If you're an online FPS player, you're probably familiar with teamkillers--people generally regarded to destroy the experience for everyone else by working against team objectives and, well, killing their teammates. In recent years, most such games have disincentivized this with ever-increasing penalties for killing your own teammates, particularly those which contribute to a permanent scorecard. As such, it's become much rarer, and the game's engagement much more precise. However, I argue that it's also lost something valuable, and have a suggestion for regaining it without losing that precision.
Last night, a group of friends from highschool got together for some gaming, but something funny happened--we'd all sold our FPS games and hadn't bought any new ones. Granted, we all had less time to play as we'd gotten older and busier, but we did all still buy games. So what happened?
As we started reliving some of our favorite moments, I realized that we were the people you probably hated. In Battlefield: Bad Company we destroyed our own gold crates, filled our own snipers with tracers that lit them up like Christmas trees while they were distracted aiming down scope, and crashed our own choppers full of teammates. We were terrible; we ruined game experiences, and I do apologize if yours happened to be wrecked.
However, in many of these matches, an interesting thing happened. Not only was it more fun for us, but it was also more fun for our victims, many of whom abandoned the game to seek revenge (I actually got a lot of friend requests this way, oddly enough). It spoke to something missing in shooters for a lot of people. As games got even harsher on penalties, we quit playing. I'm sure for everyone out there who hated teamkillers and teamkilling, that's fantastic, and I'm happy for you--but even when I played legitimately there was at least one guy every session doing it, so for many others, you might share that loss.
Maybe what I'm looking for already exists, and if so I'd love for you to share, but if not, I do have a solution. Something dull I noticed about these games is the similarity of game modes. Shoot the other people, blow something up, keep your stuff from getting blown up. Well, I suggest an Mode. Teams have a randomly determined spy (or two) who appears to be an ally, but actually gets points (which must be hidden until the end of the round to all other players) for killing or otherwise hindering his own team.
There are few points to consider here:
It's a great dynamic, particularly when playing without a clan in these shooters is such a solitary experience anyway. I know most do have a Free-For-All mode, but it's quite different because it's still you against them. What's chiefly missing is the suspicion and interest created when the team's best player is suddenly against you, or when your teammate betrays you for points. This is devastating to regular game modes where teamwork is already so hard to come by, but perfect in a dedicated game mode where everyone already agreed on the rules (I saw TK games quite a bit in games with lobby creation, for instance, but they didn't quite work). More than anything, the dynamic created by never knowing who you can trust as spies fluctuate throughout a match would be extremely entertaining, I think.