The Noob’s Guide to Being “Social”

Halo 3 Screenshot

Last week I finally ventured into the multiplayer aspect of Halo 3. I wanted to finish the campaign by myself before playing co-op or matchmaking in order to avoid any and all spoilers. With the storyline complete and the threat for spoilers finally over, it was time to dip my toes into the unknown waters of matchmaking.

Imagine my delight upon discovering the “social” playlists (social skirmish, social slayer, and social doubles) that inhabit the matchmaking lands of Halo 3. Finally, playlists made just for recreational players such as myself! I envisioned games full of friendly players and light-hearted banter. I envisioned games where everybody enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the company of their peers. I envisioned games full of mature players looking for a positive “social” experience on Halo 3. How wonderful!

It was also slightly unrealistic. And by slightly unrealistic I mean I must have had my head up my ass when I thought that. In a single night, I was called a racial slur no less than three times. I heard sexist comments more times than I could count. Trashtalking was the norm all night long. Oh yes, this was still the same old Halo, despite the misleading names of the “social” playlists.


Definitions of social :

  • marked by friendly companionship with others (WordReference.com)
  • marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with one’s friends or associates (Merriam-Webster)
  • of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society (Dictionary.com)

Evidently the definitions that I know of the word “social” are not the same definitions the general population of Halo 3 know. Thus, I present to you The Noob’s Guide to Being Social.

Can I call everybody in the room an offensive racially charged slur before the game starts?
Addressing everybody with an insult before starting the game does not create a positive playing environment. If you do this everybody will see you as the enemy, even if they are on your team. You are likely to be singled out often and betrayed frequently. I recommend you ditch the slur and instead say a simple, “What’s up?” in a friendly tone. You’ll find people respond a lot better to that for some reason.

Can I repeatedly shout that I want the sniper rifle right before the game starts, then betray the person in front of me who is also going for it?
When people are wearing microphones and have an earpiece directly in their ear, shouting anything repeatedly is not necessary. If someone else is going for the same weapon you are, betraying them is not the best option either. That tends to upset most people and cause them to focus on killing you instead of actually playing. You probably won’t get much sniping done from your constant respawn screen. I recommend a statement such as, “I’m near the sniper so I am going to pick it up. If someone else wants to snipe next round, just let me know.” That shows your intent for your favorite weapon along with telling everybody you don’t mind sharing as well. That typically goes over a little bit better than an assassination on a teammate for whatever reason.

My teammates suck balls and I need to tell them this. Can I say it in those words or should I use a more broad statement like telling them they suck at life?
Critiquing a teammate’s performance is never recommended. Judging someone else gives the impression that you are better than them. Nobody is perfect, even yourself. If someone is struggling, offering to back them up is more effective than insulting them. You will find people respond a lot better to offers of assistance rather than phrases like “you suck balls”.

Speaking of sucking balls, I love teabagging. I teabag teammates, opponents, your mom, absolutely anybody who crosses my path. That’s ok, right?
Contrary to popular belief, being on the end of a virtual teabagging is not an experience many people are fond of. You may enjoy it, especially with the new game physics that make the dead bodies respond to the humping, but you will find that when the victim respawns they typically will come right back for you. And if you are really into it and still depositing your junk into their orifices, they sometimes can make it back to you and assassinate you while you are obliviously completing your business. Uh oh, now they are teabagging you. Do you enjoy watching them deliver their package to your face? I didn’t think so. Remember the golden rule, do unto others as you want them to do unto you. Or in this case, don’t do unto others as you don’t want them to do unto you.

The other team was horrible even though they beat us. I would like to recommend that they break their Halo 3 discs and buy a Wii instead. How should I phrase that?
I’m not sure there is a nice way to phrase a sentiment like that. Perhaps instead a simple recognition of a good game played would be the best option. Something basic like “good game” shows that you can lose with dignity while acknowledging the effort put forth by the opposing team. While telling someone to break their disc because they suck so bad usually ends up in a confrontation, telling someone “good game” typically results in hearing a “good game” back. Weird how that works, huh?

