Posts Tagged Trolls
As of today I’m back in the world of academics. The University of Vienna just had me take a compulsory language test in order to prove my English is on high-school graduate level, which is an awkward term considering the widely fluctuating standards within the Austrian school system. It’s those jarring differences that make such a test necessary anyway. Now I probably shouldn’t talk about it too much before I get the definite results end of the week, but I do think it’s fair to assume that I’ll likely pass. Funnily enough I’ve been missing this standardized large-scale test setting a bit, not because I find the experience pleasant, but because I find it a lot less unpleasant than other people do. Which isn’t to say that I enjoy other people suffer, but simply that I value my ability to stay calm and give the impression of being completely detached and that I like to see how rare a gift it appears to be.
The second big thing I currently dedicate time to is League of Legends, though my enthusiasm has cooled considerably over the last few days. I’m not rightly sure why I keep playing it actually. It’s a well-designed game, granted, but the novelty has now worn off and the community is still atrocious. The experience has recently climaxed in me being reported for… something or other. The story involves a particularly inept tank lacking a good six levels behind the enemy team, me, in my classic role as support character, and an enemy team tearing the aforementioned tank to shreds after he decided to jump out of our base on his own. Then there was the predictable bit of dialogue in which he insults me for not joining his suicidal efforts and me politely asking if he had his brains replaced with ravioli to think that would be a good idea. Except, you know, I phrased it a little less disagreeable. This netted me a few minutes of silence so I assumed he had moved on, but apparently he had just continued to build this grudge whenever I ran over to defend the other side of our base instead of following him on some pointless vendetta.
League of Legends only gives you other player’s names before a match, so it was only after our crushing defeat that I learned that my affable friend was in fact just three levels short of reaching the meta-game level cap (His behaviour certainly didn’t give this away) and that our third man, who’d been mostly silent but had ultimately agreed that my play style was disruptive enough to warrant a report, was looking back on a monumental career of four games including this one. Apart from showing how widespread arrogance is among both old and new users this also speaks to the haphazard quality of the matchmaking services. The game decided to team me up with somebody nine levels below me as well as someone fourteen levels above me, at the same time. I have yet to face repercussions for my crimes, so I guess at least the players deciding my case in the community tribunal must have had some sense, but it was still an unsettling experience.
I’m a noob. Of course, seeing how that word originally only meant being new to something, we all were once. Before the breakthrough, before you start flooring enemies by the dozen and communicating with your team swiftly and efficiently there’s the time when you need to learn the ins and outs of a new game. You read up on the terminology and start experimenting to see which parts of the game suit your playstyle. Then you start carving your niche. I’m still relatively new to online gaming, but I’ve been through this process a few times and usually didn’t end up making a complete fool of myself due to a lack of experience with the game in question. While I’d like to think that’s because I’m that good, or becasue I’m a swift learner, I understand that the main reason is that I have been playing video games for most of my life and know a few things about them. Not everybody has this advantage.
The point I’m trying to get to here is that I understand the plight of people generally dubbed noobs and that their behaviour doesn’t irritate me. Okay, there have been occasions, namely when teammates would dive headfirst into heavy enemy fortifications, then attack me for not joining their suicidal quest and keeping them alive somehow, when even I felt a strong urge to hammer some sense into the cretin in question. But I let it go. I calm down. Then I give some friendly advice. We live and learn, right? Maybe he’ll use this opportunity to show some class and improve his playstyle. Or maybe not. Maybe he’ll go right on insulting me and everyone else on the team. In that case I feel well within my rights to verbally put my hand down his throat and rip out his intestines. The reason for that is that no amount of ineptitude will buy you my hate: Take the crucial vehicle and throw it off a cliff, that’s fine by me. You haven’t scored a single point yet? Don’t feel bad, you’ll do better next time. Ask me how to use a mouse, I’ll be glad to help. But if there’s one thing I despise, it’s people burdened by their own superiority.
This rant is caused by the fact that I recently tried League of Legends. And I’ve been having a lot of fun. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t played the original DotA, or whichever version the community considers to be the original, so I can’t contribute anything to the raging debate that’s probably raging on somewhere on the internet, right now. But I know my way around Warcraft 3, which is why the prospect of controlling just one hero seemed a little minimalistic at first. It really isn’t. Depending on the champion you choose most if not all of your abilities need to be aimed manually, which also means that you can dodge enemy attacks. Just moving your hero around and timing your attacks and spells is a science of its own really. Then there’s also the item shop, neutral enemies, a vast array of champions to choose from and the metagame. And the best part? All of it is free. Apart from completely useless alternate skins, any item and champion in the game can be acquired by dedicating time, not money. So theoretically everything’s nifty, but there’s one little practical problem: the people.
Perhaps I’ve been asking for it. After playing around with a few champions from the high risk, high reward spectrum I appreciate, I eventually settled for a mage called Lux. She does a great many fun things: She can snare people to make them easy targets. She’s got a long-range beam attack perfect for sniping enemies when they try to retreat. She’s got an area-of-effect spell that slows people down. But unfortunately she is also low on health, the type that needs a partner to take the punches and deal some additional damage, a support character. So for better or worse I need to work with others. I’ve been playing the game for a week at best, but I’ve already seen it all. The type that thinks just because I’m a support character I ought to follow them everywhere. The guy who was lacking behind and still decided to jump straight into a group of three, then call me retarded for not helping him out (If you’re going to get yourself killed, do it alone). The guy who called me a lucker because he was dumb enough to follow me all the way to our towers and get obliterated. The two “pro-gamers”, who did little for the game beside constantly rant about the various ways our team sucked. I was told I suck by a team that took 40 minutes to beat us despite a 3vs2 advantage. I had the self-elected master of our team tell me I was going to die in a few seconds, then call me an idiot for staying and fighting, and killing both opposing champions. I’ve seen people who spent the entire game feeding our foes gold and experience points take it to general chat to complain about how their team sucks. There were people who went idle for fifteen minutes, only to return and call the remaining two losers for not being able to win this alone. A proud specimen once decided to tackle the strongest neutral enemy, waiting about two seconds between his call to action and running in and getting himself killed. And naturally he also had to call us slow.
In short, the experience was an eye-opening trip through humanity’s dark side featuring every shade of cancerous behaviour. Which sounds like a description of the internet as a whole, but I would like to point out how enormously frequent such behaviour is in League of Legends: Of the two dozen games or so I played, maybe three to four weren’t brought down by at least one gigantic douchecopter. The obvious solution at this point would be to do as in any other game of the like and start finding sensible individuals and form a gang of some sort. The only problem with this approach is that for the sake of variety you’re forced to include at least a few random people every so often. In Team Fortress 2 this works beautifully. Get a couple of friends together and you’ll have barrels of fun while still getting shit done. A few numbnuts running around in the background and serving as tonight’s entertainment don’t necessarily hurt your performance. With League of Legends it’s not quite so easy. A single sour apple can break the game, be it by disconnecting, feeding the enemy or just acting like a dick.
I’m not rightly sure what I’m trying to achieve with all this. I’m certainly not trying to telling you to stay away from the game, nor am I convinced I can force anybody to realize the dickish nature of the way they act. Probably just needed to get this out. Next time I’ll simply think of the one time my team actually won the 2vs3 shorthand.