D0803 T1622 Y2006Open Letter From a Grief Stricken Spartan

The TLL Mailbag continues to fill with rants and ideas from the thoughtful gamers who are desperately seeking to deposit lead into your helmet. This week, we are visited by a KillerAngel in search of logic amidst the madness that infects Xbox Live on an almost pandemic level.

KillerAngel writes:
I have recommended, for years now, that my brother partake of the community. He finally has and his emergence has induced me to fling myself right back into Halo 2. For the last week, the community has, once again, been what I recalled. Great sportsmen. Great players (much to my chagrin when they get the upper hand on me). And generally fun to BS with after a game. I’ve encountered a few minor annoyances with play – including ISP woes on my end. But nothing so bizarre as what I witnessed this evening…

I joined a Matchmade Team Slayer session, which placed us on Ascension, one of my favorite maps. Despite how dreadfully I play on it. As we trudged along, doing our best against an incredible team, I began to suspect cheating on their part. You see, we were doing well, but not tremendously so. Unfortunately, our team progress bar wasn’t moving in the least. Two players on my team ended the session with twelve kills each, a third with four kills. The fourth player finished with -29. This individual spent the entire game “committing suicide”. This perplexed me more than I could imagine possible. Why would anyone want to do this?

How could a team place a player in matchmaking to deliberately commit suicide and run down their team’s overall score? It didn’t seem possible, but it was annoying me to no end in the game. Afterwards, in the lobby, this player dropped immediately and several other players explained he was trying to decrease his skill level, so he could play lesser skilled players.

Is this common? If it is, what purpose could it possibly serve?

XerxdeeJ replies:
First of all, good on you for dragging your brother kicking and screaming into the Halo Universe. We need all the n00bs we can pwn. The article immediately following this one details the importance and joy of each gamer fulfilling his or her recruitment quota for replacement soldiers.

Second of all, was this your first encounter with a suicide bomber? Really?

If it is, you have truly led a charmed life as a multiplayer denizen on the battlefields of Halo2. Your assessments of the community are, in general, highly flattering. It would be poor hospitality to mock you for bringing this up, but we have seen people sabotaging their own rank for as long as there was a rank to sabotage. My suspicion would be that this has happened to you before, perhaps when you were not paying such close attention to the scoreboard.

To answer your first question: Yes. It is common. It is rampant, even.

To answer your second question: The practice of committing suicide [intentional suicide, that is – not the suicide penalty you get for firing a rocket too close to a wall] would serve two purposes in the mind of the lonely perpetrator who we find in the corner, dropping grenades at his feet. I am not saying that these are valid purposes, but they are purposes nonetheless. They fall into the categories of “Griefing” and “Deleveling”.

“Deleveling” refers to people who shy away from a “Good Game”. They don’t want to compete. They want to win. And they don’t want to work for it. In Halo2, this can be done by losing enough games to have one’s rank adjusted down. This practice is not, however, isolated to online multiplayer for our favorite game. Smaller heavyweight boxers will lose weight in order to pound on middleweight boxers. Golfers lie about their handicap. High School athletes are intentionally flunked by their schools to give them an edge as they step onto the collegiate field. Imagine Tiger Woods showing off at the local miniature golf course. Picture Babe Ruth hustling a bet at the local batting cages. That’s the guy we are talking about.

“Griefing” refers to a brand of emotional terrorism, in which the offending party derives their satisfactions from ruining something that is widely enjoyed by others. It’s as simple as that. “Griefing” is done for the sake of inflicting grief. This breed of ne’erdowell is found in many different theatres of the human condition. He wields the laser pointer on opening night of that movie for which you have waited three seasons to see. He drops a box of laundry detergent into the public fountain on the day of the parade. He unscrews the cap of the shaker, entreating the next diner to more than their monthly requirement of salt. He is the mailbox baseball player, the pumpkin smasher, and the fire alarm puller.

What can be done? Form up in larger groups, Killer. Matchmaking is fine for driving worthy opponents your way. Don’t expect the best if you rely on Matchmaking to choose your teammates. You can’t choose your Brother, but you can make him play Halo2 if he ends up being cool. On the same token, friends are the family that you choose!

