If you have ever played an online game of 1v1 PvP, you have likely experienced a rage-quitter. Leaving a game before it is finished to avoid potential humiliation, protect win ratios or even just to spoil the victory of the opponent, rage quitting is a phenomenon unique to gaming but hardly new, so the question remains why rage quitting is still somewhat ignored by the majority of developers.
Okay, so say the game above, Street Fighter 4, has a fight that ends with a disconnect because someone just decided to unplug or take the disc out before they lost, how does the game treat the one who stays behind? Why it does nothing of course, move on and find another game, no points are lost or given so it was a wasted endeavour for both parties. Why doesn’t it just default the player who stayed as the winner and reward them? Hardly a big deal for some to gain or lose some points for their character in a game where they are but an arbitrary means to gauge the skill of each player, nonetheless there are too many games where those ranks often tie into something important. There is a need for designers to be meticulous with their systems that feature player versus player content, especially when it is either a 1v1 basis or the systems revolving victory and defeat play into actual progression. Who honestly thought it was a good idea to have more points taken away from players ranks depending on the gap between them, the numbers aren’t indicative of skill only how long you probably have been playing, while the numbers themselves are arbitrary it appears a lot of people hold them in regard and to lose so many on a bad day or a deceptively good opponent is clearly damaging to the pride.
A Korean MMO known as GrandChase hooked me for a while in my own “MMO phase”, you know that point where you first get introduced to the concept and on paper it seems like the most fantastic thing in the world and you lose most of your life in levelling and not doing quests? Okay so maybe not everyone goes through one but I did, and this one caught my eye. There was a PvP option in the game and as you might have guessed levels and money were part and parcel of improving the characters. However to promote trying and trying without jumping out the moment you lose, you still get rewards even when you lose. Not a large amount in comparison to the winner(s) true but you still get something for your time other than a big “YOU LOSE” in front of your screen bringing you down. I liked this system a lot, it never made me feel bad for losing yet pushed me to improve and win for the satisfaction of the sizeable reward difference and of course because winning feels pretty darn good. An odd thing occurs though: even when leaving the match gets you a loss so rage quitting is discouraged, people would still just up and leave the minute they start losing or they ran out of lives. Perhaps they are just impatient with failure and the pacing of the menus, perhaps rapidly getting people into their next match and not prolonging the results screen would at least reduce this issue.
Regardless of the problem, it is important to note that in all the above examples default that any leaving is a rage quit and treated as such, which is a unfair treatment in an age of inconsistent internet speeds and heavy loaded servers. I point you to how Super Smash Bros. for 3DS deals with leaving. When you leave a match, any match online, you get punished with a 10-minute time-out from online play. Any disconnects for any reason? You are kicked out of play, regardless of the quality of the connection. I find this to be absolutely mind boggling when the connections in the game aren’t always smooth, the results tend to be polar opposites of either fantastic or sluggish and laggy, with may a few moderate connections thrown in. I’m not sure how the systems work so I may be completely out of order in asking this, regardless I would like it if they actually checked the ping and the stability of the connection before throwing out red cards left right and centre. I have left a match in Street Fighter: Third Strike when the connection was so bad that the opponent was blinking across the stage and I simply was getting annoyed, leaving the match seemed like the most sane option and I am happy I didn’t get punished for it. Playing online still has kinks and developers should take the time to consider these when designing what is the second generation of effective online gaming, we are a bit too far into this to still be meeting such poor forethought.
So what about all of you people then,hmm? What has your life been with rage quitters in your games? Do you think someone should just stick it out with a bad connection or leave before they get frustrated and bored? What systems have you experienced that worked and what haven’t? Thanks for the read, see you all around.