The old saying, "treat others like you want to be treated," is an important part of human decency and respect. I have noticed that in my adventures on the card table or on the digital battlefield, this is something that most gamers forget.
I understand a little bit of trash talk, but sometimes the remarks can go way too far. You may never meet some of the people you battle on "Halo 4" or "Call of Duty," but why berate them and use horribly offensive language, especially when there are younger kids who play?
I have to admit that I sometimes get dragged into these tirades online, but there is one thing that is said often on online games that I will not do. A lot of gamers use the word "rape" when referring to winning at a game. I find this terrible and inexcusable to compare such a horrible act to a game.
I don't know if it is me getting older or just developing a better understanding of the world, but I just can't handle some of the people online. I find myself frequently blocking and muting players who do not seem to care what they say. Again, I admit that I do fall into the trap sometimes, but I try to be much more tame about my language and the things that I say. It comes down to respect. You have to respect each other. There are tons of gamers out there and there are still many negative stereotypes about us. Trash talk that goes too far does nothing but hurt the community.
The topic for this column stems from a conversation on Facebook between a bunch of card gamers. I'm not going to mention names or go into great detail, but the conversation started over the playability of a certain set of cards in Magic The Gathering. As the conversation unfolded, it was like two people were targeting one person who liked to use the cards in question. While I agreed with the two that the cards were not very good, I did not like the way the gang mentality seemed to take over. The conversation went as far as lumping a rather large group of people together in what I saw as a negative light.
Magic is a creative game that allows you to construct your own deck of cards to fit your play style. Some decks are better than others, and I tend to try to play with more competitive cards, but some people don't. That decision is up to them, and the cards they want to use is their decision. Constructive criticism is one thing, but being rude and attacking is a whole other thing.
I chimed in the conversation and probably shouldn't have because it drew it out longer. Competitive Magic players are a whole different breed from the casual players. They both accuse each other of negative things. The competitive crowd will dog the casual folks for playing with weak cards and not taking the game seriously, while the casual players accuse their counterparts of "netdecking" and not being original.
Netdecking is a term used to refer to players who only build successful tournament decks that they obtain online. Magic has a robust professional player circuit with big prizes and tons of prestige in the community. Everything from state championships to national and world championships exists. Pros write online articles and feature their creations and will even make suggestions on how to tackle the current game state or metagame. The metagame is the most popular decks that are putting up the best win percentages.
Both groups of players view the game differently, but they both play for the same reason - to have fun. If everyone is just looking to have fun, I don't understand why it sometimes turns ugly and it infiltrates the game. Most casual players I know still will build competitive decks when competing in a tournament and most competitive players have a casual deck to play.
In a smaller town like Elkins, these two groups have to play with each other and interact because the player base is so small. The negativity hurts the gaming community and may turn some people from the game. That is something I hate to see. I know in my gaming group we all get along pretty well - there are disagreements over cards and decks, but we try to help one another to get better. Every once in a while there is drama over the game, but it isn't necessary and kind of stupid.
We all want to have fun. Gaming is a release for us. Treat each other with respect and good times will be had by all. If we don't, the small gaming communities can crumble, and that is no fun for anyone.