Venomous shooter players. Do they migrate?

By Joseph C, 4 years ago
One thing we've all come to know and love - wait, I mean know and loathe - is the pervasive presence of foul-mouthed, apparently racist, usually homophobic, bigoted and just downright unsavory individuals populating the multiplayer lobbies of many games these days.

What I personally have always noticed is that I don't tend to run into them much in any genre of game outside the FPS games. Sure there's an occasional jerk here and there in sports titles, public tables in XBL card and board games, etc. Heck I even got hate mail for beating a guy in Worms once. By and large though, probably 90-95% of the time I play games against either quiet or else genuinely friendly folks, unless I'm playing a shooter.

Someone in the Halo: Reach forums mentioned that he is new to the game and is surprised by how nice everyone is. I got to thinking about it and you know what? He's right! Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Reach is the lone holdout of civility in an otherwise cesspool-like FPS scene on the 360: on the contrary. In my more active Reach days shortly after launch, I specifically remember a preponderance of bigotry and name calling, not to mention copious amounts of tea being vigorously steeped in the midst of raging gun battles. No, what stood out to me about his statement was that NOW Reach does in fact tend more toward the friendly side.

I noticed this about a few other shooters in the past, that late in their life cycle, while other newer games are garnering all the buzz and attention, you can find these little seas of tranquility and good old-fashioned fun multiplayer matches. They're still competitive, mind you, because SOMEONE has to win. But you'll more often hear "good game" after you win or lose, rather than "You're garbage, nub!" or "Bleep you you bleeping son of a bleep bleep!".

Could it be that the foul-mouthed, venom spewing, hateful little cretons we see so often are some sort of meta-population of the shooter genre? Could it be that they tend to migrate, like some sort of satanic flock of greckels invading the nests of the local species, shoving out the eggs to lay their own and let the local birds hatch their pesky offspring?

The more I think about it, the more that a note of truth rings out from this statement. Shooters that have been out a long time have their population dwindle until it's not much more than the die-hard fans and a smattering of new blood born from bargain shoppers and hand-me-down-game recipients.

Of course, you will still run into an acid spitting monstrosity even in the twilight days of any shooter's multiplayer lifespan. However, if it's true that the majority of the hateful, mean-spirited crew tends to migrate to the latest, hottest shooter, then perhaps those of us that like a more laid-back and old-school LAN party-like experience out of our shooters might want to hold off on the latest craze until its latter days.

Venomous shooter players. Do they migrate?
Joseph C
Written by Joseph C
36-year old married gamer, father to a fierce Boston Terrier but no humanoid children. I've been gaming practically my whole life, starting around when I was 5 or 6 years old with an Atari 2600 and progressing through nearly every console ever released apart from the Wii U. I'm a completionist by nature, but am trying to move away from chasing every-higher gamerscore and just focusing on enjoying the great games that are all around me. We'll see how successful I am. I've been on TA since 2009 but have become much more active on the site in the past couple of years, and look forward to seeing it grow now that the XB1 app is getting it some much-deserved exposure!