That Troll Urge

It’s ok with friends, right?

Except, of course, this is how you lose friends. So long as you don’t know when to stop. I usually know when to stop. Usually.

I’m talking about the urge to be a dick, basically. That little niggle, knowing that you can make someone else’s life a little more frustrating while making yours considerably more amusing for a few minutes. Naturally, this whole concept slipped into my head while playing Minecraft with friends this evening. But it works for pretty much any multiplayer game, although straight up shooters tend to have less.. scope for it. Your best bet is something creative, where you can interfere with whatever the other people are building.

Anyway, we were building a portal to hell, because that’s what chums do, and this required lighting a fire in our grand ring of obsidian. I offered to go make a flint and tinder, got it sorted, and wandered up to the portal. Light it, and kablamo, the whole thing is filled with a big purple light. What we didn’t know at the time, but quickly realised after arming ourselves, is that the hell portals don’t work in multiplayer yet. So we ended up spending about twenty minutes making a pretty door that goes nowhere. But now I had flint and tinder, and the ability to light fires underneath my friends, setting them on fire and forcing them to run for the nearest water.

This was amusing for about five to ten minutes, after which I set fire to every tree in the near vicinity, because it was night and it was dark. I’m not trying to justify my actions; they weren’t amusing to anyone but me, and regardless of the fact all my friends were thoroughly singed by the end of it, we were also pretty much without wood. But I’m going to try and explore the why of it, so I might at least be able to resist the urge a little more next time it comes along.

I think it’s all pretty simple. With a game like Minecraft, it’s all about the creation, but that requires planning and toil, to get the raw materials and put them in the correct place. Destruction, on the other hand, is much, much easier. It might require a little forethought to just get your destructive tools in your hands, but after that it’s all gleefully simple to exact your will upon the land.

I’ll give you another example. A while back we were playing Open Transport Tycoon, and it allows people to play in the same company, rather than everyone have their own. However, the server doesn’t let you know who joins what company, merely lets you know someone has joined the game. My friends were playing, and so I slipped onto the server inside someone else’s company, and then proceeded to spend little bits of their money here and there, and remove vital pieces of track occasionally. For a while, he thought it was just some freak of the code, and it took much longer than I expected for him to suspect sabotage, but it was fucking funny throughout. As a one time thing, it was taken in good jest, and we all laughed about it. I think, however, if it became a regular thing, someone might take issue.

So yeah, it’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’s pretty fun. In moderation. All things in moderation.

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About Phill Cameron

I've graduated, had a look at the world, and spat. Now I'm devoting my time to moving from 3/4 of a games journalist to 9/10ths. I figure I can get away with 9/10ths.
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