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When you start playing a game in multiplayer, the initial stages are the toughest stages to endure in terms of learning curve, hostility from experienced gamers.etc. As a result of that a word has been coined that reeks of social injustice and “objectification” of gamers who are not very good – Noob.
This slang has made its mark most in first person shooters such as Call of Duty, Battlefield.etc and has now also migrated to MMO’s and MMORPG’s like DOTA. I have been personally trying to figure out the psychology of a multiplayer match. I have come to the conclusion that there is certain sense of defeat which just cannot be tolerated by individuals. Everyone wants to win, and everyone also wants to have a player who plays exceptionally well in his/her team. The result is that you are creating classes dividing gamers according to their game-playing ability, which I feel is preposterous. Instead of promoting the true culture of gaming, you are segregating everyone out into classes.
How can this be reformed? Firstly have a tutorial to begin with. This is the most basic step any sane individual would take in action to this problem. The second thing is to create matches where you have players of essentially the same “level” competing. Please keep in mind that the word “level” does not mean rank or any other word in that particular context. Rank does not have anything to do necessarily with your “level” as there are gamers who play exceptionally well with a low rank. An analytics tool should be employed be gaming companies that look at how a gamer plays in a multiplayer match and essentially identify those individuals who do not necessarily perform to a certain benchmark. While this could be a topic of contentious debate, we could work around this idea in general.
Another thing we could include is a sort of mentor-protégé relationship. Experienced gamers could have an option to play in a game with newbies and help them out in their first matches by guiding them or by leading with example. This would not only facilitate an overall development of a new “recruit” but it would also deepen the ties among gamers across countries which is essentially what multiplayer gaming is all about. In order to encourage gamers into this venture, we could design a point and badge system wherein experienced gamers would get certain extra points which help them in levelling up and a get access to a few extra perks. Badges could be unlocked and displayed on their profile page that gives them a sense of accomplishment and “attractiveness” in the gaming community. This could then have a domino effect.
I do hope these points are taken into consideration the next time a MMO comes out. For now I have to temporarily accept a certain level of social alienation as I start playing a new multiplayer game. :P