Multiplayer Communities: Friend or Foe?

By Shawn Denney

Online multiplayer has become so ingrained into gaming culture over the past generation that it is hard to imagine gaming without it for some.  It brings replay value and heightened competition.  No longer are you bound by progressing to the level of an AI.  now you are able to consistently challenge yourself against others who are just as invested in the game as you.


From the previous paragraph it might seem like Online Multiplayer is a wondrous thing but that is not entirely true.  Online Multiplayer only works and thrives if people tune into it.  These people make up a community.  This community can foster new friendships and make people feel connected.  Sadly some feel the need to bring a poison attitude into the community.  Hostile words, negative attitudes, and general disrespect run rampant among them.  Some claim that “trash talking” is part of the fun.  For others, it is a sever detriment that not only drives them away from that particular game, but even online games in general.


Here is an example: DOTA 2 was recently released to the masses.  Prior to that it was in beta for over a year.  During this time frame a community formed and Valve was watching very closely about things like gameplay balance, and glitches, and clipping and other technical aspects of the game.  They were also monitoring peoples enjoyment of matches and why they came back or why they left.  Their findings were that winning or losing didn’t really matter.  People had fun playing even if they lost.  What did matter is other players.  The negative and hostile remarks, the blatant sabotage of games.  These are the things that drove people away.  This is not a special circumstance unique to DOTA 2.  It happens all over the place.


Take a game like Call of Duty or Halo for example.  The amount of vulgarity that happens over the mic is frankly astonishing.  As I previously mentioned, some find this to be an integral part of the enjoyment for them.  For others it is ruining the experience.  We as gamers can be better than this.  Must we put others down and ruin their experience?  Surely not.  Calling out “pwned” is one thing.  It allows one to gloat about their skill.  Saying “**** your mother you ******* piece of ****” is completely different.  This has crossed the line way over into hostile environment, insulting, and downright degrading to the community as a whole.


Online communities for multiplayer games come with the good and the bad.  We can change that into all good.  Just think about what you are doing and saying before acting.  Make it a friend for all.


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