To rage, or not to rage... Is it really a question?
I love me some Left 4 Dead 2, but it can be hard to get a good game going because people give up so easily. If your whole team makes it to the end of Dead Center as Survivors, and then you Charge somebody out a window as Infected, they’re probably going to rage quit. Knock the whole team off the ledge? Rage. Boom them as they get out of the elevator and separate them in the chaos of the horde and BAM, you guessed it… More often than not, the score discrepancy is small enough that it could easily be made up in the next round, but people don’t care. People that only care about winning will cut and run to avoid potentially fighting a losing battle. And of course, once one person quits, it can set off a domino effect through the rest of the team, seeing the loss of one or two players as spoiling their chances of success. Nevermind that any considerate competitor would be fine waiting a few minutes for more people to join.
The team-based cooperative format might have something to do with an increased rate of rage quitting. If you don’t have a good team, you don’t have much chance of winning unless the other team is at around the same level or lower. Compare that to a game like Counter-Strike, where a single awesome player can carry an otherwise crappy team. Not to mention the action in CS is more fast-paced, with less down-time if you die. Lose one round and it doesn’t really matter because the next one, completely independent of the round before, is about to start. Left 4 Dead carries your success or failure into the next of up to four more consecutive rounds, and it’s possible to be so far behind in points that it becomes mathematically impossible to win the campaign. If that happens before the last round, rage is almost inevitable.
Even though I’m generally on the side trying to predict the exact moment when the other team will quit, I admit I’ve been on the losing team and succumbed to the rage at times. I enjoy a challenge for sure, but when the other players compete professionally and exploit every trick of physics and environment, it’s hard not to want to give up. Considering my attitude toward this issue, I usually try to stick it out and have some fun in failing. Once you resign to defeat and swallow your pride, the pressure is off and it’s possible to actually enjoy losing. Some people will commit suicide jumping off a cliff or whatever, but I like to be a bit more subtle in my recklessness, rushing headlong into the horde with a katana or machete. Sometimes I even make it to the safe room at the other end. The trick is to set some kind of goal that isn’t “beat the other team.”
So what’s the matter with people that can’t stand to lose? Nobody *likes* to lose, but some people certainly tolerate it better than others. Does it have to do with not being told “no” by their parents as a child? Not participating in team sports or other contests where losing is a real possibility, if not a probability? Although, it seems that more and more children’s sporting events these days are shifting toward that “everybody’s a winner” bullshit, reflecting the trend of modern parents preferring to coddle their children and be their best friend than teach them about the real world and how to deal with it. I believe the technical term for this is “the pussification of America.” So please, parents and parents-to-be, don’t let your children walk all over you, because they will grow up to be rage quitters, and we don’t need any more of those.
Firing Points is a weekly editorial that explores popular, pressing, or otherwise provocative topics in the world of gaming. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the FiringSquad team, or anyone else for that matter.
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