WiNG’s latest AC article has me clapping, with reservation. I completely agree with his sentiment of “teach, don’t taunt.” No community is built on the backs of haters, children, and general negativity. No, not even Call of Duty’s. The entire YouTube gaming scene is a direct result of people looking for ways to improve their gaming experience, in skill, knowledge, and tactics. Regardless of where or when you first typed in [Insert Game Title Here] Tips/Gameplay/Montage/Whatever, you’ve probably learned a thing or two from watching videos. Hopefully you learned more than two things from WiNG, because he’s just that awesome, but I digress.
I want to address Mr. PanTT’s article from the other side of the equation. I will be purchasing Assassin’s Creed 3, in all likelihood, and having not touched AC:B or AC:R even once, I will be the new player he warns against hating on. Let me give my perspective on the situation.
Watch your words, but only just
I will be the first to advise against psychological torture and bullying that isn’t already a part of the in-game mechanics. I don’t mind trolling, so long as it fits within the parameters of the game and within the match itself. I hope I assume right that in AC multiplayer, being a troll is not only allowed, but welcomed, as it is a means of disorientation and sometimes deception.
What WiNG warns about is the unwarranted attacks in messages, voice-chat and other, out-of-match mean-talk. Again, I agree wholeheartedly. There’s a distinction to be made, however. Saying “Outplayed,” or “Thanks for being bad,” is quite different than outright personal insult. If you’ve ever played with a group of friends, especially on PC, there’s a good chance the server splits the group up, and you have to compete with friends rather than cooperate. In such situations, at least in my experience, some friendly sh*t-talk is perfectly acceptable. Indeed, it’s expected, and I know that I’d be rather confused if I didn’t hear it.
The same applies to the random players matchmaking pits you against in games like Assassin’s Creed. If given the opportunity to jab their ribs a bit, by all means do so. If they’re new, you’ll annoy them while still introducing them to the world of the multiplayer chatter. Be nice, but be firm. One kind player will make up for ten bullies, or at least five.
A firm hand does not make a beatdown
One of my core philosophies when it comes to playing either against, or as, a new player is simple: you will only truly learn by getting your ass handed to you over and over. Not even the illustrious WiNGSPANTT completely dominated in his first-ever match in TF2 or AC:B. Binerexis did not grow his manliest of beards in a day. Destricted did not build tournament winning decks immediately after buying his first booster pack.
And so it is for new players in a game. There is always a learning curve. If the game is completely new to everyone, then everyone learns at the same time, if not the same pace. The fast-learning and good players separate organically, leaving the slower or lesser players behind. This latter group either leaves or learns, thusly fading away or improving to match their superior foes. To do so, however, they must receive punishment and go through the school of hard-knocks.
My hope, then, is that those of you reading this article understand that I do not want to be shown mercy or given quarter. Hit me as hard as you will, and never cease. Show neither me nor the swarms of new players any sort of kindness when it comes to gameplay. For my own part, every move you make will be a learning experience, every death an opportunity to reflect, every loss a reason to try harder.
What I don’t want to see is a loss of respect or a lessening of the attack when victory is assured. Come at me with all you have until the announcer says to stop. You will have shown me your dominance, and I will likely have taken at least some of it to heart. If I stay the next match, expect to see some of your own tricks used against you, but no in ways you expect. I won’t have a full grasp on their concepts yet, but as I play with new strategies, I’ll find what works for me and the skill gap will close. It will become a game less about teaching than prediction, more about out-thinking than out-playing.
And I will have achieved that status because while you as the pro took me to task over and over again, you were kind and fair in your judgment. You were not crass or crude or cruel, but neither were you easy or patronizing. Because maybe someday, our roles will be reversed, and it will be my turn to show you pain.