Toxicity and the Gaming Community
We have all heard it before, whether it was a second hand experience, being at the receiving end, or even being the person to let loose on someone else. Flaming and trolling are the two phenomena that I am referring to. The most common term to be flung about is “noob” a word used to describe someone that is extraordinarily terrible at a game. Now a silly name like that is at the lowest degree of flaming. It’s almost a compliment with some of the things gamers say to each other on a daily basis, which for some reason tend to be derogatory terms commonly used to refer to the homosexual community, and honestly I am sick of it.
It seems like a tradition of online gaming for players to make fun of or harass others. In almost any videogame you can connect to, there will be someone there to harass you. Sure, a little good natured joking is all fine and dandy, but many players take it too far. Many players have a tendency to get extremely obscene, and to try and make their insults as personal as possible.
So what is the reason for such toxic environments in gaming? Many studies have been done about the power of anonymity. Because you don’t know who ‘XxXSlayer420XxX’ is, and most likely never will, he or she is more likely to insult you. There are three major reasons for gamers to typically insult each other.
1. You are feeding (Dying more than you are killing enemy players)
2. You are not playing your role/the game how they see fit.
3. They can.
Now a little constructive criticism can sometimes go a long way, especially if a player is new to a game, but just to outright verbally assault someone for playing poorly is never the proper response. If another player is purposefully playing the game wrong, most companies have included ignore and report buttons for those cases. Yet just reporting the player doesn’t stop them from continuing their disregard for proper gaming etiquette, and if you are the only person who actually reports the player, odds are the company will just ignore your cries for justice. It’s also best to keep in mind, we all have bad games. I’ve been able to carry teams on my back, carving a path of victory, single-handedly destroying all who attempted to fight me. And I’ve been that guy, the one person on the team who has practically been handing gold/points/whatever to the enemy team, not because I want to, but because I just wasn’t having a good game. And in regards to new players, we all were new to the game once, let it go.
My biggest issue with such strong levels of toxicity in gaming is that it takes away from our legitimacy as whole. We as gamers should be more of a united community, not a massively multiplayer spitting contest. Most people who play their game over and over have a love and a passion for it. Why then would they be inclined to harass other players so harshly? Do they want to ward off any new players? But then that would make the game stale, and prevent it from gaining new life. Do they think they are the best at the game so they’re entitled to say what they want? Then prove it with your skills not your words. We have it hard enough from the people who don’t play videogames, the people who think this medium of entertainment is a complete waste of time and is only meant for little kids or the biggest nerds. How can we expect to not be looked down upon if everyone is running around yelling jokes about the next guy’s mom? We all just need to tone it down a bit, and have a little fun once in a while. After all, it still is only a game.