Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Miss Manners: Online Play

I was playing an online game with a stranger the other day and although I tried to strike up a conversation, I received no reply. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I consider this bad manners. I enjoy the chit-chat of online gaming as much as I do the game itself otherwise it feels like playing against an AI.

The regular group of gamers that I play with talk about everything from the weather in their corner of the world to the newest games they’re looking forward to. We throw trash-talk at each other and make sure to congratulate the winner. It’s as close to face-to-face gaming with friends as you can get and turns even a crappy game into something special.

Another thing that I think is rude is joining a game which is specifically set up for a certain group. Some online sites don’t allow passworded games or invites, so the best you can do is put in a comment that it’s for so-and-so group or such-and-such friends and the next thing you know you have a stranger where John Doe should have been. Is it so hard to read the comment? Do you just see an open game and join without regard to the wishes of the person who created it? If there are no open games for you to join without stepping on virtual toes, you should create one of your own; it’ll be filled up in no time.

Lastly, I’ve heard of people who register on a site with 2 different names and use both in games cooperatively in order to raise their standings. I’m sure it doesn’t happen often since most gamers play for the fun of it rather than the prestige and have too much honor to think that any rankings gained through such subterfuge is worth anything. But there will always be a few who find a way to cheat and think it’s alright to do so no matter how little value is placed on their gains. These people are the most pathetic, lowly, contemptible, worthless, under-handed, miserable, cowardly waste of gamer life on the web. If that’s the only way they can win, they should sell all of their games in favor of a stack of jigsaw puzzles and an Exacto knife.
Until next time, I’m trusting you to keep the vampire population down.



allister said...

Its amazing how the gaming industry has evolved. I haven't really gotten into the online gaming culture yet though. I'm mainly concerned with retro gaming at the moment, its part of a class assessment.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I hate it when I want to play a game and I get annoying chit-chat from people who want to talk about the weather. Please...
Considering that rude is representitive of everything that's become annoying about the 'community' on BGG. With so many members, it's amazing how small of a closed loop you all live in. It's the same people over and over again, spouting their $.02, dictating rules, behavior, their warped concepts of ettiquite, etc. Good god. From the idiots who won't trade their used games they rate a '5' for the most superficial reasons, to the idiots who make you tap-dance before they allow you to add an item to a math trade, to the ranting over the absolute dumbest of issues... The BGG 'elite' (hah!) need to get over themselves.

Melissa said...

I love it when you're cranky, Mary. :)

and turns even a crappy game into something special

... which is really why we game, isn't it. At least, it's why *I* game.

I see your crankitude and raise you another: people who drop by when you're playing an online game, and just lurk. They never say anything, but you know they're there.

Anonymous said...

Okay, anonymous clearly has a bee in his bum, but I agree that forced chit-chat in online games can be annoying. I always say "hi" and "good luck," but beyond that I'd like to focus on the game.

Whenever a player takes a long time to move, he or she is usually writing a note to everyone in the game -- that is, the player is not concentrating on the game, but on things outside the game, and will likely not play at peak level.

I'm fine chatting before or after the game, but once we start, trash-talking is the limit of my conversation -- and since I don't talk trash to strangers, I don't say anything.

Coldfoot said...

anonymous I will ignore since I don't know HOW he got to D when I was talking about A.

Thank you, Melissa. Sometimes it just feels so good to be bad! ;)

Henry, I won't argue with at all since he has a valid point. The fault is mine in not being specific when I spoke of online play since I was thinking of PBEM games where you have all the time you wish to move *and* make conversation. I'm sure I'm living in a dream world where we use this means to find out about one another and make new friends.

Joe Gola said...

So let me understand this, Mary is willing to be friendly towards complete strangers while the masked poster considers those around him to be annoying idiots whose only purpose in life is to trade games with him, but we're the ones who live in a closed loop?

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'm kinda dubious on the part where we give these people Exacto knives.

Coldfoot said...

How else do you expect them to put the puzzles together? I suppose a hammer would work, but it's far less elegant.

Shannon Appelcline said...

My wife also hates it when she's trying to play an online game, and some person she doesn't know is hitting on her or otherwise trying to engage in irrelevent conversation.

So, it can really vary. From all the online board games I've played, I actually think no-chit-chat is more the norm, and thus I'd suggest starting games with names like "Game with Chit-Chat" if you'd like to talk as well.

Fraser said...

My rants about online gaming would include:
1) People who care more about their ratings than playing the game. I gave up playing online Gang of Four after a couple of occasions where I had won a hand and two of the four players pulled out of the unfinished game since they now had little chance of winning.
2) Games where you cannot sort your cards according to how you like sorting them. In some games that doesn't really matter (e.g. 6 Nimmt! but in other games, e.g. Lost Cities I have a particular way of sorting the cards and the ability to move cards up and down (or left and right) in my hand would make the game much more playable for me.

Mike Doyle said...

Here, here. Another one I came across last month on BSW was one who complained about my moves and then quit a game a Caylus a two turns before end. Goodness. It's just a game! And more to the point, a chance to meet, challenge and learn from others. :)

Anonymous said...

The funny part about quitting in BSW is that you still get charged with a loss.
I've missed the message that it was a private game a few times. In BSW, one can quit without causing a game reset. But in other more PBeM style sites, it's more difficult. I apologize here again for all games that I have wrecked.

If you really are picky about who you want to play with, passwords are the way to go. Personally, I almost always create open games because I like playing with new new people. BTW, if you ever need another player, count me in (in just about anything). I've enjoyed your, gamesgrandpa's, and other's in your clique comments here and at BGG.

I'll usually participate in banter online at BSW. I would guess that I've made a few Germans chuckle at my "accent." I have also missed some banter because I didn't see it on some sites. I don't intentionally ignore conversation, but on some sites, it's not obvious that a new remark has been made.

Happy Gaming,

Anonymous said...

PBW and real-time online games are totally different beasts. I also like to chat in PBW but in real-time it's different. Actually, this is one of the reasons I don't play much real-time anymore: there is way too much pressure for speed. They all want to play ultra fast: schnell! schnell!
But I can offer you a possible reason why some people don't even reply to your greetings: maybe they don't speak english! You probably don't even think about it, but I assure you that a large part of human population lives in this sad condition (myself half included :). I know people who prefer not to be engaged in conversation exactly for this reason.

Friendless said...

I am not a fan of chit-chat in on-line games. No, I don't want to meet people. If I was in a personable mood, I'd be out watching TV with my wife. I played a few games on BSW, and got hooked into chatting so much that I just gave up on it and started downloading games with AI instead. At least if I play against an AI I can finish the game and go to bed straight away, rather than having to finish up with some chatterbox interrogating me about my personal life or rambling on about some topic I couldn't care less about.

It's hard being me.