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Tycho / on Sun, Jan 27 2013 at 11:01 pm

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Bans are a public relations coup; the more public they are, the more efficacious.  People love to see the hammer come down.  Unless you look up and see it yourself, o’erhead, you feel safer knowing that the placid, featureless face of this hammer is elsewhere, even for a moment.  It is happening all the time, but it’s become a source of headlines now for a glutted news edifice, so we “know.”  That’s how we found out about three especially high-profile bans, considered how a just society should corral them, and then made comic about it sort of but not really.

People sometimes wonder what makes (ahem) “MOBA” games such pheromonal attractants for beast-men, writhers, tarantulons, and other varieties of online super-fiend, but I don’t.  League of Legends is often considered some variant of “easy mode” compared to DOTA or HoN, but any one of those games “matters” more second by second than a game of Call of Duty.  This isn’t about fun, I’m not talking about amusement or craft or anything really aside from the stakes.  You don’t just die and lose a “point.”  Death is an “event” in a constantly shifting constellation of data, and its effects are profound.  Lone Wolves can be disruptive, but at ground level this is a team game.  You can lose quickly, very early on, and then you’ve wasted everyone’s time.  So, yes.  They’re angry and they don’t mind telling you; you stole their time.  You literally made their life shorter.

The oft-repeated phrase in this space is that “I’m not a competitor, in any sense of the word.”  I am always the worst person on any team.  I don’t pretend to understand it completely, but for people who are competitors and do compete tact and politeness don’t appear to be premium virtues.  “World-class competitor” and “psychotic asshole” are practically synonyms.  Bungie figured this out a long time ago, with its different gradients of global mute.  That person might be a jagoff, but they’re also content for everybody else.  You can keep one and shuck the other by muting them globally.  The “service provider” isn’t obligated to give them a platform for their speech, but it’s free to play.  They’ll be back momentarily.

I probably don’t need to hear about how Jews are a species of “advanced reptoid” that “bleeds gold,” but if all this tournament-tier player is doing in my game is dishing up clutch Ashe arrows from mid I guess I don’t care what he mutters impotently, and with great violence, into his wholly muted mic.

(CW)TB out.

could we change the subject now


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