200: A Folk Hero for the Online Age

tendo82

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Nov 30, 2007
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A Folk Hero for the Online Age

The Reconstruction Era had Jesse James. The Great Depression had Bonnie & Clyde. The Internet Era has ... GoonSwarm? Tom Endo looks at today's griefers from a historical perspective and wonders whether they might fulfill the same societal functions as the legendary outlaws of yesteryear.

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Clemenstation

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tendo82 said:
Griefers are undisputedly failures at life.
Fixed for accuracy. Well, in other games at least. I realize that your intent was probably to lionize MMOG griefers, where at least there's potential for jackassery taking on a bit of nuance and individual flair. I get that. But there's nothing heroic about watching a teenage idiot repeatedly melee attack a wall, trying to glitch, while his mic blares muffled rap music that deafens the rest of his team.

If that's an outlaw, gimme a badge.
 

Captain_Caveman

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Griefers aren't even interesting to watch imho. And i definitely dont tell stories about getting griefed or watching some1 get griefed. It's something i try to forget as soon as possible and avoid in the future. In my experience, griefers are just frustrated angry people who can't vent in real life so they do it in games.
 

UnSub

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If Jesse James and Bonnie & Clyde hold as examples, griefers will all die in a hail of gunfire.

Anyway, let me tell you about how successful griefers are in making a stamp on history: you didn't name a single specific griefer in an article specifically about how they might be individually remembered. Not one. You mentioned games - EVE, Second Life, WoW - and the odd co-opted event - the Zombie Outbreak - but didn't name a single specific griefer. They've certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer's place in history.
 

John Funk

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UnSub said:
If Jesse James and Bonnie & Clyde hold as examples, griefers will all die in a hail of gunfire.

Anyway, let me tell you about how successful griefers are in making a stamp on history: you didn't name a single specific griefer in an article specifically about how they might be individually remembered. Not one. You mentioned games - EVE, Second Life, WoW - and the odd co-opted event - the Zombie Outbreak - but didn't name a single specific griefer. They've certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer's place in history.
The attack on the WoW in-game funeral.
 

tendo82

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CantFaketheFunk said:
UnSub said:
If Jesse James and Bonnie & Clyde hold as examples, griefers will all die in a hail of gunfire.

Anyway, let me tell you about how successful griefers are in making a stamp on history: you didn't name a single specific griefer in an article specifically about how they might be individually remembered. Not one. You mentioned games - EVE, Second Life, WoW - and the odd co-opted event - the Zombie Outbreak - but didn't name a single specific griefer. They've certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer's place in history.
The attack on the WoW in-game funeral.
Wait there was an in-game funeral in WoW, what did superman die again?
 

Jakkar

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I feel the article fails to draw the line between the 'griefer' - commonly an obnoxious retard who 'destroys your fun for kicks' as I've seen the motto printed. Remember the Barney Blockers of SvenCoop, a whole community of people who used the Barney model and went AFK in vital doorways on unadminned servers?

... And the creative individuals who stretch the boundaries and enact in potentially offensive performance art. You're blurring them together to make a perceived point, but I imagine most people would appreciate the one and deride the other without noting any real connection.

If we're going to categorise anyone, lets be a little more distinct in how we bestow these titles ;)
 

Clemenstation

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UnSub said:
You mentioned games - EVE, Second Life, WoW - and the odd co-opted event - the Zombie Outbreak - but didn't name a single specific griefer. They've certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer's place in history.
The GoonSquad managed to disband some big huge alliance in EVE, definitively redrawing the lines of power in the game's universe. I don't play MMOs, but I found the drama pretty interesting in a trainwreck passerby kind of way.

I imagine that event will probably be more than a footnote in EVE's collective history.
 

ReverseEngineered

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Apr 30, 2008
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I, too, think that there needs to be a distinction between a rebel and a griefer. The rebels like Jesse James realized that they didn't have to play by the rules -- they could "win" by breaking the rules that everybody else abided by. I consider it more like exploiting or cheating, which often take a lot of work to do. It may seem unfair to those who played by the rules, but even those who have been cheated wish they could be the ones cheating.

Contrast that with the typical griefer: spamming text or mic, team killing, and otherwise being a nuasance. They aren't winning the game in any way. Maybe they are winning their own game, but nobody else shares in that game.

Stories like GoonSwarm disbanding Band of Brothers are interesting because of the hard work and talent that they involve. In a game about building the most powerful empire, there is no better weapon than destroying your opponents from the inside. That GoonSwarm managed to undo with a single person what took hundreds of others years to accomplish is amazing for its ability to find a weakness in the system. They weren't griefers -- they were playing the same game -- but they "won" through a method that nobody else before had managed. The real griefers run scams like can baiting. It doesn't further their progress in the game, it just lets them have fun in their own way at the expense of somebody who is actually trying to play the game.

Rebels and folk heroes are idolized for their ability to work outside the system to win, and for this, their transgressions are overlooked. Griefers are hated for pointlessly creating a nuasance to others. Even if they accomplish things in similar ways, their motivation can make all the difference.
 

