Et Tu, Team-killer?

Same Team!

A defector fires wildly into their flanks, pruning the unaware as they turn in surprise. He’s killing his own guys. His handle is 'Ka0s42O', and his teammates are surely cursing his sudden but inevitable betrayal.

I pause, rocket launcher at the ready, reticule lined up. Ka0s42O is blue. I am red. I am fundamentally programmed to exterminate all that is blue. It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.

Yet I hesitate, letting the team-killer run rampant. The dilemma is simple math: Blue killing blue equals win for red. A traitorous dissenter mowing down his teammates with back-biting bullets, doing my job for me, is a gift. Is the team-killer of my enemy not my friend?

My role is to hold the centre, to watch the red team—my people—stream into the blue base and emerge with a handful of victory (material form: a blue flag). I hold the center because I’m indecisive. I don’t care to commit to the tedium of defense, but I don’t like the suicidal rush into an enemy snake-pit either. So I help out in my own, middling way. If our guys don’t come out with a flag, they’re all dead, and I’ll see them shortly regardless. In the meantime, I amble around and shoot the bumbling blues, keep them locked down in their filthy headquarters hovel.

Ka0s42O confuses me; this blue renegade beating me to the punch, wreaking havoc on his very own. He’s hiding behind sneaky corners and exploding unsuspecting friendlies. He’s blowing them up almost before they even appear. He's taunting their corpses. He’s doing my job for me. He's stealing my kills.

Another flag comes out, carrier scurrying past the self-inflicted carnage. How can blue muster any semblance of defense while plagued by an insider, a turncoat feeding on their certain shrieks of disapproval and flustered attempts at a comeback? It’s a massacre, red vultures plucking away from the fringes. The team-killer hurls a grenade into his own spawn room and quick-ducks outside the door, simulating fellatio and waiting for survivors.

My rocket launcher is aimed, the team-killer of my enemies squarely in the sights. Do I shoot?

To Kill or not to Kill: A Slow-Motion Decision

  • The game punishes team-killers. The team-killer is not rewarded in any game-sanctioned way, but the player behind ka0s42O presumably gets some deviant joy from being a real asshole. The teammates getting killed certainly aren’t receiving any reward, psychological or otherwise. For that matter, I’m not getting any points from watching this traitor blow apart his team in a one-man griefing orgasm. This game is a write-off, with scornfully low scores all around.

  • On the plus side, we’re capturing a lot of flags. And I’m on a nine game winning streak! All I have to do is let him keep doing his thing ...

  • ... But there's not much glory in winning this way, is there? It’s like being Superbowl champions because the other team’s punter went insane and started making hand-offs to the defensive line. It’s like a bear mascot dunking the basketball in overtime to earn his team a technical foul. And in these cases, the narrative is never really about those who won, but about the bestial act of betrayal.

  • This is too much thinking. I'm playing on autopilot, here. If I’m not shooting blues, what else am I supposed to do? Jump around in a corner? Run flags? Join my teammates in looting and pillaging? Bad sportsmanship, I know, but what else am I supposed to do? I'm bored. Filing a complaint about the griefer won't solve any immediate problems, and I'll probably get shot while filling out the form.

  • My God, man; I'm too bored to help evict this tyrant? Where's the compassion, the human decency? If this guy was on my team, I’d lose it. I hate team-killers, because the only way to fight them is to become a team-killer yourself. I don’t see why they don’t quit, getting slaughtered like that. Why don’t they all just quit the game? They must be having a horrible time.

  • Sad realization: This game just isn't much fun. Lopsided contests are speedy and awkward affairs. Sorry that we're murdering you, but rest assured that this counter-cultural jerkwad has robbed all pleasure from the exercise. Let's get this over with, and hope we don't get matched up again right afterwards.

A Temporary Execution

I pull the trigger, and ka0s42O is destroyed in a fiery blood blossom, because, really, this has gone on long enough. But he’ll be back in just a few seconds, merrily team-killing away. People are dropping out of the battle now, disenchanted with the jarring feeling of being largely helpless.

Team-killers will always come back. They wear many disguises. They come in ones and twos, lured by the anarchic jouissance afforded by a simple slip of social architecture. I can’t help but question the one responsible for these server settings; the person who started this unwinnable war. Friendly fire was presumably meant to train mastery, control, awareness of the field and the team—operating under the assumption that reasonable human beings would be somehow involved. But this is the internet, where reason slips away behind anonymity and any loophole in the rulesets will be ripped open for maximum exploit. Nobody wins but the unravellers.

Comments

I am compelled the view this entire article from the perspective of Muammar Gaddafi, but I haven't been listening to enough news this week to know why. I think I need to stop listening to the news at all... Hmm.

I would never kill anyone on my team! Not even if it were really, really funny! Other people who play Left 4 Dead, you can vouch for me right?

But what about when it is really funny? Every once in awhile you want to chuck a grenade at your buddies to make sure they are paying attention.

