Wednesday, March 16, 2011

my sick, yet passionate love affair with halo: reach

It has happened again. After a long hiatus from the world of Halo and it's noisy inhabitants, I have returned and I am pleased to say that I am enjoying my stay thus far. When I last played, my talents were less than impressive and I often found myself at the bottom of the leaderboards nearly every match. In case I didn't notice my place among the dregs, the higher ranking player quickly informed me of my 
inferiority. Opponents ran through me like a horde of ravenous zombies (the 28 Days Later kind, obviously), leaving me frustrated and teary-eyed so I said farewell-for-now to save myself further embarrassment.

Since that time, I've played a variety of game genres, ranging from role playing and horror to free-roaming and other members of the shooter family. Several gamerpoints later (pushing 30,000 now) I felt the urge to jump back into Halo: Reach and see if I had the know-how to compete with the big boys. As I entered my first match, I was mentally preparing myself for the emotional beat-down I was about to take willingly and then something odd happened. I didn't get absolutely torn apart! I was headshotting noobs like the best of them and frankly, I thought perhaps it was a fluke. This new, strange smell of victory continued to flow to me game after game and I haven't been able to put the controller down since.

My question is this: What has changed? In the past 8 hours or so (according to Raptr) there has been one blindingly apparent change. There was a significant decrease in 12-15 year-olds screaming racial epithets into my ear. This is a very welcome change from the habits that continually plague online multiplayer communities. The combination of Mountain Dew, simulated violence, anonymity and some other factor (we'll call it Element Yuck) has repeatedly brought out the worst in gamers for as long as I've been toggling joysticks. Upon returning to Halo: Reach however, I've noticed that the concentration of Element Yuck has decreased dramatically, making online gaming fun for the mature adult. Fellow players will congratulate one another when performing a unique or impressive kill. The winning team has replaced the usual, "you suck" or some horrible story about sexually attacking a member of my family with more pleasant goodbyes.

This turn around in attitude is what I am mostly contributing my newly found success to. Being a part of a team or group of gamers who don't personally attack one another, allow you to focus on the game and not on running out of the room in tears.  While I'm am positive that this is not an across the board thing, I applaud the Halo community for stepping their social intelligence up enough to actually enjoy the game. 

I know there are those of you out there still dropping profanity after profanity and ostracizing new players, but do us all a favor and keep to yourselves. The rest of us are trying to have a good time.

*I feel that I should note that I did tinker with the Psych Profile before jumping into a game. Also, I've never really cried while playing Halo. What's that? Tekken?! No! Please...I can't take that abuse again.*

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