No, we aren’t talking about the game Diplomacy. We are talking about unleashing our inner bard class and using our skills to make the game better (or at least more interesting). As stated in my previous article, “Defining Gamer Types and How to Coexist,” most of gaming society revolves around how much you put into a certain game or gaming in general.
Here, we’ll talk about how to use it to our advantage. Please note this will be a proactive list to keep the peace. Why? There is a dark side to diplomacy. I might publish more on that at a later date, but let’s stay proactive. Because once being proactive gets into the system, one can learn to use it to their advantage in other ways.
Diplomacy as a Newbie
Would you believe some games are starting to censor the word ‘noob’ in their chats? We are all new at one point, so we might as well embrace it! There is a term in pro wrestling called “heat” which describes receiving anger from people.
In gaming and other competitive activities, there is a thing I like to call “noob heat.” It’s just being new and having people give you grief for it.
If you are aware you are new in a role or game, the best thing you can do is announce this fact to your team. You will immediately know who you should stay away from and who has your back. This role could be as simple as maxing out your level for the end game. If you run into those who give you attitude, simply finish the match despite their anger and make sure to block them from returning to your group. If you run into veterans who are willing to teach you the ropes, however, befriend them as soon as you can.
Networking in a game is just as important as networking in real life. If you play your cards right, you can learn a lot of lessons. Find the rare proactive players. Befriending them and becoming a precious commodity raises your worth in a world where people are usually selfish.
Diplomacy as a Player
How many times have you seen this scenario? Someone does something in global or clan chat, people blow up, then you have to play with those people in the next raid. The art of talking things through can make or break a good team, whether for PvP or in your clan.
But what can you do as a single player?
Part of it depends on your role in the Skill Trinity of Gaming (DPS, Healer, Tank). Healers and Tanks usually get the worst drama because they need to be good at what they do to carry an entire team. In games where this doesn’t exist, just imagine FPS or fighting games.
As it was said in the previous article1, the higher the stakes, the more toxic the environment. Dealing with toxicity is a mix of being honest and knowing when to fold and find a new group.
When it comes to toxicity, I personally have a three-strike rule. The first time could be a fluke. The second? Make a commitment to watch the situation to see whose fault it is. Third? Make a judgment call based on your knowledge. Could the Tank be drawing too much aggro? Is the healer not using hotkeys? If you are in an FPS, does the guy keep rushing to the front lines with a melee weapon? Once you notice your team doing something seriously wrong after the second offense, wait in the raid if it’s PvE. Should it happen in PvP, ask to talk to the guy after the match. Consider it a bullet dodged if they refuse.
Diplomacy as a Leader
What happens when you are the inmate running the asylum? Diplomacy in the game now becomes a major key to keeping your group together. There is a lot to cover in gamer leadership, so I will focus on the diplomacy aspect only.
As a veteran or a leader in the clan, you are the one who has to meet and greet newbies. You are also the diffuser of drama and the ultimate authority when it comes to kicking people off your team. In larger games where talking to others is a critical aspect, you might want to make someone you trust be the one who speaks for your group. Not everyone has this, and it should be in the hands of a lesser officer.
I have three main points to drive home for a leader:
- Set laws and follow through with enforcing them.
- Don’t play favorites.
- Be nice, but never be afraid to drop the hammer.
Is there a rule that says, “Get booted if inactive for three days without notice”? Then boot them! It doesn’t matter if they have been buddies with you since high school. If they tell you they are having problems with work, that is notice – so give them a little longer before you start recruiting again.
It is totally fine to be a Care Bear. Just remember to put the accent on the “Bear” when dealing with toxic fools or those who bend/break the rules. Macchiavellianism2 (“the ends justify the means”) only works in survival games. You need a fair distribution of being the nice one and taking no baloney.
By the way, it is totally okay to be an introverted leader! Find someone who does and be clear about what you want them to do. Outsourcing with people you trust is vital to managing any large group, be it in gaming or life. This leads us to…
Diplomacy as a Diplomat
Either you specifically have this role, or you are a lower officer who speaks on behalf of the entire group. A leader is wise to make someone who is not at the highest level in the group the diplomat. If many are at max level, make sure they wear good-looking gear, not necessarily the most useful.
Make certain it matches your avatar well, rather than getting the most epic of attire. One of the things you do not want to reveal is the general power of your group. Every time you do, another group bigger than yours will start gearing up to take you down. In games where gear is dropped after getting killed (because a meeting can go sour), try and wear an outfit that looks nice, but is of lower level. That way, if they decide to respond by killing the diplomat, not much will be lost if his things are stolen.
As a diplomat, you are going to talk to all kinds of people, including those who are eager to kill you and take your stuff. The Bible actually has an interesting slant on this;
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”Romans 12:20 (KJV)
Always be kind to toxic folk. No matter how asinine or childish they get, keep the high ground and try to make it work until they buckle or keep getting angry. If there is more than one person around when this is happening, you make yourself look like the more mature one.
The art of recon is also very important. Listen to your guild mates and the general chat as much as you can. Also, listen to news updates on the game you are playing so you can prepare yourself for events and know who to talk to about joining forces to get them done.
Sometimes rival clans will have websites depending on how big they are. There are a few clans that span multiple games. Try and make allies with these bigger groups because, in the event the game decides to go south with production decisions or merged servers, you and your clan may have the option to join another game.
There is a fine line between “doing as you would want them to do unto you” and the need to “do unto others” first. That is the competitive nature of gaming. You will find spies, people will betray you, and they will take your hard-earned time and resources to build their own.
This is why being level-headed and kind are valuable resources. These are the people in which you need to share your wealth with. Do not just look for these people, but be them yourself. It’s the best way for you to find your fellow sane people.
Until the next installment, dear peeps!