Fighting with honour on the digital battlefield

honour US, honor [ˈɒnə]n

1. personal integrity; allegiance to moral principles
2.a. fame or glory
b. a person or thing that wins this for another he is an honour to the school
3. (often plural) great respect, regard, esteem, etc., or an outward sign of this
4. (often plural) high or noble rank

I want you to take a moment and look closely at the picture attached to this article. Notice anything unusual? No, I’m not big noting myself for coming in as top player of a fairly average round. Get a gander at the last player on the opposing side. This gamer outstripped us all… in Bizarro world. A negative score nearly five times that of my round, and what prize did they get for such a stellar performance? A loss. Not only for the player, but the entire team. Why? Because this little spud decided to lace the M-Com station in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 with C4, repeatedly, so they could get some gadget specific kills. Great tactics if you’re attacking, as it damages the station, but unfortunately this genius was on the defending team. So they were constantly contributing to a checkpoint loss, just to work towards unlocking an achievement or trophy, or some other selfish accolade.

The end result? This gamer gets maybe a half a dozen kills to add to their total, a negative in the win column, gives a helping hand to the opposing side and ruins the game for the nine other players on their team by guaranteeing a loss.

I’m sorry, but that’s just pathetic.

Actually, you know what? I’m not sorry. I’m pissed off.

I’m pissed off that this gamer only thought of themselves. I’m pissed off that I had to play against them and not have my skills properly tested, but most of all I’m pissed off that the online multiplayer verse is populated by an increasing amount of gamers who consider this type of play ‘standard’, that would shrug this kind of behaviour off, or worse still, encourage it.

Who the hell are you people, and more importantly, where is your sense of honour?

Yeah, that’s right. Honour.

There is no difference between a multiplayer online shooter and sports, as far as a code of conduct goes, and that accolade-loving player did the equivalent of taking a bribe or tanking the game for personal gain. It’s like faking an injury in soccer or putting the ball in your own goal. In ancient times, your peers would demand you sacrifice a part of your little finger as a visible reminder of your disrespect, though probably after that performance, seppuku would be a healthier alternative. At least then, for once, you would die with honour intact.

Honour.

I’m stunned that many of you just don’t seem to get it. After investing significant hours into two titles over the years, namely 330-odd hours in the criminally underappreciated Warhawk, and just over 150 hours in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, I can be silent no more. You know who you are, and you are ruining each game for its ‘proper’ players. Maybe you adopt a deathmatch philosophy to capture the flag by ignoring the TEAM BASED objectives and just concentrate on your kill count. Maybe you’re a spawn camper, if so, you should fuck right off and learn how to play with a little something called ‘skill’ rather than relying on cheap kills to pad your online CV. I wish I could throw the lot of you into dedicated servers. You could hang in each others home bases and snipe till your heart’s content, leaving real gamers to play each title the way they were intended to.

Why am I taking it so personally? I’m sick and tired of feeling like I’m the only player, or part of the only squad (since most of my online cohorts actually know how to play video games) concentrating on the objective at hand. It’s called playing with integrity. Sure, we could all spawn camp and nail the other team down so that each opponent takes three steps after respawning and dies, but where’s the challenge or satisfaction in that victory? Wouldn’t you prefer a hard fought win (or even defeat), firm in the knowledge that you gave it everything you had and played to the best of your ability FOR YOUR TEAM?

Just to be clear, you want to go spawn camp, go play deathmatch where the objective IS to kill the other team, and that alone. But when it comes to something like capture the flag or running with my analogies of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, playing Conquest or Rush modes, defend the flag or M-Com station, disarm it when you hear it beeping LOUDLY. The number of times I’ve noticed it’s armed and, as a defender, bolted back past a half a dozen teammates, much closer to it than I was, with their feet firmly planted in the ground, oblivious, is astounding. If it’s destroyed, you are one step closer to a loss. How can you not get the simple logic behind that?

