Battle.net is So Lucky
Having my StarCraft II A.I. opponent telling me “gg,” StarCraft short talk for “good game,” made me doubt for a second whether or not I was actually playing against a computer. It also got me thinking about the custom of signaling the end of a game with “gg.” In the beginning, it must have meant “good game” literally, but now it more something like,
“gg (I’m done. I lose.),” says Player 1.
“gg (Yeah, I know.),” Player 2 replies.
Yet, despite the meaning of “gg” having changed, the very fact that it still stands for “good game” tints the underlying messages of surrender, and the practice somehow keeps the StarCraft II Battle.net community civil.
After all, getting mobbed by hundreds of zerglings or getting carriers warped in behind your base could easily evoke some sort of expletive ridden, “can’t beat’em so hurt’em with words” rage quit. Instead, StarCraft II has this custom of “gg.” Everyone knows that’s what you do.
What About the Rest of Us?
Do other games have something like “gg?” Do they have anything at all? What is one supposed to say at the end of a 750 to 120 point team death match blow out? Perhaps the reason online console gaming can be so unpleasant is because no one really knows what to say. Unlike StarCraft, no custom arose for post game conduct, or perhaps an entirely different custom took hold.
This will sound familiar. Don’t like the way a match is going? Curse out your teammates. Opposition listening in? Curse them out too. Winning a game? Mock the other team’s collective manhood and whatnot. The fact that I can type these generalizations and everyone who’s ever read anything about online gaming can probably come up with specific examples they’ve either experienced or watched on Youtube seems to suggest that there is a customary way to act on XBOX Live. It’s R-Rated, testosterone laden action star style, with a hint of whining.
I think the situation on Live is rather sad. I have many friends who will never know the fun in online gaming simply because they don’t want to be subjected to that community.
Who is to Blame?
I blame the players.(Super generalization alert) Have you ever noticed how gamers also tend to be wise-crackers? In my experience with male gamers I don’t know, everyone wants to say smart ass stuff. Look at the comments on gaming websites for proof. There’s the tough guy persona that really competitive gamers have and also the ever present desire to be “cool” in front of strangers. I think a person from any one of these archetypes would have difficulties saying something like “good game” at the end of a Modern Warfare or Halo match. It just doesn’t sound cool. It sounds much cooler to say something like “You guys *@!#ng suck!” Fits the feel of those games better as well.
I also blame the press in some respects. There seems to be this press perpetuated notion that XBOX Live is this lawless, untamable frontier, where anything and everything goes. This either tells Live virgins to steer clear or makes newcomers think they can do and say whatever they want. There’s not really much condemnation of the way life is on Live, mostly just mirthful smirking. How is anyone supposed to believe that things can change for the better if all they see is “that’s just the way it is” attitude?
Because it’s Not Really About the Blame
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would like to see a change. Playing games online should be fun and accessible to everyone, and maybe something like the “gg” custom on Battle.net would help XBOX Live and other games reach that state.
In the end though, it’s up to us, the players. What is the “gg” equivalent outside of StarCraft? For all I know, there is something like that out there already, but if we don’t help perpetuate that instead of the status quo, then the status quo wins.
And everyone else loses.