Saturday, August 26, 2006

Those Wacky C**tbag Sayers...

Back in the early 90’s, when I had my first experience of the internet, I used IRC (Internet Relay Chat) a lot.

This fascination with IRC only lasted a few weeks until the novelty wore off, because as anyone who uses IRC can tell you; people on IRC fall into one of the following categories:

50% Horny teenage males, looking for anything female to have ‘cybersex’ with.

49% Assholes looking to start an argument.

1% Normal interesting people who are fun to have a half-hour chat with.

Basically, IRC is like any social setting, you tend to make one or two friends and stick with them because the asshole ratio is so high. Considering that today we have more easy and efficient means to talk to friends over the internet (such as Skype), it surprises me that IRC is still going strong.

Now I’m not complete trashing IRC and its variations. For example, while playing Second Life recently I started talking to someone and discovered that we were both British and had moved to the USA at around the same time (Although to different states). With this as a conversation starter, we discovered that we’d both grown up in the same town, went to the same schools and even the same college, just 5 years apart.

This was an amazing coincidence, and we had fun reminiscing about our old home town, what we miss, what we like about the states, etc. Now, this may sound really pathetic, but with the fact that I currently have no job, no transportation, and the only people I really get to talk to are my new in-laws, it was fun and a real breath of fresh air.

However, it’s not the good points of IRC I want to talk about today, in fact, I want to talk about one particular negative that I don’t feel I will ever understand.

I’m talking about the IRC-BS, more commonly known as the IRC Bitch Session.

This is were for no apparent reason, someone on IRC will do everything they can to pick a fight with you. This ultimately leads to them sending as many four letter tirades your way as they can think of. Even when you’ve stopped responding and decided not to waste any more time on them…the messages keep coming.

The simple fact is anonymity makes people brave… and for some reason they think calling someone a “Mutha F**king c**tbag c**ting s**tface f**ker” actually proves something.

Here’s the deal. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Chances are we’ll never meet in real life, and even if we do, we won’t recognize each other. What’s the point in trading insults? What does it prove, and more importantly, what’s the point?

If you think about it, technically, you’re typing insults into a little box on a screen that insults you back. It’s not like you’re arguing a point. It’s not as if the other person will suddenly concede that that are indeed a ‘pale friendless virgin bastard c**t’, and thank you for the attitude adjustment.

Nope, you’ll just trade increasingly creative insults until one of you gets bored and goes away.

However, I feel that there’s something deeper in this phenomenon. Something that passes normal assholeness, and delves deeper and deeper into really foul, disturbing and dark levels of dick-ocity that most of us will never experience.

It passes straight by regular assholeness and comes out the other side, twisted and unnatural.

For example, most online games have a chat feature. However, being in an online game is a situation where if you really feel like taking your aggression out on someone who has ‘insulted’ you in some way, your character has a gun in his hands, and the point of the game is to shoot your opponents.

Why not let your in-game gun do the talking?

It’s the equivalent of you getting into an argument in real life and someone threatening to beat the crap out of you, but when you stand back and say “Go on, take a shot!”…instead of swinging, they just start getting more graphic in the descriptions of how they’re going to beat you up.

“Yeah, I’m gonna kick your ass!”

“So do it! Go on, take a swing!”

“Yeah, I’m gonna beat you so bad, your mother won’t recognize you!”

“What are you waiting for then? Come on!”

“I’m gonna knock your teeth so far down your throat, you’ll have to stick your toothbrush up your ass to clean them!”

“Sigh…I’m waiting…”

“Then I’ll…”

Let me give you an example of something that happened to me recently.

I was playing Battlefront 2 online. Before I continue, I need to explain the point of this game:

Essentially two teams fight each other in a large environment. Dotted around this environment are control points. If your team captures all the control points, or kills all the other team, your team wins.

Now, there is a certain frowned-upon practice in online shooters called ‘camping’. This is where you set your character up in a hidden spot and wait for the enemy to come to you. A particularly heinous version of this is ‘spawn camping’.

A spawn point is where players who have been killed, re-enter the game. A spawn camper waits near this spot and blasts re-spawning players as soon as they re-enter the game.

The point of this practice is that it doesn’t give the spawning players any time to react or defend themselves. You get killed, and the second you re-start you get a rocket in the face. In short, it’s a way for a player to get a huge kill count using no skill whatsoever.

However, in a game like Battlefront, camping doesn’t apply. You see, the way you capture a control point in this game is to kill all the enemies around it and stay alive for a certain amount of time while standing next to it. Once you’re within a certain distance of the control point, a timer starts to tick down, and when it reaches zero, you’ve captured it. If a player from the other team is still in proximity to the control point, the timer freezes.

Basically, if you didn’t camp, or shoot players as soon as they spawned at that control point, you couldn’t capture it.

It goes from a frowned-upon practice to a required tactic.

In other words, you over-run the control point, forcing the enemy to choose another control point that’s in their possession to spawn at. On the other side of the coin, you have to ‘camp’ at control points in your possession in order to defend them from the other team.

So let me get back to my point.

I was playing this game, and a few other members of my team and I are trying to capture a control point. With a certain degree of difficulty, we cleared out the enemy defenders and took up defensive positions ourselves to wait out the timer.

Now, any experienced player knows that when the map shows that your control point is over-run, you choose a different point to spawn at and launch a counter-attack from there.

Spawning into a control point that’s over-run is suicide, because you’re suddenly appearing amongst 5-10 heavily armed opponents. It’s far better to spawn at a nearby point, and attempt to take back the lost control point in force from there.

Not one guy.

He spawned at the same over-run control point no less than five times, and less than surprisingly, he got peppered within seconds of spawning each time. What did he expect? For my team to think:

Hey, lets not shoot at this guy! Let’s let him shoot us all, and make the big battle we just won to get to this CP completely pointless! Why bother trying to win?

Then came the IRC-BS:

“U Fucken camper shit! U suck u fucken n00b!!!”

I made the mistake of responding. I simply said:

“This is an assault map. It’s not camping. It’s called ‘suppressing a control point’.”

Seriously, this is like playing paint-ball and being accused of cheating for defending your flag.

Of course, instead of just playing the game, my response got me 25 minutes of badly spelled insults. This guy wasn’t even playing the game anymore. He was just hiding in a corner and typing messages questioning my parentage, my sexual preferences and making insinuations that I like to do illegal things with goats.

That’s the part I don’t understand.

You see, in normal IRC, if you have anger management problems, or just enjoy being a dick, showing you can’t spell and showcasing your enjoyment of four letter tirades is the only way to vent that misplaced and irrational anger.

In an online shooter, however, you’re giving a whole host of heavy weaponry, and using that weaponry against the other team is actively encouraged.

Your character is carrying a blaster-rifle, my character is out there in the environment running about. If I’ve somehow pissed you off, you’re quite within your rights to hunt me down and shoot me in the head.

So, when given that option, why do you choose instead to type insulting messages to me? If you beat me at the game, at least you’d have proven something (even if it is only that you’re better than a complete stranger at a video game). Writing four letter tirades only proves one thing. That you’re a tool worthy only of ignoring.

Ah! I think I’m beginning to see a glimmer of understanding.

The people who choose to insult complete strangers online are like the short, drunk people you see in bars. They know that everyone else in the bar could crush them into a fine powder with little effort and feel they have something to prove. They know they’d be obliterated instantly in an actual fight, so instead make as much noise as possible…knowing that most people won’t actually teach them some manners, because they’d feel bad about beating someone up who’s a clear two feet shorter than them.

…only online, they don’t have any worries at all about actually getting their heads kicked in.

No comments: