Fake life online

I want to talk about the difference between PvP players who want to win, versus people online who are trolls or whatever meme is current this week to call idiots out as idiots, because I think people sometimes lump the two together. This is somewhat inspired by Syp’s post about LoL, although I want to be clear that I’m not targeting him or anything (it’s not Friday and all that). Rather his post about avoiding the crowd and playing bots just kinda got me thinking. (Although to echo what I said on his site, how he enjoys playing against bots in LoL is indeed beyond me)

I don’t troll when I’m playing a ranked game of LoL, but I’m also not that “hey team, let’s all have fun! We are all here to have a good time, win or lose!”  guy either. Actually I hate people like that. If you don’t care about winning, why are you playing ranked? If your skin is so thin that being called out by your team for playing poorly, most likely not in a PC way, is going to ruin the game for you, don’t play. This expectation that everyone should play nice all the time, no matter how horrible you are as a player, makes no sense to me.

There is a massive difference between someone intentionally feeding (trolling), and someone feeding so hard it looks like its intentional. The troll thing is going to happen, it’s the internet and you can’t punch idiots in the face when they act up, so they get away with it. But if your play is so bad that it looks like you are intentionally feeding, you should EXPECT to get called out on it. You just ruined a game for four other people. 20 minutes or more of my life I can’t get back because you screwed up, repeatedly.

Which is not to say I’ve never had such a game. I have. But when I do, and when the team chat gets ugly, I don’t cry myself to sleep asking why the world is so cruel. When you fuck up you should expect, and honestly, hope, that someone is going to care enough to point it out. It’s asking too much of the internet to also show you how NOT to keep fucking up, or to point it out kindly, but it’s not like you don’t have ample resources available to you to figure it out.

People that “don’t mind” losing drive me nuts. Who the hell takes pride in a “good effort champ” trophy? To steal a phrase, it’s completely fake life. In real life, ‘trying’ means nothing if ultimately trying resulting in failing. The result matters, not the approach. You don’t get points on your year-end review at work for trying on that project you totally botched. You don’t get a break because you put a lot of effort in your research when your stock portfolio tanks. Yet somehow in fake life land, we should accept failure and not react to it? What?

And ultimately, the ‘why’ behind being flamed is far more important than the ‘what’. Whether someone just calls you stupid, or writes out a detailed essay about how you should die for being a bleep bleep, the end-game is the same; don’t do that. And if you accept the ‘why’, and next time you don’t feed or wipe the raid or whatever, suddenly the internet is a fun place full of rainbows and GGs. But you are never going to reach rainbow land if you stay in “never care/try” world. Your choice of course, but IMO you are missing out. Rainbows are pretty sweet.

31 Responses to Fake life online

  1. Max says:

    Well to play devil advocate. People not always “trying to win” , at least not always same things you consider win. For someone just socializing and doing something together is a win already. For someone just goofing of and trying new things is their win

    Its same in RL. Are you trying to “win” RL? Did you make billion dollars yet? Why not ? – loser!

    Point is the underlying utility function (saying what is win and what is not) is different for different people. And it can be highly complex. You might be a lose right now just by spending time writing this blog (and I am even more so for writing comment which is even more pointless activity) while some dude inseminates a woman with his 24fth offspring somewhere in africa

    • Sam says:

      Agreed. Some people just aren’t very competitive. Perhaps they enjoy the challenge of ranked, but don’t actually care whether they win or not. I know plenty of people like that.

  2. Nils says:

    I agree, but then, staying friendly is mandatory in my opinion. Yes, you can sometimes call somebody out. But if you know that he has a thin skin, don’t ignore this knowledge. Call him out in a way that might actually improve the situation. Otherwise you are just as useless as he is.

    Furthermore, keep your blood pressure low by acknowledging that different people have genuinely different goals in games, as Max has already pointed out.

    • Telke says:

      Agreed. A lot of the LoL rage I see is worse than what you’d see in the harshest reality tv or high-class boardroom, and there’s no million dollars at stake here; just 20min and 15 ELO. Stay calm, collect thoughts, move on.