Normally I am a nice person but sometimes I just love being an ass since I have a microphone, an audience, and the anonymity of a gamertag (I work hard to prove John Gabrie’s theory correct). Pretty awesome, huh?
Not so much. You will find that some people whom frequent Xbox Live and also have the same three things that you just listed still manage to act like mature adults. Some people value their character and behave the same way online as they do in real life, which is with honor and respect. Now that is pretty awesome. You are not.

67 Responses to The Noob’s Guide to Being “Social”

  1. Silvercube says:

    Nice article, my friend.

    I seldom go into matchmaking alone though.

    However, the majority of games that I have played in matchmaking have actually been very pleasant, with most games ending in “good game”.

    Sorry you had to experience it already.. but thankfully the mute option is now more easier to use then ever : )

    Unfortunately, many people have no integrity, and do tend to be an @sshole on xbox live.

    As I learned “the masses are @sses.”

    I will just continue to be me, and helping out those whenever I can.

    There are a lot of people in this whole wide world we live in, but to one person, I might be the whole world to them .

    This world is far from perfect, just as humans themselves are not perfect. But those individuals that make positive impacts on people’s lives are priceless.

    You are priceless.

    Kudos to you for doing what you do.
    It does not go unnoticed.

  2. RT says:

    Priceless. You nailed it!

  3. Brain Doner says:

    That is what the new MUTE feature is for. Its really easy to mute people now. You can usually tell in the pregame lobby who is going to be annoying. Zap them quick and forget about them.

    -GG

  4. Eric says:

    I’m always really nice on the headset, talking to teammates and trying to work together. I’m not gonna lie though, giving someone I just killed with a shotgun a proper humping, is easily my favorite part of multiplayer. Hahah.

  5. Slothboy says:

    I set my voice options to “Team and Party Only” and suddenly almost everyone on matchmaking was a good sport! It was incredible how much it changed my perspective if I didn’t have to hear them whining that they need to get an achievement so I should stand still and let them hit me with a mongoose.

    “The other team was horrible even though they beat us. I would like to recommend that they break their Halo 3 discs and buy a Wii instead. How should I phrase that?”

    LOL

  6. Annnnnano says:

    But thats the best part of going into matchmaking, just cause your a pussy and cant handle it doesnt mean that MEN cant, maby you should just get in the kitchen and cook something for us real men?

  7. TTL L askan says:

    Your blog sucks ba..err uh, Good blog!

    @ Teabaggers: Hump away. While you’re not prosecuting your next objective or setting up a trap to slay someone else… I’m in deathscreen…relaying your position to my teammates.

  8. LadyRziha says:

    Excellent guide BS!
    If I’m feeling brave, I’ll play with everyone unmuted. This normally results in me going to the xbox guide after every game to unprefer players.
    Normally, I play with the other team muted so I only hear my team.
    Here’s hoping those idiots can read.

  9. II Rifle Uk II says:

    Great blog, but I do have one thing to say.

    I only teabag those who teabag others. And normally, I include a grenade for when they pop by…a little apology. :D

    Trashtalk is well and alive in Halo, no doubt about it. Gotta love the @sshole button. :D

  10. William says:

    Awesome post. MM sucks if you don’t go in with buddies. If you don’t have buddies and your a “mature” gamer check out http://www.geezergamers.com. You’ll never have to face the timmies alone again.

    Somebody at Bungie should get a BIG bonus check for implementing the mute feature in H3.

  11. tornado says:

    i desperately wish we could make this mandatory reading for anyone playing halo over XBL. even better, if we could come up with some way to enforce it.

    i’m so grateful that i have a friends list full of folks like angel that live by these principles.

  12. bs angel says:

    @ Annnnnano

    Wow. I haven’t heard that one before. Come back when you acquire a brain witty enough to come up with something original.

    http://hawtymcbloggy.com/2007/07/06/top-10-things-female-gamers-hear-on-xbox-live/

    • Qwerty says:

      I sometimes ask if a girl is playing on a relative’s account not to be sexist but to me, that’s fairly common

  13. Heh. I sat down yesterday to play Social with the same thought. Worst part of it was sitting there playing with my dad xD.

