A griefer or bad faith player is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game (trolling), using aspects of the game in unintended ways. A griefer derives pleasure primarily or exclusively from the act of annoying other users, and as such is a particular nuisance in online gaming communities. To qualify as griefing, a player must be using aspects of the game in unintended ways to annoy other players—if they are trying to gain a strategic advantage, it is instead called 'cheating'.
Cheating in video games involves a video game player using non-standard methods for creating an advantage beyond normal gameplay, usually to make the game easier, or may also create unusual effects which do not necessarily make the game easier to play, such as giving characters different appearances, such as large heads.
The term was applied to online, multiplayer video games by the year 2000 or earlier, as illustrated by postings to the rec.games.computer.ultima.online USENET group. The player is said to cause 'grief' in the sense of 'giving someone grief'.
The term 'griefing' dates to the late 1990s, when it was used to describe the willfully antisocial behaviors seen in early massively multiplayer online games like Ultima Online and first-person shooters such as Counter-Strike. Even before it had a name, griefer-like behavior was familiar in the virtual worlds of text-based Multi-User Domains (MUDs), where joyriding invaders visited 'virtual rape' and similar offenses on the local populace. Julian Dibbell's 1993 article A Rape in Cyberspace analyzed the griefing events in a particular MUD, LambdaMOO, and the staff's response.
In the culture of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) in Taiwan, such as Lineage, griefers are known as 'white-eyed'—a metaphor meaning that their eyes have no pupils and so they look without seeing. Behaviors other than griefing that can cause players to be stigmatized as 'white-eyed' include cursing, cheating, stealing, or unreasonable killing.
Methods of griefing differ from game to game. What might be considered griefing in one area of a game may even be an intended function or mechanic in another area. Common methods may include but are not limited to:
The term is sometimes applied more generally to refer to a person who uses the internet to cause distress to others as a prank, or to intentionally inflict harm, as when it was used to describe an incident in March 2008, when malicious users posted seizure-inducing animations on epilepsy forums.
Many subscription-based games actively oppose griefers, since their behavior can drive away business. It is common for developers to release server-side upgrades and patches to annul griefing methods. Many online games employ gamemasters that reprimand offenders. Some use a crowdsourcing approach, where players can report griefing. Malicious players are then red-flagged, and are then dealt with at a gamemaster's discretion. As many as 25% of customer support calls to companies operating online games deal specifically with griefing.
Blizzard Entertainment has enacted software components to combat griefing. To prevent non-consensual attacks between players, some games such as Ultima Online have created separate realms for those who wish to be able to attack anyone at any time, and for those who do not. Others implemented separate servers.
When EverQuest was released, Sony included a PvP switch where people could fight each other only if they had enabled that option. This was done in order to prevent the player-killing that was driving people away from Ultima Online, which at that time had no protection on any of its servers.
Second Life bans players for harassment (defined as being rude or threatening, making unwelcome sexual advances, or performing activities likely to annoy or alarm somebody) and assault (shooting, pushing, or shoving in a safe area, or creating scripted objects that target another user and hinder their enjoyment of the game) in its community standards. Sanctions include warnings, suspension from Second Life, or being banned altogether.
Some space simulators, like Eve Online, have incorporated activities typically considered griefing as part of the gameplay mechanism. Corporate spying, theft, scams, gate-camping, and PvP on non-PvP players are all part of their gaming experience.
Shooters such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive have implemented peer review systems, where if a player is reported too many times, multiple higher ranked players are allowed to review the player and determine if the reports are valid, and apply a temporary ban to the player's account if necessary. The player's name is omitted during the replay, as well as those of the other 9 players in the game. In October 2016, Valve implemented a change that will permanently ban a player if he/she receives two penalties for griefing.
Many Minecraft servers have rules against griefing. In Minecraft freebuild servers, griefing is often the destruction of another player's build, and in other servers the definition ranges, but almost all servers recognize harassment as griefing. Most servers use temporary bans for minor and/or first-time incidents, and indefinite bans from the server for more serious and/or repeat offences.