      Or do what I do, and never queue for ranked while solo.

  3. bhagpuss says:

    Given that Syp is by profession a “youth pastor”, which I’m guessing is some kind of priest analog, the only really surprising thing is that he’s ever even tried to PvP, not that he doesn’t much like it or isn’t any good at it. There must be a huge number of offline environments where his approach would be normative and yours would be problematic, although I tend to agree that PvP games probably isn’t one of them.

    What you call “rainbows” I’d call drug highs. You’re getting them by setting up situations that fool your internal systems into believing your life is under threat and pumping out chemicals to enable you to deal with the threat. Then when the threat recedes you get another rush from the chemicals that pour out to calm you down. I never found that sensation enjoyable in real life (roller coasters etc) and I don’t enjoy it in virtuality either.

    I do enjoy a bit of PvP. I just don’t allow myself to get wrapped up in it so those chemicals don’t get produced. I’m pretty mediocre at PvP but I know enough not to get noticed so I rarely get yelled at. On the extremely rare occasions when I do I just switch that person off, which is one of the benefits of being in a computer game.

  4. Joe says:

    I tend to agree with Nils’ and Max’s comments and would emphasize the part about staying friendly. Further, when you’re a dick to someone you should probably expect to be called out on it (and not whine about being called out).

  5. Delamay says:

    It’s all about wasting your time optimally, because good or bad, you’ll never get those 20 minutes back ;)

  6. I just hate it when the score is 12-53 and your team won’t surrender… then I get pissed about my time being wasted.

  7. Azuriel says:

    Some of the most fun BGs I have played have been otherwise embarrassing losses. As I told Gevlon when he made similar arguments, you may need to accept the fact that these other players are playing an entirely different game than you; a game within a game, so to speak.

    The thing I find silly is for people to get upset about other randomly-picked teammates to not share your same goals and aspirations. I assume LoL has a way for a static group to compete against other groups? If not, it’s hard to take any of that system seriously to begin with.

    • SynCaine says:

      If you are not intentionally trolling, what ‘goals and aspirations’ can you have other than wanting to win when you queue up for a ranked game?

      • Rammstein says:

        Just a wild guess here, but I’m thinking he’s looking for a chance to argue semantics with someone when he queues ranked.

      • buboe says:

        A fun 20min?
        A learning experience?
        testing a new playstyle against good opposition?

  8. Esteban says:

    Moderation is key on both ends. Differing goals are fine, but by queueing for a WoW bg, or by joining any random team game at a certain ELO, you implicitly agree to try to complete the objective or deliver a performance roughly corresponding to the level of competition you’re at. If someone doesn’t, it’s a shame, and they are being a bit selfish about wasting the team’s time and depriving everyone, including themselves, of that rainbowy endocrine reward Bhagpuss mentions.

    For me, though, the ‘real trolling vs sucking so hard it looks like trolling’ is a huge distinction. I detest trolls, but have infinite patience with real underdogs. If someone fails in a WoW bg because they’re poorly geared, have no keybinds, charge a well-defended node alone, attack the wrong player, or don’t even know where to plant the flag, that’s fine. They can learn about all that. If I call them out, it’ll be short and to the point, with no personal abuse, and if possible a quick reason why they should listen to me. And nothing is more rewarding, personally, than helping carry someone who was genuinely trying but not yet very good, to victory. It’s part of why I enjoy healing/support roles in MMO PvP.

  9. Werit says:

    That’s all assuming the people who are calling you our are correct or at all rational. Sure, sometimes I suck and I will readily admit it. A lot of times they are just flailing because of their own incompetence.

    • Snafzg says:

      Agreed. I’ve had fail games (two of them very recently) and I didn’t mind being called out for my bad play. However, I’ve also had games where I died twice by 15 minutes due to insanely well-coordinated ganks nobody would have had a chance escaping and had allies lose their minds and choose to give up right then and there.

