Anyone who has ever played a multiplayer online game knows there are lots of people who don’t know how to act. People hiding behind their assumed anonymity doing things the majority of us would never think of doing to others in real life, even less likely in person. We have a whole generation who haven’t (and probably won’t) learn basic skills such as getting along with others in a game, abiding by the rules and playing nice with others. As a kid playing in the neighborhood you had to get along. Take your ball home too often, and you were left with no one to play with. In online multiplayer games getting alienated from a play group is not a big deal, either find a new group among the thousands of people playing, or better yet, create a new account.
With 40K most of us have limited opportunities to play; we are either limited by the amount of local players, or limited locations offering a place to play. We are therefore still bound by the old fashion playground rules, mess up too often, get labeled as ‘that guy’ and sit at your local store with your mini’s on a table watching other people have fun. On the many forums and blogs like BellOfLostSouls, people can behave as badly as they want to be. Hundreds of thousands of threads and comments make statements and degrade people in such a way that would get you physically hurt if stated in person.
Some podcasts act in similar fashion. Calling people douche bags, calling people out for real or perceived cheating, making statements about companies of individuals, often without doing any research or providing sources of information. As a podcast, we have in the past struggled with striking a balance between our perceived truths of a situation and alienating people in our limited sized community. Like it or not, the amount of people playing your favorite game in any location is severally limited. Even relocation across the country may still not save you from your reputation.
I usually get disgusted with accusations of cheating, I actually had to turn off my screen and go for a walk after watching the first 5 minutes of a 30 minute YouTube video on cheating at a large event. It had my blood boiling. I have limited patience for shenanigans at tournaments. Regardless of what people may think, I am not going to tournaments to ‘win-it-all’. I go to tournaments so I can play other people outside of my regular gaming group. I am really looking forward to going to the Nova and being placed in a decent group the second day, looking forward to some fun but challenging games. While I will not tolerate cheating and other bad behavior, I would not call out people on the podcast, certainly not by their real name. This finally leads me to what I am getting at, and the main reason for writing.
Tony K. made a mistake at the Nova Open last year. He was 3 points over. He brought it to the attention of the TO the same weekend of the event. The tournament organizer (Mike Brandt), and the other ‘top competitors’ (including Stelek) chose not to sanction him for his event. If you want a dissenting opinion, check out TastyTaste at bloodofkittens.com. We have had 8 months since that event, in that time we have seen several podcasts and countless forums and blogs badmouthing a minor, calling him every name under the sun. Neil and I had the pleasure of playing one of the brothers each at the last Nova. I have to say we were both impressed with their abilities and manners. I hope my little sons grow up to be gamers like them one day.
Tony goes on to win Adepticon and got himself selected to Team America. Not a single shred of evidence suggested that his 8-0 record was tainted by anything but good sportsmanship and courteous behavior. Several podcasts and other internet voices still cast doubt on his performance. Is it really possible that he could, by luck alone, have won Nova with a perfect record and then Adepticon eight to zero? Sure. But is it may be possible that some adults are having a problem controlling their little green monsters? Are we really disrespecting Tony’s capable opponents as a bunch of losers? You can watch some of Tony’s abilities on the excellent coverage the Independent Characters provided. I for one am looking forward to hearing about his exploits among the rest of Team America at the ETC. I for one cannot think of a better person to represent a typical American gamer to the rest of the field in Europe.
On the flip side, how many chances do we, or should we give some people. Is getting banned from stores in North Carolina and Florida enough? Is public intoxication and public bragging about it enough? How many times does an individual need to get mentioned with questionable play ethics on BloodOfKittens? How far are we going to let individuals like this bend rules, forget rules, model to advantage and pull other shenanigans? How do we fix this situation? I am not sure I have any answers. There is minimal communication between event organizers. It is hard enough for me to get information of events happening, let alone have them talk to each other about misbehaving players. If people knew that their behavior at one event would carry over to the next event, would they behave better? While I do not have answers, I think a setup like the NovaOpen has the potential to fix a lot of problems. The separation into smaller sub tournaments the second day I hope will insulate the main group of players from the overly competitive win-at-all-cost types. Now I am not calling everyone in the top brackets WAAC players, but those brackets do seem to pull in more than their fair share of them.
Please tell me how wrong I am, I am looking for smarter people to hopefully solve this problem so a slacker like me doesn’t have to deal with it anymore.