The Gamer’s Guide to Manners

These days we’re far too busy fitting solar panels to the roof of our gas guzzling 4x4s or twittering our bowel movements to care about manners. Where are manners when we’re barging our way onto an overcrowded commuter train at rush hour? How can we commit the faux pas of elbows on the dining table when an evening meal is consumed on a sofa watching “World’s Ugliest Brain Tumours #4”? Manners in modern day living are an afterthought. But in the online world, they’re pretty much nonexistent. After all – why learn the intricacies of Afternoon Tea when you can spend an evening tea-bagging instead?

A couple of nights ago, I was merrily playing away on Mercenaries 2 (a brilliant bundle of fun, may I add) I was playing the single player campaign by myself, nearing the end of a particularly tricky mission. I needed to navigate a speed boat through waters populated by trigger happy terrorists and floating mines – all under the watchful eye of a countdown. It was my third attempt, and I could see the finish line before me. But alas – suddenly, the text on my screen flashed up that somebody was joining my game for co-op. The game, noting this, instantly cancelled my mission, and my beautiful little boat exploded into a thousand pieces. Seconds from victory. I was absolutely furious.

I was furious because I had never INVITED this person into my game. True, they had sent me a message ten minutes ago, which I hadn’t bothered to read (I woz playin’ a game, OKAY?).  But since when did a lack of response turn into an invitation? You wouldn’t ring up your friend, get no answer, and barge into their house regardless, would you? Well, maybe you would. But you would be bad.

Later, discussing it with my friend, the argument arose that it was I who was at fault for not initially responding to the game-wrecker’s message. Also, by setting my status as “online” and playing a game with the ability for jump-in co-op, I had given out mixed signals. My small online hiccup was growing into a dirty glob of social etiquette gone wrong.

So, in a weak stab at bringing some form of coherency to the madness of the online world, what etiquette guidelines would you draw up for all to obey? How would you bring order to our digital chaos? Here are a few titbits to keep you thinking:

1) Mass messaging your friends list – yes or no?

2) Item drop collections in co-op – take turns, or a free-for-all?

3) Finishing off your friend’s kill in shooters – a helping hand, or stealing all the glory?

… But no matter what our debate, let us ensure that we debate politely!







16 responses to “The Gamer’s Guide to Manners”

  1. Kirsten avatar

    I think with Mercs 2 it was the game’s fault. What kind of game cancels the mission you are playing and allows anyone on your friends list to join you without permission?

    1) I HATE mass messaging!
    2) Take turns with item drops – again though the game should have an enforced system.
    3) Again the game should be instrumental in how this works – points for assists in CoD4.

  2. Tony avatar

    Having been playing GTA with random plebs online, my one commandment is this:

    1) Thou shalt respect the point of the game

    I got so frustrated joining GTA races, coming third or fourth, and then having to quit because the other 12 players have decided to turn it into a deathmatch instead of a race, so the game never ends.


    I also once played GTA Race mode where someone had turned off weapons. JUST PLAY RACE MODE YOU CRETIN!

  3. chobe avatar

    1) n/a
    2) Free for all everytime
    3) Nothing wrong with that. If someone can’t finish the job quick enough, it’s tough. I agree with the assist thing though, that’s nice – TF2 also has it.

  4. Michael avatar

    1. It depends on the message… but I’ve rarely used that function anyway, preferring to do it one at a time.

    2. A matter of need or asking “Do you have Item Blah? You do? D’ya mind if I grab it?” and subsequently taking it!

    3. I don’t mind people doing this; go team! If it’s at a time when enemies are rushing in, speed is essential. KILL!

  5. Michael avatar

    Oh yeah, you can switch your status to offline so quickly it doesn’t register that you ever logged on… I know someone who is quite accomplished at doing that, mostly to avoid a Canadian friend who sent game invites/requests all the time.

  6. GlitterUK avatar

    1)Mass messaging annoys me. I mean who really knows everyoneone well enough on their list that what they have to say is relevent to them all.

    2) Item drops. Depends on the game i’d say. if items are few and far between I would expect sharing, but often they reappear quickly so it doesn’t really matter.

    3)Kill Steal. Depends on the circumstances. A blatant out and out steal is not very sportsman like I would say but I shoot on sight and often don’t realise they are just about to be taken care of.

  7. Ben avatar

    I know the contract in Mercs 2 you’re talking about as I did that one last night, a right pain in the arse to do, more so because the stupid ramps you have to jump up actually damage your jetski.