      I think it all comes down to the fact that some people are just unnecessarily volatile and have loose screws. Calmly requesting someone play a bit less aggressively is one thing, but flying off the handle doesn’t do anyone much good because it will often incite a negative reaction from the person you’re targeting. Calling someone a “feeding piece of shit who needs to get his fucking head out of his ass” will rarely help matters. :P

      Common advice passed down from the highest ELO players is that you should simply ignore your teammates in solo queue and focus mainly on dominating your lane and helping the next closest lane when you can.

  10. I have mixed feelings on this one.

    1) I think I can explain why people enjoy PvE LoL to you. Not bring you to enjoy it, just help you understand it: You don’t enjoy playing against bots because you’re playing against bots. I enjoy playing against bots because I’m playing with people. You need the challenge level to feel you’ve accomplished something, and bots are no challenge at your level. I get enough challenge out of life; I play games to just have fun with other people for a while.

    2) I think we should separate PVP from Ranked PVP. Casual players shouldn’t play ranked. I rarely play PVP, and when I do it’s never ranked. I’m not in that league and haven’t the slightest inclination to expend the effort necessary to be there on something I do for entertainment and relaxation. So I stay out of Ranked so as not to annoy those for whom it’s important. At the same time, even in a ranked game, you still aren’t excused from the demands of good character no matter what the other person does. You still choose your response. You’re still responsible for your own actions, even when provoked.

    In one of my last PvE games, beginner level against bots, I had a Nidalee that went top with my Sona. Nidalee proceeded to stand behind the fight, retreating every time an enemy champion came far enough down to even be seen on the screen, barely even sliding in to attack a minion, for the first 2 minutes of the match. Then she ran off after I was killed under the turret. The next I heard of her was “killed by a minion.” Turned out she was fighting the lizard. I held the lane mostly solo with other teammates appearing periodically to help out when I got in trouble. Meanwhile, Nidalee proceeded to die 17 times. Fighting the lizard seventeen consecutive times. I think she ended the match at level 3, maybe 4 where every other champ had reached 18. One of my teammates, after the Nidalee had left, said something more charitable than I was able to work up. “Maybe they were just trying to learn to jungle.” I can’t comprehend trying the same thing 17 times in a row, but…

    3) Some people learn by doing. Different people learn differently, and reading an online guide is completely useless to some people. They have to actually see it in action and try things to understand it. So manybe that person doing so poorly is learning the only way they know how. It’s misery that you have to be their test subject, but that’s life sometimes.

    4) If you think no one gets rewarded for failing in real life, you’ve obviously never worked in a government program. ;)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I really enjoyed this post, and agree with most of it’s sentiment with one caveat;

    “In real life, ‘trying’ means nothing if ultimately trying resulting in failing.”

    Failing is a stepping stone to succeeding if handled maturely and viewed correctly. Failing only “means nothing” if you don’t take the opportunity to learn from it.

    • Coeur-de-fer says:

      While this is true, I’d argue that it’s merely a potential stepping stone, until you successfully employ any knowledge garnered from the experience towards the successful completion of some subsequent goal. The difference is semantic, but I think it’s an important distinction. I don’t have any data to back it up, but it would also seem, purely from subjective observation, that few people in these situations are capable and/or willing to maturely and proficiently analyze their failed attempts. It’s one of the things that sets the better performers apart from the crowd.

  12. Asmiroth says:

    To compare to real life events I play a lot of hockey. On one team, it’s a competitive group and I have a vested interest to perform. People get called out on bad plays and continually try to improve. On another, the team loses fairly consistently yet I have a blast cause the people I play with are extremely relaxed and hilarious to be around. I am happy to live in the dichotomy.

    It depends on what your expected outcome is and failure can only be measured against that. If someone wants to just play and relax, then they fail when the aren’t playing or relaxing. If you want to win every game and play perfectly, you fail when you don’t do that. Your goals are completely different, even if you’re in the same environment.

  13. Andenthal says:

    There’s a difference between calling someone out on something they did wrong, and just being an asshat.

    Based on my own personal experience, the ratio of useless asshattery, to actual helpful advice in the LoL team chat box is something like 10:1.

    “WTF r u doing nub?!?!” – Isn’t constructive
    “Quit rushing ahead of the team, idiot You’re giving them XP.” – *IS* constructive. Even if you don’t like the way it was delivered.

