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  #1  
Old 10-31-2008, 04:51 PM
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Question Playing fairly vs. Playing to Win
As a clan leader, I often find myself asking if playing fairly and playing to win are as irreconcilable as one would think. I sometimes play under different names to keep an eye on our members and am often surprised (pleasantly as well as unpleasantly) by some of their behavior.

Our clan was created as a group of players who like to play together and have fun. Which is not to say we're not good. We do have our share of very talented players, but what drives us to play together are the relationships we created in the clan. I'm just saying this to explain that we are not professional gamers.

I really understand giving your best and being competitive. Playing to win is admirable. Hell... I watched as much of this year's Olympic Games and cheered every victory. But at the same time... why do many gamers think that fairness gets in the way of competitiveness? And why do some think that playing to win gets in the way of having fun?

I would like to know the opinions of you GamerDNA members: are playing fairly and playing to win really so diametrically opposed?
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:15 PM
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Short answer: no.

There is a big caveat though, which mainly has to do with how different people evaluate fairness. For example, in a game like WoW, there are definitely people who would argue that it's "unfair" that you can get gear on-par with the mid-range raiding dungeons "just" for PvPing. Their argument is that it's much harder to learn encounters, and get 25 people together multiple times a week for weeks on end, and geared up, than it is to get 5 people together to win some Arena battles every week. While I agree with this assessment, I'm not sure it's unfair - both are playing within the rules. I suppose you can go on to argue that the rules themselves are unfair, but that's a side issue. The gear improves your ability to win, and you're playing within the rules.

Similarly, memorizing a map in an FPS might be considered an "unfair advantage" by some, even though anyone can do it (granted, this relies on certain visual-spatial skills, and time, that not everyone has). Does it make the memorizer more competitive, and likely to win? Definitely. Is it unfair? Again, I'd say arguably no, because it's within the rules and accessible to everyone.

So, in short, it's only unfair when you're acting outside the rules (cheat mods, among others).

I think for me the main issue is not so much competitiveness as it is the way that that can easily slide into gloating, griefing, and so on. You can "play to win" (which is sometimes considered to go against "playing to have fun") without being a jerk about it. If what's fun for you is winning, that's fine... just don't get pissy when you lose, or grandstand when you win. If you find either of those fun... then yeah, you're a "poor sport" since your personal fun optimization reduces the fun of others.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:37 PM
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I'd create a poll on this if I didn't think people would just lie LOL
For most people, if they cheat to win, the experience will be less than gratifying. However, there are those who will stop at nothing to win. Cheating is "no big" to them. So part of your question is answered by which of those two camps you are in. Actually there is a third group. People who make up and play by extra rules.

A phenomenon of online games is that people feel free to experiment in poor behavior. One example is Barren's chat wherein people will say just about anything--things they would not dream of saying in earshot of a real person. People also push the limits of fair play as well. Someone who would not dream of cheating at cards for instance, may not think twice about using a trainer or some other mod that give them an edge.

Video games maybe going mainstream, but mainstream mores have not made it into games yet. Maybe they never will. Maybe they shouldn't. Or maybe someday they will.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:03 PM
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As was already said I think it depends on what you consider fair. If I know where every weapon is on a map and know the spawn times for power ups is it unfair if I use that knowledge to my advantage? If I sit in a tower and camp the whole time, is it unfair that you have to run around to try and kill me while I can just sit in relatively safe spots?

Now using exploits, hacks, and other cheats I don't think is fair and I think most people would agree. But then most people that I know who play to win, myself included, think that those cheats defeat the whole purpose of playing to win. There are many reasons to play to win, whether it be to flex your e-peen or just because you are competitive in nature, but when you go and cheat to do it you are kind of defeating the purpose in trying to win in the first place. Most people that I know who go and use exploits or hacks do so just to piss other players off.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:30 PM
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I wasn't really referring to cheating, although you guys bring up a good point. Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate my question:

1) The other day I had the opportunity to observe one of my members playing HL2 : DM on our server. His team had 3 players and the other team had 2. That's fine... it happens with an odd number of players. However, his team was booby trapping the ammo and health spots and one of them was camping on top of the tower. So as soon as an opponent would spawn, they would either snipe him out or if he were able to escape and get to the weapons/ammo/health spot, he would blow up. That happened for a long time. In short... the team with 2 players had absolutely no chance. Each member would last for a few seconds before getting killed. And it wasn't for lack of trying. So someone said "you guys have 3 players, we h ave 2... do you also need to have a camper and booby trap the resources? That's when my member said "we're taking full advantage of this map, stop crying." Of course I was disappointed in him. And although no rules were being broken, the game was hardly fun for the 2 guys being slaughtered. And it became boring for the other team too... but they were earning server points.

2) I also witness another instance in which 3 advanced players were playing against 2 noobs. I don't need to mention that it was total carnage. When one noob decided to leave, none of the 3 players switched... then another guy would log into the server and find himself at 2v3 against three extremely good players. Again... they weren't really cheating. Just racking up points at the expense of other players. But how much fun would a game between NBA pros and Junior High players be?

So... at what point does "playing to win" get in the way of having fun? Obviously, the guys earning the points are getting something out of the time they put in playing. But at what cost? The noobs leave, the clan gets a bad reputation...
Anyway... I'd really like to know everyone's opinion on this.

