Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bad Manner in Online Chess and Starcraft 2

One thing that has always puzzled me is a noticeable difference in the BM ("bad manner") I encounter in online chess and Starcraft 2:

Starcraft 2
Basically, in Starcaft 2 I got BMed in at least 50% of my games. As far as I could tell I got BMed pretty much across the board from players who were clearly better, about my level, and clearly worse. Here's a sample of the kind of trash talk that I'm sure anybody who plays online video games is only all too familiar with:

A classic

This one actually made me laugh

This came out of the blue at the beginning of a game

I never understood how someone who just lost a game can call you a "noob"

A classic... must have heard this about 1,000 times on Battlenet...

My all time favorite...

Overall, there's clearly a lot less BM in chess compared to SC2. I've always found this a little surprising because it seems to me that in chess, there's even more ego at stake than in SC2. Losing in chess is definitely more humiliating than losing in SC2.
The fact there is noticeably less BM in online chess might be explained by the fact that in both online and offline chess you're clearly dealing with an older and more sophisticated and mature crowd. Of course there are exceptions, but it is clear that a 40-year old corporate lawyer in a chess tournament won't trash talk nearly as much as a 17-year old kid in an SC2 tourney who's cowardly hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and thinks he or she can get away with anything.

Even more surprising to me however, is the fact that in chess, I only get BMed by players who are much much worse than me, usually rated at least 300 points below me. Here are some examples:

I should have my second comment on Control + C at all times so that I can always paste it when necessary... 

Another peculiarity about trash talkers on chess servers is they frequently lie against all evidence. This screen shot is an example of a message a pretty weak player sent me after a game. As the next screen shot shows, I did not "get owned" by him. Incidentally I believe Idra was banned from EG for a comment like "hope your death is slow and painful"

This speaks for itself

I really have no explanation why I only get trash talked by players who are, honestly, trash. From time to time I get clearly outplayed by players my level or better, but it is extremely rare to get some BM from them afterward.

Is it because these "noobs" are so disappointed because they think they are keeping their games against me balanced for longer than they actually are? Is it because they think they "almost" had a draw?

You'll always remember this as the day
This is the only "BM" I ever engage in. This line has come in handy many many time in SC2 and chess 
I'd be interested to know if any reader has some theories on this. I for my part have decided to no longer accept challenges from players rated below 2000. This has also had a very positive effect on my rating which is something I'll blog about next time.


  1. I strongly believe this has to do with the Dunning-Kruger effect (wiki it). It's a psychological theory that states that the more somebody knows about a subject, the less competent they think they are (i.e. lesser skilled players have more confidence in their talent compared to higher skiled players). I believe this causes lesser skilled players to believe that the game was actually close (when it wasn't) and that they lost to some unfair external variable. It's like socrates said: the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Warren. I'd heard of the D-K effect, but it didn't occur to me to apply it to chess/SC2. Nice explanation, thank you.

  2. Hi - I came here from /r/starcraft. Interesting article!

    What server are you playing on? I play on EU in diamond with Protoss, and then about gold on every other server with different races, just to experiment without messing up my main MMR.

    I find there's never any BM on the Korean ladder, and a gg even after an extremely cheesy game. EU doesn't have too much BM, and it's never that offensive, although I do get some rage quits. I can't really comment on the SEA server as I've only played on it a bit. The NA server, however, is just absolutely off the charts in terms of BM. I wouldn't say BM is an exclusively NA thing at all, but almost every single game there's some BM, and often it's quite offensive, and it was much more common to get accusations of cheating. People also tend to rank the servers in terms of competitiveness NA < EU < KR.

    I don't really have any theories to offer, but that's my experience of the different levels of BM on the different servers, and it's something to take into consideration.

    So yeah, if the LAG is bearable, try playing on KR! More competitive and less BM!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I haven't played SC2 in quite some time. All the BM in Battlenet played a part in my decision to quit (I played on NA), but at #1 in my diamond league I also felt that I'd pretty much taken the game as far as I could. I just wasn't good enough for master league. I did enjoy 2v2 and 3v3 a lot more because it was more "fun" and less competitive though...
      I've heard good things about the Korean ladder, too. Unfortunately global play wasn't available when I was playing. As far as I know Team Root selected California as the home of their new team house because it has the least lag to Korea.

  3. I stopped playing sc2 when i discovered that ladder is full of players that dont enjoy game. They dont enjoy gameplay, they enjoy league promotion, ladder position and want to be master asap.

    Most of real life sports are simple and biggest factor is team play. Communication, understanding and cooperation. Those universal elements are most enjoyable and they unite people and release positive energy.

    SC2 unfortunately is missing all of them. Its nerdy game for "guys sitting in dark room" that thinks are better and strongly try to prove this to themself(while noone else actually care how good they are). It can be very frustrating and nervous.
    I often see how guys that have lost match in WCS are so angry and refuse to hand shake with winner. Its silly.
    Only exception are Koreans, mostly only them know how to play for fun and have hun from gameplay. Most(not all) guys from US and EU just want to win.

    At end game will stay nerdy and not wide popular, blizzard may put alot of money to show WCS as professional event but at end you got 10-20k viewers on twitch when other(team games) have 100k++++.

    This game just release bad emotions and is used by people not to give fun but as a broken tool to prove some value of person in life.

    1. Most of the people I come across in platinum league on EU server do seem to want to improve more than to gain position.

    2. Thanks for your comment. I agree. The 1v1 ladder just got way too stressful. Quitting SC2 was a decision I should have made a lot earlier. Sometimes I miss casual 2v2 and 3v3 with friends though. I might return to SC2 for that at some point.
      It's much easier these days to follow SC2 as a spectator sport, there are so many high level events all the time that there are always interesting casts to follow. You're right though, it's interesting that SC2 isn't catching on as other games that attract a much wider audience.

  4. Maybe next time don't cheese every games and you're not going to get flame this much.
    I only see hellions and marine in your screen shots.

    1. Ha. You're right I always went for early game pushes vs. Zerg because when I didn't, I usually got overwhelmed in the mid-late game. No justification to BM though

  5. his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.
    Lol elo

    1. Thanks for your comment John, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I'm quite busy at the moment, but eventually I want to resume publishing articles here

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