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In response to “War and Peace” from The Escapist Forum: I believe that anybody has the right to use whatever platform they most desire to exercise their freedom of speech and their right to protest.

I admire those who seek to use video games for things the developers never imagined, such as platforms for expression and protest.

It is true that video games (all media, really) sanitize and romanticize warfare.

With that being said, if I get into a game of Unreal Tournament 3 or Halo 3 and somebody is engaging in a peace rally, one of two things will happen: if you are my opponent, you will be marked as an easy kill and you will cost your team a good deal of points; if you are my teammate, you will get a polite yet stern earful about how this is a game, and there is an objective to be met, and if you do not want to work towards that objective then you need to leave.

Sandbox games as protest? Brilliant. Criticizing a game for making war look pretty when war, is indeed, Hell? Perfect. Injecting protests in such a manner that it directly (and negatively) impacts somebody’s game play experience? That’s disrespectful.

Of course, there are ways to criticize said protests and there are ways to just look like a fool. Telling somebody to “go play with their Barbie” is the latter.


Make a video game that shows war in its true, brutal form. Now that is a form of protest that lacks condescension and moves the industry forward all at the same time.

The problem is that such an opt-in method of delivering your message is fundamentally democratic, while protesting is fundamentally undemocratic; it’s about giving disportionate focus to a particular view in a way that’s hard to disregard. The protestor’s mindset is that loud, annoying public demonstrations get their message out better than simply putting it somewhere people might pick it up and read it of their own accord.

Plus, such games seldom work because, particular with FPS games, the actual way the game functions runs counter to the message you’re trying to deliver. Neither Haze or Blacksite could hide their derision for their own subject matter, and being asked to play through a game that’s constantly bitching at you for enjoying it and refusing to show any positive side to anything you do is stupid; the game just becomes a chore, only it’s an amazingly emo chore that keeps telling you that you shouldn’t be doing it.

A game that proclaims it shows the realities of war still needs to show courage, duty, heroism and sacrifice if it wants to be anything but the opposite kind of one-sided. CoD: World at War is fairly good in that respect, not hiding the vicious, even monstrous acts that occur during the campaign, but also showing loyalty between soldiers, officers who want to get their men home, and so on. The logic that a game where you can die already really needs a list of real-life deaths to ‘give perspective’ or whatever, on the other hand, is just going to make tedious games that whine at the player for doing the things they have to do to finish the levels.

Evil Tim


In response to “A Folk Hero for the Online Age” from The Escapist Forum: If Jesse James and Bonnie & Clyde hold as examples, griefers will all die in a hail of gunfire.

Anyway, let me tell you about how successful griefers are in making a stamp on history: you didn’t name a single specific griefer in an article specifically about how they might be individually remembered. Not one. You mentioned games – EVE, Second Life, WoW – and the odd co-opted event – the Zombie Outbreak – but didn’t name a single specific griefer. They’ve certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer’s place in history.


I will admit, there are some times when Griefing can not only be funny, but not actually harm people’s enjoyment of the game. I’m sure most people here have seen Team Roomba’s TF3 Griefing videos. And if you have, you’ll remember the trivia contest thing one guy did, when he glitched the door jammed and wouldn’t let his team out until they answered his trivia questions. At first, I thought that was incredibly annoying. Then I thought about it, and I realized I would love for something like that to happen to me when I’m playing. Just to throw me for a loop, change my game experience a bit.

On the other hand, the common griefer is just annoying, for the most part. Wall glitching, shooting through the floor, that kind of thing, they all are just exploiting broken parts of the game that, while they may seem cool to the people actually doing the griefing, ruin the experience for the people who are trying to play the game seriously. I for one am not a fan of spawning to find that someone has glitched their way into the spawn point just to shoot me over and over again before I can even play. I can no longer play Counter Strike because of how many people know all the glitches and stuff. There’s no way for me to win anymore.



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In response to “Wanted: Ganked or Alive” from The Escapist Forum: The problem with trying to punish a griefer in-game is that the griefer is ultimately playing a meta-game; any punishment you impose is just going to cause them to switch proxies and create a new account, because they aren’t attached to their “actual” progress in the game as much as they are their ability to undermine other people’s time investments. As long as a relatively new character maintains the ability to be even slightly annoying or destructive, griefers will always have the upper hand.

Consider the idea of an “elected” board of officials. Imagine for a moment how easy it would be for griefers to overrun such a board and take control of it from the inside — and consider how incredibly tempting it would be for them, especially if such a board had any kind of power. All they’d need to do is talk their friends into making a hundred characters apiece, and voting once (or a million times each, if the vote is conducted foolishly).

In real life, the penalty for being a sociopath is that you don’t get an extra life. If we lock you in jail for life or kill you or whatever, you’re dead; all games are over for you. Online, however, no punishment lasts any longer than the griefer chooses to let it last, unless he’s made the foolish “mistake” of actually caring about the game.


