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Halo friends frag harder, longer

Study says more kills and betrayals when friends play together

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Playing Halo with or against close friends means more kills, according to a new study titled Friends FTW! Friendship and competition in Halo: Reach by US researchers Winter Mason and Aaron Clauset.

The pair conducted an online survey of Halo players and also used the Halo API to suck down anonymous data describing 2,445,617 games.

Analysis of the data suggested that friends do better in multiplayer games, clocking up more kills than would be the case if they played alone or with unfamiliar team mates. Friends also play nicer, the researchers say, as “ … the more friends on one’s team, the more one assists and the less one betrays one’s teammates. The implication is that players actively adjust their play based on their friendships—the motivation to maintain the relationships is greater than the motivation to maintain harmony within the current team.”

The study also suggests that when friends are on opposing teams, other players need to watch out as friendship ties override in-game allegiances and manifest in”... a nearly double betrayal rate when two friends are on the opposing team. This indicates that friendship ties dominate teammate ties, and players sacrifice their own competitive success to help their friends succeed.”

This kind of behaviour is apparently easy to spot in the data, the researchers say, adding that it is possible to infer friendships by analysing in-game behaviour and other factors including frequency and length of play. ®

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