The Folly of Playing Online Games with Strangers

I find people’s egos rather interesting. They are especially interesting when you don’t know them and they are online where as far as you know they are nowhere within physical proximity of you. It is my experience that their egos do one of two things. They either swell enormously out of proportion or they deflate into a simpering mass of goo.

It is even more astonishing to see this happen within the same person in a matter of just a few days or even hours.

I have fallen into the trap of playing Farmville 2: Country Escape. Becoming almost obsessed with the playing of it. I happened into a co-op which appeared to be very friendly and loved helping people out. This co-op had a dislike of people stealing which is kind of comical to say the least. Stealing implies you didn’t put it up for sale and someone took it or if you did put it up for sale then they didn’t pay for it. What they really mean is they have an intolerance of people purchasing something out from under a person who has specifically asked for the item. But that isn’t where this intolerance stopped. At the time, however, I didn’t know this.

The first part of this became abundantly clear when they had enough of the co-op owner apparently ‘stealing’ as they call it. Buying the item before the person who asked for the item had a chance to purchase it. These two people decided to open their own co-op. One of them stayed in the old co-op until the new one was created and then proceeded to invite people from the old co-op to join them in the new co-op.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had my suspicions that things would go bad in the new co-op so I waited to see how things went in the old one. The old one soon died where very few people were helping anyone and people were buying stuff out from under the person who asked for it. I decided to give the new co-op a try.

Things went well until a couple days ago. I helped out quite frequently, aided them in what they call doubling, others might call it cloning. There were times when my time was limited and I needed something they were doubling but I didn’t have the time to get involved with the doubling, so I purchased only after everyone who was buying the item had done so. This meant that most likely my farm would be shown as the one which had purchased the item. When I did this, at no time, did I ever prevent anyone from getting the item they wanted.

This apparently though ticked off the owner of the co-op. Even though I never interfered with anything anyone was buying, even though I made sure everyone got what they wanted, he accused me of not helping out, of taking and not giving in return, even though there were plenty of people involved with doubling the item. He brought this up in the co-op chat for which I told him fine I won’t ever do it again. I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t buy a single thing from any of the co-op members after that except for one time when one of them needed the same item I did so we doubled it.

The next day the owner apparently threw up his hands and told the co-op he had enough, was leaving and would not be back. The other member of the original two, found out the next day and eventually talked him into coming back. That evening she finally got him to talk about what was wrong. He complained of being invisible that he would talk and no one would respond. Two of the co-op members spent at least thirty minutes consoling him, telling him he was loved, everyone was concerned, and they wished he could see how much people cared. He was a morass of goo looking for someone to shore him up, feed his ego, make him feel manly again. Then he opened up to further complaints saying there were people hiding, not talking, not making it known that they were there, posting things to sell which meant everyone could see they were there, and buying in the background. At no time did his complaint include anyone preventing someone from getting what they wanted, so his complaint was like a child complaining that “Harry got it too when I was the only one who was supposed to get it or so-and-so was the only person who was supposed to get it.”

DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN! WHO DID THIS HURT? NO ONE! Not a single person was hurt by this and no one else would know except the person who put the item up for sale and the person who bought after everyone else had bought what they wanted. At no time did anyone lose out. The person selling the item only gets paid once. They don’t get paid for each person buying it, they only get paid as if one person bought it. While every person buying it has their coins decreased by their purchase.

Two days after the owner talked to me about me doing this very thing, one day after he threw up his hands saying he would never return, the same day he returned and after reading the conversation between him and the other original person of the co-op, I left without a word. My daughter and I left the co-op and started our own.

The other original person contacted me and said she was sorry to see me go and that I found it uncomfortable. I told her first I thought she was assuming an awful lot. I laid out in detail all the asinine expectations of the owner and that I felt he was way off base on his accusations because what I did, did not hurt anyone. She accused me of not understanding everything fully after I had laid out in detail everything exactly as the owner had complained about, people not talking, not announcing themselves, hiding, buying in the background, EVERYTHING. I told her they need to realize not everyone wants to talk, people buying in the background are not hurting anyone, and they need to stop trying to control everyone and getting them to conform to the way they think they should be.

I am glad I am out of that co-op. After two days of having my joy in playing a fun game sucked out of me, I will enjoy playing it with my daughter in our own co-op and welcoming others who want to have fun.

I wish I could grow a thick skin to people like this but unfortunately it brings back painful memories each time. I grew up in a life where others tried to mold me into the person they thought I should be and when I wasn’t that person they couldn’t accept it. They couldn’t accept me as I am, even though I hurt no one in being who I am. All this does is create unwanted, unnecessary drama, and pain. None of this is about helping someone to be a better person or to be all that they can be. It is only about becoming what makes the other person feel good, no matter the cost to the individual they want to control or change.

People wage war on other people because they are afraid, because others don’t like or agree with their beliefs, their lifestyle, their whatever and it makes the other person afraid, so they wage war saying you can no longer be this person, you can no longer do these things even though they don’t hurt anyone, you can’t do them because we don’t want you to do them. Other people learn to fight back, to defend themselves because they have no other solution. There is no other way. I would rather walk away than be held in subjugation. Or be so afraid I can’t move without fear of offending someone or making them angry.

I have this litany which runs through my head for as long as I can remember. It goes like this: “Give me my life back.” I need to change it to: “I’m taking my life back.”

I told my daughter that games imitate life, very much like art imitates life. You still have egos. You still have emotions. You still have feelings which get hurt. But without being face-to-face with someone, the egos get bigger, the personalities come out of hiding and we start to see the fantasy person in which the flaws eventually come to the surface, many times bigger than life. Without being there to see the depth of the pain inflicted there is no buffer, there is nothing to make the person pull back and try to be more kind, more thoughtful, or more sensitive.

I guess after the long story, the short of it is, take online gaming with a grain of salt. Find the nitch which works for you, the people who are respectful, considerate, honorable, and yet allow you to be who you are and enjoy the game because once the joy is gone, it is no longer worth your time and energy and it is time to find something else more worthy of your time.

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About Kate Spyder

I'm a creative individual finding her way in her writing. I enjoy expressing my deep thoughts through poetry and stories. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.
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