Griefing is best described as a type of trolling. Nowadays it’s the act of intentionally behaving antisocially and causing distress to other players in an online game and the tactics used to cause grief vary depending on which game is being played.
This behaviour actually predates the creation of online gaming, it has existed back in the days where arcade gaming was prevalent. Griefers can disrupt a player’s game by messing with their controls, pressing the arcade machine’s buttons at random.
Types of Griefing
- Team Killing: Self-explanatory—killing members of ones team. In FPS games that features friendly fire like Rainbow Six Siege, this method of griefing is rather common.
- Destruction: Simply destroying other players’ property or creation, a very common method in games like Minecraft, Animal Crossing and GTA Online. Another possible form is wasting or destroying key game elements.
- Blocking: Some games have use collision detection that prevents players from being able to run through each other. This allows griefers to block other players from entering certain areas, or boxing in players to keep them from leaving. This tactic was famously used during 4chan’s raid on Habbo Hotel. Tom Clancy's The Division also suffered from this issue at launch, where griefers could stand in the doorway out of the starting area, preventing players entering the game.
- Another method is found in games where friendly fire is impossible, players may deliberately blocking shots from a player's own team or blocking a player's view by standing in front of them so they cannot damage the enemy.
- Impersonating: Griefers sometimes impersonate server administrators or other players through similar screen names. Ultima Online had a unique case where players impersonate a monster to trick someone into attacking other players so that player is flagged as a murderer and the town guards kill the player. This is done by scrolls that could change their appearance to that of a monster, the only way to tell the difference between them and a real one was to click on them and read the name that appeared.
- Ramming: On purposely ram other players in a multiplayer racing game, forcing them to loose control or crash. Some rammers do such in order to win, but some others simply want to grief and will purposely select larger vehicles such as racing rigs or SUVs.
- Withershins: On purposely drive in the wrong direction in a lapped multiplayer race, with the intention to ram other players head-on.
- Smurfing: Creating extra accounts (Smurf accounts) and deliberately losing games to enter a lower skill ranks than is appropriate, then playing at full skill against opponents in that low rank, defeating them easily.
- Aggroing: Also known as “Training”, this involves purposely aggregating mobs and lead them to other players. The line of monsters in pursuit looks like a train, and hence the name “Training”.
- Bug Exploit: Exploiting know bugs and glitches to gain an unfair advantage, such as illegally exiting the map or going under the map to gain an advantage.
- Camping: The act of continuously waiting in a tactically advantageous position for others to come to them; this is sometimes considered griefing because if all players do it, the game stalls, but this is now more commonly considered a game design issue.
- Spawn Camping: In games that allow player versus player (PvP) combat, a common practice to kill a player repeatedly by waiting for them to resurrect by their corpse, or by a spawn point.
- Kill Stealing: The practice of repeatedly killing enemies that another player is attempting to kill themselves. This is most common in MMORPGs like World of Warcraft.
- Abusive Mob Spawning: This act involves spawning monsters with the intention of either lagging or outright crashing the server or disrupting other player’s experiences (if the mob in question is aggressive).
- A notable example of achieving the former is the chicken spamming technique in Minecraft, as automatic chicken farms are easy to create. If not kept at bay, the excessive amount of chickens may cause the server to lag, or worse: corrupt the entire map and render it unusable.
- An example for the latter exists in Fallout 76, by detonating a nuke, extremely high-level legendary monsters will spawn at the impact site, this supposed to allow veteran players to slay them for legendary drops. Unfortunately, there's nothing to stop players nuking areas near Vault 76 and forcing rookie players to deal with endgame-level monsters. Making matters worse is that the nuclear launch codes are not randomized, instead, they’re fixed for one-week periods. This means players could simply look them up online and launch nukes at will.
- Developer Sanctioned Griefing: Some games, such as the online segment of Grand Theft Auto V, encourage resetting a player's progress through the destruction of crates, business supplies, and other valuables.
- Games like EVE Online and Elite: Dangerous also incorporated activities such as corporate spying, theft, scams, gate-camping, and PvP on non-PvP players are all part of their gaming experience.
- Trapping: Stranding teammates in inescapable locations by use of physical props, special abilities, or teleporting them to inescapable locations.
- Bad Acting: Acting out-of-character in a role-play setting to disrupt the immersion of other players.
- Bad Playing: Faking extreme incompetence with the intent of hurting teammates or failing an in-game objective.