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    What is a griefer?

    A griefer is a player in a multiplayer roleplaying game (RPG) who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game, breaks the rules, or undermines the spirit of the game to ruin others’ enjoyment.

    Griefers often use aspects of the game in unintended ways to cause frustration or anger among other players.

    Unlike competitive or antagonistic players who abide by game rules, griefers target the player experience outside the boundaries of fair play.

    Griefing has been a part of online gaming culture since the early days of multiplayer games. It is seen across various genres, from sandbox games to massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

    The motivations behind griefing can vary, but often involve a desire for attention, amusement at others’ expense, or a simple interest in disrupting the game.

    Griefer FAQs

    What distinguishes a griefer from a competitive player?

    A competitive player aims to win or excel within the established rules and spirit of the game. In contrast, a griefer derives pleasure specifically from causing distress to other players and disrupting the game experience, often without any interest in traditional gameplay objectives.

    Can griefers be banned from games?

    Yes, many online games have policies and reporting systems in place to deal with griefers. If a player is found to be intentionally ruining the experience for others, they can be warned, temporarily suspended, or permanently banned from the game.

    How can players deal with griefers?

    Players can deal with griefers by using in-game reporting tools to alert moderators or GMs to the abusive behavior.

    Avoiding engagement with griefers, as they often seek attention or a reaction, is also advisable. Utilizing mute or block features can prevent griefers from continuing their harassment.

    Is griefing considered a form of cyberbullying?

    Yes, griefing can be considered a form of cyberbullying, especially when it involves targeted harassment, threats, or causing intentional distress to other players. Many online platforms take this behavior seriously and have reporting tools and measures in place to combat it.

    What are other ways to describe a griefer?

    Griefers can also be called trolls, pests, troublemakers, bad actors, or bad-faith players because they undermine the spirit of the game. However, harmless-sounding terms like “pest” and “troublemaker” do not always convey the level of abuse or damage that griefers can do to a game, its players, or its community.

    Myths about griefers

    There are misconceptions that all griefers are young players or that they only exist in certain types of games. In reality, griefers can come from any age group and target a wide range of game genres, from sandbox games to first-person shooters (FPSs) to MMORPGs. Any multiplayer game can become home to griefers.

    Another myth is that griefing is a harmless part of gaming culture. While some view it as trolling or playful antagonism, it can have serious effects on players’ enjoyment and mental health. If left unchecked, griefing can contribute to a toxic gaming community.

    Griefer examples

    • In a building or survival game, a griefer might destroy other players’ creations or steal resources without any intention of playing the game as designed.
    • In an MMORPG, a griefer could repeatedly kill a much lower-level player, preventing them from progressing in the game.
    • In a team-based game, a griefer might intentionally hinder their own team by refusing to cooperate or actively disrupting strategies.
    • In a sandbox game, a griefer could use exploits to trap other players in inescapable situations, effectively removing their ability to play.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."