Consider yourself blocked!
Three editors dive into the seedy underbelly of Xbox LIVE.
About a week ago I received a message over Xbox LIVE inquiring about the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops Co-Op night. The individual asked for information and offered an email address for a response. I responded. Simple enough. The next day I had 85 new messages on Xbox LIVE. This was a little shocking to me, because I keep my friends list small, so I usually get only a few messages a week. Seems like the good folks at Microsoft had put the Co-Op Night information on the Xbox LIVE dashboard, along with a few editors’ gamertags. Apparently, Call Of Duty: Black Ops is a somewhat popular game. Chaos, depravity, and hilarity ensued.
Most of the messages were friend requests. No problem. It was easy to thin the herd by deleting xXgamertagsXx immediately. xX…Xx surrounding a gamertag is a good indication that the individual has previously had their gamertag banned, usually for cheating or being a douche. I checked out profiles and passed instant judgment according to gamerscore, game library, and the length of their Xbox LIVE subscription. This can give you a little insight into your fellow gamers’ preferences.
My friends and message lists after some major housekeeping.
For example, I was playing with a buddy of mine in a competitive multiplayer match and we both got worked over pretty hard by one player in particular. After a match you can see a player’s gamercard. Quoting my friend, “Okay, I’m gonna look at his profile. Alright, he’s got Megatron as his gamerpic. Not G1 Megatron, the other one. Also, he’s got a bunch of Shrek games. Looks like some Pixar stuff…” You can see where this is going. Now I had to weed out the children, because nothing is as cruel and unfiltered as a child who thinks there are no repercussions for their actions. And those bastards have no qualms about cheating.
Then there were the ‘other’ messages. Oh. My. God. Seriously, what is wrong with people? “Co-Op” must mean different things in different regions of the world. I think a large percentage of the gaming populace thinks that “co-op” means some sort of deviant sex act with their mother. Instead of asking about a community event, where gamers worked together, some players started sending me challenges. Some were just fluent in cursing.
No, my newly blocked friend, you do.
Violent indignation was the tone for many of the messages. There was a lot of angry, sexual, or racist drivel. The more creative ones were equally angry, sexual, racist, and coherent. Most of them told me that I sucked at games, and then made wild guesses as to my sexual orientation. 100% of the guesses were wrong. Then there were the numerous voice messages, even though I had specifically requested only text messages on my profile. Please listen to your message before you send it, people. I’m sure the ghosts of a million grammar school teachers are weeping somewhere.
You spelled 'Chilean' wrong, among other things.
So I got to bust out the block hammer. I don’t know what happens to people that I block, other than they simply fade from my existence, disappearing among the ether. I think it’s like the end of Ghost, when the screaming shadows come and take evil souls away. At least, I hope it’s like that. Unfortunately, when you are checking a ton of messages you start to get lazy, so I accidentally blocked a few people that didn’t deserve it. I am so sorry for casually condemning your to ‘Ghost’ hell.
After clearing out my inbox I started playing Combat Training with my wife. Long ago I turned Notifications ‘off’ because the constant interruption was like pulling off fingernails from a crushed hand. After the 8 minute match I flipped on the Xbox LIVE guide, just out of curiosity. 34 new messages. Hmm. This was going to be a problem. I started writing down names of potential players because my friends list was full. A new friend request takes up a friend slot until it is deleted; I was getting requests to delete friends so people could be added. It was only Monday. Co-op night wasn’t until Thursday.
I started ignoring my inbox. What could go wrong? Oh, that’s right. People can see your profile in a Call of Duty: Black Ops lobby and jump in. And since my gamertag is on Xbox LIVE, they think I’m great at Black Ops, therefore, I must be killed. As anyone who’s ever played with me can tell you, I am not that good, let alone great. Yes, Nuuwbapocalypse12345 (fake name), you killed me 42 times, I killed you zero. No, I don’t want to be your friend now. All I was trying to do was capture the damn flag so I could get my Marathon Pro perk. If it was this bad during the week, what horrors awaited me on Thursday night?
None, really. I played with about twelve people. I had easily over 200 requests and messages. I’d say 150 of those were legitimate. There’s only so much time in a night. We played Black Ops Zombies mode and I had a really great time. Some players were really good, some were really bad, but all of them were fun to play with. Everyone was polite and well behaved. I wanted to thank a few gamers that were really good teammates.
These guys were cool with me, but game at your own risk. If one of them turns out to be a jerk, I apologize. There were other good teammates as well, but I butchered their gamertags when I wrote them down. Sorry. Co-Op night was a lot of fun. I hope we get to do it again very soon. I met some guys who were fun to game with. I’ll try to get in more rounds with them in the future, as soon as I clear out my inbox.
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Despite the overwhelming response from the CoD community, and the overwhelming majority of those responses missing the point or insulting me - every game I played on Co-Op night was great fun with good people who had a lot of experience in the zombies game mode. Strategies were discussed and help was given to each other - best of all - there was solid communication and no trash talking. A truly excellent, and insane, co-op night.
“What is the red number next to my Juggernog? Is that a health counter?” Someone laughed and reminded me that once the cool-looking tally marks reached 10 the counter moved on to numerals to save space.
Which just goes to show long it had been since I’d made any real progress in Zombies. Leave it to a couple of Zombies pros and about two dozen teens who thought I was a developer to give me a new perspective on one of my favorite co-op side modes. Despite the tidal wave of ridiculousness leading up to it, the Black Ops Zombies Co-Op Night was one of my favorites yet: not only did it bring co-op fans shambling out of the fog, but it also helped spread the infection.