In combat, The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the US Government. It is bestowed on members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy.” It is most often awarded posthumously, meaning the recipient of this distinguished medal more than likely gave their life, so their brothers in arms could win the day. The US Marine Corps adopted the saying “Semper Fi” from the Latin “semper fidelis”, which translates to ‘Always Faithful’ and has a leave-no-man-behind philosophy. I don’t see any awards given to soldiers that blow up their own home base or let their teammates down; only gamers reap rewards from this type of behaviour.

I perceive honour in gaming as playing for the needs of the collective, at personal sacrifice. As anyone who’s played alongside me can attest, I’ve often said I would (and have) gladly die 100 times over and score no points as long as the team wins. How many of you can boast the same?

Here’s a piece of free advice. In Battlefield: Bad Company 2 you might notice you’re the last member of your squad alive and hold position behind enemy lines to give your squad-mates time to respawn, thus putting yourself, squad and team in an advantageous position. Hey Assault guys, how about throwing down an ammo crate if you see a squad-mate crouched in a defensive position, or even something ludicrous like when THEY ASK YOU FOR ONE. It has happened more times than I’d care to remember, dying from a lack of ammo after pleading with a teammate to just hit left on the D-pad. It ain’t that fucking hard.

Maybe you spy a tank raping your home base, decide to throw and trigger some C4, with no regard for your own life, losing a mere ten points off your score for a suicide, but earning a welcome respite for the entire team. My kill/death ratio has gone down 2-3% because I often trigger C4 to take out an obstacle in my team’s path before I’m clear of the kill zone. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but that’s part and parcel of how I play.

To the douche-nozzle hogging the UAV and doing absolutely fuck all with it, why not try spotting the enemy (goes double for you snipers) and actually putting the damned thing to some use, instead of pretending you’re at a park with your brother’s model helicopter chasing pigeons or whatever the hell you think you’re doing. Better still, get a teammate to cover it in C4 and make the M-com station go bye bye. It’s the only way to fly.

Medics, how about before running in to revive a downed comrade as you salivate over easy points, you survey the area and kill the fucker that just ploughed through half the squad? THEN, revive and increase your tally knowing that the reanimated soldiers won’t be callously mowed down mere seconds later. Recon, when an M-Com station is armed, and you’re on the offensive, how about calling down the thunder with a supportive mortar strike to dissuade defenders from disarming it? Sometimes a few seconds breathing room is all you need.

By putting the needs and the concerns of the TEAM first, rather than working solely towards an achievement score or that shiny new non-existent trophy for your PS3 awards case, you’ll earn the respect of your team-mates, usually garner a higher score and satisfaction in the knowledge you actually contributed something to your side, and it just doesn’t get better than that. When a team is working together unselfishly, and each squad and player is firing on all cylinders, like a well oiled machine, it’s an absolute joy to be a part of. It’s those moments that keep me coming back for more, I just wish they weren’t so few and far between.

So what are you? An elite warrior who thinks beyond themselves and puts the needs of the team first, or a petulant child only caring for personal glory? A bad-ass muthafukking Marine or a baby suckling at the teat of its fallen brethren?

I know which one I aspire to be…

Semper Fi.

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Dave Kozicki

Shotgun Samurai
Video game reviewer, presenter and enthusiast. Film and TV-aholic. Pop culture geek. T-shirt and sneaker addict. All around nice guy and one hell of a sexy beast. Writer for Official PlayStation Magazine AU, AusGamers and Hyper Magazine.
  • Snake

    Right on Dave…. You can share my (in the case of BC2) my rapidly shrinking cover any time. After an article like that I may even take a bullet for you to help the team.

  • Bagmup

    Pretty sure dawg did the same thing to get his destruction kills… we should have a public lynching..

    Oorah

  • Denny

    This is why my competitive days as a UT/Quake player are long but over, and it's also another reason why I have such a seething hatred for the majority of FPS games these days.

