You’re in the heat of battle but right now all you can think about is that guy yelling obscene remarks about your mother. Not cool.
There’s an etiquette to multiplayer gaming, you see. It’s an unwritten code. But we’re going to be bold and actually spell it out for you. Follow these rules and you’ll be A ok – or ignore them at your peril.
Ignore the bait
Even when you’re on your best behaviour, someone else is going to be a jerk. Don’t be a sucker for the trolls – you don’t want to be dragged down with their poor reputation.
And with the new Xbox Live reputation system the trolls will finally be punished properly, ranked according to feedback from other players.
It’ll all be displayed on your gaming card. A green sign means "Good Player" while yellow stands for "Needs Improvement". Prove a pain and you’ll end up with a big red "Avoid me" stamp. Needless to say, nobody will want to play with anyone stuck in the red.
Remember, you used to be a n00b too
Hey, we’ve all been there. No one starts playing a game as an instant expert, so before you start slinging mud at those less experienced at Call of Duty: Ghosts just remember how it felt to be in the same position.
Rather than yell abuse you could even give them a few pointers. You don’t have to let them in on all your secrets, but guide them along. It’ll make things better for everyone, honestly.
Accept when you just… suck
Look, you didn’t win that race on Forza 5 because you just weren’t good enough. It wasn’t the fault of the controller and it (probably) wasn’t because your opponent was cheating. Hurling abuse at your rival will get you nowhere, and nobody likes a whiner.
That microphone can be a really annoying weapon of its own, especially when the wearer is doing nothing by whinge. Stop complaining that this is the worst game of the series and "isn’t balanced correctly". Blaming your tools only makes you look like a sore loser.
Be a team player
Don’t be a hero, kid. Or at least if you’re going to be a hero, don’t do it at the expense of your teammates. It’s more important to secure that win for the whole team than it is to make sure you’re ranking at the number one spot of the leaderboard.
There’s strength in numbers, and communication is key – make sure you’re not running off and making life harder for your teammates.
Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes perfect, as the old saying goes. Ok, there might not be such a thing as the perfect player, but getting a feel for the game will sure as hell help you when you’re going up against others.
So spend some time getting to know your way around a game before you go jumping into an online match of Battlefield 4 without even knowing the buttons. You’d also be surprised how much you can find out with a quick internet search…
Be a troll
If you don’t like people doing it to you, don’t do it yourself. Pretty simple. If you’re out to wind someone up for the hell of it, you’re going to be punished when other gamers throw negative feedback at you afterwards.
Until eventually you’re just playing with a load of other unhappy trolls in Xbox Live’s cordoned-off playpen. And no one really wants that.
Be a dirty disconnecter
Don’t be that person. You might be losing, but disconnecting from the game often ruins it for everyone else involved. It’s also another sure-fire way of getting negative feedback, and we know what that can lead to…
If you’re in a team-based game and things aren’t working, talk it out. Strategise harder. Quitting will only make it harder for everyone else – and make you look like a total jerk.
Be too obscene
Somebody think of the children! You can guarantee that there’s plenty of them around so best to watch the profane language. After all, kids are just going to copy you, leading to an endless cycle of foul-mouthed obscenities.
Besides, all that that effing and blinding isn’t going to improve your chances of winning – nor is it going to make your opponents back down.
Be a spawn killer
This is one that gamers will probably feel most passionately about. There’s nothing more annoying than having someone hidden away somewhere, picking you off from afar with a sniper rifle every time you spawn into a map.
It’s a problem that plagues every FPS and it can be hugely frustrating if you find yourself on the receiving end of it. So the golden rule is just don’t do it – don’t become the person who ruins the game for everyone else. Trust us, you’ll pay the price if you do.