The other day I stumbled upon some YouTube videos of griefing on Minecraft servers. For the non-gamers, griefing is when a player intentionally tries to annoy other players in multiplayer games.
The griefing videos on YouTube record the audio of other players getting annoyed and upset and is intended as comedy. Because of their popularity there are YouTubers who specialize in making griefing videos. While admittedly many of the griefing videos are amusing, the videos struck a chord with me in another way.
I see the griefing videos as highlighting the continuing poor state of online gaming.
Some friends and I have a weekly online game night session. Over the years we’ve played many different games, including some pay-to-play MMOGs.
But as the years have gone by and I’ve gotten older (and wiser) I’ve given up on playing online games with strangers. Between the cheaters, gankers, griefers and crappy gameplay as an adult with limited time to game I just don’t have the desire to be aggravated when I’m trying to amuse myself. Therefore I’ve now limited my gaming to single player or multi-player cooperative games.
A lot of the poor online behavior arises out of the game itself. Many games are poorly designed either without enough for players to do and/or rewards players for abhorrent behavior. Many games have exploits including those arising from bugs.
When people get bored with a game they’ll find something else to do with it. In many cases that means ganking, griefing or exploiting/cheating.
Another problem is when game designers don’t reward players properly. Invariably a lot of poor gameplay is tied to poor scoring systems wherein players are rewarded for behavior that doesn’t make for good gameplay.
Before I go on too long about it let me make it clear that it’s not the vast number of gamers that are screwing up the program. Most gamers are just trying to play the games. However, the poorly designed and coded games lead to poor behavior. And it only takes one bad apple to ruin the party.
Fortunately it would seem that game designers are creating more online cooperative games. Maybe they’re recognizing that as gamers mature they’re looking for something different (and better) than the run-of-the-mill online games.