The GamerTag Series Part 2: Achievement Counselors
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 19th May 2012
A forward-thinking Dean invested time and money in creating dozens of Gamertags with nondescript names and paid the monthly Gold Membership fee on each of them for years in order to salt away a crop of Gamertags as future stock in trade. This naturally includes a name change token with each package so that the client can re-brand the veteran account with their new 'nym and have the roots of the advanced ID package -- and if they add another $1k they obtain a pre-packaged Gamertag that comes with a basic 10K to 20K in Gamerscore and Achievements, allowing them to skip the delay and the process of consulting an Achievement Counselor, which has been managed in advance from a list of the "right" games.
Today the business of creating gamer identities -- the bread and butter of the Persona Designer -- is a thriving one, having come into its own in an era in which video games as a social activity (and identity) has never been more legitimate or accepted, but if the Persona Designer is the foundation of the new gamer identity, then the Achievement Counselor is the finish carpenter; the expert who adds the crucial details and finery to the new identity, giving it the polish and pizazz that gains instant acceptance in game lobbies and gamer communities.
The Darker Side of Online Gaming
While it is not a widely discussed subject, there is a dark side to the world of online gaming, a nearly universal and commonly shared experience in which verbal abuse is rampant, and sexually-motivated hazing and harassment, particularly when the gamer in question is female, is almost the norm, at the hands of what often seems like an army of teenaged gamers whose struggle with puberty combined with their own perceptions of power and might as well as status often combines as an instant recipe for the making of a monster.
From the shoes of a newly minted gamer Xbox LIVE and, to an even greater extent the environment of the PlayStation Home graphical world, can be a very scary place -- for gamers labeled "Newbie" this is very true, but when that newbie gamer also happens to be female? It is almost a given that newbie gamers and girl gamers will be subjected to hazing by the eBullies that exist in the world of online gaming -- teenaged boys for the most part, hidden behind their gamer 'nym and feeling the often undeserved authority that they claim based upon a hundred Gold Trophies or a Gamerscore north of 30,000 that combines to create an environment in which they view themselves as part of the ruling elite -- circumstances that the vast majority of gamers new and old prefer to avoid.
The new gamers -- and girl gamers -- have come to expect to be singled out and harassed simply because they are who they are and what they are. The act of attempting to join the boys club that is Xbox Live and PlayStation Home means subjecting yourself to the often arbitrary set of social conventions that include rules that are not spelled out and, depending upon the eBully, constantly change; and to say that just isn't fair flirts with gross understatement, but fair or not, that is the way that it is...
This unfortunate reality is nothing new -- when the grandfather of all MMO's -- Ultima Online -- first launched, new gamers almost instantly found themselves at the mercy of the stereotypical bullies of online gaming, but rather than simply force them to hand over their lunch money, this seemingly new breed of tormenter preferred to kill them and then loot their bloody corpse while commenting openly on how much newbie gamers suck.
Not a fruitful beginning to be sure, and the situation was made worse by how it quickly evolved into mob-bullying in which like-minded players grouped together to stage elaborate ambushes, making it nearly impossible to leave the town and follow the road to the next city, and creating an environment in which new players would rather head off into the darkest of forest or jungle to face the almost certain attack of monsters rather than use the main roads where they would face the certain attack of player-killers.
Variations of this environment exist in almost every online game, where new gamers find themselves being judged by presumably veteran gamers in game lobbies who, having looked up the GamerTag of their potential victim and discovered that they have very few Achievements or Trophies unlocked and a very low Gamerscore stand in judgment of them, instantly handing down the label of Newb and, in the process, reinforcing the pattern that has emerged consistently in which the new gamer faces a measure of discrimination that borders upon hate.