    Yelling “GET OFF MY FACE!” despite knowing that the enemy can’t hear me while they’re teabagging me. T_T. And I wish people would realize that I’m not a little boy, nor am I gay. And It’s QUEEN of blades, not QUEER of blades. -.-

    Thankfully, most of the trashtalking and screaming little brats (or big brats, if they’re adults) seems to take place in social rather than ranked, at least in the games I’ve played. I’m glad I stick to Ranked more often.

    You know what I really would like to know? Where did this behavior come from?And where is this kid’s parent or gaurdian when he’s screaming through his mic, cursing me out?

  14. Cayote says:

    @Annnnnano

    Yes, Real Men are Soooo Hot when they trash talk strangers in a Matchmaking game. I can’t tell you what that does for us. How would you like your stake?

  15. TTL L askan says:

    Cayote:

    Through his heart please. ;)

  16. TTL Stuicide says:

    I love it when people stop by to be angry.

    THX Come again.

  17. Annnnnano says:

    @Cayote
    I would like it Medium Rare, And some A1 sauce on the side, with mash potaos and corn….

    And im not cold hearted in real life, just in matchmaking, Its a way of life on XBL

    Thanks for the Steak Babe!

  18. bs angel says:

    Anyone that claims to be nice in real life but picks on females on Xbox Live clearly has issues with their masculinity. You insult girls while you hide behind your microphone. And who’s the pussy?

    We will continue to play the game as mature individuals. You may continue with your insults that nobody hears anyways thanks to the new muting options. I wish you luck with conquering your issues with the opposite sex. I’m sure you’ll get there eventually. Best of luck to you.

  19. Annnnnano says:

    Angle, i have conquered, i have a wife, that does the same damn thing in matchmaking, because she understands the world of XBL… And instead of blogging about it, and wheeping in the corner everytime someone rapes her, she gets back up and and rapes them…. XBL wasnt built for little pussy girls, it was built for hardcore gamers that know what there doing and dont want some bitch getting there feelings hurt on there fucking up there game…. i dont only insult girls, i also insult dumbass guys, and i also tell them they should go cook us real men some food…

  20. TTL L askan says:

    Hold on, I’m lost…So acting tough on the internet doesn’t make me tough? but…but…

  21. bs angel says:

    I have a hard time understanding your comments with all the grammatical errors. Last time I checked, it wasn’t possible for someone to “rape” someone else over the internet. Perhaps your definition of “rape” is as wrong as your definition of “social”. There is no “wheeping” going on here, only a parody about people such as yourself that have the need to insult people over a game. You have overstayed your welcome here. Again, best of luck to you.

  22. Roulette says:

    What a real man! Not only does he not respect others, but he obviously can’t respect himself the way he acts. Hopefully your “wife” will be too busy “in the kitchen cooking real men food” so you guys can’t make more people who act like you.

  23. William says:

    Anano (I think he spilled his milk on his keyboard…the n is stuck) is why the mute function is H3 rocks. He is also why you never, ever go into the XBL wastelands alone.

  24. Josh says:

    Ananananawhatsit got his rear handed to him.

    Anyway, nice article. If people followed these simple rules in Matchmaking, Halo would be a much pleasurable experience, and we wouldn’t get experiences like this (Actual experience of mine, partially because I wouldn’t let the guy cheat for the Killing Frenzy achievement, which I got legitimately the game before):

    Postgame, I came first.
    Noob001: OMFG YOU FING SUCK BUDDHIST I HOPE YOUR MOM GETS CANCER YOU N***** LOVER!!!!!!

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  26. Yo BS,

    I may have missed it but I would love to read your thoughts on the campaign! Ta Jimmy

  27. Seraph242 says:

    Great. Annnnnano, you need to get over yourself. “Real Men” don’t brag about it. Some men actually like to be somewhat mature and have fun without yelling obscenities. Real men step up and take the initiative, and don’t hide behind the anonyminity of a gamertag.

