Here I am, polishing off my latest adversary in Capcom’s Street Fighter IV Volt for the iPhone. Ken mistimed his jump, and I punished him with a fireball, knocking off the last bit of health he had and sealing the match in my favor. And, in what has become a much too common issue with this game, this is the very next thing I see:
Rage quitting has become the norm in Capcom’s mini-sized fighter. This isn’t a problem on the game’s bigger brother, Super Street Fighter IV. Even when a foe is routed, they stick around long enough to watch their Battle Points take a small tumble, and then head on their merry way. But this is not so on the mobile devices – instead, a sure win most often also results in your opponent immediately quitting before the match can fall under their lose column.
Capcom launched their pocket sized fighter to Apple’s AppStore a few weeks ago, and on the first day of it’s availability it cost a measly 0.99 cents. I have been caught up in the fighting game resurgence wave of the past two years, so I didn’t miss out on the opportunity to practice my mind-reading skills on a mobile platform. Tough using the touch screen to control your fighter took some getting used to, in short time I was firing up the online mode to pit my skills against other iPhone combatants.
The rage quitting wasn’t so bad when the game was fresh and new, but the minute some sore loser figured out there was no penalty from just dropping from a match the very second you lose, it’s become a widespread epidemic.
How bad of a problem is this? Well, here’s that guy’s player card:
This guy has quit twelve of the past twenty matches he has fought. And that’s one of the lower numbers I’ve seen. It’s not uncommon to see someone that has dropped upwards of fifteen times – one guy I fought during my work lunch break had a drop rate of nineteen out of twenty!
It is to the point that I will commonly polish off a foe, and then mutter to myself “Disconnect” in anticipation of the coming rage quit. And I’m typically right. I can understand the allure to want to disconnect -though I understand it’s just some number, every time I watch my BP drop, my heart sinks a little. But your Battle Points aren’t really a number, are they? Instead, they’re a measure of you; the higher your BP, the better you are as a person.
But let’s consider the long term factors of this current trend – in time, we’ll all simply learn that BP means nothing. Already much too often, I’ve fought someone who is ranked a good 200 points higher than me, only to easily trounce them in the first round. I know instantly that I can expect a rage quit – they obviously don’t have the actual acumen for the rank they have, and thus only got it by not letting their rank take any hits. This happens so frequently, that I find the tougher fights are with people who are ranked in the low thousands than the ones in the fifteen-hundred ranges.
And don’t even get me started on the people who have set their motto to something about how they hate rage quitters, only to wind up rage quitting themselves.
This is completely counter productive to what the purpose of an Elo-match making system is supposed to be. Instead, you’re supposed to want to improve your skills and figure out where your short comings are so that you can improve you rank genuinely. Instead, what we have are pouty kids that take their ball home the minute they lose at a game.
So, how do we solve this?
I’m sure a number of people would come up with a ton of technical solutions for fixing all the rage quitting – you could make it so that rage quitters only play against each other, for instance, like they’ve done in Marvel vs Capcom 3. You could make it so that the minute a match ending KO is scored, the results are recorded before someone has time to rage quit. But my solution is much simpler.
Allow people to message each other in-game.
There’s a lot of weight in social pressure. And if people could message each other, and someone were to rage quit, believe me, they would get plenty of messages about it. Take for example XBox Live. In Marvel vs Capcom 3, they offered up challenges every week for you to complete. Once such challenge that gave me a hard time was to win ten online matches in a row. For whatever reason, I would get on a streak of eight or nine wins, and then just blow it on the last one. Then I would have to start over. Finally, I just said to hell with it, and if it looked like I was about to lose, I would quit out of the game. It wasn’t honorable, but I was sick of having to start from scratch. And almost each time I quit, I received a mocking message from the person I quit on. I eventually abandoned that course of action, and finally won that challenge the real way, much much later.
Almost every time I’m rage quit on, I go pull up that player’s player card, just so I can see what their rage quit rate is. I often snort at the 75% or greater rates that I see. And I promise you, if there was also a button there that said “Send a message”, you better believe that I would immediately fire them one, chiding them for their childish behavior. And I know I wouldn’t be the only one.
It wouldn’t take long, but with a little of social pressure urging people to remain in the game until the conclusion, rage quitting would be as uncommon as it is on the bigger brother versions of Street Fighter. But until that day, while there’s absolutely no punishment for just dropping out of a game because you got your ass handed to you, rage quitting will continue to be a persistent problem.
Update: The latest version of Volt actually counts disconnecting from a game as a loss, and docks you about 100 Battle Points. With that, the rampant rage quitting seems to have almost completely disappeared. Unfortunately, my own BP has also taken a hit from the occasional text or battery low warning that always seems to pop up in the middle of a match.