No matter what game you play, you will always find a group of people who think they’re the best. Sometimes it’s true, though it almost always isn’t. In fact, if they’re bragging about how amazing they are, it’s near certain that they belong to the “not actually very good at the game” category. Even so, they will be the first to jump down the throat of anyone that they don’t view as worthy of being in their presence or, even worse, making them lose the game. I mean, you can be the best player in the world but even then you can’t carry a whole team, right?
When group gaming goes well
I want you to cast your mind back. Way back. Back to the first team-based multiplayer game you ever played. Back in the days of Quake, Deathmatch, Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament. If it was Quake, think about the first time you picked up the flag. If it was Counter-Strike, think about the first time you spawned with the bomb. Maybe you guys weren’t as jittery (or young) as me but the first time I spawned with the bomb on CS, I panicked. I had no idea where to go, no idea what weapons to buy and no one was offering to help. All the other guys on my team had been playing for way longer and had already darted around the corner to engage in the usual, mutually agreed firefight.
What followed was frantic running, a very undignified death and twenty minutes of receiving abuse from my team. By their logic, I was the one who made them lose the round and why they all died. If I were alive, there would have been one more AK wielding madman to stave off the gas masked invaders but no, I had to be new to the game and ruin everything. This particular experience turned me off CS for a long time but then something odd happened.
Back then, I played at an internet cafe where many of the top PC gamers in my area used to congregate to mess around or practice for a tournament and I got friendly with a few of them. One of the guys in particular happened to be quite good at Counter-Strike and they were one man down from having a full team. He asked me to join.
“Dude, you don’t understand, I’m terrible at this game.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“No, you’re not getting it, I SUCK at this game.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll help you, just listen out for me.”
Memories of my first game started flooding back. These guys were older and almost bigger than me, they could feasibly kick my head into the ground if I made them lose. Oh god, I’m going to die. Playing a video game was going to kill me. The government was right.
The match started up and joy of joys, I had the bomb. I started to formulate a plan to make it out of the door before anyone could wrap their hands around my neck when I heard something which made me more pale than normal.
“Hey guys, Bin is new to this. Call targets, head to B and make sure he doesn’t die.”
Fuck. Now they all knew I was the new guy and they’re going to kill me. Fuck. FUCK. I was beyond saving now. The door. Run to the door. Wait, what did they just say? Are… Are they lining up to show me where to go? This is weird. Why aren’t they hurling abuse at me.
We ended up getting flanked and our asses were handed individually to all of us but they weren’t blaming me, they weren’t even blaming themselves. This one guy worked some kind of magic so that they wanted to play another game with me to teach me the ropes. At least tat’s what I thought at the time; I later found out they were all working the same kind of magic. What was this mysic art? The seemingly forgotten act of not being a dick to newbies.
Extend a hand and help out
Now I understand how frustrating it can be to have a newbie on your team running the wrong way and in circles but if you be a dick to them, nothing will change. If, however, you help them out a little (or a lot, it depends on just how new the player is and on the game) they can be a useful member of the team. Even better, they might even have fun playing the game, turn out to be a pretty cool guy or gal and you get to play with them again. What’s more, it takes very little effort to help out new players.
“Go left from the spawn, it’s faster.”
“You’d be better off with this weapon, it goes better with your playstyle.”
“Hey guys, they’ve got no defense on the right, let’s go that way.”
Enough people know the importance of helping new players, rather than being abusive, that you can download ‘helpful hints’ sprays for TF2. I used a spray in TF2 for a long time which taught Engineers how to rotate their buildings and suddenly the server didn’t have a problem of teleporting into walls any more. The Engineers weren’t stupid or ‘F2P idiots’, they were just never taught how to do it.
What annoys me more than anything about people who act like jackasses to players making mistakes is that they ignore the fact that they used to be like that. At some point, they would have made a dumb mistake in a game which ranged from something that made them look silly to inadvertently sabotaging their team, but that’s all invalid now because they have a 2:1 KDR and only ever get headshots as a Sniper. I don’t know what niggles at me the most, the fact that they act like such pricks or the fact that they don’t understand being nice to the less skilled players is in everyone’s best interest.
Share your experiences
So tell me T3, what was your first experience playing team games online like? Did you get as much shit as me? Were people actually helpful? What do you do to make sure new players get to grips with the game as fast as possible?