    By the way, do you even know the meaning of satire?

    bs angel, nice essay. Very well done.

  28. Narcogen says:

    Spot-on.

    At the risk of sounding like Major Nelson though… leave feedback. I know it feels like it never works, but not using it only guarantees that it won’t work.

    Also, I can understand the urge to betray foul-mouthed teammates… but people really should try to resist that urge. When that game ends, it’s possible they’ll have left feedback on you for TKing (which you’ve done) and you’ll have left feeback for inappropriate speech, which will just look like retaliation.

  29. Fezzer says:

    Entertaining as always angel. And after a good article the fun continues in the comments!

  30. bs angel says:

    Excellent points Narcogen. I very much believe in the feedback system. In fact, I once wrote an entire article on it.

    http://hawtymcbloggy.com/2007/06/24/how-you-can-make-xbox-live-a-better-place-part-2-feedback-feedback-and-more-feedback/

    Thanks for pointing out the betraying issue too. We are all tempted with that at one point or another. Great observations on reasons to not do it.

  31. xAlmostHeroesx says:

    Dear angel,
    I wish that people like yourself, sensible, nice people, were not against me, stereotyping me into someone who I am not. I am harrassed constantly throughout my life because I am young, and when people hear my age they stop listening. We both are being attacked everywhere, please don’t assume every 12 and 13 year-old on XBL is a little b17ch…These may not be your feelings, but it is how it came across to me. Although many my age are insensitive, ignorant, and immature, know that ironically, immaturity as we use it in this context has little to do with age. People like us should be working together, not stereotyping each other! If I could have one wish, it would be that everyone lived in a world where no one assumed anything of each other’s personality based on their psyical features (I mispelled psycial, didn’t I? -_- That dosen’t help my argument…). What a world that’d be!

  32. henk says:

    social or anti-social? I’m not so sure on that.

  33. Silvercube says:

    *Silver notices many comments*
    *Silver reads them
    *Silver now has comment headache.

    tra la la
    la la
    lollypop
    la la
    <(*-*<)

  34. geekcritic says:

    @Annanoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…
    You’re stupid.

  35. Too funny!

    The [sad] thing is, it’s not just Halo players that require lessons in proper socialization. j00 fricken n00b! rofl gg f4g [sic] ;)

    P.S. That thing about the bodies responding to tea-bagging really cracked me up!

  36. DarkArmada says:

    Nice one! It’s funny cause it’s true… So classic, keep it up! :D

  37. Susie says:

    LOL!! this post is spot on…. seriously, you rock. and roll. I wish there were more people like you on xbl, it would be such a more pleasant experience!! :)

  38. Thomas says:

    May I say that anyone that actually needs to read this article will not understand it, and they definitely will not take any logical, well thought out, intelligent advice. I am a has-been gamer… from back in the days of Quake, RTCW, etc. I have not ventured into the XBOX world of gaming, but I can guess that the intelligence level is even lower, just judging from the amount of intelligence it takes to set up the game. I think the problem is that my pretty hands were just not made for those silly game controllers. Ya think? Either way, I do have to give you credit for giving it a try, but simple logic spells out the chance of it actually being effective is slim to none. Maybe I am the idiot and this article wasn’t actually meant for the people it was written for… more like the people it was written about. Lets all have a good laugh and giggle at Thomas as he catches up. Have fun gaming, and remember to eat occassionaly and consume something other than energy drinks. Don’t die.

  39. Veezie!!! says:

    Very short and to the point “You Rock”.

