Meet the HUEHUEs: A Sociotechnical Approach to Disruptive Behaviour in Multiplayer Online Games

Meet the HUEHUEs: A Sociotechnical Approach to Disruptive Behaviour in Multiplayer Online Games

Suely Fragoso (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/ijskd.2014070102


This paper discusses the relation between disruptive behaviour in online environments and the design of multiplayer online games, focusing on huehueing, a widespread phenomenon of disruptive behaviour in online games linked to Brazil's national identity. The discussion is based on a sociotechnical view that understands MOGs not as the combination of a technical artefact and a social construct that belong to different realms and mutually influence each other but as the two sides of a single coin in which huehueing is inscribed. This vision allows the identification of how and why the social dynamics of huehueing is capable of temporarily changing the mediating ground, and therefore the design features of the game.
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The Huehues

The HUEHUEs are relatively easy to meet in MOGs and are mentioned in a variety of other types of online sources, such as game forums, blogs, SNSs and newspapers. They are said to have originated in Ragnarok Online in 2003, where Brazilians playing on servers located in the US searched for their co-nationals by repeating the question “BR? BR?” and talked in Portuguese in the open chat channel. Players from the US complained that English was the official language of those servers, but these complaints were ignored by the Brazilians, who laughed at them in the peculiar way that would come to be the meme “huehuehue”. “Brazilian” Ragnarok servers were created, but they were not as powerful or up-to-date as the servers located in the US and many Brazilian players did not migrate to them. The rules for fighting the communicational noise caused by spam and conversation in Portuguese on the US servers became increasingly strict, culminating in players being immediately banned. Brazilian players reacted by organizing groups and raids to attack English speakers on US servers. The events that followed have been described in a game forum with these words:

Huge groups would reach max level and travel in packs on PVP servers and ask ‘BR?’(…) If you failed to reply in Portuguese, they would camp you, sometimes for hours speaking poorly worded English insults suggesting you log off. This led to an intense hate of Brazilians on these RO servers. Huge clans would form anti-BR Brigades and hunt down Brazilians. It became an all out war1.

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