By David Ponce
This could be the start of a trend as well as a potentially lucrative business for a generation of young players with too much skill and too little money. One Fivesquids (an online community where you offer your diverse skills for pay) user going by the name of TobySmith is offering the following:
I will be your personal online bodyguard for 30 minutes in any of the following shooters on Xbox 360: Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty Black Ops, Halo Reach, Battlefield 3 and Battlefield Bad Company 2. I will be by your side the entire time and will fight for you, keeping enemies away from you, protecting you when you snipe, even SACRIFICING MY LIFE to save yours. This is 1/2 hour of GAME TIME, meaning time taken to join a game won't be included.
Now, let's look a this offer carefully. FPS games like the ones Toby is offering his skills for are fun to play. They're actually arguably the most fun things on earth as they are the best selling entertainment franchises around. But they can also be the most infuriating when you realize that the most valuable aspect of these games, online play, is mostly dominated by a generation of (usually) younger kids who can kill you before you've even had time to figure out where you are on the map. There's a visceral satisfaction at playing these games but one that quickly fades away in a sea of frustration unless you too dedicate immense amounts of time playing. If you don't, you will likely die and respawn 4 to 5 times a minute. Controllers will be thrown and screams will be had. True story. If you're older than high-school/college age, the time it takes to be even remotely on an even ground is simply time you don't have. Someone like TobySmith just might tilt the balance you way enough to make the game worth playing. And make himself some nice cash in the process.
Some people may see a virtual bodyguard service such as this one as a form of cheating. Or if not as egregious as cheating, at least self-defeating; playing these games is all about getting good. But it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you want is to get some headshots!
There is precedent to this kind of service. One only has to remember the gold farming factories for MMORPGs like WoW.
So what do you guys think? For or against this?