  40. bs angel says:

    @ xAlmostHeroesx

    I am not against you in the least bit. I don’t believe I referenced any specific age group in my ramblings, more so just the general image of the faceless jerk on the other side of the microphone. When writing this, I simply referenced idiotic ignorance, not age, not gender, nothing of that variety. Simply stupidity. You are all good in my book, no worries. : )

  41. Are you any good? The ending on legendary was kind of lame. I won’t spoil it though.

  42. yunahalo says:

    YAY! Your post is brilliant and wonderful (as always)… It’s hilarious how ‘men’ are threatened by you, and it’s funny to watch them cry about it. It makes me proud for the rest of us to actually have real men for husbands. If I was married to that guy, oh wait, I would never be married to a ‘man’ like that, unless I had no self-respect and was probably contemplating suicide. BS, great way to stick it to the ‘man’!

  43. keshuvko says:

    A nice read. :D

  44. jen says:

    lol.

  45. plasticusforkus says:

    Playing Counter-Strike: Source you have to type your insults… people must be lazy because I don’t usually come across abuse like that…

    Annnnnnano doesn’t really seem to be worth wasting the time of day.. :P

  46. Paul Kerton says:

    Yes, others have said it, but the Larry Hryb mantra of feedback is the only way to stop these, frankly, idiots from taking part. If I ever hear a voice that hasn’t broken, that sounds underage, I instantly report it. Much like when I hear racist or misogynistic comments.

    I don’t have a problem with the teabagging aspect, thats all part of the bravado of gameplay, but misogyny and racism and homophobia have no place on XBL, and sending feedback is the only way to solve it.

  47. Paul Kerton says:

    @xAlmostHeroesx

    Sorry, but if you are 12 or 13, you shouldn’t be playing this game, especially online. I don’t want my game ruined by people under age playing it, so if I came across you, I wouldn’t have a second thought about sending negative feedback.

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  49. Zoom says:

    That was excellent!

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  51. Youta says:

    HAHAHAH
    That was absolutely great XD
    I never played Halo3 at Xbox Live but based in my previous online gaming experiences, all I can say is (insert a huge “LOL” in here)

    I mentioned your post at my blog…it’s in portuguese though…

  52. Neuromancer says:

    yeh and some areas of WOW are much worse Stranglethorn Vale is particaly bad for ganking.

  53. ~S~ says:

    You went into the social playlists expecting people to NOT act like morons? Hang onto that dream. Actually people are more likely to keep themselves composed in Ranked playlists if you think about it – When you’re actually fighting competitively for a ‘higher rank’ then you’re less likely to cuss out your own teammates, betray those who get to ‘their sniper’ first, etc. Social Playlists does not mean Social: lets all sit around in comfy chairs and sip brandy, it means Social: more people, because it’s the only form of letting guests sign in and play, so who cares. Bottom Line: Social games = Who cares games. Since it’s unranked and the rooms are littered with guests, who cares? They won’t just betray you if you go for the sniper, they’ll run around in circles singing “I’m a little tea-pot” at full lung capacity through the headset. If you want a more serious/less schenanigans matchmaking environment, go into Ranked Playlists. If you want the friendly experience of playing ‘casual games’ and having fun, then just play customs! And if all else fails…for the love of god, Bungie gave us the ‘mute’ feature. You’re obviously a veteran player and im naturally assuming you were around for the days of H2 – did you reeeally expect a magical land of rainbows and gumdrops with no unecessary harassment on XBL for the H3 Transition? No matter what Bungie does, you can’t rid the world of publess little nothings throwing around racial slurs from behind the protection of a headset. Use the mute button, and use the feedback system.
    I personally feel that sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with a little trash talk here and there, especially in custom games among friends. You’re just trying to get into your opponents head and throw him off his/her game so you can get them to not think straight. I do feel that people (in MM) always go too far, and that certain trash talk, especially racism, is never appropriate. What SOME people don’t realize though (not saying that BS Angel is one of those people, just saying some people) don’t realize that guy gamers get made fun of/harassed/threatened/tea bagged JUST as much as girl gamers do. We just don’t whine about it. But in all seriousness, I’ll go ahead and stop teasing girls when i beat them in Team Slayer when groups like PMS and the Frag Dolls stop getting sponsorship to events like MLG even when they suck, just because they have boobs.
    Sound Fair?

  54. koitsu says:

    I think you summed it up when you said “I must have had my head up my ass”. And I mean that sincerely.

