Text Games: Dealing With Virtual Bullies
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names’ll never hurt me.” This bears scant truth for victims of bullies. Despite how strong victims appears in public, it still hurts inside. If you think it doesn’t apply to you, read on. Everyone is a potential victim! Even in addicting games, bullies threaten others as a way to deal with their own inadequacies.
Who is likely to become a victim? Ironically, the same people who are likely to become bullies! Race, religion, sexual orientation, distinguishing features...and anything else that can label a person as being different from everyone else. Bullying can happen both in private and public...and even in your favorite Iron Realms RPG game!
Types of Bullies in Text Games
There are as many bully types as there are victims. It can happen to any type of character in a text game! The primary types are physical, who attack tangibly, and emotional, who attack mentally.
Some physical RPG bullies are tanky PvP combat junkies with a pre-purchased system to provide an extra edge over the competition. But some take cyber bullying outside the game environment, in technological ways. Said one text game player, “I posted a video of myself doing a USB-controller build with custom drivers. I’m overweight, and smoke. Naturally, the trolls found me. They made parodies of my video, with fairly cruel impressions. It was enough to make me remove the video and post the build in text-form elsewhere without the visual benefit.” This blow was no less painful than a physical punch.
Another loyal IRE text game player offered, “My character accepted her Prince Charming’s marriage proposal. But I spent days after logging in to dozens of whiney messages from his ex. I finally snubbed her and she did move on; but reading those every day was draining! I log into the text game from various remote locations, and hated dealing with that day in an day out.” Fortunately, all five Iron Realms text games offer a way to ignore players! In Aetolia the command is literally IGNORE to stop paying attention to someone, while in the other rpg games it is SNUB.
Emotional bullies, or 'griefers', work behind the scenes. Whether creating clans to gossip or lacing hate speech into otherwise normal conversations with the victim, this bully is a miserable soul. When asked about his experience, another player replied: “They are relentless! I had serious problems with someone in another text game before finding IRE. One bully harassed me no matter what I did, unprovoked. Even if I was in safe chat mode! I made an alt just to escape being attacked. Yeah, I could’ve reported it. But it was easier to just start over.”
Responding to Bullies in Text Games
So how can you defend yourself against bullies? Whether in real life or an RPG game, the methods for standing up for yourself against bullies can be similar.
- Talk to someone you trust. In an IRE text game, it could be someone in leadership, your family mentor.
- If possible, keep a copy of the details outside the game of each event of bullying. Should it need to be reported, documentation outside the game provides additional credibility to back up your claims.
- Report them. Don’t assume you’ll come off sounding like a tattling child from primary school. Administrators are meticulous in their record-keeping. Just because you don’t see Them, doesn’t mean that They don’t see you -- or that They haven’t punished the bully!
Bullies exist. It doesn’t make it right, but remember, it can always be worse. As one player stated, “For years in my old game, I was bullied by a high-ranking person with a history of purchasing loads of extras. My friends and I were low-levels without the bonus features. We reported him, but nothing happened. I left and didn’t look back. With IRE...it’s different. Fair policies apply equally to everyone. Once when I was a newbie, someone picking on me got punished. I feel like IRE cares about me as a player and it makes me want to invest in credits. I’m not paying to play the game. I’m making an investment in my character’s future.”
Penelope Swain is a text game enthusiast who enjoys the best rpg games from Iron Realms!