You must choose wisely.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Grief Stricken 17

  1. #LINK D0803 T1731
    TTL Jericho wrote...

    I will admit to some suicide jumping last night. I logged in and while I was waiting for some Gunslingers to finish their game, I logged in for a little BTB Slayer – always a dicey proposition when going it alone. I got matched up with a team that loved to call everyone a n*gger. I asked them to stop. They didn’t. I asked again, they called me a douchebag n*gger. This went on for 2 more minutes and I had enough. I began jumping to keep their score down. This was (of course) met with scorn. I said I’d stop doing it if they stopped using that word. They called me a n*gger bitch. Sigh. So I used my deadly secret weapon: the msg. I began peppering my racist team mates with my msg. Not enough to kill them, but enough to take their shields down and piss them off. F*ck you n*gger and the first one killed me. Betrayal and one press of my blue x button and my team was less one racist. Again I peppered them with my smg. Betrayal number two. Boot-licous, another one gone. Pepper, boot and the third one was gone. But the others racist on my team were brighter than the other three and refused to betray me so I could boot them. Eventually my peppering caught up with me and contributed to the death of one of these low down dunder heads and they wasted no time booting me. But I was satisfied that I had spoiled the fun of some racist dopes.

    Hearing Timmys use the N word drives me over the edge. Normally I ignore them and simply report them at the end of the game. But sometimes, you have to fight back.

  2. #LINK D0803 T1732
    A Large Bear wrote...

    Alas! You’ve found one of the many gremlins that inhabit an otherwise delightful Haloverse. I remember my first encounter with one like it was yesterday, I greatly outclassed my opponents but for some reason tehy were staying tied. At one point I checked the score and I was at 57 kills. “But wait, doesn’t that mean you won seven kills ago?” Yes, it would have, but the hapless delever had killed himself sixty five times in that timespan, we still very nearly won. 45 kills to 50.

    Fills me with rage.

  3. #LINK D0804 T0824
    Louis Wu wrote...

    I played in a game with griefers last night; you can’t call it deleveling when it’s unranked. :)

    It was 3 guys on the same Xbox, and they were simply killing each other, over and over. I finally got close enough to be killed by collateral damage – and booted them.

    I couldn’t make up the difference in the time I had left… but I did okay.

    Game stats

    Sometimes, it’s not about winning – it’s just about pulling off the fun stuff.

  4. #LINK D0804 T0904
    KillerAngel wrote...

    “Second of all, was this your first encounter with a suicide bomber? Really?”

    Believe it or not, yup, it was. Until a week or two ago, I stuck to arranged sessions on Live. Why? Well, you’ve hit the nail on the head a few times on TTL when you’ve made mention of the “Timmys who don’t work 60-70 hours per week and play ALL THE TIME”. Those of us in the 30-something age range with a LOT of work to do in the office can’t keep up. So, I did the logical thing: Set up a calendar and defined nightly times for my buddies to join an arranged game. We tried team Matchmaking a few times and were embarassed by the results ;)

    I still “don’t get it” – specifically the reasoning behind this behavior. Deleveling or griefing just seems silly to me, particularly because it ruins the experience of so many players. Then again, I’m a fairly self assured and confident individual. I take better pleasure in being congratulated by someone better than I, when I succeed, then gloating over someone I should be teaching (haven’t gotten to “Adopt a Noob”, yet, but I can surmise you touch on this there).

    Anyway, thanks for sharing, deeJ, I appreciate it.

  5. #LINK D0804 T0913
    Locke wrote...

    It amazes me one could so long without noticing this kind of activity. This sort of behavior was apparent right when I began XBL, so I always assumed they were a well known part of the XBL experience. People seem to forget why the leveling system was implemented by Bungie in the first place. Not as a bragging tool, rather a utility pitting players with similar skills against each other in order to obtain the best game possible. Sparring against similarly ranked players benefits the individual player immensely; however this simple truth is often overlooked.