This article has to be a joke. Allen Varney wrote PARANOIA, for goodness sake. There is no possibility that he is as naive and silly as he portrays himself.

The projected solutions to griefing are kind of hysterical, and seem rather PARANOIA-ish in themselves. But the idea that player-run government will eliminate griefing? That has to be satire/humour, surely? Everything we’ve ever seen from online communities (which tend towards, with all due respect, being petty-natured, vindictive, clique-y, and generally like the High School from Hell), and from people suddenly handed power, and, if one is even a little cynical, from human nature and history flies directly in the face of that. The Judge Dredd reference, I mean, come on, you’re kidding right, Allen? This is all a big a joke at the expense of The Escapist’s readership, right, right? With players in charge, the main things we can expect are anyone the leadership dislikes being labelled a “griefer”, and genuinely horrid individuals who are “in” with the leadership being given virtually free reign to do what they like.



In response to “A Griefer’s Life for Me” from The Escapist Forum: To be fair, in anything, there is a time and place for it. Ironically, I wouldn’t wholly call what the article describes merely “griefing” in the derogatory sense. The author here is describing an honest to goodness high grade /prank/. There’s nothing inherently wrong or objectionable about a good prank. But look at it this way.

A good prank can invite others in to laugh with the joke and join in on the fun. That’s what happened in this World of Warcraft anecdote.

Most of what goes on in online games under the banner of griefing though, isn’t a good prank. Most of it is just trying to break the game for other players to make them made and spoil any potential for fun they have. It doesn’t allow them the opportunity to laugh along with the joke. They’re just a meat target.

Typically, the old line holds true: trolls accuse everyone else of having no sense of humor, but everyone else is just trying to say “it’s not that I have no sense of humor, it’s just that your idea of humor stinks.”


That actually sounds like a lot of fun! Usually when I think of griefers, I think of people who get in your way on purpose, or try to make it impossible to play. This endeavour actually seems like what the developers wanted, which is really where MMOs shine: the players get to decide how the game is structured.

Most multiplayer games have a very rigid rule set of “go in to the server, try to complete the objective, leave”. With WoW and other MMOs, the objective becomes “go in to a server, make some friends, find what you want to do, how you want to do it.” I applaud the creative use of the PvP server here. In fact, I would actually participate in it (on the Alliance side, of course) if I ever played WoW. If the subscription fee is ever low enough, maybe I will.



In response to “The Escapist On: Griefing” from The Escapist Forum: Killing people of the opposing faction on a PvP server is pretty normal, they’re enemies after all so you kill them on sight. That’s what factions mean.

The Eve ripoff seller, well, isn’t the whole point of the game to make money? I wouldn’t say that was a trick with no purpose, sounds more like a trick to make a ton of money quickly. Or did the money you pay end up flowing down the drain of the economy instead of going into that player’s pockets?

IMO it’s not griefing as long as it’s done to a valid target, you’re allowed to do anything you want to enemies but turning on your own team is where the freedom ends, you do that and you deserve a ban. Many people add stupid extra rules to games, especially RTSes, that ban any strategy they are unable to cope with (often because they plain suck at the game) and, well, sometimes they don’t even spell them out. In Spring we have tons of people who complain about comnaps, comdrops, etc, all of which are high risk strategies that can either win the game immediately or lose it just as fast. Some people think those strategies are griefing but they’re actually accounted for by the designers of the games.


No, griefing cannot be stopped. Not like the guy said in the video, like just log out, go have a drink or something and when you come back, hopefully the giefer already left. That’s cowardice. If you give in to the griefer, he already won, because the ultimate goal of a griefer is to ruin everyone else’s fun to his own amusement. And if he manages to aggravate you to the point you quit the game, that’s the victory dance for the griefer, because he defeated you, he proved that you are a n00b, you suck and he is the ultimate demigod of [insert game]. You won’t ruin his fun by getting angry, and certainly not by (even indirectly) admitting defeat, in fact, you are making him stronger.

Griefer lives off of the…well…grief of their victims, it’s in the name. If you take that away from him, he loses interest. The griefer feeds off of the pain, aggravation and misery of other players, but if you don’t show any of that, soon he’ll lose interest and move on. The best way to make a griefer leave, is to pay absolutely no attention to him. Mute him on voice chat and ignore everything he does. This is good for two reasons. One, you are not enabling him, and two, you won’t get angry and ruin your own fun. Sure, you are a level 4 Nobody on the server, and he is a lvl 86 Warrior/Mage/Awesome and he killed you in one hit “kekeke! LOL n00b!”‘d you, looted your lifeless corpse and left looking for other prey. Was that unfair? Sure. Was that evil? Yes. Can you do anything about it? No. So why get aggravated? You’ll just making him have more fun, if you run around cursing his name. Accept the fact that such bastards exist, ignore the hell out of him, and try to have fun with the other, normal people on the server.


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