Geoffrey42

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UnSub said:
Anyway, let me tell you about how successful griefers are in making a stamp on history: you didn't name a single specific griefer in an article specifically about how they might be individually remembered. Not one. You mentioned games - EVE, Second Life, WoW - and the odd co-opted event - the Zombie Outbreak - but didn't name a single specific griefer. They've certainly existed, but the fact that none were named speaks volumes for the griefer's place in history.
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_120/2552-Fansy-The-Famous-Bard
 

lleihsad

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I understand what you're getting at, but you should probably have picked a better word. "Griefers" are just players out to give other players grief, hence the name. They're more inclined pull off boring examples of jackassery like corpse-camping than they are to do anything with artistic merit.

I can't think of any existing term that adequately describes the sort of character you present, so you should just go ahead and make up new name.
 

L.B. Jeffries

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Nov 29, 2007
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I actually enjoy griefing quite a bit when it's well done. Team killing is just so uncreative, it doesn't really compare when someone actually finds a way to break the game and drag other people down with them. But the EVE Online destruction of Band of Brothers? Now that was awesome to hear about.
 

xitel

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Aug 13, 2008
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I will admit, there are some times when Griefing can not only be funny, but not actually harm people's enjoyment of the game. I'm sure most people here have seen Team Roomba's TF3 Griefing videos. And if you have, you'll remember the trivia contest thing one guy did, when he glitched the door jammed and wouldn't let his team out until they answered his trivia questions. At first, I thought that was incredibly annoying. Then I thought about it, and I realized I would love for something like that to happen to me when I'm playing. Just to throw me for a loop, change my game experience a bit.

On the other hand, the common griefer is just annoying, for the most part. Wall glitching, shooting through the floor, that kind of thing, they all are just exploiting broken parts of the game that, while they may seem cool to the people actually doing the griefing, ruin the experience for the people who are trying to play the game seriously. I for one am not a fan of spawning to find that someone has glitched their way into the spawn point just to shoot me over and over again before I can even play. I can no longer play Counter Strike because of how many people know all the glitches and stuff. There's no way for me to win anymore.
 

zoharknight

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I can't belive this guys trien to make griefers sound heroic. Griefers are cheating pieces of shit who ruin games and piss off people. Hackers and cheaters are scum in my book,idoits like gillsellers and morons who kill you over and over unfairly or kill all the quest npcs in a town while your triein to quest or kill you for no damn reason should all be barred from the net. Griefers arent heroic there idiots and retards who just like ruining the fun of other ppl online.
 

Anton P. Nym

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ReverseEngineered said:
It may seem unfair to those who played by the rules, but even those who have been cheated wish they could be the ones cheating.
With respect, no they don't; not all of them, anyway. Some (I'd argue many, but the point is arguable) play by the rules because they want the level playing field the rules present; to them, winning by cheating is an empty experience and no more desirable than winning because all the other players quit out in the first twenty seconds of play.

I do agree that there is a fundamental difference between cheaters and griefers; cheaters care about the outcome of the game, and griefers don't. That's pretty much it, in my opinion.

-- Steve
 

Grubnar

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Aug 25, 2008
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Jakkar said:
I feel the article fails to draw the line between the 'griefer' - commonly an obnoxious retard who 'destroys your fun for kicks' as I've seen the motto printed. Remember the Barney Blockers of SvenCoop, a whole community of people who used the Barney model and went AFK in vital doorways on unadminned servers?

... And the creative individuals who stretch the boundaries and enact in potentially offensive performance art. You're blurring them together to make a perceived point, but I imagine most people would appreciate the one and deride the other without noting any real connection.

If we're going to categorise anyone, lets be a little more distinct in how we bestow these titles ;)
What he said!
 

ThaBenMan

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Mar 6, 2008
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An interesting read. I don't play any MMO's, so I'm not very familiar with this sort of thing.

In the past, I have thought it would be cool to do certain things if I ever did play any MMO's - like become a really strong character, and then just go off into the wild and stake out a patch of territory, and just become like a bandit or monster or something, attacking and killing any players that wander into my turf. Stories of the murderous beast of the wastes would spread, and my legend would grow. But like it was said in the article, the rules structures and designs of games aren't usually conducive to that sort of thing.
 

Spinozaad

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Jun 16, 2008
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Well... I once played Ultima Online on a private shard, and there the situations the article described happened.

But that shard was rp-pvp niché that catered to about... 200 people at best. Player-created events and robberies, wars and silly accidents became the stuff of legends there, but only for those 200 and perhaps some who were told afterwards.

Nowadays, in WOW-esque games, this stuff wouldn't happen anymore.
 

tendo82

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Nov 30, 2007
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Griefers are "heroic" characters in some games. But if it's done with little style and creativity, it's reduced to general idiocy.

And it's not like you can be that creative in most big MMOs today. Without hacking, that is. And hacking for pure advantages (and not for say, exploring. Because using glitches to explore unfinished WoW content back in the day was amazing fun, too bad they fixed it.) is truly for losers.

There should be a difference drawn between an idiot corpse camping someone and calling them "fag" while communicating with horrible grammar and no style at all and someone who might even do the same thing but with great style and near perfect grammar... and lack of immature insults.

That bard from EQ was pretty cool. Can't remember the name now... Fancypants? something like that. That's good, interesting griefing. Same goes for the people who ruined that funeral in WoW. I actually do applaud them.
 

Wargamer

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Apr 2, 2008
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Griefers as Robin Hood figures? Yeah, right!

Sorry, but there's nothing 'heroic' about Griefers; they're just a bunch of sad no-lifers.