Like fickle little moths, MMO gamers are often drawn to the brightest flames in the night. And at this current point in time, nothing is burning brighter than the new entry from Trion Worlds, a little game known as RIFT. This post, however, is not about Telara, the world of RIFT. Instead, my focus today is on all the other fickle little moths fluttering around me, these dreaded little creatures that I have come to identify as ‘the modern gamer’.
Nowadays I find myself unable to relate to the other gamers around me, and I am in constant state of shock over the modern gamers’ attitudes and behaviours. This fact is highlighted each time I venture online with my games, and was especially evident these past couple of months, where a large chuck of my time was spent on RIFT.
This recent title has attracted a lot of attention from the MMO world, with its extremely positive beta hype and previews, and an exceptionally strong launch that started the game off with a bang. As such it was my expectation that the game would attract the best and the worst of the online gaming communities. However, I was not expecting to see just how well hidden ‘the best’ were, and just how loud and dominate ‘the worst’ seems to be. Within hours of joining the game I have been ninjaed from, and have been insulted multiple times by dozens of strangers. Teamwork and socialisation were few and between. And worse, during these last couple of months I been called “gay”, “c*ntbag”, “f*ckface”, “wanker”, and many, MANY other such derogatory terms. And alas, much to my dismay not just by the random trolls and strangers, but also from PUG and PvP group-mates, and even from fellow guild-mates.
Sadly this experience is not unique to RIFT. In fact, this is a trend that I have been noticing in all of my online games these past few years. Gone are the days where the digital lands were filled with polite nerdy gamers, living out their virtual lives as dictated by the codes of chivalry. Instead I find myself wading through pools of rudeness and immaturity, where ninjaing and other such antisocial behaviours are commonplace. In a world where a total lack of courtesy, of gamesmanship, and of regard for others seems to have become the norm.
But, I do wonder – is the modern day gamer really as bad as I seem to think, when compared to the gamers of yore? In a previous post I have mentioned just how difficult it is I am finding, being a gamer in this modern day world. However, I have to keep in mind that it HAS now been two decades since I first started gaming, and the market is dominated by a whole new generation of games, and gamers with a whole new set of gaming designs and mechanics. It is true that myself and other gamers seem to recall friendlier, happier times in the past, where people were more social, more willing to work together, and more focused on enjoyment. But, it is also true that me and the games and their communities appears to have moved down different evolutionary paths. So it is possible after all that the problem lies not with ‘the modern gamer’. That perhaps it is time for me to face the facts, that maybe, just maybe, this Skeptical Hero is getting older, and it is perhaps time for me to hang up my sword and armor, to make way for the younger (and louder) generation of adventurers…