“My Team Sucked” — Denying Good Play In MMOs

The other evening I was playing one of my favourite MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online game), “World of Warships“.  Over the dozen or so matches I played, there were three really outstanding games.  Everything on my team went well — good communication, skillful play, good sportsmanship and smart tactics.

In all three matches, someone on the other team made a statement like along the lines of

VBG.  My team sucked.  They played about as well as a bunch of potatoes.

“VBG” is online short hand for “very bad game“;  it’s the polar opposite of the ubiquitous “GG”, or “Good Game“.  “GG” is like shaking hands with the other team at the end of a bowling match or a hockey game.  It’s being a gracious winner and a gracious loser;  it’s part of good sportsmanship.

This behaviour is nothing new.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been playing online in games like “World of Warships“, “Armored Warfare“, “War Thunder” and the like to have to deal with someone who complains that the reason they lost is because the rest of the team was incompetent.

Sure, it’s the Internet and why am I complaining about people complaining?  Well, oddly enough it’s not because they are saying I played badly.  It’s because they are taking away the achievement of the victors.

If you put five equally good chess players at a table and let them play for eight hours solid, every one of those matches played will have a loser.  If you pick the finest sprinters in the world and all of them run the best race of their careers, there will still only be one first place.

Put another way:

Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard

And yet, the net effect of vilifying one side for poor play instead of congratulating the winning team for capitalizing on the moment is to ruin the game for both sides.