Home Strategy Multiplayer Psychology: Luke, don’t give in to spam…

Hate me if you must, but I’ve been enjoying a fair bit of Modern Warfare 2 lately. And because, as we all know, most Call of Duty players are between thirteen and seventeen, hate mail gets tossed around a fair bit. I don’t get much, if only because what I do while playing isn’t that annoying (read: I’m bad most of the time). I did finally get a very emphatic message the other day, though. It read simply, “FUCK YOU“.

After sniggering to myself, I continued playing in the same fashion that elicited that response: Spas-12 justice/whoring. This message got me thinking about a trend I’ve noticed in many first person shooters, not just Call of Duty. I call it revenge spam

 

It doesn’t come in a can.

Whenever a team is completely dominated by their opponents, they will inevitably resort to the cheapest tactics available. In MW2, that means Danger Close tubes. An entire team’s worth. In Battlefield Bad Company 2, it means constant Gustav/USAS/Saiga spam. In BF3, it means M320, USAS with Frag rounds, occasional teabagging. In TF2 it’s Syndey Sleeper sniping, constant DR spies, Natasha heavies, FaN scouts, Demoknights, etc. I’ve played each of these games, and I know most consider this behavior reprehensible and infuriating.

Which, of course, is the point.

The initial aim of revenge spam is to disorient with frustration, but it devolves quickly into mere ego stroking. You aren’t, and assume can’t, win, so you might as well make those bastards as angry as possible. If you are on the receiving end of revenge spam, I cannot stress the importance of keeping your cool as much as possible. Yes what the other team is doing is endlessly rage-inducing, but be the better man/woman.

By setting your standards higher, not only do you put another “W” on your statistics, but you’ve won a moral and psychological victory too. By not responding with your own form of spam, you increase the chances that the offending person will leave the lobby/server. Let me tell you, watching people rage-quit is quite satisfying when you are the cause. It is even more so when someone does it because they can’t faze you.

If for whatever reason the annoyance(s) don’t leave, identify their mindset and act accordingly. Trolls are fed by response, and anger is defeated, most times, by logic. When you sense the first, simply disregard their attacks by ignoring whatever communication they offer. Do this by muting them, hiding the chat, however you can. If someone is simply angry at you and slinging insults, respond once or twice with logical reasons for their incorrectness, but if they will not stop, do as you did with the trolls. Ignore them. In short, give one or two chances, then disregard.

I advise giving chances only because sometimes that troll or that mad guy might come over to your side when faced with civility. I’ve made a few friends out of angry people only because I parried their attacks with calmness and reason. Maturity is a rarity online.

 

When you’re in the corner.

When you find yourself on a team that fails to understand how to hold a controller, the urge to give up will invariably rear its head. The option to engage in revenge spam will be more and more appealing. Your choice of whether or not to follow that growing desire depends on your mindset. If trolling for lulz is what you got online for, ignore the rest of this section. Go ahead and make people rage. It can be its own reward.

However, when the desire for victory, moral or actual, overrides anger/wanting to troll, my advice is as follows. Put on the kit/class/loadout that says, “I mean business.” Whether that’s stock Demo, Scout or Soldier, FAMAS Red Dot and akimbo G18s, M16A3/M416 with a 40mm shotgun. Whatever you know will let you win, use it. Do not, however, use the cheap stuff. The goal here is to show that no matter how worthless your teammates are, how well-coordinated the enemy’s offense, you will not be deterred. You alone will make them work for every inch of ground they take, and you alone will retake every inch your teammates give up.

I advise tenacity for the same reason I advise chances. You will make friends, and not just the chummy kind. You’ll get the attention of people with a higher skill level than Gamer Joe from Idaho. Your name at the top of the leaderboards after losing, higher than some of their best players, will not be lost on them. I’ve gotten invites after taking a beating but not giving up. You will too.

 

The moral?

It’s really simple, if you think about it. Positivity and a stick-to-it attitude are far more appealing to anyone than negativity and giving up. This applies to games certainly, but to life as well. You never know. Practicing these things in-game might land you a job some day.


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2 replies to this post
  1. I like this article, Xiant. It pretty much matches my philosophy of FPS gaming.
    What’s more, I like it because it led me to your Underdog Adventure article!

    There’s nothing quite like winning MVP from the losing team with an SKS.

    • The SKS is a barrel of laughs so long as you know you’ll lose a ton of gun fights. And pulling MVP with it is just embarrassing to both your allies and your enemies. But it feels awesome.

      As for philosophy, as I say, that depends on the mindset you go into the session with. On the whole, this is essentially how I play when I want to win, but if the night’s just gone south and won’t turn around, I simply cease caring and play however I like.

      But I will never use the cheap stuff. I have some pride.

      Just not much.

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