Human behaviour in the Team Fortress 2 community

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As mentioned previously I've been playing a fair bit of Team Fortress 2 of late, around 2 hours every night. Besides being a really fun teamwork FPS its also a really interesting set of communities to observe. Within the wider Aussie TF2 player base its well recognised that there are distinct groups of personalities that dominate on various servers.

Internode's tends to have more team-oriented players. By this I mean the sorts of players who will play whatever class helps their team best - whether its as a medic or engineer, and you generally don't get a massive class imbalance as you find on some other servers. Class balance is critical to team success as having too many, or too few, of any particular class typically makes it hard if not impossible to win. A lack of medics is a typical hallmark of the fail team.

Teamwork thanks to macropoulos

GameArena is Telstra BigPond's gaming service. In contrast to the more team-oriented play found on Internode, GA players tend to play for themselves. They care about their personal kill-to-death ratios, and getting frags more so than the team's objectives. I wouldn't say these players are stupid, even though its sometimes extremely frustrating playing with them but at the same time its pretty clear they either don't understand the game objectives, or simply don't care.

Use of communications via the in-game text chat, and voice chat, also clearly distinguishes the above two communities Use of voice chat on GameArena servers is typically to boast about individual achievements, such as "oh I face-stabbed XXX so many times, I'm gonna make him rage quit". As voice chat can only be heard by one's own team, text chat which is viewable by all is typically used to accuse enemy players of hacking (typically using an auto-aim bot, or wall hacks that allows players to see through walls). In contrast, voice chat on more co-operative servers tends to be used more for co-ordination, and text chat is sometimes even used to congratulate enemy players for a series of sweet shots.

Some of the best games I've been involved with have been over on the New Zealand servers run by Clearnet, a subsidiary of Telstra. For whatever reasons the kiwis in general seem to be far more team-oriented players than Aussies, or maybe I just haven't found the Kiwi equivalent of our GameArena cesspool. :)

One question that tickles my curiosity is how the various server communities have formed. Why is it that GameArena servers are dominated by hero players? Was it always that way, or is it because there happened to be a higher percentage of such players there originally that team players decided to go elsewhere?

If there are any budding sociologists out there gaming communities are a rich source for study of human behaviour. And maybe you can answer my questions. :)

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This page contains a single entry by goosmurf published on January 26, 2009 1:10 PM.

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