The Egoist – Ruining Our Online Games

The Egoist – Ruining Our Online Games

There is a player style in many an online shooter which I have started to refer to as the ‘egoist’, these are the people who are, and have been for a while, bringing down the quality of online gaming. In particular, I reference first person shooters.

I first saw this phrase appear in a game of Battlefield 2. When a player connected to the server, there was an automatic server side script which analysed that persons’ play statistics and came out with a phrase to describe them. This person was listed as favouring the sniper kit, the tank for when he wanted some vehicular action. He was also shown to be a lone-wolf more often than not ignoring the squads which form the backbone of a great game of Battlefield 2. From these bits of data, he was given the tag of ‘egoist’.

It isn’t my place to label this random character as an egoist, I left the server soon after he joined and wasn’t able to see how he approached the game at hand. Simply seeing that phrase got me thinking as I played further games of Battlefield and Counter-Strike: Source.

An egoist is a player who will do whatever they can in an online game to make themselves look better, often it only makes them look better to themselves. They are not necessarily out to troll or cause trouble for others, rather they are so focused on performing roles which are simply there to boost their ego that they bring the quality of the game down.

In Battlefield 2, when you see a player constantly hovering around the area where the tank spawns and immediately trundles off into the distance to blast the first thing they see, you know you are dealing with an egoist. They are doing that get some easy kills and show themselves off as the tank man.

This type of player won’t use his head and wait for the other tank to spawn so a team mate can join his assault in order to provide support. You will find this type of gamer running around as a sniper when there is no logical need for a fourth sniper in the squad. You then wonder why they joined the squad if they simply hide on a mountain trying to re-enact a scene from Saving Private Ryan.

In a game of Counter-Strike: Source this is the person who buys an AWP every round and simply runs around getting as many kills as possible. He doesn’t care about the bomb or the hostages, he just wants to look like he is brilliant at the game by getting a string of three or four headshots in a row.

The egoist is the type of person who will put others off playing on a specific server, or even the game itself. Everyone can do as they want in online games within reason, but the egoist behaviour is the most damaging to a game in the long-term. Just imagine if Battlefield 2 had turned immediately into a mass love fest of snipers hiding in plain sight ignoring the depth that the game had to offer.

If you are an egoist, think about the damage you are doing for a moment and think of the greater good.

3 thoughts on “The Egoist – Ruining Our Online Games

  1. This is basically the story of our generation, whether it’s online gaming or the education and jobs we seek :P Everyone wants to be the Tank Guy and everything in our lives tells us that we can be.

    Funny that you’ve selected ‘Egoist’ as the term, actually. I was actually expecting some complaint about First Person Shooting in general, playing off the German term (Ego-shooter) for some reason. I actually avoid playing online FPS games precisely because I play such games to be in the action constantly. I’m a terrible team player!

    1. Interesting, I tend to avoid the strong single-person focus shooters (Quake, Unreal) laregely because they lack any deep team play options. That is why I keep heading back to BF2, I am constantly drawn to the team mechanics, and is why I get so annoyed when I see people ignoring the plight of the team.

  2. The thing is those egoists aren’t really that great in the end. Games like BF2 and CS have strong, hitscan weapons that allow a player to get quick kills, making them look like better players than they really are. You can bet that if these same players played games that focus on individual skill, like Warsow or Quake Live, their skills would be rather unimpressive.
    Since games like BF2 have a focus on teamwork rather than individual performance, teams perform better when their players work as a team, but there is often a lack of incentive to do so, as the individual reward is greater than the reward for teamwork, even if it results in the team winning. Quake Wars was a game that made a good attempt at rewarding players for assisting their team, and despite its many faults, Brink attempted to do the same. If BF3 provides similar incentives, it will go far in getting new players (and perhaps egoists) to play a more team-focused game.

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