It’s easy to dismiss the hostility of hardcore games towards “noobs” as nothing more than anti-social behavior, but the truth is much more complicated than that, and rooted in years of marginalization.
Gamers can be an unfriendly bunch at times, quick to sneer at someone for asking a question or for a perceived lack of skill. Venturing online for help or advice can often be fraught with danger, as long-time gamers erect walls of scorn to separate them from the “noobs.” In his article Curing the Noobonic Plague, which appears in Issue 265 of The Escapist, Bryan Lufkin examines some of the psychology behind this behavior, and tries to put it into some kind of perspective.
The old school-versus-noob phenomenon reminds [psychologist Jamie] Madigan of the kind of hazing that can show up at college fraternities and sororities … “People who have to endure hardships to get or enjoy something are much more likely to value it than people who get it without those hardships,” Madigan says.
“They may overvalue their history and knowledge of gaming trivia while resenting new entrants to the scene who didn’t have to go through what they did to get it.”
Enduring hardships doesn’t excuse the behavior, and it’s sad to see those who have spent so being long picked on themselves doing the same thing to others. All the same, it’s interesting to get an insight into how such a hostile culture came about.