KingGorilla wrote:

But what about when it is really funny? Every once in awhile you want to chuck a grenade at your buddies to make sure they are paying attention.

For sure, the odd humourous team-killing is alright, especially when it's something accidental or an opportunity just too perfect to pass up. I think the difference is usually that griefers start team-killing and never ever stop.

Back when I played Raven Shield, I used to do recon by grenade. TKing was a unplanned but hilarious occurrence. Especially when the person you just fragged is sitting next to you.

If you want to team-kill, keep it where it belongs: Splinter Cell Chaos Theory co-op. Your buddy says he'll go ahead and check around that corner. You say okay, then load up one of those electrified rounds and slowly take aim. I mean, those scenarios where never intended to be winnable, were they?

Yeah, accidental "Sorry, prozac!" TKs are fine. People who just sit and TK are really, really annoying.

Almost as annoying as spawn campers.

Red and blue are artificial distinctions. The REAL war is between human beings and douchebags.

I just want to say that I love the timing of this article (and the picture) to coincide with the Ides of March.

Kannon wrote:

Yeah, accidental "Sorry, prozac!" TKs are fine. People who just sit and TK are really, really annoying.

Almost as annoying as spawn campers.

As if anyone but Prozac is ever on the killing end.

My conclusion:

Playing with people is not fun unless you are all friends.

And even then it's not always fun.

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Kannon wrote:

Yeah, accidental "Sorry, prozac!" TKs are fine. People who just sit and TK are really, really annoying.

Almost as annoying as spawn campers.

As if anyone but Prozac is ever on the killing end.

I wondered how long it would be before you summoned me with my name. I'm not a team killer I'm just a sociopath loaded up on extra pathos

The first time I played a public match on Halo Reach, I was doing relatively well when I threw a grenade at an enemy who had just come at me from around a corner. It turns out the guy was being chased by someone on my team, who I couldn't see when I threw the grenade. Of course, the guy on my team is standing right over the grenade when it went off.

I was immediately booted for team killing, and it really bothered me. First, it bothered me that I could get booted for an entirely accidental team kill. It also bothered me that someon out there thought I had planned that grenade kill (as if I could pull that off on purpose). But the thing that bothered me the most was that my Halo Reach battle record at that point was 100% booted for team killing (1 match out of 1).

It took weeks before I was willing to try another match, and it still bugs me when I think about playing an online match ("why bother if you I am going to get booted for an accidentally errant grenade?"), so I rarely play.

We used to play Counterstrike and Day of Defeat at big lan parties and in the dorms when I was at college in the early 2000's and I never got into trouble for team killing with grenades, people just started to realise that if you were standing near my body within the first five seconds of my death the primed grenade I had in my hand was going to go off

Hopefully there is still a game in which Firnedly Fire is fun, rather than encouraging precision, and this game is Magicka.

Friendly fire is a chore because what happens is that for a mistake (or a twisted intention) from a teammate, you are lying on the floor, or in "ghost cam". Either way you are then waiting for a countdown to come back to play.
FF is then annoying because this teammate is responsible for preventing you from playing.

Why Magicka has a fun FF? Simple, it's because it's almost instant to come back to life. Dying is a chore when it takes you away from playing. But if you can come back to play just as fast... then who cares about getting fried by a lightning bolt, it's fun!

(I agree that this works for a coop game. Fast resurrecting could be tricky to handle in a versus game)

I find it odd that Halo, the series that helped bring "casual" online gaming into the mainstream, still holds onto such an anachronistic game mechanic.

Playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 gets really annoying with all the TK'ing for vehicles. Of course then you get the idiots who just sit at spawn waiting for the helicopter, not helping the team. I admit I get the urge to TK something fierce, but I restrain my rage.

Minarchist wrote:

I just want to say that I love the timing of this article (and the picture) to coincide with the Ides of March.

I was thinking it'd go in a different direction when I put the idea out there. But then, I may also have just accidentally quoted Brutus.

i38warhawk wrote:

I find it odd that Halo, the series that helped bring "casual" online gaming into the mainstream, still holds onto such an anachronistic game mechanic.

Friendly fire? If so, how is that anachronistic?

EvilDead wrote:
i38warhawk wrote:

I find it odd that Halo, the series that helped bring "casual" online gaming into the mainstream, still holds onto such an anachronistic game mechanic.

Friendly fire? If so, how is that anachronistic?

I think he may be talking about the option to boot a player if they TK you. I have been both the victim and perpetrator of this action, and it can be anachronistic depending on the temperament of your teammates.

I think that Bungie has tweaked it a bit so that you only get the option to boot someone if they have TK'd you more than once.

I'm not seeing the anachronism there.

nel e nel wrote:
EvilDead wrote:
i38warhawk wrote:

I find it odd that Halo, the series that helped bring "casual" online gaming into the mainstream, still holds onto such an anachronistic game mechanic.

Friendly fire? If so, how is that anachronistic?