    As the years have progressed, the 'new generation' of gamers have slowly trickled in and promptly taken a giant shit all over the integrity and respect that used to be fairly common in gaming communities. Nowadays you'll rarely earn a sign of gratitude or any kind of respect from any player if you're doing well, but more immature smack talking and complete and utter douchebaggery. That and you get the occasional troll like this champ in team games, who deliberately fuck everyone elses day over with their useless abuse. It's fucking annoying and fucking common, and it pisses me the fuck off.

    I admit that I'm mostly a rogue player, even in team games. I usually go things on my own and in my own way, but I can guarantee that I deliver a substantial amount of positive aid to the rest of the team? Why? Because I'm doing things on my own, but they're all based around the prospect of winning and aiding everyone in the team. I just like to do it alone most of the time, because it's my style of play. If I were really needed in a team-oriented task though, I'd jump right in. Sure my preference is playing it on my own, but I don't like losing, so I'll take the slight dislike and do the fucking job.

    I'm pretty sure you've seen plenty of status updates on the facebook feed from me that rant on about how fucked most shitbag gamers are nowadays in MP, and how much I hate it, but hell I thought I'd throw my anger out here just in extended form anyway.

    That and to acknowledge I read the article. Props!

  • Denny

    And to add, it sucks that we play on different platforms. I think I'd be your BFF if you saw how crazy supportive and efficient I am in BC2 when it comes to the team. 12,500 points in one match as a medic spamming defib and still having about 58 kills is certainly note worthy ; D

  • Dawg

    tried but found it wasn't effective

  • PSIress

    Nice article Dave. I often suicide to take out a tank when I got the c4, or sneak around the back way to get snipers, only to die as soon as I get one guy.

  • Moopidoo

    I always support my team by washing their clothes. Or at least that's my justification for having Dave K on the back of my quad bike as I send it sailing off a cliff into the ocean.

    So, yeah…honour and all that…

  • kozeeii

    I WAS going to say something Todd, but figured since MOST of the time you don't do shit like that I'd give you a free pass…

  • kozeeii

    C4 buildings as you attack, or shoot them with ze Gustav (or mortar) with extra explosive damage perk…both bring the house down quickly, AND don't add to your teamkill count

  • Joaby

    A man who uses the M2CG as his primary weapon against infantry complains that games lack honour. What next, a goat complains that cows give milk?

  • kozeeii

    Ahem…the man who uses the Neostad and RPG-7 don't ya mean…already platinumed the M2CG

  • Joaby

    I feel like we'll have plenty of time to discuss how much I loathe your tactics in the very near future.

  • kozeeii

    You loved those tactics when we played Borderlands co-op, and you have NO right to talk shitty tactics mate, or need I remind you of your ammo hogging when we played Resident Evil 5?

  • Joaby

    I might refer you to another opinion piece you wrote RE: backing yourself – I was simply backing that the only person who could keep us alive was me!

  • kozeeii

    …while backing your co-op buddy into a corner where he had to use three bullets and a pair of tweezers to take down a zombie horde, bastardo!! I look forward to saving your arse constantly during the Borderlands marathon this weekend G.I.Joabin…anyway, shouldn't you be busy masturbating over Read Dead Redemption somewhere?

  • Milesizdead

    Great article, I preach about the same thing in NHL10´s online games.
    It´s just sad how many people use glitches to either score or nullify a loss.
    It´s going to be a rough awakening to these kids when they step out of their mom´s basement and into the real world where this king of stuff just does not fly :)

  • PSN Raptos1217

    Outstanding! Oorah! You're article is a welcome breath of fresh air….even if polluted with the stench of your burning flesh as I run by…having been saved by you from the now burning tank. It is indeed troubling how many now are so selfish and short-sighted as to only consider themselves. I can't tell you how many times I have made the ultimate sacrifice in the digital world. Next time we meet, you shall no doubt be running by me as I lay dead. Killed by the bullet meant for you.

  • The Voight Kampff Test

    Word. Or, rather: “Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.” — Sophocles