by Joseph Leray
One of my favorite things about "Gears of War: Judgment," though I don't mention it in my review, is that developers People Can Fly tried to prevent griefers and trolls from spawn camping. In most multiplayer modes, there are more spawn points than there are enemy players to camp them, for example. In others, spawn points are protected by swarms of hell-bats that devour any enemy player that gets too close.
It doesn't always work, of course, but I appreciate the effort. "Halo" creators Bungie will have their own methods for dealing with bad behavior in "Destiny," their upcoming sci-fi, quasi-MMO first-person shooter, according to a recent interview with Edge.
“If you look back at online multiplayer gaming for the last ten years I think the dominant thread has been adolescent males shooting each other in the face and squatting on each other’s corpses,” said Bungie technical director Chris Butcher. “And that emerges from design decisions which … some of which were intentional, some of which were not, but the community gets attracted towards that, and that is popular to a lot of other people and so it kind of tends to exclude others.”
Given that "Destiny"'s appeal rests largely on random, unscripted run-ins with other players, this is a cause for concern. While details on Bungie's exact plans are scarce, the basic idea is to encourage positive interactions. For example, in-game gestures are mapped to the D-pad, allowing players to wave, salute, dance, and point.
"I don't think you can ever design toxic behavior out," explained Butcher. "You can't ever stop players from being toxic, but what you can do is prevent them being able to ruin other players' experiences. You give people these tools that encourage them to interact positively with each other and then if someone is interacting negatively with you, well, they can't ruin your experience."
I'm not sure how gestures will keep others from trolling me, but I presume that Bungie have some other tricks up its sleeves. That the game is cooperative probably helps, for example, and muting offensive players shouldn't be that difficult.
No matter how the "Destiny" community shakes out, the fact that Bungie is attempting to preempt bad behavior is cause for optimism. "Destiny" will be available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 next year.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter