in the grand scheme of things the real problem are the low-life scum that do this sort of stuff on purpose just because it amuses them. They obviously have an over-inflated ego and warped sense of humor which allows them to get off on ruining the game for other players by acting in such a manner.

All of this may seem to be directed at ET: QW, but it’s not. It’s simply my most recent encounter with the voracious monster that is online stupidity. These complaints can be applied to every online game currently in existence, including ones that aren’t team based at all. And sadly enough, it can really be applied to the general attitude of people on the Internet as well. Of course, that’s another much larger issue; one that I won’t be getting into, or at least not right now.

If you asked me to summarize this article into something short and direct, I suppose it’d be this: Don’t be an ass. Don’t be so consumed by the desire to win that you forget that you’re playing a game; it’s an experience that should be fun for all and not just for you. If the teams are stacked then you should do your part to even them out. If you feel the urge to yell or blast music over your Microphone, instead please feel free to stab yourself in the leg with a pen in an attempt to ward off such evil thoughts. If you think you’re cool because you know thirty-five different ways to tell somebody to suck your balls, you aren’t. There exists in this world a certain amount of social responsibility, some of which comes in the form standards that should be upheld just out of principal. A concept that is sorely lacking, I’m afraid. To put it simply: The world doesn’t revolve around you, so don’t act like it does.

– RAY16 (a.k.a Neo-Humanity)