It often seems that game developer’s methods of dealing with trolls in online games are oddly similar to that of dealing with bridge trolls in fairy tales, as most of the time they just throw some money at the problem and hope it goes away.
Yet game after game we have online multiplayer experiences filled with hackers, whiners, the dreaded mic spammers, and more which consistently ruins what should be an unadulterated achievement in the evolution of video games. Since the problem is one of human nature though, we’ve all mostly come to accept that there will inevitably be one or two people looking to ruin the experience for the rest of us, and get on with our lives.
Bungie doesn’t see it that way, however, and tech director Chris Butcher has recently made it clear that in designing the multiplayer for Destiny, focus was placed on creating an experience that would reward players for cooperating and playing the game as it was intended, while trying to weed out trolls by ensuring that acting like one will give you an experience that you won’t want to be a part of. Unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate on the specifics of the ideas being implemented (shock collars?), but did emphasize that the goal isn’t the unrealistic notion of eliminating these players entirely, but rather to reduce the impact of gamers who choose to spend their time “squatting on each others corpses” can have on the total experience.
If you can get past the irony of the creators of Halo now trying to cut down on teabagging in games, it’s encouraging to hear a major developer not only openly acknowledge the impact of immature online gamers, but actively take steps to prevent it through design philosophy, rather than reliance on outside ranking systems or other token efforts.
After all, if there’s a troll on the bridge and you’re trying to get to the other side, instead of giving it your money, why not just build a new bridge?