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A Different Slant - Good Grief

Written by: Skyy High
Edited and Published by: Magi

This editorial will be a bit of a break from my usual focus on the game itself to the more general topic of the players. More specifically, I want to focus on the (seemingly large) segment of the population who are classified in one way or another as "griefers." There are many other names that these players have been called at one point or another - "n00b" would probably be one of the very few that wouldn't trigger the profanity filter - and they exist in every single facet of the game. Yet, for some reason, we continue to treat them in exactly the same manner that we have since, well, I suppose griefers have existed. But that's too large a topic for one article, so I will stick with this one particular game, how griefers manifest themselves in it, and most importantly how we can deal with them.

We'll start with one of the most well known kinds of griefer: the Random Arena griefer. This particular player is so convinced of his own superiority that mere defeat would not sway his tight grip on his own special reality. Instead, in the interest of truly being the greatest, he will run for literally an hour in order that the (otherwise victorious) team should eventually grow bored and leave. This article's purpose is not to scold these players; their condemnation is implicit in the very writing of this piece. What I am really going to talk about is what we as "normal" players can do to combat griefers; as what we've been doing really doesn't seem to work.

First of all, cursing, swearing, invoking the powers of whatever forces or deities you care to, etc, etc...doesn't do much of anything. You're not going to make the mean-old-griefer-man run away from his computer crying because you called his mother all sorts of things that are all probably biologically impossible (I'd refrain from finding out). So, spare yourself the indignity of bringing yourself down to their level. You'll feel better about yourself afterwards, trust me; engaging in verbal fistfights doesn't do anything to cool the blood, it only stirs up even more emotions. Let it be noted that emotions like anger don't have much place in a computer game in the first place.

As for some things you actually can do: prepare yourself. When going into Random Arenas, unless you are a Monk or you are testing an incredibly specialized build, bring a snare or degen. These things are the bane of runners (and even moreso the bane of players who bring their invincible but dull-edged tanks into the random arenas just to sit there and laugh at everything thrown at them). You just have to go in with the knowledge that odds are you will eventually be forced to chase down and kill someone who refuses to die. Consider it yet another challenge you have to face before moving on, like the snaring lesson in Shing Jea Monastery.

Along with preparing your build, you can also prepare yourself personally. Everyone knows that the Arenas are full of pompous players who can't perjure their competitive spirit by playing PvE, but simply aren't good enough for hardcore PvP. If you didn't know that, well, now you do. You will, either in town or while fighting, run into someone you want desperately to reach through the monitor and strangle viciously, so it's in your best interest now to realize that you simply can't do anything about it. Yes, that's correct; my best advice about Random Arena griefers is to simply ignore them and move on. It's oh so simple, and yet oh so hard to put into practice. I know from one experience I had just yesterday, I was called a n00b for "not knowing where the Gladiator Arena" is (I was trying to help a confused new player), and moreso for "only" playing for 12 months. Now, one side of my brain was chomping at the bit to yell and scream at this guy, but the instead I simply hit "Enter Mission" and put him on my ignore list. Had I not, I would have lost a good 10 minutes in heated argument, and I probably would have been quite ticked about it afterwards.

Now before all this talk of idiocy in the random arenas makes any PvE players feel haughty about their blessed play area, let's focus on some PvE kinds of griefers, and what can be done with them. I classify scammers as griefers, but to be honest scams are so easy to spot if you aren't dead tired; there's not much advice I can give on the subject. If you are almost the victim of a scam, by all means send a warning out in allchat, but only one time and only if you have the temperment to avoid argument.

On with griefers in PvE. There is only one real way that you can be a griefer in PvE, and that is not caring one iota what anyone else - namely, your party members - say, do, or feel. This can be expressed in one of two ways. There is the elitist, who will incessantly nag a player for not using skill X instead of skill Y, or who will whine and moan an entire mission even if the party is doing well, simply because they didn't do things his way. On the other hand, there is the Leeroy. This player may or may not know much about the game, but either way, he doesn't seem to care. He just does his own thing, merrily hacking and running ahead. This is also the same mentality that brings people to join mission and bonus groups, and then leave after the bonus, or leave in the middle of a skill cap group after they have capped what they wanted.

Now, as for what can be done about these people, there isn't much. If you ever run into an elitist, and chances are every single person reading this now remembers partying with one at some point, the best thing to do if no one else wants to lead, is to just let the guy lead. It makes for much less screaming, a much more relaxed party atmosphere, and chances are the guy does know what he's talking about; he just is going about leading in all the wrong way. A Leeroy, on the other hand, is much harder to please. The best thing to do is to minimize the damage this person can do. Namely, if they keep running ahead and dying, let them stay dead. There's not much you can do to help when people leave after a bonus, or after they get their cap, except party with only people you know or who act trustworthy in town (I generally equate this with not cursing, and not all-caps spamming the district with poorly spelled "LFG messages).

That's about all the griefing cases that are specific to Guild Wars: Runners, Scammers, Elitists, and Leeroys. Everything else we have to deal with is just a mixture of bad behavior that hopefully everyone learned to deal with somewhere in middle school. The best advice then, as it is now, was to just ignore people who are annoying you. There's no magical secret that will make these people go away, and while you can have some laughs arguing with the particularly dumb ones occassionally, it's really not recommended. I'm sorry you all had to read all that just for me to say "Tough, deal with it", but if it makes you feel any better, think about this: if you are most upset right now because some guy you don't know called you names while you were playing a video game, I'd say you're doing pretty good, eh?

So what did you think of this article? Did you like it? Did you find it useful? Or maybe you didn't like it at all? Be sure to tell us about it on this thread!

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June 5, 2006