In response to "The 12-Year-Old English Kid Who Carried Us to Victory" from The Escapist Forum: A very interesting and inspiring story. It's a very moving thing in it's own way. While it may be said that it is 'just a game' it's still a game that makes an attempt at simulating a real and dangerous adult world, and in it we see here a child, someone who should not have any real knowledge of combat scenarios, who takes the reigns of leadership.
Pip actually reminds me a lot of Miles Teg ( for those of you who haven't read Dune I have some homework for you) in that despite his age and appearance, seems to have that gift of decision. It wouldn't have mattered as much if his orders were not necessarily the right ones, but the fact that he could say "You go here and do this. You go there and kill that"
I don't really know where I was going with all that, but it was a great story to hear, and it's great hear about really good people who shine through the seemingly endless ocean of shit that is online gaming.
There is no question that I've had similar experiences in online FPS games. Of course, in death matches, teamwork like this is normally irrelevant. But in Counter Strike: Source, an old favourite of mine, becoming a squad leader or microphone strategist is a role that I often aspire to.
Yes, you have to be a good communicator. You have to know about the strats that may win you the game. You have to be good at figuring out how your team will respond in a pub server, who will follow, if any, on your first round, and who will not. You have to build trust over time, work the emotions of your comrades by being right with your strategics time and time again. And of course, you need to be good at the game itself. If your score is low, no one will listen, even if your strats are straight out of the mouth of a tourney pro talking into the microphone for you.
The natural selection of leaders in such a lawless realm is a real point of interest for social scientists. I think that the article's right in implying that, ironically enough, if we were to lose games, we would lose a really great example of what a place without rules would be like, and how people would make their way through it in one piece. Leaders are not born in a place like this. There are no dynasties in a public server. You don't go in rich and well-resourced, ready with an empire half-made. You have to start then and there and work like a maniac to win. (Of course, you do have some advantages being rich in the real world while playing games - like the microphone itself, a big widescreen monitor to see enemies at your sides, and the like. But these are not necessarily social advantages to becoming a leader for that game and consequential ones.)
The article is right that it is incredibly rewarding to find victory because of strong leadership. Not least if you are said leader. Take it from me: there is nothing like, upon a victory both personal and team-based, listening to someone else you've never met say into the microphone: "it's been an honour to fight with you today, [and your name]." Yes, it's a fake world; there are no real consequences, but there has been a great success in game design when it comes to emulating the best of warfare - that is, the brotherhood of the team against the odds. I hope that one day, this fake experience of wartime friendship will be all we need to have, in the face of a lasting peace.