    It seems that the vast majority of “calling idiots out as idiots”, is just venting frustration at other players because the team isn’t winning – as opposed to actual advice/guidance on how to win.

    Lobby based games are the epitome of John Gabriel’s GIFT.

  14. D506 says:

    I think it’s pretty simple:
    Half the population of anything is, by definition, below average.
    If you yourself are above average, you can probably look back on average players and think ‘he’s not good, but I’ll explain some things to him!’.

    However, fully half of the players are below the average player’s level. From a great, or even above average, player’s perspective: thy might as well be chewing on their keyboard while they play.

  15. bonedead says:

    Way too much shit to read there. I am one of those guys that can accept a loss. I can try my best and if we still lose, oh well. In fact, how the hell else are you supposed to improve? You have to lose and get up and lose again and keep doing it til you figure out why the fuck you’re losing. Ive played CS for way too long (still do) and my score is still usually pretty bad because I always rush, sometimes I kill 5 guys, sometimes I die first (usually). So when I finally get through the first 4 guys and sneak up on the 5th guy around the corner and stab him, he sees that he got knifed by a guy with a 4-15 k-d ratio and rage quits. Numbers don’t matter as much as people always think they will. And stuff.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think Syn’s main point was about losing versus winning. Even hardcore elite players lose occasionally. It was about trying to win versus not trying to win when playing ranked games.

      • SynCaine says:

        Ranked games are pretty obvious: play your best with your best champ. The one and only point is to win (because winning is fun).

        But even in a normal game, you are still playing with 4 others against 5 others. Even in a normal game you don’t “mess around” with AP Garen. Do that shit solo and don’t waste the time of 9 other people. Same for playing a totally new champ if you have absolutely no idea how to play them (failing in the jungle for instance).

        This can get pretty gray fast, but hopefully you get my point.

        • saucelah says:

          I think players need some space to try things and fail in normal. It’s possible to learn jungling against bots, but anything else you want to try won’t benefit from bot matches. Sure, the first time I check out a new champ, I go with bots, but eventually, I’m stepping in to the game with that champ with only half a clue about how to work it.

          Otherwise, I agree with everything else you’ve written here.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes. If you consciously decide to play a ranked game (league game, tournament, whatever) you’re supposed to try and not dick around. I concur.

  16. muckbeast says:

    Great post, and I agree with most of it.

    But I think this is a bit of a sanitary description of how things go most of the time in LoL.

    It is rarely as extreme as some guy feeding so hard you almost thing he does it on purpose. If it was only “terribads” who got raged on in a game, maybe it would be ok (probably still uncalled for most of the time, but at least moderately understandable).

    The more common situation is someone makes a small mistake, or even something dubiously called a mistake, and someone else on the team goes absolutely apeshit over it.

    For example: one lane partner gets too aggressive, his lane partner doesn’t fully back him up, and he dies and then freaks out “why didn’t you help me? We could have killed them both!” A lot of times the guy yelling that:

    1) Was completely and utterly wrong no matter who he was playing with.

    2) Was obviously wrong if he went nuts before making sure his lane partner was as aggressive as he was.

    There is so much vitriol and rage directed at people not for obvious and repeated mistakes, but for when that person doesn’t do exactly what someone else thinks they should have done.

    The LoL community is one of the most miserable, hateful, misanthropic groups of gamers I have ever experienced. It makes the WoW community forums look like an episode of Hello Kitty.

    For that reason alone, I can understand why some people who enjoy LoL’s MOBA style of gameplay would prefer to just stick with PvE/co-op.

    • SynCaine says:

      Hehe, you never experienced the DoTA community then :)

      I think people remember getting flamed in LoL more because of the high number of games you can play. Even if you only get flamed in one out of ten games, that’s still one flame a week (or more) for many, and people tend to remember that one game rather than the nine that went just fine.

  17. [...] fall-out that might ensue with who I am grouped with. The pairings might be bad, people with ulterior motives, etc. I have one recourse and one only: to ignore and hope to not be paired again. I have no active [...]

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