Are you a gamer who has seen a screaming troll in the chat room? Have you been called a “casual” because you just started playing a game? Maybe you have done things like this yourself?
We’ve all been there.
While we could be reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, the fact is the gaming community is a culture of its own. There is much to cover, so let’s start by defining gamer types.
A lot of social interaction deals with a pecking order. Because of this, I will set up a social gaming tier list based on the time and resources one puts into their gaming. This is not a measure of pure skill, but a dedication of life to a game or gaming itself. Putting labels on common ground helps define gamer types so we might coexist.
C Gamers (Casual)
Casual gamers don’t get the respect they deserve. They play for pure leisure or for occasional stress relief. Sometimes they game to make friends. You can often find these types picking up games like Animal Crossing, or doing single-player just to enjoy a game.
Those who get into competitive games just to relax might have a tougher time depending on the game.
B Gamers (aBove Average)
The main difference between Casual and above-average is the dedication to the game. Where a Casual player plays to relax, the B’s tend to dedicate their time off to beating the average player. Even if they play solo games, they will try and earn all achievements possible and collect every item in the game for 100% completion.
They are usually the leaders or staff in mid-tier clans or guilds. They aren’t there for the leaderboards, but to kick hiney and take names for a good weekend run with friends. At the ranked guilds, they are usually the ones who help out for weekend raids and contribute enough time to keep their status without rising into leadership.
A Gamers (Achievers)
If you have ever seen a top listing of guilds or high scores, you will find the Achiever gamers. They take their games very seriously and are competitive in any ranked parts of a game without making a living off of them.
This is usually where you find the most attitude. They are the ones that can embrace the community AND focus on the game. This is how they climb because they can coexist without sacrificing their play style.
S Gamers (eSports)
Esports gamers are almost always the most revered and honored because they achieved “the dream.” They make a living off of gaming. These could be streamers who play a variety of games or tournament winners.
Also in this category are professional record breakers; highest points or speedrunners. Their sport isn’t money, but immortality. These gamer types have the highest probability of coexisting with other gamers. They have a social reputation to maintain with their fan base. They need to get along with all types to keep their living.
Sometimes you don’t make a living off of a game, but you spend your life on it just to be the best with your resources. While the esports crowd will get the honor, these gamers prefer infamy. They are the same types who are okay with losing $300k worth of in-game resources in a war.
Some games are meant for these players, like the tabletop version of Warhammer where a single unpainted piece might cost you in the triple digits. This tier can be used for the forces of good, usually acting as patrons to players who are still learning the game. Many times, however, they are shunned for being p2w (pay to win). Despite throwing their hard-earned money at a game, keeping top-tier spots also requires much time and multiple accounts. They are the ones who can break entire servers, or (rarely) keep competition afloat.
How to Gauge Yourself and Others
You have to be honest with yourself. It is entirely possible to be one rank in one game and another in your main game. Ask yourself the hard questions by assessing where you are in the game and where you want to be in a game.
- Are you willing to devote time to raise yourself a rank to get into the top clans?
- How about being willing to swallow a lot of venom if PvP is the main draw?
- Do you want to keep your sanity and play a game to relax while being lightly competitive?
Your definition of “for kicks and giggles” might still have a high work output (like 100% achieving some unpopular games).
Once you know yourself, then you figure out the best way to treat people. The first way to do that is to spend your first three hours of the game watching the general/world chat of the game if it has one.
A rule which tends to be true is the higher the stakes in a game, the more toxic a community gets. If there are tournaments with cash prizes involved, people will do anything to prevent competition or thin-skinned players from playing.
In my experience, FPS and MOBAs tend to be the worst. Player-run economy games are a close second. In those instances, being a Casual gamer is not welcome, and in some respects, for the right reason. The best players may have money on the line and rankings they can’t afford to let plummet.
On the flip side, these also make those who aren’t toxic a precious resource. Try to tell new players how things run in the game with compassion. Even if they can’t stand the game anymore, they might invite you to another.
Classes C-A generally get along in most games because even C players are needed for resource collecting. A has dual citizenship depending on the types of S and E he rolls with.
Rolling with a streamer who uses the stream as his main income will be much more friendly than a tournament player. Fighting games are kind of in the middle because you have people like Justin Wong kicking tournament tail and hosting his stream.
There is nothing wrong with being fans of streamers either; they usually take great care of their supporters, particularly if you give them props by learning from them. You might get support if you try and raise your level.
Remember: you are not S rank unless you make a living or earn world record immortality.
What is the Line for Elite?
There are often in-game subscriptions in a game. These are usually $15-$20 a month. Just skip one Starbucks a week and you’ll be fine. This is normal.
We’re talking about the ones who not only buy the leveling package on Diablo: Immortal, but on multiple accounts.
We’re talking about the ones who buy entire servers on some games to make it an RP server where they are king and queen.
We also talk about the people who spend thousands of dollars on miniatures just to play a game at all.
It is not always a negative thing. There are Corporations on EVE Online that charge the ISK equal to thousands of dollars for some ships. It’s why I became a skill monkey there. Sometimes you need to shell out in order to be a true contender in a game.
Vanity gear is a grey area. It doesn’t help you win the game. You just look cooler. Putting them on a recruiter for your guild, however, does have its advantages.
If you do use your money to conquer a game (or at least a server), be a proper patron to new players. Do not force them to join you. If you use your riches with responsibility, people won’t hate you for being in charge. Many Kingdom Building games have pay to win with iron fists.
An A player can get away with proper small purchases which make the game honorably easier. Inventory slots or building slots, even if they have a subscription price tag on them, are fine.
To Make a Long Story Short…
… kind of too late for that.
The golden rule applies 75% of the time. Sometimes you will not have people accept you into their party or they are total jerks. If you have to say no, say no with grace. If there is a deep chasm of skill between you and another, pull them aside and tell them what they can do to improve.
If you use money in game, use it with class and be a boon to the server instead of an overlord.
Up next, we have Diplomacy in Various Game Genres! Stay tuned for the rest of this Gaming and Society showcase!