April 19, 2013

The Battlefield Community

The Battlefield community is certainly a diverse group, and I am not just talking about the countries players live in.  There is a lot of personalities that play: loud, quiet, fun, serious, etc.  One of the wonderful things about this series is the vast array of play styles it allows for.  You want to drive a tank or fly a chopper?  Take your pick.  You want to aggressively push points as an assault.  No problem.  You want to hang back and pick people off with a sniper rifle.  Feel free.  In my time playing this game, I have gotten to try many styles and weapons, I have seen incredible feats of teamwork, I have seen disorganized public server chaos, and various other amazing, exciting, and disappointing moments.  I have seen forum posts where veteran players try to help newcomers better understand the game's objectives.  I have watched loads of videos in which other veterans show tips and tricks to help amateurs improve their gameplay.  I have even laughed at a few "troll" videos of various BF3 pranksters.  In many ways, the community surrounding the Battlefield franchise can be absolutely amazing.

However, I have also seen the more unfortunate side of the community.  I see it more and more as I try to get more involved via Reddit and Battlelog forums.  There seems to be a lot of hate out there, and I often cannot understand why.  This is a game, after all.  We do this for fun.  A little competitive trash talk is one thing, but many individuals take this far too seriously, allowing their mindset to ruin the game not just for themselves, but for the targets of their aggression, as well as collateral players.  In some cases, it is not hate, per se, but in some cases it is so widespread that it will still wear a person out from the sheer volume.

One of the most frustrating is noob hate.  I see it all the time.  "Learn to play, you f***ing n00b!"  My first question is simply this:  how does one learn to play?  My first thought is, by playing.  In fact, I can think of no better way to learn.  New players are what helps keep the game and the community alive, but by insulting them and scaring them off, that is lost.  Everyone was a noob once.  Maybe you learned at the same time as the other seasoned veterans playing 1942, but you had to learn, just the same.    Everything has a learning curve; even a top-notch infantry player has to get used to the controls and tactics of flying a chopper.  Instead of making them feel like shit for their mistake, provide some constructive ideas of how to improve, or just leave them alone.  If you feel they are hurting your squad, find a new one or politely ask them to move.  I am not a great player and have made my fair share of silly mistakes, especially when trying a weapon, vehicle, or map for the first time.  One such instance was when, after having flown a chopper on empty servers for a bit to get comfortable with the controls, I decided to try flying in-game.  Unfortunately, I panicked trying to evade enemy fire and crashed.  The unfortunate soul that had jumped in as gunner was quick to rage on me in chat.  I am a passive and easy-going individual, and I can usually ignore the occasional comments that have come my way when I goof up.  This individual's tirade, however, was so angry and insulting, I found my blood boiling in a way no game had ever managed.  It made it very difficult to enjoy the game that had been fun moments before and nearly ruined one of the few evenings I managed to get online with a buddy.

Another one that confuses me a bit is camper hate.  I understand being frustrated with the K/D-focused snipers that sit in a safe spot in the back of the map, going 3-0 with no objective or teamplay, but they are not the ones I'm talking about.  I see so much hate spewed at those guys that hide in a dark corner while taking or defending an objective.  That seems to me like they are playing the game: they are playing the objective and they are employing an ambush tactic to help their team.  Stop and think about what is frustrating you.  Are you mad because they employed a pointless tactic that does not coincide with the intended spirit of Battlefield, or are you mad because they ended your killstreak by getting the upper hand?  While I have not been playing these games long enough to be sure, it seems to me camper hate originated in CoD, or at least in a TDM-centric atmosphere.  Even then, I don't understand it.  Again, it is a viable tactic to let the enemy come to you.  Just because you feel the best playstyle is to run and gun like a chicken with its head cut off does not mean everyone has to do it that way.  Holding your position and/or creating an ambush is a solid, and occasionally superior, playstyle, especially in Battlefield.

The last one I wanted to touch on is the hate for certain weapons, such as the M16.  As I said earlier, Battlefield is an amazing game because it allows everyone to play in the way they most enjoy.  Just because you feel the M16 is an "easier" weapon does not mean no one should use it, or people who use it frequently are unskilled noob tools.  The M16 is easy to learn and it is versatile, meaning one can use it on more maps than other, more "niche" weapons.  Therefore, people will often have more kills with it because they don't have to re-equip their kit for each new map.  Also, people find it fun.  There is no reason to call them unskilled for enjoying that weapon.  It also does not mean you are automatically a more skilled player because you don't use it.  I think that just makes you a hipster.  :-P

I know it will never go away, but I would sure love to see less hate in the Battlefield community.  It is an amazing game series, and we should welcome all to try it out, no matter their level of experience, skill, or style.  I don't care how good you are, sportsmanship is a big part of being a quality player.  I would rather have a fun, friendly player with a 0.5 K/D on my team than an angry blowhard that rages at the "noobs" because they are keeping him from getting is 1 millionth MVP ribbon.

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