The timer ticks down toward zero. We tear across the Boneyard, one of Halo: Reach's best multiplayer maps, my good friend Rus driving with me sitting shotgun. I'm clutching the blue flag in hands that would be sweating if they were real....
The timer ticks down toward zero. We tear across the Boneyard, one of Halo: Reach's best multiplayer maps, my good friend Rus driving with me sitting shotgun. I'm clutching the blue flag in hands that would be sweating if they were real. We shed our red teammates like skin; they race past us going the other direction on foot and in alien vehicles, crashing to pieces against the blue players that pursue us. They fall, re-spawn, hurtle past, and fall again. All the while the timer ticks down.
Seconds left. No blues in sight. No more obstacles. No chance of losing now. But something happens. The clock reaches zero. The game is over, and it's a tie. We imagine our teammates, hands gripping controllers, first puzzled, then enraged. Maybe they'll press "B" to exit the lobby in frustration instead of letting the game whisk them away to the next match. Maybe they'll watch the instant replay, fast-forwarding through to the end to find out how we could have possibly let that victory slip away.
Then they'll see us drive past our base, me still clutching the flag, passing within feet of where we could have scored and won, instead putting virtual petal to the metal and driving off the edge of the map and into oblivion. We take the team's win with us, but earn ourselves a different sort of victory. We are trolls. It's what we do.
We'll play a game straight for hours, our teammates unsuspecting, hunting for that perfect moment.
There's an art to good trolling. It's not about being as destructive or antagonistic as possible. Anyone can chuck grenades at their teammates. That takes no guile. It's philistine. What's the point?
The term itself, "trolling," has become worryingly mainstream, its definition growing nebulous through overuse. Judges are using it to define shady attorneys and copyright abusers. It's being applied to basically anyone who acts like a dick. Third-rate trolls with no craft have become universally despised for ruining games, and most gamers have forgotten what it even means to get truly, honestly trolled.
Urban Dictionary gets it: trolling is "the art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off…trolling does not mean just making rude remarks," it says. "Trolling requires deceiving."
It's not the act of screwing up someone else's game that gets us off. It's the thrill of the chase. We want to surprise you. We'll play a game straight for hours, our teammates unsuspecting, hunting for that perfect moment. The moment that will make the anonymous eyes behind a dozen scattered televisions widen in surprise. We'll make you rage. We'll make you cry. You'll throw your hands in the air in frustration. And afterward, if we've trolled you right, you'll laugh.
Death at a funeral
Seven years ago an avid World of Warcraft player suffered a tragic, fatal stroke. Her online friends organized a very public ceremony during which friends and enemies alike could come and pay their respects.
A rival guild, ironically named Serenity Now, decided to crash that ceremony, and a bloodbath ensued. It was brutal, calculated and somehow, naively, unexpected. Or so the story goes. Regardless, the video remains hilarious to this day.
I've never met Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, but if I ever did I'd ask him how big a troll he considers himself. I'm fairly certain what his answer would be.
Dark Souls was made for trolling. Summoning other players to help in your world requires you to transform into a vulnerable state that leaves your virtual back door open to invasions from malicious players hoping to prey on the weak or unsuspecting. Dark Souls features underhanded spells that turn your avatar into a tree or a statue so you can hide out in the open, and weapons that let you steal valuable in-game currency called Humanity from victims too slow to move out of your way.
One evening recently I found myself invading other players' worlds, as I am wont to do. I lose some games and win others. That's how it goes. Bu
about 2 hours ago