Grieffing is an art, when doing it in competitive multiplayer it doesn’t take too much skill, it’s easy to wind up a 14 year old racist with too much Pepsi in their system. But to wind up a friend to breaking point can take real skill. The best griefs are the ones you can at first make to look like an accident but after the fifteenth time it’s hard to see it as anything but malicious. If you’re looking to wind up your friend whilst sat on the ol’ Co-op gaming couch then look no further my grieffing padawan, here at PixelBedlam we have had every trick in the book pulled on us and we’re here to help you fight back! Or alternatively start a bad name for yourself amongst your friends.
This is probably the simplest grief to do, many games these days are going for realism, as such no longer does your character have the ability to go all Patrick Swayze and ghost your way through a co-op partner, now you need avoid touching them like they’re the student who has crabs at university. But here’s where the kicker is, the inability to pass through people means you can now stand in the path of your co-op partner. Imagine if you will, there’s a bomb about to go off, and your two characters are required to run away from a building. 20 seconds left on the clock and ‘someone’ thinks it would be hilarious to stand in a doorway and not move, oddly games these days will allow you to block each other’s path, but not blow the red liquid out of your co-op partner.
Whilst playing games like Army of Two or Resident Evil 6 you have the option of communicating with an online partner. This is mainly for Playstation 3 gamers who, due to a mic not coming with the system, forgo the voice communications. When playing on the same sofa as a friend in split-screen these options are often not turned off. In Resident Evil 6 it is possible to repeat praise or goad your partner until they crack. Even if you are being given compliments for an awesome job, after the 23rd time you will often realise that the praise is not enough to stop you wanting to test if the friendly fire is switched on or not.
3.The Kill Stealer and 4.The Loot Ninja
World of Warcraft gave us many things, be it the real explosion of MMO’s, the break from just a game to main stream knowledge or an awesome episode of South Park, but it also gave us bad things; the inclusion of competitive co-op is a blessing and a curse, the ability to turn what is a team building exercise into a race to see who can get the most XP or kills was damning to the co-op culture, unless that is you want to grief your friends. The Kill Stealer is a beautifully simple grief as it can be passed off as innocent helping. Just as your partner is about to lay the final death blow to an enemy, just sidle in and take the kill, the glory and the fun out of co-op gaming. The Loot Ninja is equally as annoying; Back in the days of side scrolling brawlers like Streets of Rage or Final Fight health was a commodity as valuable as platinum, and there was nothing more satisfying as “accidentally” picking up a turkey for health when your compadre was nearing the end.
Most games these day, be them co-op or solo, have some form of ‘second life’. By that I mean the lovely state of limbo where you’ve taken enough bullets to fall down and start crying but not enough to put you out of your misery. Here we may encounter ‘The Voyeur’; the kind of player who hears the screams of pain, sees Dom or Marcus on the floor bleeding out but rather than going over to help, they just stands there, watching and enjoying, maybe enjoying the moment a little too much. The true masters of this grief may even run over at the last second to heal, but for me personally there should be no pretense, you stand right next to your buddy’s body, you look down and you wait for life to fade from their polygon eyes.
6.The Leeroy Jenkins
7.The Lone Wolf
This is an unintentional grief, the Leeroy Jenkins is an intentional destruction of a plan, the lone wolf is a mixture of innocence and arrogance. This is something I am guilty of in every co-op game I play. It’s the idea you can somehow create that golden moment, the cinematic kill or survival run. Bordelands 1 and 2 are prime for this bit of grieffing. Your back is against the wall, there are enemies everywhere, you can see the objective just the other side of 40 enemies and rather than just stand side by side with your buddy, you think “this will look awesome if I pull this off”. I like to think this also happened to guys during World War II, where they would just jump the trench with so much confidence that they will kill Hitler, despite their particular battle taking place in rural France.
This is more of a personal issue I have; I spent many many months playing Little Big Planet 1 and 2, I love the feel, the look and the general wonder these games evoke. One of the main draws of the game for myself and many other gamers was the wonderfully used Co-op. This has led though to a form of grieffing that should have died out in the 16bit era but instead has come rushing back, The Tease. This is where you need to work together to swing across a gap, the only thing that can save you from a death fall is a rope swing, one your ‘friend’ is already hanging onto, you make your leap of faith only for your friend to pull the rope away at the last second *just* outside of your reach. What a dick.
So there we have it, my 8 ‘suggestions’ for ways to ruin a good friendship or piss off your enemies. When done right these can be mildly amusing, when in the wrong hands these can lead to rage quitting friends. Have any more ideas on ways to grief in co-op games? Leave a comment below!