Wings Over Atreia: When egos attack!

Wings Over Atreia header
The battle was fierce, both sides unleashing everything they had. Around the arena they danced, attacking, dodging, and slaying the occasional beast that interrupted the duel. Though caught by surprise that first time and making one critical mistake, the Cleric withstood the other attacks the Assassin was throwing at her. Fast and furious the blades would fly, but the Cleric held them off, counterattacking in-between heals. She even scored a kill on the Sin in the final round, but her opponent was still in the lead by a hair. The Sin jumped in and tried to shock the Cleric; she activated the shield to prevent a death blow from the poisoned blades. Then, in the last moments, a relic appears. Running to it, the Cleric grabs it moments before the battle ends, putting her score 50 points ahead -- a win right at the buzzer.

"WTF?!?! Yer such a cheater...!!"


The preceding vignette is a true story and sadly not the only one of its kind in Aion. I kindly left off the rest of the response received from the loser (this is a reputable site, after all, and we have standards), but I am pretty sure you all can fill in the blanks from your own experiences. It's the all-too-common phenomenon of OMG-I-can't-have-lost-unless-you-somehow-cheated!

Prepare your rant-protection gear because I am about to let loose! This week, Wings Over Atreia explores the show that seems to be gaining popularity in Aion: When Egos Attack!

Aion screenshot
All prepared? Got your rant-retardant hazmat suit? OK, so you probably only need an umbrella -- this is me we are talking about, after all. And it's not that I am raving furious about this development that seems to be sweeping Aion either; frankly the little trolls aren't really worth the time. Rather, it's a cause for concern about the state of gaming, gamers, and ultimately, our world.

It's also just a bit incredible to me that this mentality is as pervasive as it is. I am a long-time gamer, yet I am not completely jaded (there is some kind of mis-wiring that keeps me seeing silver linings... blame the DNA). Honestly, I know the egos have always existed, but lately they seem to be growing and even infecting others. It's like PvP = pod people! I swear I have known some genteel folks who have morphed into blathering lunatics once they enter the arenas a la lycanthropes during a full moon.

How can you recognize if someone has caught this malady? Basically, when you see someone dodging responsibility for his own actions and blaming others for undesired outcomes with warp speed, you know he's infected. These are people who not only feel entitled to win but throw massive temper tantrums when they lose, most often very loudly proclaiming that their opponent just had to be cheating. I mean, after all, they could never actually lose to someone. Impossible. Because they are perfect. The chosen one. The best.

Aion screenshotIt's spreading!

We all know that the affliction of self-importance has been around since the dawn of MMORPGs, but in my personal experiences, I have seen an increase of late. Is it something in the water? Is there a new radiation emitted from pixels that is slowly deteriorating gamers' brains? Have I actually hit the point at which I must accept the fact that the next -- or even my own -- generation is doomed? Here's my anecdotal evidence of the growing epidemic. These instances occurred recently:

I am on my Assassin. I have managed to steal the lead from a Ranger in the arena with less than 20 seconds left. I go into hide to start stalking my opponent. Turns out I win the match. What next? The opponent (who is same faction as me) sends me a hate-filled whisper calling me a cheater for using Hide. My question is, why didn't he use his own skill to see through the Hide and pop me out if he wanted?

As the introductory sequence described, I am on my Cleric. I drop the first kill in the arena due to my own mistake. After that, the Assassin has a harder time killing me while I use my skills pretty successfully (if I do say so myself), reducing him to only one other kill. I get a kill on him and then a final kill in the last round along with both relics that popped. As soon as the match ended, I get a whisper in which the Sin whines and calls me out for using a shield. At this point, I was expecting a further comment complaining that I dared to heal myself!

Pronounced symptoms of megalomania can be even be seen in winners:

Again, I am on my Sin. Again, I face a Ranger (this isn't a diatribe on the personality of Rangers, really), but this time, the Ranger seriously overpowers me. I die quickly, but I put up a fight. In the end, I can't get anywhere, but I keep trying to launch a surprise attack to get just one kill. I go into Shadow Walk. The match ends, and he wins... but I still get a filth-spewing whisper for daring to use Hide and preventing him from ending the match sooner (do Rangers nowadays not learn about their Hunter's Eye II skill?). Wow, a tirade for putting him out maybe five minutes?

In all three instances, the opponent immediately logged off; I assume the players were terribly afraid of being countered with logic. I mean, WTH was I thinking, using the actual skills that NCsoft gave my class during a battle? I must be cheating, right? Seriously, what is wrong with people who can only blame others when things don't go their way? Even scarier, how can people expect things to always go their way? When I lose -- and that's pretty often -- I understand it is because the person is better geared or simply a better PvPer than I. I don't throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum and call it all unfair because I am obviously the best and can only be a winner! News flash folks: There is always someone better than you, and things don't always go your way!

I am seriously concerned about the spread of this mentality, both that people are so entitled (to win and always get what they want) and that they blame others for losing. In fact, my two biggest pet peeves are entitlement and people's not taking responsibility for themselves. Maybe, just maybe, the other person was better and deserved the win? Blasphemy! Why should I be concerned? Because attitudes and mentalities in-game are never exclusive to virtual worlds; they carry over into life. And that's really not somewhere our world needs to go. And frankly, neither do our virtual worlds!

Aion screenshotYou give PvP a bad name (bad name)

Sing it with me! I actually know people who enjoy PvP -- and are good at it, mind you -- who remain nice people even when they participate in PvP, so I know it can happen. Conversely, I know plenty of PvEers who also suffer from this affliction of super-sized ego. This could just as easily be the mentality of gamers in general, but the fact remains that such egotistical and sore-loser actions tend to cast a larger shadow over the PvP crowd. Truly, people who can't accept a loss give PvPers a bad name and steer many potential players away from games like Aion that include PvP, which is a real shame. It never ceases to amaze me that players will do things that literally shoot themselves in the foot. After all, if you chase away all the other players, who is left to PvP with?

This whole personality (flaw) of "I am the best no matter what" or "everything must go my way" is really giving all gamers a bad name, not just PvPers. And temper tantrums never look good, even for two-years-olds. If you or someone you love is exhibiting symptoms, get help immediately! Let's stop this from becoming a pandemic and ruining gaming everywhere!

Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to mj@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.