In recent years, Grand Theft Auto Online has experienced a drastic increase in griefing due in part to the emergence of bugs and better money-making opportunities. Common griefing techniques within the game abuse passive mode and trivially accessible weaponized vehicles. Developer Rockstar has implemented measures such as a longer cool-down on passive mode, patching invincibility glitches, and removing passive mode from weaponized vehicles in recent updates. In addition, the game also features a reputation system that, in effect, after excessive 'bad sport point' accumulation, will mark players as 'bad sports', allowing them to only play in lobbies with other 'bad sports'. Such points are either accumulated over time or gained within a certain time frame and are acquired by actions such as destroying another player's personal vehicle, or quitting jobs early. This is one of the more controversial features of the game, as some point out flaws such as the game not considering if destruction of a vehicle was self-defense.
Fallout 76 discourages players from griefing by marking them as wanted criminals, which one can get a reward for killing. Wanted players cannot see any other players on the world map and must rely on their normal player view.
In the South Park episode 'Make Love, Not Warcraft', the children attempt to vanquish a griefer in World of Warcraft.
In EVE, 'griefing' refers to various activities, some of which can be argued not to be 'griefing' in the classic sense, but parts of valid gameplay.[better source needed]
|Look up griefer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Bargh, Chen, and Burrows also did another experiment where some people unscrambled sentences with words related to rudeness (bold, bother, brazen) and some worked with words indicating politeness (patiently, courteous, unobtrusively). All subjects then walked in on a staged scene where they had to interrupt a conversation to get some needed information. Those in the “polite” condition waited 9.3 minutes on average. Those in the “rude” condition jumped in after just 5.5 minutes on average.3
These are examples of what psychologists called “priming,” which is basically getting people in a particular state of mind or getting them to think about what you want them to. It’s a staple of advertising and surprisingly easy to do. I’ve been thinking for a while that game developers should take better advantage of it.
What if, for example, certain words of phrases were thrown around on loading screens between levels or in the matchmaking lobby for a multiplayer shooter? Would simply showing words like “sportsmanship” or “communication” or “fairness” prime people to behave themselves during games? If you didn’t want to be that transparent, you could include little stories, vignettes, or even comics or movies that included those words or illustrations of them. Or maybe you could use real data, like the number of heals provided by players in the previous game or awards for best defense.
This makes me wonder...
...I think I shall now try greeting every crappy LFD group (by now, I despise the dungeon finder) with some happy, perky bounces, and see if that works with priming the groups to act more decently in general, thereby improving my LFD grouping experiences.
I do usually try to greet people with at least a, 'Hullo!' However, for the purposes of this experiment, I think I'll try to be a little bit odder, and work in 'polite' words for killing everything in sight, and see if that works better.
E.g.: Woohoo! Hi guys! Lettuce go forth and politely divest all the mobbies of their tasty loot with civility and gentleness!
(Assuming they have a certain level of mastery of the English language, it should at least be 'ha, this person is odd' even if it's not actually amusing - and it will hopefully, prime everyone with polite words.)
Certainly, when I made mistakes when I started tanking again (even though only low level) for the first time in 2 years, and I explained exactly that, the group was a lot more forgiving than it would have been had I said nothing.
Pair that with how apology has the tendency (if perceived as sincere) to cancel out the effects of annoyance...
...I shall run my little social experiment and report back inna bit!
This is the line I've been using. I've had to macro it, because groups are so gogogogogo these days I don't have TIME to type it... and I type really fast.
/p Hi guys! The PUG runs I've had from LFD lately have been great. Good, polite folk - let's hope this is one of them too.
Unfortunately, I can only do this once per run. This is a problem because of folks dropping out / being kicked, etc, and it would be suspicious to keep saying it every time someone new shows up.
Samples (I may split this off eventually or this will get awfully long)
1) RFK - good
2) RFK - good
3) DM - good
4) ZF - good
5) BRD - neutral
6) BRD - bizarre. group was really good. tank was really bad. pally who would not consecrate 'it takes too much mana', could not hold aggro, and ninja'd a haste cloak from me because 'it has stamina' XD
7) BRD - neutral - tank dropped group when Angerforge didn't drop her item
8) ST - bad
9) BRD - bad, tank pulled whole bar way over thaar, while we were smashing barrels. then had a hissy fit. also, another pally tank who wouldn't ever ever EVER consecrate. Not even when I was tanking all the adds (healer).
10) BRD - good - great tank, great group, some loldeaths in the bar, but really nice in general
11) Ramparts - good
12) Slave Pens - good
13) Blood Furnace - good (all three by same group - so could be skewed here)
...going to have to stop this for now. the BC section, and I'm told WotLK section is so faceroll that I never run out of mana no matter how stupid the group is being. Makes it very hard to judge.