Saturday, 17 November 2012

Don't Hate The Player

This post was originally written for Forces of Geek Thursday 1st November 2012, I've wanted to write a piece about gaming archetypes for a while. I was even going to link it in with a Christmas gift guide piece about what to buy the gamers in your life. But this article had been on my mind for a while and was begging for me to write it sooner... so sorry guys, no Christmas gift guide. Maybe next year. Still, I hope you enjoy this piece, perhaps you know a few of them too?

The world of gaming is a vast one, full of a multitude of rich and interesting characters. No, I don't mean the gaming protagonists, I'm talking about us; the motley crew of snipers, lone-wolfs, wasteland wanderers, adventurers, horde killers and plastic instrument bashers. Here's just a selection of gaming personas I've come across in my gaming life.

Hey! Listen!
Everyone has played alongside a headstrong, tactical player. One who uses team mates as a means to an end. Often bossy and taking on the mantle of team leader without being asked (they don't need to be asked, they're natural born leaders) they're also the first to quit if the game starts lagging or taking too long to load.

For all their flaws, this gamer is determined to win, find yourself on a team with them and you're probably on the winning side. That and a clear leader is always better than a bunch of people all shouting contradictory tactics and plans down the headset at you.

Just don't tell them their tactic is all wrong lest you face a tirade of insults about you being a "n00b".

As an individual who likes the sound of their own voice and believes they know best, it's sometimes best to follow or get out of the way.

Legitimate Strategy?
Despite being a bold trail blazing leader, these types are also easily angered. Being impatient, stubborn and sore losers these individuals can be demanding but despite everything they're determination to win ensures the team benefits. Oh and if you don't like bad language, perhaps it'd be better to mute this player. Unscrupulous and hypocritical at times, these are the players who don't mind bending the rules a little now and again.

Likely to criticise others for camping at spawn points but often found taking advantage of a similar situation if it arises.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the jack of all trades, master of none types. Not because they're not team players but because they're easily bored and will happily flit from game to game. They have a stack of unfinished titles bigger than their arm and enjoy socialising through a headset.

The Jack will be pretty decent at whatever game they play but in no way are they an expert in any particular game. They play for fun and like their gaming to be enjoyable. They'll avoid angry players and prefer team games as opposed to free-for-alls.

Amicable though they are, they do have some flaws - they're a little bit flaky. If they get bored, they'll move on or worse they'll just start disrupting the flow. If you're thinking "I don't know anyone like that" ever played an FPS and there's some dude/dame chucking grenades at a wall for no reason? Or perhaps you're bombing around a race course at 90mph and some fool is running the course in reverse? Yep, that's them.

If they're not stimulated enough by their other players or find a game unchallenging/too challenging, they'll leave a matchmaking session in search of a friendlier one where they can feel comfortable with their mediocre skill set.
This is my pile of shame - games I haven't completed yet because I'm easily distracted.

During a game these players are wildly indecisive and will spend far longer than they ought to deciding on a loadout or vehicle or armour to choose, holding up the entire game.

They'll also change their gaming style, which can make them difficult to work out, making them a worthy opponent. From holding back in a defensible position to ambush an enemy to running out in the open guns blazin' you can guarantee a game with this player will always be interesting and varied... until they get bored and wander off of course.

Another unique gamer type is the anti-socialite, the lone wolf. Opting for games where stealth and patience are needed the lone wolves are careful, meticulous, patient and efficient.

They'll be skilled at whatever game they happen to be playing, knowing maps and item locations. These players are the perfectionists of the gaming world and will most likely complete their games but rarely step outside of their comfort zones. They're analytical and as such are quite critical of their own abilities, often seeing room for improvement even if they're top of a leader board.

Pfft... who needs team mates?
Their silent efficiency makes them seem cold and heartless. However, they're passionate about gaming and unlike the easily angered, these individuals will persevere even when they're taking a beating. They are self disciplined, serious and extremely goal directed. A reliable team member but if you want conversation this player isn't for you. They'll turn off their mics and wait calmly for their victims.

The complete antithesis of the anti-socialite is the attention seeking glory hunter. These gamers are the ones who won't shut the hell up about their last achievement. They'll turn any situation in their favour and if you don't congratulate them, then expect even more stories about their conquests and previous wins until you do.

Or.. you just mute them.

If you're too polite to mute them, then well done, you! Although they are the most talkative and if you're a good player than expect a post-game message asking you to be in their clan or join their party. Lucky you (!)

They egotistically stress about how others view them and as such will often vocalise excuses as to why the game failed them, rather than vice versa. This doesn't make them bad gamers though, let's face it, they may gloat but they know what they're doing and gloat for a reason.

If, on the other hand, you manage to defeat a Glory Hunter, the sheer wealth of smug arrogance that fills you can make it all worth while. If you find one of these types on your team and can put up with their chattiness, in the times they're not gloating, these players are optimistic, will very rarely be mean to anyone, are easily led and generally quite pleasant.

Strangely enough the Glory Hunter is often a kid, so I tend to forgive their incessant ramblings and constant seeking of approval. Bless 'em... they'll grow up soon enough and realise that no-one really cares.

These eccentric players will be the ones amusing others with ridiculous banter, putting on silly voices and ultimately lifting the mood. They are straightforward gamers who play by the rules and come off as incredibly charming and everyone seems to like them. Extremely honest about their abilities, these players don't care what others think of them and are happy to just play the game. They're also fair and won't boot players for accidental betrayals and if you offend them they'll take the high road and ignore you. Not easily riled by the rage quitters or easily angered types either.

Check out this fan-made construct of my production company logo!
Often the ones who design the best custom game types or come up with imaginative new ways to play; these players love to design and create things.

For them, gaming is an escape. It's entertainment and if they're not being entertained they step up to provide it for others, whether in terms of a new level mods or friendly banter. These types can often be found tirelessly creating works of genuine art in titles such as Minecraft and Trials HD, etc.

Having said all that, no one likes someone overly happy all the time and on occasion a joke or two can really put you up the wrong way, twisting something previously fun into something downright irritating.

So, these are the backbone gaming types, the unavoidable categories we find ourselves in. Sure, most of us have a handful of qualities from each type but ultimately one defines us better than the others.

The only question that remains is: which are you?

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