The Inevitability of Trolling

Picture this scenario, someone recently purchased Soul Calibur 5. He went all the way through story mode and spent a few minutes in practice mode. He's starting to feel fairly good about his skills and decides to try his luck at ranked mode. His first match is against someone called "Coolguy97" who happens to have a score of 97 wins and 3 losses. "Man this guy must be good" he thinks to himself.

When the match starts he notices that Coolguys Mitsurugi custom is nothing but a naked dude with a cat head. As the match progresses the newcomer is trying his best but repeatedly gets hit by this move where misturgi lunges backwards really far then comes in with a stab. After every round Coolguy decides to hold guard and move up and down on the newcomers dead body. The newbie knows from experience that this is what people call "tea bagging" and he is furious. He decides to confront Coolguy through messages only to get madder through each response that Coolguy sends back. Coolguy is doing what we call trolling.





Random Mitsurugi picture



Trolling exists in many forms, not just within ranked mode but within 8wayrun and any other online medium. There was even a former mod who wanted a strict no trolling policy. Trolling is something that can never fully stopped, nor should it be anyone's goal to stop it. Trolling within the fighting game community is inevitable. Why is this? you ask? First and foremost, fighting games are competitive. No matter how you look at the game, someone wins the match and someone loses the match. This is a core structure of fighting games. Competition is something that occurs naturally throughout all living organisms. More importantly, it's the opposite of cooperation. A very typical example of a hobby that displays cooperation would be river rafting. Everyone on the raft needs to work together towards the same exact goal. Lots of businesses commonly use rafting as a team building exercise to create cooperation throughout the entire business.





an example of two animals competing in nature.




Since fighting games are the opposite of something like rafting, it holds some positive and negative aspects. Since it's a competition, both sides want to win. Through adaptation, each player will find a new way to use the game to their advantage and a set of skills being to appear. These set of skills appear through a desire to win and to do what will accomplish winning the most effectively. There is a very technical aspect of fighting games that is driven through competition. This tends to make playing at high levels very rewarding since each player is essentially trying to out play and out smart each other. Going back to the example of Coolguy97, he ultimately beat the newcomer in my story by spamming Mitsurugi's 4b. Which by now, most people know is a very good move. If the newbie I mentioned decided to keep playing and had a strong urge to get better and beat Coolguy. He might come under the idea of stepping the 4b spam and then attacking him. This would nullify Coolguy's strategy and he would have to adapt or he would end up losing. This would make Coolguy's trolling a motivation to ultimately get better. It also creates a scenario where if the new player got better and beat Coolguy. Coolguy's defeat would be more rewarding than if Coolguy didn't troll.




Picture of Fenris Zero, well known 8wayrun troll




Once people start figuring out how to play the game. There becomes forums like this one where ideas and strategies are passed around in hopes to get better. This actually forms a different kind of competition within the community. Since people form opinions on what character they think is better and how certain characters should be played. People will start to identify with certain ways of thinking and sometimes get angry if their beliefs are challenged. Ego's start to build and drama ensues. To laugh at this drama or to enjoy it, is actually a fairly reasonable response. Since if someone were to take things said on the forums too seriously, it will only end up hurting their own enjoyment of the forums. TITANSQUAD420SWAG are a good example of people who have learned to laugh and poke fun at drama. If you haven't seen any of their videos, I would recommend checking them out *shameless plug*. So next time someone like Fenris tells you, "you suck" or a character moves up and down on your T.V. See it for what it is, it's a fairly harmless jest in the grand scheme of things. We should enjoy the game and try to lighten up as a whole.
 

Comments

The lowbrow witless forms of trolling should be eliminated I agree on that part.

I'm just worried people take this article and misconstrue it as vindicating dumbass trolling attempts thinking "i'm actually being a jerk to help the society as a whole".

On the flip side, overly harsh moderator activity will only give trolls more reason to try to be dicks, as has been proven time and time again
 
Lets focus on paragraph number 4, so what your saying is... your not a troll yourself or affiliated with titansquad??? (lower-case that shit!!!)
 
Lets focus on paragraph number 4, so what your saying is... your not a troll yourself or affiliated with titansquad??? (lower-case that shit!!!)
Actually, Alex J IS a troll himself, even trolls at tournies sometimes. But he is also a good player. I dont know if he is affiliated with titansquad but he doesnt have to be.
 
Also - I generally don't assume teabagging to be "harmless" or "in jest." It's kind of the middle finger of Calibur. And, sure, I flip the bird at friends "in jest" sometimes...but usually, if I'm teabagging you, it's because you pissed me off somehow and I want you to have the full image of my balls in your face.
I guess I should clarify that a little because I think people are missing the point. Lets look at the essence of Teabagging. It's essentially a character moving up and down on the screen. No one is being threatened, no one is being hurt, it's a symbolic gesture. So harmless is actually a good word to describe it. When I am getting teabagged online, I am pretty much relaxing on my couch with a beer in my hand. No immediate threat or foul is really happening. People just perceive a sense of urgency or danger when they see it.

Because its done online it has the capability to make people cry, yell , report people Xbox, and even send physical threats. This has more to do with the other person than it does me. Teabagging only becomes that offensive if someone lets it get to them that way. Since Teabagging is something I know will happen to me while playing online, I choose not to get mad about it. Most people give it way too much weight and power.