Why I don’t play online games

My foray into the world of gaming online has been brief, to say the least, and barring the occasional trip to the online pool of tea-baggers for review purposes – I avoid it like the Kardashians avoid talent and class.

My first ever real, “proper” experience of online gaming came when I decided to buy Guild Wars. I’d always wanted to play an MMORPG, but wasn’t too keen on the whole subscription thing so GW was a perfect fit.

Just as well, because in retrospect, I don’t think I’d be too happy paying a monthly fee to simply avoid other people.

After getting through the initial stages on my own, I decided to take the plunge and go on a quest with some other willing adventurers. I found a trio of willing participants a few levels above me, and off we went. We encountered some massive beastie, and despite my argument of “hey guys, we might be a bit too weak to-” they ran ahead to tackle the monster – and subsequently died.

Then it came after me.

When I was finished being pulverised, I tried a different approach – questing with some people I knew, who had formed a guild. This didn’t end any better, considering they were leagues above me in level, and raced ahead destroying everything in their path.

Everything except for the one beastie they missed (it was the same kind as before) that I then encountered, alone, while trying to catch up.

When I was finished being pulverised, again, I tried a different approach – I played the game using the AI-controlled henchmen. I got pretty far, and then lost interest in the game forever.

Let's get it, guys! Guys?

Years later, I was coerced into buying Team Fortress 2 by a few online friends, who promised me that the game was super fun. And it did sound super fun. About 8GB of downloaded data later, I was in – and was suddenly faced with the task of choosing a character to play as.

Playing with said friends, I tried out pretty much all classes, before settling on playing as a Medic. I liked the class because it was more supportive, and I didn’t have to worry about leading an assault, failing, and looking like a toss, suffering the scorn of everyone around me. Oh how little did I know.

Once other people (who weren’t my friends) got involved, being a Medic seemed somewhat less glamorous – as everyone needs a Medic, and everyone calls for a Medic, and when the Medic doesn’t arrive in time to prevent their comical deaths, it’s the Medic’s fault and the Medic is a toss. Stupid Medic.

Stupid Medic.

So it was time for a class change – except by this point, everything seemed so useless, as no matter what I played, the dudes who had been playing the game since it was released were so far ahead that my noobish attempts at doing anything were met with laughter and general utterances of “hey go for that <nickname here> guy, he’s total fragbait!”. That was the last time I voluntarily exposed myself to the world of gaming online.

It wasn’t until recently, with the purchase of a shiny new iPad, that online gaming even became a thing anymore. In the freemium build-a-city, fight-your-friends and spend a lot of money iOS game, BattleNations, the only way to get your hands on rare resources is to participate in PvP battles with other random players from around the world. Upon being defeated after one such battle (which is easy to do) – a message appeared in my in-game inbox saying: “lol. xD”

That’s the closest you can get on iOS to tea-bagging.

Even after all these years, across various genres – nothing has changed.

Also, PvP has some balance issues.

My experience of online gaming is simple – online gamers are dicks. Sure, you can argue that it depends on the gamers you play with – if you have a core group of friends to game with, then it can be pleasant and delightful. Except of course, it’s not. It always boils down to having the competitive edge – even in a game of Rayman Origins which isn’t online – things get competitive really quickly, with people trying to dick each other over, and being unwilling to help out; favouring to laugh at your untimely demise over making real progress through the game.

Perhaps I’m a different breed of gamer that doesn’t care about being the best – or perhaps I just suck at games; but why should that matter anyway? Why does everything have to be a competition? Why do I need to try and be better than anyone else? And what pleasure do you derive out of being a gawking douche?

Whatever the case or argument, I find that when other people are involved, my gaming experience is completely sucked dry of any fun – with only the rare exceptions. The kind of behaviour exhibited online is so strikingly similar to the kind shown by people I tend to avoid in real life, that I’ve made the conscious decision to avoid it at all costs – even if that means having to use the ‘forever alone meme’ in reference to my gaming culture.

And I ain't even mad.

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