Impact Gaming go undercover in the world of online games to see how the internet treats gaming ‘noobs’.

Payday: The Heist

The main experience I’ve had being a new player in a multiplayer game is with Payday: The Heist. This cooperative game sets a group of up to four players as bank robbers who carry out various missions which surround their criminal life. Most of these missions are split up into stages, and without prior knowledge of these the game can be confusing for new players. As a result you can quickly start to slow your team down.

Clearly this can be annoying for others, but my experience with playing this game a year after its release showed nothing but a helpful and open community who wanted to share their collected knowledge of the game. This was most evident in a level called “Diamond Heist” which is a mission best completed in stealth – a difficult challenge for new players.

The fun I had learning how to best approach this level and being guided by different team members to success, as well as the fun antics when we (rather inevitably) raised the alarm, is still one of my favourite gaming experiences so far. As a result of this I thoroughly believe that a friendly community is one of the best attributes a game can have, especially one which is predominantly multiplayer.

I decided that I would try to get into it and see how, as a new player, I would be treated. The answer: very well.

Natural Selection 2

I originally bought Natural Selection 2 in the Steam Summer Sale but due to a mixture of me splurging out on lots of new games and poor internet connection at home, I never really played it. In retrospect, I probably should have given it more of a chance. Now I’m at uni again and I have better connection, I decided that I would try to get into it and see how, as a new player, I would be treated. The answer: very well.

There is a big push by the developers to get players to be accepting and friendly towards new players and it seems to be working; none of this toxic stuff you get on many First Person Shooters and Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas. I especially like the fact that there are a lot of servers that openly welcome new players; this helps anyone who hasn’t played the game properly (like me) to feel like they can delve into it without feeling alienated.

League of Legends

League of Legends has a possibly unfair reputation as being a game with a very ‘toxic’, community. Interestingly, we found that League of Legends players’ emotions in battle often mirrored those we would expect in real life. An obviously unskilled player that was visibly a low level in the game (or in other words, a ‘noob’) was given help, and advice on character selection and abilities was frequently received. Even when conceding “my bad!” after a mistake, one player simply replied “no problem.” Not a great deal of fury and foul language there.

There is little room for error amongst the big leagues.

However, much changes when the stakes are raised. High level players are heavily persecuted for making mistakes, often resorting to profanity in order to communicate their rage. In addition, on one occasion we met team players who believed they were actually extremely good and that it was their teammates that were the cause of the problem. These players enjoyed belittling everyone else on the team and speaking primarily in capitals.

This can be put down to the Dunning-Kruger effect (whereby inexperienced players are made to feel inferior); something that seems fairly widespread amongst the higher level players. Overall then, we can take away from this that there is little room for error amongst the big leagues in League of Legends, but the online community can (and will usually) be forgiving to new players that are clearly inexperienced.

Tim Mallard, Robert Priest & Tom Welshman

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Image: Roxanne Ready

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