    I use to have this problem with Crackdown, thankfully it was partially resolved by setting it so only my friends could join.

    For the record I think you’re in the right, if I send someone a game invite and there’s no response I figure that A) they’ll be doing something else B) don’t want me to join C) AFk

    I may send them another request later on but I’d never just join a game, especially if I’m not invited too.

  8. Simes avatar

    That’s weird, because when I joined Dan’s game in mid-mission I just got to join in. Maybe some missions are different to others. The game should definitely not have ended the mission like that, though.

    Hate mass messaging.

  9. Barry avatar

    Kate, I would blame the game and your friend in equal measure for obvious reasons.

    Since Im new to the whole Xbox live thing anyway, Im still getting used to it and yet to play with any one of you people as it is.

    Mass messaging? Didnt even know you could do that, but I cant see why people would want to spam unless they were changing their gamertag.

    Id share my items, help out my team and not cry out loud when someones ‘stealing’ a kill, Id be thankful.

  10. Tony avatar

    Simes is right, most missions you can leap right into no problem. Maybe it’s only the race missions?

    By the way, I found when playing a race mission on co-op that you can take two boats and if one gets blown up, pick up your friend and carry on. Double your odds!

  11. Laura avatar

    I’d never dream of crashing a game without an invitation, whether the person is joinable or not. Sometimes you just want to play a game and you don’t think about privacy settings.

    Mass messaging doesn’t really bother me to be honest I understand as messages are such a pain in the arse to write out if you haven’t got a chat pad.

    I don’t believe in kill stealing it’s always assisting in my eyes

    With pick ups as long as you communicate about them it tends to work fairly, my only rule is that if I’m host on GOW co op and my Dom picks up the tourque bow without even offering it to me first they get booted.

  12. Michael avatar

    Sorry, Ben, what is option C supposed to be?

    And (as I meant to say earlier but, erm, didn’t) excuse you me, Kate, I happen to be very well mannered in real life, thank you very much…

    Generalising based on your experience of city life is… well, it’s quite rude!

  13. NorfolkNChance avatar

    1) No to mass messaging.
    2) Actually I coordinate with my friends on this, we found communicating who had what was really helpful in shooters, such as Gears!
    3) My friends and I tend to adhere to not stealing kills. In general if it happens we do apologise, sometimes if it had to be done tactically. Such as playing Execution on Gears and my teammate can’t get to the downed opponent in time. It generally evens out then.

    I don’t get so bothered about randoms when I go online for some multiplayer action, I accept that there are assholes out there and that they won’t be able to get anything out of me no matter how they try. (Such as the SOCOM beta where I got team killed on a no-respawn map at spawn + attempts at kick. I didn’t blow a top or utter torrents of abuse. No, much better for our American online friends; I team killed 5 of the f*ckers the next re-spawn then left)

  14. Martin avatar

    1.Ok I get the point no one wants a mass message, huff! But have you ever been inputing a message to accidentally press the B button, or is it Y and everything vanishes? So annoying!
    2.Free for all pick ups unless otherwise stated.
    3.Kill stealing only annoys when it’s someone you don’t know.
    There should be an option that tells if people are receptive to messages or invites/joins how about that as an update instead of mini-miis?

  15. Skill avatar

    For me, online or off, part of the process of making friends and acquaintances is feeling out the boundaries that people need to feel comfortable and work together best.

    The ‘Rules’ are unspokenly negotiated between friends as they get to know eachother.
    As examples I have close friends whose standard greeting will always be an insult.
    And I’ve played loads of great co-op games that were played out with a really competitive edge; competing for resources, for kills, for everything; even killing eachother if the other player lets their guard down! (games like Joust are really good for this)
    With other friends its all about kindness and support. We get more of a kick out of healing eachother at a key moment, or rescuing the other person from heavy fire than we do from beating the game or getting a big score.

    My point is that it can all be good, as long as both parties are playing by the same rules.
    No other ‘laws’ would be useful, or possible.

    The game crashing your mission tho, and the uninvited player? Both would annoy me, so that’s a real shame it worked out that way.
    (getting familiar with your Away and Busy settings should help avoid similar situations in the future tho)

  16. Raz avatar

    1) I don’t mind mass messages.

    2) Free for all. But if it’s additional ammo (or weapons in some cases), share on basis of need. Can’t have your friend running into battle with only their wits.

    3) Helping hand. Always a good thing, especially if your clip runs out and they are charging with a hammer or sword.

    Is there friendly fire in Mercs 2? 🙂

Leave a Reply