And thanks for your replies, guys.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:40 PM
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They are really just hurting themselves if they do that. I don't know about most people but I don't find servers with 5 people in them very fun to begin with since maps are normally designed for at least twice as many people playing. If they continue to player like the way you described, then the people on the other team will eventually leave and there wont be fun for anyone to have.

The first example I am not really sure what to think of it because I don't know that game very well or the maps. Was there only one possible way for the other team to go or could the other team have went a different way around the map, gotten some other gun, and came up behind the guys camping? The second example you listed was pretty lame and I don't think it could be that fun for anyone. Beating new people in a game isn't hard, isn't rewardning, and isn't something that I normally look forward to doing. Playing when it is 3v1 is the same way.

I think really playing to win can get in the way of having fun pretty quickly. When I am playing on a pub I don't play that seriously because I want to have fun. When I am playing in a cal match or some other scrim I play to win and take everything in the game very seriously. It might be fun for a couple rounds of you completely destroying the other team, but when they get frustrated and leave then you will have nobody to play against.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:50 PM
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Mumbo...
Both examples were in a map called dm_tower, which consists of an open area with a bunker in the middle and 4 towers, one in each corner. All players respawn out in the open, with only basic weapons. So in order to get to weapons that can do some damage or reach a long way they have to either move around the open area (scattered weapons) or go to one of two caches in the map: the first one is right in the middle, and was being guarded by two of their players, and the other is under one of the towers and was booby trapped.

And I agree with you entirely... what's the point if people leave and don't come back because the players are being jerks?

But what I'm doing here is trying to see the other side, too. Maybe I'm being one-sided or too "touchy-feely" on this.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:51 PM
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i would only say you have an unfair advantage if you were using a mod like a lag chip or something. Memorizing weapon location, map layouts, being at a high level. None of those are an unfair advantages seeing as how asny one can do those things with time. on the other hand blatently cheating through mods or having level partys with freinds to level each other up is a bit unfair but id call it a grey area.
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:24 AM
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I have considered the issue of fairness, including cheating, in the past.
Basically it goes from black to white (or vice versa) with a whole bunch of shades of grey.
(The following is a bit FPS-based.)

Using some external program (wall hack to see through walls, aim bot so your guns can't miss, something to make you build your units twice as fast as normal) is probably considered cheating by about everyone.
(Off-topic: I can see why this is a good laugh once, but I don't at all understand people who "play" like this all the time.)

Then there are things like binding a semi automatic weapon in an FPS to your mouse wheel so you can fire really quickly, or creating macros on your keyboard.
I suspect less people will call this cheating, since you're not fooling the game software, acting within the rules, although not always within the rules of what's humanly possible.
Even if you don't use macros you could create a keyboard setup that makes doing hard things a breeze.

There is the finding a hole in the map to drop through, so you can shoot everyone from below the actual level.
It's in the game, everyone can do it, so some people argue it's a valid tactic, despite it being plain as day that the developers didn't intend this is a valid strategy.
Of course things like bunny hopping and rocket jumping basically evolved from bugs, so there's some grey here too.

Then are things like gold farming or even legal buying (micro transactions) of extra armour or stuff like that.

As mentioned, remembering the exact layout of a map, knowing where all the weapons are, knowing the hitpoints of your tanks vs the other guys jeeps, getting a feel for how long one tank would survive against 10 jeeps, stuff like that, all give you an advantage.

I'm sure I missed a few steps, don't feel like hurting my head thinking too much about it again, but in the end there is always the fact that some people are simply better (or worse) than you.

Like Mumbo said, it all depends on what you consider fair.
Outside of the game rules, outside of the server rules, there always should be a clear set of rules the software can't judge on, but the human players can.
Outside of those rules, there should be respect for the other players and the willingness to discuss points of disagreement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredarmando View Post
In short... the team with 2 players had absolutely no chance.
That reminds me of a game of Team Fortress Classic I once played.
A human rule, not one set or enforcable by the software, is that you cannot backtrack.
It means when on offense, trying to capture the enemy flag, you're not supposed to chase down and kill enemy flag carriers.
It felt completely silly to me, but I played by that rule.
Of course when I was participating in this one game, I was alone, playing against two of my clan mates.
Basically I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell.
Eventually carrying the enemy flag, running back to my own base, I encountered one of my enemies.
Of course I had no base defense, nobody else on my team, so I knew my flag was as good as stolen.
He was actually alone at that time, the game wasn't a serious game anyway, so I shot and killed him.
He actually complained about how that was lame... I was flabbergasted.
Anyway, playing like that was interesting, but isn't fun for long, especially when you're still expected to play by the regular rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredarmando View Post
I also witness another instance in which 3 advanced players were playing against 2 noobs. I don't need to mention that it was total carnage.
I've played total noobs myself, but it just gets boring.
I also remember a game of Shadow Warrior where I quickly figured out where the hidden weapons were, but my friends did not.
Like you said, total carnage, so after a while I decided to just tell them where to find the better weapons.
Playing as the noob yourself can be a very good way of learning to play.
Getting killed 1 second after being spawned however makes that impossible.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:07 AM
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I guess you'd have to define "fairly" for me. I play to win but if there's no challenge then there's no satisfaction. So "cheating" is pointless for me, I play by the rules. Learning a map or in any way using a tactic or a strategy is not "unfair", that's simply being more skilled than your opponent and certainly a part of the game. That's why I always laugh at the douchebags who type "Camper" as if it is an insult.

I'll gladly exploit in an MMO if it gets me past retarded time sinks though, that's not part of the game to me.
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