How to get a negative player review from me on Xbox Live.

Xbox Live gives you nine reasons to choose from when you’re giving a negative review to another player. Personally, I only care about one, though: players who quit before a game is over.

Most of the other reasons you’re allowed to give are handled in other ways. Dude using too many cuss words? Mute him or unplug your headset. Dude was unsporting? Turn it around on him or kick him from the next match. Don’t even get me started on the “too good” and “not good enough” reasons. Complaining that another player was too good is the same as complaining that you aren’t good enough, and that’s not his fault. And who on earth is going to leave a negative review because the player was too bad? Seriously, I bet that’s the #1 reason players get good reviews. “Wow! That guy was easy to beat! I can’t wait to match up with him and kick his ass again!”

No, quitting out of a game because you’re losing it is the only crime for which there is no recourse except to add a player to the avoided list. I tend to not play many games with random matchmaking, so I only have about twenty people on that list, but that has been the reason for every single one of them.

Lately it’s been – what else? – Rock Band. Matchmaking for Score Duel is actually pretty ingenius: one player picks the song, then the other player picks the difficulty. So if you pick an insanely difficult “song”, say Visions, I get to control how difficult the song actually is. For purposes of this illustration, since Visions is just random noise I might choose to play it on Medium. Then you decide the joke isn’t funny anymore and quit.

Of course it’s not always as complicated as that; sometimes someone will just quit because they hate losing. Rock Band’s Score Duel is particularly cruel in that you can tell within the first thirty seconds whether your opponent is going to massacre you or not, but you know what? Tough it out. You’re either going to get to pick the song or the difficulty, so stay in your comfort zone. Scoring 15,000 points against someone who can score 30,000 is no different than scoring 15,000 points all by yourself, except in the former case you have the ability to screw someone out of their happy fun time.

In a ranked match, the game gives you a little note saying something like “Your opponent left! Enjoy the easy win!” This is not much of a consolation; I didn’t fire up Rock Band to make my rank go up, I fired it up so I could rock out. As a result I’ve stopped playing so many ranked matches, though this doesn’t help the problem any. Something like 80% of the Score Duels I enter end with my opponent quitting out and me leaving a frowny face on his profile.

I wonder if these players act like that in local matches as well. “Hey, no fair. I get a do-over.” “What? No you don’t. Keep playing.” “Whoop, hit the reset button again! Sorry about that! Guess we have to start over now.”

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