    In theory, (overlooking bridgers, modders, etc.) the ranking system forces players to work for their win. Most players will agree that the most memorable games are the ones that come down to the last kill, or when it stays in sudden death for a full minute. Every player will eventually reach their limit, whether it is level 24, 12, or 41. This is good for some players, as it forces them to train harder in order to move up. Sadly, it also spawns a few bad seeds as well. Winning can be addicting, and for some players the only way to win is to screw their own team into losing while they merrily prance from one plasma grenade to another. Some players even have the audacity to start talking sh*t once they are winning in matchmaking vs. low levels. This sort of behavior is appalling, not to mention extremely juvenile. It would be like walking into an elementary school and challenging a 3rd grader to a basketball game (due to my extreme short/whiteness, I still might lose in these circumstances).

    Luckily, de-ranking seems to thin itself out the higher up the ladder you go, staying highly concentrated in the mid to upper teens. It isn’t too difficult for a good player to gain back a few extra levels after an unfortunate wave of de-rankers; however for new players it can be devastating. Obviously it is frustrating no matter how much experience you have, but as a new player it would make me think twice before going into ranked matches.

    Once again, as do most (if not all) Halo controversies, it comes right down to the players. Players can either choose to get better, or remain mediocre; maliciously feeing upon the weak for survival. All I have to say to de-levelers is that de-ranking is a very short-term solution, and while you celebrate your victory, your opponents are getting stronger than you. They will find a way around your antics, be it through Bungie itself, or something completely new. You have figured out a way to keep yourself from becoming a skilled player, while the rest of the world moves forward. One day you will notice that you need to go lower and lower to find suitable players to defeat. Ironically, you are beating yourself down harder than any opponent you will face. My hat is off to you then, for dare I say it? Committing suicide.

    De-levelers: -1

  6. #LINK D0804 T0959
    Purple Switch wrote...

    I completely fail to understand the de-leveling mentality. Not only on the level that I would want to game against skilled opponents in good matches, but also why they choose to find new foes in the way that they do.

    I can’t think of a single person I know who has live who has used every 3-month trial they got. If you’re the kind of player who can’t handle competition, why not just make a new account every three months? Surely this saves you time and avoids ruining a lot of people’s games.

    Such players should be free, I suppose, to pursue their own idea of a fun gaming experience. But there’s an easy way for them to do this without messing with anyone else; why the hell would they want to?

    (And, for the love of god, don’t get me started on griefers. Keep that kind of idiocy to arranged games, where only the likeminded buffoons you can coerce into playing with you suffer).

  7. #LINK D0804 T1139
    zink wrote...

    A lot of people de-rank so they can get to a low level and help friends level up, I did it ONE time, I went in with a party of four though so we didn’t screw anybodys rank over, Win/win situation.

    I’ve used every 3 month/2 month I’ve gotten over the past two years I’ve had XBL. Luckily my friend always has around 25 or so 2 months, I’ll take one from him instead of deranking.

    I’ll agree de-ranking is dumb, and annoying, but sometimes, THERE IS a reason for it.

    This blog is narrow minded sometimes.

  8. #LINK D0804 T1211
    XerxdeeJ wrote...


    Very kind of you to help your friends level up.

    Ever hear of Team Training?

  9. #LINK D0804 T1310
    Anonymous wrote...

    I delevel. This is a rare reason, but I’m just going to add to the current reasons you have here now.

    In combat, one key skill that can come in handy is “deception.” When one things that I am a level 1, they will think “easy game” and lower their guard. Arrogance kills.

    I know. Why play matchmaking? Friends want to play, I love playing with friends—so I play, then I go off and delevel. It’s mean to others, I know, but it’s just simply my style of playing. Since there’s no penalty against it, I’ll keep on at it till the developers add in something to prevent this from occuring.

  10. #LINK D0804 T1500
    Stuicide wrote...

    I have hard time thinking that the playstyle of “deranker” is legitimate.

    The reason that you feel that you’re superior is because you’re going down to a low level and then you pick on the weaker guys. Sure some people are “arrogant” on LIVE at all levels, doesn’t mean you should derank yourself down into a single digit to beat up on those guys.

    Man up. Play at the level you’re supposed to play at.

  11. #LINK D0804 T1555
    Kylun wrote...

    To the anonymous poster above:
    The only ‘deception’ that is occuring is in your own mind. When I see a level 1 on the opposing team I immediately assume it’s a 2 month.

