Etiquette in Battle Royale Scenarios / by Bryce Hidysmith

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Recently, battle royale gametypes have become significantly more common in video games. Frequently, there is an etiquette assumption that forming teams is inappropriate. Teams currently unbalance the battle royale mode, but likely would not unbalance them if players were more strategically rational than they currently are in any of these games. This limited strategic rationality has introduced a semi-functional equilibrium state. 

If there are no teams, then there is no strategy better than playing Fabian. (Note: it might not quite technically be pure Fabian as they do not take costs from simply moving. However, rather obviously, avoiding conflicts means that other, more aggressive players take out more of each other before you are ever put into battle, and unless there is some benefit to battle, it makes a great deal more sense to just stay avoidant and peripheral.) However, if there are teams, then Fabian is no longer the dominant strategy as playing aggressively is incentivized to disrupt premeditated alliances. In such a scenario, the objective becomes attempting to link to a benevolent alliance as fast as possible, avoiding being taken out by the random placements on the map. It seems as though the normalized equilibrium assumes that the majority of players will be emotionally volatile enough to not actually have the will to play Fabian and gain enjoyment from avoidance, letting the few Fabian-enjoying players gain an advantage in thoughtfulness, whereas the more volatile players are likely more addicted and have a comparable advantage from built-up reflex. The fact that these games are simple entertainment means that there is no reason for them to gain the "escape velocity" to start producing metagame strategies from their reasonably strategically symmetrical equilibrium state. 

This seems to have a direct extension into other fields that might be viscerally enjoyable, but the visceral enjoyment might remove the possibility for second to nth order strategies being built in the metagame on the primary gameplay. This also probably explains most of the reason why it seems that only simulations that do not provide much visceral experience (MMOs, Minecraft) ever produce the kind of discipline one would actually need to produce strategic—rather than simply tactical—behavior in a virtual environment. There is something a bit disconcerting to the fact that the dominance of video games has not actually trained strategic foresight into the majority of its participants. Instead, it seems to have produced purely tactical reaction, contributing to the atomization of individuals and producing coordination models similar to the swarm-behavior found in the current Tumblr/4Chan design consensus when similar designs have been applied to other UX problems. This seems to be the entrainment of the (post-)millennial generation, and I am sorry for our lots.