    The scenario you describe isn’t limited to games with voice chat. Be sure to try lots of 3D online games that have no voice support; you’ll find the exact same thing occurring via text. And yes, that includes CS, despite what others have said here in response. And god forbid you ever venture into the world of IRC… if you think H3 was bad, IRC is a thousand times worse. And no, I’m NOT exaggerating. An old boss of mine referred to IRC as “the ultimate cess pool”. Online games are becoming an extension of that pool (maybe the run-off).

    There’s really nothing amazing about any of this, though. It’s been this way for at least the last 15 years. If it’s not online games now, it’s IRC; take your pick. As the Internet becomes more and more popular, more and more idiots show up. When you combine this with the fact that with each generation, we Americans are becoming less and less respectful of, well, anything or anyone….. hmm.

    Welcome to the reality called the Internet.

  55. William says:

    @koitsu

    It doesn’t really have to be that way, though. Fill your Friends List up with cool people and play with them. There are many, many mature, respectful gamers out there…you just have to find them. It’s been mentioned several times, but go into MM with a full team and then mute (Thanks again, Bungie) the entire other team. Problem solved!!!!!

  56. @ Paul Kerton

    You have a problem with the fact that xAlmostHeroesx is young? Whether or not he’s allowed to play the game is up to his parent or guardian, not you, no offense. The rating system isn’t a requirement or restriction, it’s a suggestion. If his parents feel he’s able to handle the game, then he should be allowed to enjoy it. As long as he isn’t screaming and running around like a chicken with his head cut off, he’s cool by me.

    Automatically discriminating against someone because of their age is just as bad as discrimination against race or gender. :/

  57. bene says:

    This is why I really wish there were clans for Halo 3. I’d like to find a bunch of girls/girl-friendly guys to play with regularly. Whenever possible, I play with my boyfriend or his roommate (they share a console) but I’m mostly on my own in a sea of shouting, sexist morons.

  58. Glad to hear it isn’t just me. I dove into ranked multiplayer with a friend, and it was only 3 matches before I got told I sucked, go away, and do not rejoin. No one left before he said that. But just before I hit the B button, I saw two people drop off the team before I left, including my friend who happened to be #1 that last match. I’m sure the ass thought it was because of me, but I’m pretty sure the people that “didn’t suck” wanted nothing to do with him.

    My friend and I spent the rest of the day on Phantasy Star Universe after that. Sweet irony.

  59. SpecialNewb says:

    I’d like to think I’m a girl-friendly type player but I personally struggle when there is someone who is a girl (and who i believe is a girl) on the team. Being social and just having casual conversation can seem like a come on, ignoring her means i’m being an asshole–these assumptions are made because of so many people who ARE those things playing.

  60. @SpecialNewb

    My advice, is to just be friendly and casual, because having a casual conversation isn’t a come on. I know it seems odd, and even uncomfortable, but it is possible to have a casual conversation with a girl. And if you’re dead-silent, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an asshole. I personally have a tendency not to talk because I have nothing to say at the moment, unless it’s “nice shot” or “what the hell.” So being quiet could just mean you have nothing to say, or maybe you don’t speak the same language as your teammates. But, this is just my advice/opinion/whatever.

    In short, just try to relax, and don’t worry.

  61. SpecialNewb says:

    Queen of Blades,

    I’ve seen how my girlfriend gets treated when she plays Halo and it can be pretty bad. Thanks for the advice.

    Of course the real problem: Girl, or 13 year old boy?

  62. Crazyeye0 says:

    Ha, lol. Now all you need to include is something about the majority of “social” gamers who use “your mother” jokes against you for no reason.

  63. bs angel says:

    *looks around

    Who would ever do such a thing?

    *coughs

  64. Pingback: The Noob’s Guide to Being “Social”, Again « Hawty McBloggy Invites You to Play

  65. L3377MA573R says:

    Amen.

  66. iPrO x S33K3R says:

    This guide is brilliant
    it tells people that trash talking isnt gonna get them respect

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