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Trolling and its Effect on Competitive Gaming

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Posted by: Dustin Steiner

E-Sports Weekl-E Editorial – Trolling in Games and its Effects on the Competitive scene

We’ve all been there – we just steamrolled our opponent and feel like boosting our egos. Whether you’re telling someone to learn to play or taking it to the extreme and making the insults personal, it does make a gamer feel better for a time and more confident in their skills. When this crosses over onto a competitive level, drama ensues as it’s usually broadcast to thousands if not millions of fans around the world. While this is good in the short term – it gets people talking, posting on forums, getting excited about the matches and potential rival rematches down the line, is it a bad thing in the long run?

I would say that it is. In order for eSports to grow as a mainstream media, and get more sponsors and new people interested in these games, people are going to be expecting some level of professionalism otherwise it will just degenerate into what would basically play out like an episode of Monday Night RAW (or professional wrestling). That’s not to say it would be totally a bad thing to have some theatrics, but there is a limit to it. Let me link an example – check out this promo video for Team Evil Geniuses pick up of HuK of Team Liquid:

In this case, it was used as a marketing tool to get people interested in Team Evil Geniuses, and to publicize their acquisition of HuK, who was a prominent member of Team Liquid. In a way, the video itself could be seen as trolling by Evil Geniuses, kind of rubbing in the faces of the fans of Team Liquid.

This is just on a professional level – but when you break it down to a fan level, this is where things get nasty. As an example, let’s say there’s someone who sees a competitive Starcraft 2 match, registers for a battle.net account, and posts some questions about the game. There are three kinds of responses said person is likely to receive: A) The misinformed that gives a short-sighted or just plain wrong answer B) the troll, who makes fun of the original poster or C) the genuinely helpful person, which are far and few between. Having such a negative reaction from people on an everyman’s level just turns people off to the eSport as a whole – why would someone be interested in a game if the community just jumps down their throat for asking a few simple questions?

It would be like going to a sports bar to catch a football game and not necessarily being a fan of the game. In most cases, you can just turn to your neighbor and ask a question about the rules or a particular play and they would be genuinely interested in helping you understand the game. If you were to translate the experience that the forum poster had to real life and professional sports, here’s about how it would sound:

Mildly Interested (and someone who has no idea how football works) Fan: Hey, so if they ran the ball 4 yards in this situation, it would be a field goal right? Avid fan: What the hell? Who the $^&# do you think you are, asking questions like that? I mean, I bet you never even played football at a professional level.

Pretty ridiculous, right? That’s about how the Starcraft 2 or even League of Legends forums read, from people who are in the top tier speaking to lower tier players.

All in all, the act of trolling has an extremely adverse effect on competitive gaming as a whole because the more skilled players tend to pick on newcomers and thus there is a smaller amount of talent that could be developed if these pros could just learn to accept newcomers and be helpful – there are of course, exceptions to that rule, but as a whole it stands to be improved upon.

Hype Worthy Moment – Godsgarden 4 Grand Finals

Today, we’re going to watch the Godsgarden 4 Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition Grand Finals! Damn, that’s a mouthful. This is a great match between EG | Momochi and Fuudo, the EVO2011 champion.

Mad props to Fuudo on the win – that’s his second major tournament win of the year, and with his participation in Super Battle Opera coming up, we’ll see if he can go 3 for 3!

Dustin Steiner is Gamezone's eSports Correspondent and Freelance Editorial Writer! Follow him on Twitter @SteinerDustin

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