In case you didn’t notice, today is Mandela Day, a day when we are meant to live by Madiba’s example and give of ourselves for 67 minutes – some people help out their neighbors, some give their time to worthwhile charities. Well, I have an idea of how you can spend 67 minutes making the world a better place.
Here is your mission, if you choose to accept it: spend 67 minutes of your day, today, being nice, helpful and supportive while playing with others online. Yup, take the time to actually reach out and be nice. And no, it doesn’t count as being nice to NOT yell at the feeder and tell them to uninstall Dota 2. This is about going beyond being polite, and actually being nice and helpful. Like they used to say on children’s report cards, play well with others. That will be your public service.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, mostly because of my time spent on Final Fantasy XIV. I don’t normally play online, and if I do I avoid interactions with other people as much as possible. This is mostly due to the notoriously atrocious behavior of people when they can hid behind the anonymity of the internet. However, the population of FFXIV seems to be made up of adults. No, really. People are helpful, thoughtful and nice. They communicate and even spell properly – plus they are happy to give advice, particularly to new players. What does this mean? You never feel lost, alone and stuck while playing. You may struggle with encounters, but help is never more than a quick message away.
How different would Dota 2, LoL or any multiplayer game be if people actually made an effort to help each other? It doesn’t take much – advice for future build strategies or congratulating someone on a job well done. Just a small gesture can make a huge difference to someone’s perception of a game. I’m not saying that you can never call someone a n00b again, or rage against them, or tell them to go make you a sammich. But, for 67 minutes, I want you do make an active effort to play well with others. Who knows who you might play with today – maybe you will influence someone else to make an effort and help a fellow gamer. We can only do so much to cause change, and yet the effects can be huge.