Tonight I found myself joining a few fellow Game Informer Online comrades once again for more Far Cry 3 multiplayer action. Just like last time, our squad this week marked the return of Markus1142, DJH and Zachary Pligge. I think if we play together too much more we're going to have to come up with high-speed nicknames and team t-shirts. We're almost ready for MLG!

All jokes aside, it occurred to me after we concluded our activities for the evening how much different I play online when I'm playing with people I know (even though I suppose technically I don't know them). I consider myself a fairly reserved player in the first place, so for me to play noticeably different is somewhat surprisingly. I don't think it's because I'm trying to impress them, because I'm not.  And I don't think it's because I'm trying to be the best, because that's not really my style. I play to have fun, and even though I seem to modify my behavior, I'm still having fun.

So what is it that changes?

I dunno...but here's what I notice that is different.

I talk less.

Well, I never talk a lot, but I'd say I talk even less when I'm on with friends, and I definitely talk less than what everybody else does. Funny, I can post long winded blogs - 1,000 to 2,000 words. Yet, I'm not really one to prattle on over the mic. I can get so absorbed in a game, unless I'm making a contact report or conducting official business, you're probably not going to hear much from me.

I yell less.

As fun loving and peaceful as I am, I have a horrible problem with yelling at my games. I don't care if it's something sweet and innocent like Mario or Little Big Planet; something simple like Minecraft; or something highly competitive like Team Fortress 2. If it plays, I'll yell at it. A lot. But when I'm online with other players, I don't want them hearing me acting a like a baby, so I tone it down a bit, and just mutter under my breath. I caught myself once earlier tonight after 3 bad guys ganged up on me and killed me. I nearly had them too until I caught a stray round that incapacitated me while trying to heal. I nearly yelled, "Give me a break!" One of my favorite expressions when things aren't going my way. But I didn't.

I shoot less.

When I play shooters, especially those that take place in modern day, my preferred weapon of choice is typically an assault rifle of some flavor (no, not the dreaded assault rifle)...and the M4 is one of my favorites. It's the perfect multipurpose weapon, allowing you to target contacts at short or long distances.  Anytime I play, single-player or multiplayer, I try and use the gun like I would in real life. I don't (normally) use the spray and pray or run and gun technique. I take a very conservative approach to every combat engagement.

When I play online with other players, I try not to be the one that engages the enemy first; I hold back and see what my teammates do. The last thing I want is everybody moving in for a stealth takedown, and here I come shooting the place up and alerting all of the bad guys.  Sometimes I'll cover my squad mates and watch them take down the bad guys. When I do engage the enemy, I am aware of ammo conservation and the whereabouts of my teammates much more than I am who is leading the scoreboard or got the most kills in the round.

I miss less.

Following in the footsteps of shooting less, is missing less. Obviously if you fire less, you're probably going to miss less, but in this case I miss less because I'm more careful with my shots and make sure when I do take them they hit their intended target. I line them up and make them count. I never realized how sloppy I was when I play single-player...I don't mind emptying a clip on one person. But when other (real) players are fighting alongside me, I'm on my best behavior. I'm amazed at how many headshots I scored tonight. That's so not like me.

I fail less.

I don't mind dying and having to reload from the last checkpoint when I'm alone, but it is the absolute worst thing ever when you have to do it with your buddies. And what makes it even worse is when they're all laying on the ground bleeding out and you're the lone survivor. They're counting on you to save them. And you want to save them, but all of those bad guys are now focusing on you since you're the last man standing. This happened a few times to me tonight, and in each instance, I failed miserably and died within seconds. That being said though, statistically speaking when I play with a team of like-minded gamers, we tend to have much more success than when I go it alone.

In closing, another exceptional night of gaming with some great gamers, who also demonstrate many of these same qualities, whether they realize it or not. You wouldn't go wrong adding them to your friends list and joining them in some online action. They're great!

Hope you all have a good weekend.