Griefing is intentionally acting in a way that annoys other players in a multiplayer game. This can both be targeted actions (e.g. always irritating the same person) or generally against everyone/anyone in the game.
Someone who performs such actions are often labelled as a
Some common methods include:
- Friendly fire, whether to kill or injure members of your team
- Spawn killing
- Blocking, such as standing in a doorway to prevent others from passing
- Spamming communications, such as playing loud music through a headset
Targeted griefing can also be labelled as bullying.
Is Griefing really the major classification of harassment to be used in all of gaming?
Yes, I would say so. Server admins (for games that offer it) will often have rules against such actions, and will be on the lookout for such actions.
Other forms of harassment may exist (bullying, racism, sexism) but many of these require functionality such as voice or messaging. Griefing can be pulled off using only the in game mechanics. From a griefers perspective you would assume they would get satisfaction from their harassment.
I would also say that there is an argument for too many examples being labelled as griefing, such as kill stealing or looting in general. Sure, it may annoy a player if someone steals their kill... but if the player who performed the kill is playing the game as it is then it shouldn't be claimed as griefing. However, it can be treated as griefing. This will vary per game, server admin, general tolerance of the available players etc.
You will also have different degrees of griefing. Whereas some players will spend their entire time annoying other players intentionally, others may perform an occasional tease such as stand in the view of a friendly sniper.