    You are the reason I enter ranked matchmaking only with a full party. You don’t have a style of play. It’s as simple as you not being able to overcome a challenging opponent, so you give up trying. Call it what you will, it all boils down to cowardice.

  12. #LINK D0804 T1655
    A Blind Guy wrote...

    I have de-leveled in about 5 games, and all with the same group of 4 friends.
    We were really bored, so we decided to play a game.

    The: HOw-many-times-can-you-betray-someone-on-your-team-without-dying-to-get-the-longest-respawn-possible-game.

    My friend won in Team SNipers, what we de-leveled in, with a respawn of 75 seconds.

    Try betraying your teammates with sniper headshots..
    Actually, quite hard.

    And no, I didn’t delevel down 5 levels, i think I went down once.

    We won 4 of our 5 games, while we were deleveling.

    at level 21 snipers.

    We weren’t aloud to scope, and we just raped their entire team. It was great.

  13. #LINK D0804 T1754
    iJosh wrote...

    Deleveling is dumb. There’s really nothing else to it. However, on certain occasions, griefing is okay. I particularly like TTL Jericho’s use of griefing. I have an instance like that myself. It was a little weird.

    I went into Team Snipers with a new friend. However it paired him up with their team and me up with the other.

    Now, PLEASE do not assume my friend griefed in order to take advantage of this unfortunate pairing and get my level up. He has more integrity than that.

    He griefed because we realized a few minutes into the game that they were standby-ers.

    Two of my teammates left once they discovered this fact, and my teammate and I were left to fight the lag-tag group of retards (save, of course, my friend) Then, once my friend realized what he was paired up with, he started bring his score down. All in all, we ended up winning the game, with the standbyers not exactly happy with my friend…:)

    To the people above me: There are no good reasons to delevel. At least the blind dude went in with a team, but I don’t think he was really deleveling. If you go in with 3 friends and your purpose is to delevel, there is no way you won 4 out of 5 games, unless you and your friends have incredibly short attention spans, so they cannot focus on one objective for more than a few minutes.
    Finally, if I could let you in on a little secret—if you won a game while you and your team were trying to delevel—you weren’t no-scoping. Your friends lied, and scoped the whole game.

    Nice attempt at trying to look good, though. You convinced…yourself.

  14. #LINK D0804 T1756
    Chromium wrote...

    Concerning griefers, I have to say, my long-running experience with them has caused my passion for Xbox Live to decrease.

    A long time ago, before the first real playlist changes, there were Banshees on Headlong, and you could contest the bomb. The second fact doesn’t matter.

    What does matter is that two of my teammates in the (now deceased) Big Team Battle took the Banshee and the enemy flag. Now, our team was elated. The score was 2-1, our loss, and it was the last round, and there we were, flying it out on the Banshee.

    And then the Banshee climbed up to the top of Headlong, never to return, with the griefers up top only letting go of the flag to let it return at the end.

    What could have tied became a loss, and so now, I can honestly say, that was the first time I was so fed up with Live I put away Halo for almost a week.

    It’s happened about 15 times since then.

    I really don’t know why we bother with Live anymore, I just use it for SWAT and custom games now …

  15. #LINK D0806 T0036
    Electrofrier wrote...

    What’s funny is, Bungie said in one of their updates that in order to have the lowest score, for your rank, is to just be the first one to quit as soon as a game starts. But of course no one pays attention to the updates…

  16. #LINK D0816 T0936
    TTL Jericho wrote...


    I’ll agree de-ranking is dumb, and annoying, but sometimes, THERE IS a reason for it.


    No. There is never a reason for it. NEVER. The rank system Bungie put in place is to help you find games with gamers that are on par with you. The only reason you go in on a 2 month free pass is to cherry pick players who are infrerior to your rank. And my guess as to why Zink does this is to feel good about himself. He wants to feel like he’s got big guns and pwn noobs.

    Sorry Zink, but you are the kind of player that I avoid.

  17. #LINK D0119 T0723
    Length of withdrawal from wellbutrin xl wrote...

    Good evening. If a dog jumps in your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.
    I am from Laos and also now am reading in English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “Wellbutrin, if you’ve owned abilify, please find me about it.”

    Thanks for the help :-), Length of withdrawal from wellbutrin xl.

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