Do you still use gaming headsets?
The idiotic world of online communication
Conversation with fellow gamers can be either really fun, or really annoying. Some of my most memorable online sessions have been with funny and insightful fellow gamers, holding good conversation on the headset and making the game more fun. On the other end of this spectrum, we have the trolls, griefers, 5 year old's and plain idiots. Have these types of gamers driven you away from using your headset online?
Street Fighter Racism!
I was never big into PC gaming, so my first real flawless experience with a headset online was with my Xbox 360. I downloaded Street Fighter 2 : Hyper Fighting and put the headset on, waiting for the probable vile comments that would come my way. At first, I had many players who would be very good sports, accepting defeats and offering advice on wins. This was not always the case however.
Being from the UK, I obviously have a very different accent to our American friends. This would be used as a basis to troll. Sometimes, after beating someone at Street Fighter, my accent and home country would be the main attack. “F**k you, British C**t. You would be German if it wasn't for America”. Um, ok, and exactly what does this have to do with Street Fighter? Kind of low to attack me over something I have zero control over. Do I need to put on a fake accent to gain your acceptance?
But, back then, the good times would outweigh the bad and I enjoyed talking to like-minded gamers who wanted to have fun.
Playing with family members was always fun though. I would game frequently with my brother at weekends, so the headset was revolutionary for us. We could continue our friendly arguing online when playing games like Fifa and Tony Hawk. If we were playing games that opened up to more than 2 players, we would try to be as welcoming as possible.
Kids + Sponegbob = Online Warfare
With the PS3, I found that not many people liked to talk online. I had some fun with ModNation Racers though, and met some really creative players who would show off their custom characters and cars. This was fun and felt very social at first, but it ended with many kids complaining that others stole their Spongebob character.
Around this time I stopped using the headsets while online. I just didn't find it necessary for the games I played. A few months ago I got the Xbox One, and decided to pop the mic into the controller to see how the community had changed (if at all). Plus, with 64 players in Battlefield, surely I would meet some cool people.
You want to do what do my what?!
One guy I heard whispering the most obscene garbage into his mic about raping pets and having anal sex with his team-mates. I heard another guy talking to his kids, telling them to “leave him f**king alone while he is playing games”. I experienced a ton of people who like to play music into the headset, with volume settings so bad that it sounds like a distorted mess. I found the kids who just shouted random garbage into the mic. I quickly realised that I won't be able to find many chilled people, having to dig through the mess of obscene and idiotic people.
Sure, it is cool that we have bigger player counts but it now feels for every one decent player, there must be 4 other morons.
Do you still use headsets when gaming? What kind of people have you met?
Do you still use a headset while gaming?
How to fix this mess?
Sometimes we hope to play an online game and meet a bunch of real nice people. It would be awesome to have a load of strangers on our friends list who become gaming partners over time. Co-operative games force us to communicate to work towards a common goal. How nice would it be to partake in these games with new people we meet online?
It would be nice to turn on the headset and not get bashed for an accent. It would also be nice to co-operate with like-minded gamers who just want to enjoy a social and fun experience.
I do have one simple suggestion that could fix a lot of things: searchable community profiles.
Imagine if we could search for other players by filtering things such as age, experience, games played and reputation. Of course this would not be a foolproof fix, but it would be a step in the right direction.
For example, I would imagine opening up Street Fighter 2 and inputting the following search filters :
Age : 25+
Experience : Playing Street Fighter 2 on Xbox Live for 2 years
Games Played : Super Street Fighter 2 HD, Street Fighter III, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter IV
Reputation : 10/10
Headset Enabled : Yes
This would guarantee that I am matched with a player who is good, has plenty of experience, plays similar games, won't be a 5 year old kid and has been given a good reputation score by his peers.
Granted, there are already some of this features available in games but the majority of matchmaking searches and choices just aren't specific enough. I would love to see Microsoft and Sony make changes to their respective systems to help us all chat with gamers who we would actually enjoy chattiing to.