By amarriner 36 Comments
What is it that compels a person to message another person after a game? Online matches can be intense, there's an emotional investment, and a strong drive to win. But after it's done, why waste the time it takes (especially slogging through the XBOX messaging system) to send what is usually an inane and profane note? Perhaps just to blow off steam? So that the losing player feels a little better about themselves? Not everyone does this, of course, but it's interesting to think about who does and why. At least to me anyway so I'll continue.
Recently, I've been playing Halo Wars again after a several month hiatus. I'm working on the Legendary co-op campaign with a friend for the most part, but we also will play a few matches of multiplayer here and there. The highest frequency of hate mail comes to both of us from this game. My friend is a legit 100 in Gears of War 2 who was once ranked in the 20's on the Annex leaderboards and he got fewer messages in that game then he does in Halo Wars. I think that in some cases people go into that game being good at Halo 3 and assume they'll be good at Halo Wars (even knowing full well that it's a completely different type of game). The actual content differs but generally it comes down to the fact that we suck because we won. Backwards logic!
So I'm approaching this whole this as a sort of meta-game alongside any particular online game I'm playing at the moment. Rather than being annoyed at these messages I'll respond back in an attempt to elicit more responses. Maybe that's a childish thing to do, but hell what can I say? What's of particular interest is if I get a textual message to begin with and then it escalates into a gout of profanity laden voice which is pure comedy gold. Good thing I play after my kids go to sleep! In the past I'd simply block communications, naturally. Now I'll see how much effort this person will put into chiding me for: having no life, sucking, being a douche, etc.
Anonymity is a funny thing. It affords a particular kind of freedom in this online environment so many of us frequent. How like this seething mass of hate filled text are the authors? Would they say the same thing directly to my face were we in the same room? I wonder. For now I'll enjoy my messages and try to work out a reasoning behind them. Until they become annoying again, anyway.