Griefing is the act of utilizing or abusing a game mechanic in ways originally unintended by the game's developers for the specific purpose of frustrating, angering, or otherwise negatively impacting the game experience of another player. Griefing can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint, because its defining subjective characteristic is intent and not action. An inexperienced player is not necessarily griefing unless their intention is to bother other players.
Griefing is different from cheating. Bug abuse and hacking can be griefing, but only when done specifically to disrupt another player's gameplay, and not when done simply to gain an unfair advantage.
(Nota bene: The following lists are not exhaustive and do not capture every possible form of griefing.)
Acts that do not constitute griefing
The following are normal behaviors in the game and, while some of these are discouraged, should be considered as non-griefing strategies:
- Rooting out Spies, Engineers, or other classes hiding behind the team.
- Killing the same player repeatedly in order to remove a tactical advantage gained by their presence from a defensive or exposed location.
Acts that may be griefing
The following are considered griefing when they are done to disrupt someone's enjoyment of the game:
- Bug/Exploit abuse.
- Repeatedly stealing Teleports from slower or more vital classes.
- Blocking a Sentry Gun's vision with other buildings.
- Taunt spam.
- Voice command spam.
- Healing Spies on your team that are disguised as anything other than a Spy while near enemies.
- Helping the other team without changing teams.
- Intentionally being worthless to your team. For example, standing in the same place, only using melee weapons, running straight into enemy fire, or intentionally glitching into the reference pose.
Acts that are almost always griefing
The following items are almost always considered griefing, because it is generally the only reason to do them:
- Intentionally pushing teammates off ledges in order to kill them or force them to waste time getting back up.
- Pushing teammates out of a Teleporter to make way for yourself, especially if you're a generally less important class. (e.g. a Sniper pushing a Medic out)
- Continuously obstructing a Sniper's view by standing in front of them or using special effects (e.g. Flamethrower/smoke from disguising) to obscure their vision.
- Repeatedly killing the same player, and only the same player, in order to annoy them with no tactical reason for doing so.
- Deliberately opening one-way gates to allow the enemy team to pour through and destroy an attacking Engineer's buildings, including the Teleporter, forcing him to start from scratch and delay teammates from getting to the front line.
- Exploits that impair the ability of others to play the game, such as forcing doors closed.
- Attacking your own teammates for long stretches of time for no reason besides to annoy them, especially with the Frying Pan.
- Following the same teammate around for no reason.
- Deliberately sending details to members of the enemy team of your team's defenses/weaknesses via private chat. This is also known as ghosting.
- Intentionally acting like a disguised Spy by avoiding spychecks and performing other suspicious actions.
- Playing loud, disturbing or otherwise distracting sounds over the voice chat.
- Chat spam, with nonsensical or repetitive messages sent through the in-game text-based chat system.
- Impersonating a server admin.
- Calling useless votes.
- Actively hunting a specific player so that they can never complete their contract.
- Constantly passing the intelligence to each other, causing spam in the killfeed about picking up the intelligence, and constantly playing the Administrator's voice lines stating the intelligence has been picked up, could also cause lagging on low-end machines.
- Announcing the disguise and location of friendly Spies to the enemy team.
- ÜberCharging teammates for no reason, such as Übering a Sniper that is in no danger, Übering teammates in the spawn room, etc.
- Refusing to heal certain or all teammates.
- Standing in water and using the Meet the Medic taunt (using the taunt in water will cause a loud splashing sound audible to everyone in the server).
- Intentionally and repeatedly healing disguised friendly Spies in order to disrupt their cover.
- Healing teammates while in a dangerous spot, then stopping for no reason other than for them dying.
- Placing Teleporters in bothersome locations
- Using Teleporters to trap your teammates in inescapable locations.
- Building Teleporters that lead into Hazards.
- Building Teleporters in between another Engineer's Sentry Gun and Dispenser, so that they cannot stand in the ideal spot without being teleported away (usually backwards).
- Deliberately placing Teleporters across vital exits and entryways so it is impossible to pass them without being teleported.
- Placing Teleporters that lead to useless areas, or are just a few feet away from the entrance.
- Building Teleporter exits in your own base and placing the entrance in the enemies', allowing for Spy infiltration.
- Building Teleporters that lead to immediately dangerous areas, such as in front of Sentry Guns.
- Building a Teleporter entrance/exit in the direct path of a Sniper's strafing route (such as the battlements in 2Fort) that go backwards and/or are counter-productive.
- Building a Teleporter entrance in front of another Engineer's exit, standing on top of the exit and pushing players towards the entrance, forcing players to re-take the teleporter.
- Exploiting bugs allowing you to place Teleporter exits in areas that cannot normally be reached by the enemy team, allowing for an enemy player(s) to spawn kill your team.
- Setting up Sentry Guns and Dispensers in areas that the enemy cannot reach in order to irritate your teammates; for example, at the BLU team's setup/respawn area in Gravel Pit.
- Wasting the metal from other Engineers' Dispensers by spamming the Widowmaker or Short Circuit, or by simply building and destroying buildings multiple times.
- Building in front of other Engineers' Sentry Guns, especially when used to steal kills, or sabotage a base.
- Throwing Lunchbox items to enemies on purpose.
- Repeatedly and purposefully taking health packs away from teammates while disguised and at full health.
Detecting a griefer
Not all players are griefers. They could just be new players, or just not know proper gaming etiquette. Even so, it is still wise to know how to root out the untrustworthy percentage of the TF2 community. Some signs of griefers are:
- Asking if there are any admins on the server.
- Having names and/or avatars that may be offensive.
- Some griefers use alternate accounts to avoid bans. If a player is using the default loadout, yet has a fair amount of skill, they may be using an alternate account.
- Continuing the behavior when asked to stop
- Being hostile and/or abusive to people who ask them to stop