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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

X-Box Live: From Friend to Foe

Finding good friends on X-Box Live and the PlayStation Network has been a bit of challenge for me because for the most part, I am particularly picky about the people I interact with. I am one of those odd individuals who enjoy persistent camaraderie and close friendships so I am usually turned off by random strangers who are just there for the thrill of the moment. It's a delicate balance of many things I suppose because sometimes it would take a while to build a trusting bond between individuals and it's not something that could miraculously happen at the initial state of happenstance. There are those individuals though that you just click with the very moment you meet them and whenever that happens, you know you have something truly substantial going on.

I have a small amount of people whom I consider as my close friends when it comes to online gaming and this is a story about one of them. I met this guy sometime around September 2008 via a random friend invite on X-Box Live. Apparently, he saw my high ranking score in Ikaruga and being a fan of the game, he thought that we probably shared something in common. I accepted the friend invite and after a week or so, I started to get messages from him because he was going through some personal issues at the time and was apparently venting out his frustrations using a shotgun approach. Being the ever helpful individual that I am, I jumped in and lent him an ear and soon after, we started playing Ikaruga together. Talking about personal life beyond the boundaries of gaming was probably the catalyst that lead to how comfortable we were with each other. He then became my first real friend on X-Box Live and I hadn't been so thrilled about online gaming ever since I left World of Warcraft until then.

We pretty much played together almost every single day. We would try to get the same game with multi-player elements so that we could find an excuse to play with each other. Because he mostly rent his games, I would be the one who would wait to see what games I needed to pick up next. At one point, he got Fatal Fury Special and Samurai Shodown II on Live Arcade - though I already own both games on other consoles, I still purchased them just so that we could play a match or two. Under normal circumstances, I would have never pay those Microsoft Points to get these two games. I am just mentioning this to exemplify how close the two of us were as friends.

Yes, as the last sentence indicated, we are no longer friends. The reason why I felt compelled to write about this is because I am totally perplexed by what triggered the end of our friendship: I picked up Star Ocean: The Last Hope on the 4th of this month and it must have been a week after my friend started playing the game. He had been ranting and raving about how great the game was and during that time, I expressed to him that I was looking forward to getting the game. When I finally got the game, he asked me how I felt about it. I had played about 2-3 hours of the game at that point and informed him that I was disappointed by the storyline because it was not up to par with the previous Star Ocean games - I have finished the game by the way and the review is in the works. After I sent that message to him, he went quiet for two full days and I thought it was weird but I brushed it off my shoulders.

Then all of a sudden, he sent me a funny message in the style of one of the characters in the game. I recognized it of course and I responded with "I knew you would like that character a lot". Soon after that, I got a chat invite and he proceeded in asking me what I meant by what I said. I told him that I was just joking around and I noticed that he seemed rather distant. To me, the character in question is one of the most irritating characters in the game but I didn't mean to offend him by my statement and I reiterated that to him. He then told me that he liked that character a lot and I acknowledged what he said and repeated to him that I didn't mean any harm with what I said.

After that little incident, he disappeared for several days and knowing him, he was probably online but shown as offline because he had done that before while playing with me just so that he could avoid friends whom he didn't feel like talking to at the time. Then, another sudden message, this time he made mention of how shocked he was about an event near the end of the game that he was jumping out of his chair. This of course made me smile so I sent him a message saying "You must have tears running down your cheeks when that happened". This was what I got back from him:

I was on my personal computer at that time so when I saw that, I signed in online on my console immediately and as soon as I got there, I received this message:

Concerned, I responded by asking if my previous message had offended him because I was trying to determine whether he was just pulling my leg or not. I mean, with the history of friendship I had with him, how could I have offended him so? But alas, he disappeared after I sent him my message, only to emerge a couple of hours later. I was going to invite him to a private chat since his Gold subscription had recently expired but he had his status as showing "Busy", which was apparently directed at me. After an hour or so, I looked for him and saw that he wasn't online. So I sent him another message telling him that what he was doing was not fair to me and I expressed to him that I was confused about what was going on.

Here is the climax. When I signed in earlier this evening, I found two voice messages left by him. He basically told me that I was being such a smart a$$ and started saying that he knew I didn't like Star Ocean: The Last Hope. He also said that the crying message was rude. He said he noticed that I had been playing Phantasy Star Universe and that PSU is almost like Star Ocean and that he will be playing it shortly - yes, that last part confused the heck out of me too. So I responded by pointing out the following:

1) I really don't understand how my message was rude. I was just teasing him and was just being funny. I reminded him that he is a good friend of mine.

2) I like Star Ocean: The Last Hope so his speculation was wrong.

3) He apparently can't take a joke even when it's that small and is done in good spirit.

About an hour ago, I saw him signed in online. I gave him five minutes to retrieve my messages and compose his thoughts but when I checked back on him, he was no longer online and low and behold, his name was no longer on my friend's list.

What can I say, I am totally bewildered by this. Close to 6 months of strong friendship destroyed by a reaction to a plot twist in Star Ocean: The Last Hope. All this nonsense from a guy who used to introduce me as his "best friend" and I agreed with him that the feeling was mutual. Was all that respect and companionship we shared before meaningless all this time? Maybe he had been faking it all throughout the length of our friendship? I mean, he did give me that silent treatment before when I told him that I didn't like PowerUp Forever. As a matter of fact, he made fun of me for not liking that game even though I am a shoot-'em-up fan and I didn't think much about what he said because we were friends. All I can say is that our friendship was never something that I have taken for granted. I have made references to him on this website - he's the guy who recently played a lot of Culdcept Saga with me. I am saddened about what happened but I also know that I need to snap out of it and move on because this is just totally ridiculous!


Artificial Wisdom said...

sometimes these things happen. Hopefully things can be straightened out.

Anonymous said...

What hell is wrong with you, people you meet on the internet are not "friends" they are acquaintances and nothing more. You should not expect PERFECT strangers to be friends. You don't really know them. Think of the next ones as there will be many in your life as fun play friends only and pull your heart off of your sleeves!!!