I think he may be talking about the option to boot a player if they TK you. I have been both the victim and perpetrator of this action, and it can be anachronistic depending on the temperament of your teammates.

I think that Bungie has tweaked it a bit so that you only get the option to boot someone if they have TK'd you more than once.

Yes, they could be more lenient in that case. Specifically, I'm pretty sure its the total amount of damage you have done to a particular teammate. After it reaches a threshold, a TK of that teammate will give them a kick option.

Although no shooters that I play seem to have this mechanic down. Games I've played in the last 6 months:

CODBLOPS hardcore: 3 kills. I actually got kicked more from then Halo: Reach. The decreased health makes this a common occurrence.

Bad Company 2 harcore: Its got to be 5 or more. I know there is a limit but I never get kicked on accidental kills and I have seen chopper / tank hoarders abuse it.

Oh, and regarding the article, I always shoot them. More console games need a vote - kick option.

wordsmythe wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

I just want to say that I love the timing of this article (and the picture) to coincide with the Ides of March.

I was thinking it'd go in a different direction when I put the idea out there. But then, I may also have just accidentally quoted Brutus.

Last night I couldn't get the image of Julius Cesar being surrounded and gibbed to death with Quake-style rocket launchers out of my head.

Edit: infinitelyloopy's story, above, as well -- strangely tragic, that.

Gnoupi wrote:

Hopefully there is still a game in which Firnedly Fire is fun, rather than encouraging precision, and this game is Magicka.

Friendly fire is a chore because what happens is that for a mistake (or a twisted intention) from a teammate, you are lying on the floor, or in "ghost cam". Either way you are then waiting for a countdown to come back to play.
FF is then annoying because this teammate is responsible for preventing you from playing.

Why Magicka has a fun FF? Simple, it's because it's almost instant to come back to life. Dying is a chore when it takes you away from playing. But if you can come back to play just as fast... then who cares about getting fried by a lightning bolt, it's fun!

(I agree that this works for a coop game. Fast resurrecting could be tricky to handle in a versus game)

You do rely upon your 'team mates' to resurrect you, but of course they will, because how else will they get to kill you again?
If you manage to get the

Spoiler:

M60 machine gun

to drop in Magicka then you're pretty much stuck as everyone will turn on each other to be the one carrying it.

wordsmythe wrote:

I'm not seeing the anachronism there.

Friendly fire is the anachronism. The mechanic seems out of place, to me, when compared to its contemporaries. Friendly fire is a throwback that most of the other games in the genre have abandoned. The fact that Halo: Reach still has FF enabled by default amazes me. I can't think of another mainstream shooter that has FF enabled in vanilla play.

Giving the greifers friendly fire enables them, and damages the experience of normal players. I think that part of good game design has to be eliminating avenues that lead to bad experiences. This is especially true in the tightly controlled environments of competitive multiplayer. At least make them work for it. Like Kevin, not having friendly fire has inspired him to new levels.

NWS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DExT3...

This one is much better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPYSU...

Still NWS

i38warhawk wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

I'm not seeing the anachronism there.

Friendly fire is the anachronism. The mechanic seems out of place, to me, when compared to its contemporaries. Friendly fire is a throwback that most of the other games in the genre have abandoned. The fact that Halo: Reach still has FF enabled by default amazes me. I can't think of another mainstream shooter that has FF enabled in vanilla play.

It's certainly possible that I'm just old and have a longer timeframe in mind when I think of anachronisms. The most recent one I run into is "I don't trust a computer to do this math. If I do it by hand, I can make sure the computer didn't make a mistake."

I guess it seems less like an obsolete idea to me as like a choice toward realism over gameplay.

the only thing you can do, is the only thing which will balance the scales. Team Kill.

i38warhawk wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

I'm not seeing the anachronism there.

Friendly fire is the anachronism. The mechanic seems out of place, to me, when compared to its contemporaries. Friendly fire is a throwback that most of the other games in the genre have abandoned. The fact that Halo: Reach still has FF enabled by default amazes me. I can't think of another mainstream shooter that has FF enabled in vanilla play.

Giving the greifers friendly fire enables them, and damages the experience of normal players.

Left for Dead, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six Vegas. Also an older game that still manages to top Steams multi-player list: Counter Strike.

I really don't find it outdated. Removing it would require map redesign, weapon re-balancing, and drastically change the way the game is played. I still play it once a week and have no problems with TK greifers. After all, they are kicked after one or two kills so people rarely do it. I'm going to chalk this up as personal preference.

Prozac wrote:
Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Kannon wrote:

Yeah, accidental "Sorry, prozac!" TKs are fine. People who just sit and TK are really, really annoying.

Almost as annoying as spawn campers.

As if anyone but Prozac is ever on the killing end.

I wondered how long it would be before you summoned me with my name. I'm not a team killer I'm just a sociopath loaded up on extra pathos :D

We only said your name twice. It's three times to summon you.

Premature, Prozac, and I know premature.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend...