chris-littlechild - November 20, 2015
It's a sad fact of gaming life: random players online will suck ass. Either by being just good ol' fashioned awful at the game, by not co-operating, by trash-talking you and your mama's weight problem, by trolling, by rapping along with Eminem down the mic, or something else. Or all six.
Not always, sure. It's perfectly possible to get yourself great matches and teammates when you venture online without your buddies in tow. But that's a rare thing. Rarer than cruising through a wooded clearing and coming across a unicorn, the abominable snowman and Jimmy Hoffa having a threesome.
After all, randoms online have a horrible reputation for a reason. You know this, I know this, and now ACTUAL SCIENCE knows this. Would you argue with actual science-fact? You wouldn't.
It'd be helpful if there was some kind of way to tell instantly whether someone's worth playing with or not. Apparently, there is, and it lies in their Gamertag/PSN name. The University of York have studied how players' online names reflected their in-game behaviour, and it's quite interesting in a nerdly numbers sort of way. Let's take a look.
The whole thing pertains to League of Legends, a game notorious for the assholism of its community. ‘The team hypothesised that the name players chose would reflect how they interacted with the game,' Kotaku reports. ‘…that players who hid swearwords, racial slurs, and sexual epithets in their name would be more antisocial by the game's standards.' Which follows, I guess. At a glance, you wouldn't expect TittyF**ker1987 to be the kind of upstanding gentleman you'd want to bring home to meet ma and pa.
Riot gave these guys just short of half a million random sets of player data, which included ‘a player's name, age according to the date of birth given at account registration, and the number of reports and honours filed against the player.' The researchers created a script that scanned each user name for swears, slurs and such, and went to work.
The conclusion? ‘[P]layers with antisocial names had significantly higher sent and received Report rates compared to the control group, reflecting an increase in anti-social behaviour. They also had significantly lower sent and received Honour rates, indicating a reduction in altruistic or prosocial behaviour. Overall, our control group sent and received positive ‘Honour' at a rate that was 25% higher than that of their antisocially-named peers. Similarly, antisocial-named players sent and received negative ‘Reports' at a 25% higher rate than controls.'
So it's not just about direct actions in the game itself. Said ‘antisocial' players are leaving a lot more negative feedback than others, while send a lot less positive feedback. This is just a snapshot, natch, but it's an interesting angle. More on the study back at Kotaku.
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