There’s a problem playing with strangers that, as yet, nobody online has really been able to deal with successfully. From time to time, EVERYBODY has the potential to be toxic. The most tolerant, understanding of people, when faced with everyone fighting on the road and not at nodes, can lose the plot. When that one guy pulls every trash pack in your Dungeon because he’s reading Facebook in another window. The girl in LFR who decides her healing style’s the only way you should do it and then lectures everybody else via Chat.
Your definition of Toxic may also vary. However, one fact remains.
Now we’ve established the only sure-fire way to deal with toxicity?
Why ON EARTH is anyone still bothering with competitive gaming?
I think it is fair to say that there’s a proportion of participants who are just here for the money. That’s okay, you’re cool, but if you are going to act like a whiny, entitled dicksplash at any point in proceedings be aware that there will be consequences. Then there’s those who I see being increasingly referred to as ‘Parent Gamers’ who undoubtedly will be playing with their mates to begin with and effectively eliminate toxic gaming at one stroke by only queuing/participating with people they know. For all the single gamers (all the single gamers!) you’re then left with the chance that anybody/everybody will be out to be a twat. Expecting a game to come with a vote to kick/ignore function now shouldn’t actually be the default, it occurs to me.
Maybe the trick would be for us all to learn more tolerance.
It is not fair to blame a game for failing to deal with toxic, when the individual definition of it is so subjective someone going afk for 30 seconds to answer the door could get you a vote kick. Sure, if someone spends the ENTIRE GAME calling you a fucking wanker that could be construed as unpleasant… except, what if that is an accurate representation of how you played? It isn’t just how you see bad, but how others do too, and it is only when it is apparent that a player is a genuinely disruptive influence is there a need to reach down and remove them. I’d also argue that if you want to be a Professional Sportsperson, abuse and hardship are required to make the grade, because if you can’t block out someone using verbal abuse to phase you on a playing field? You won’t perform as well. Of course it’s unfair and horrible, but abuse is part of life.
If you decide you don’t want this? Time to stop playing.
It occurs to me, ahead of the PvP Dev Chat on Thursday which has the potential to present the most toxic Twitch commentary I’ll have experienced for some time, that maybe it is the players at fault here over the Developers, mostly because they have at no point gone out to do anything other than try and fix the problems. Eventually it became apparent that the entire system was so fundamentally flawed that the only means to repair the damage was to start again from scratch, and that’s exactly what has happened. We have a completely new PvP ethos, and players now have to decide whether they want it or not. If you continue to condemn that without having even seeing the system live? You’re being the toxic one in the relationship, pure and simple. In that case, not playing’s a good thing for everybody, but especially you, as it allows an opportunity for some much needed reality to interact with your situation.
However, blame has become as much a part of gaming as character choice.
When it all breaks down, most people won’t look to themselves as culpable. It is easier and simpler to take everybody else to task, symptomatically, for the perceived issues you’ve experienced. If you start with yourself as the issue? Well, speaking for myself I know the moments when I’ve been the toxic player, and I have. The best thing I could have done for everybody concerned was step away from the keyboard, and I did. That preserved my ability to play with people long term, and also helped to make me capable of moving forward. Because toxic isn’t just rude, unhelpful or argumentative. Toxic is not making an effort, or expecting others to do the work for you.
In some cases, one could argue, Toxic is a carry when you could do the work for yourself.
I have now been offered numerous opportunities by various people to go and get a Moose from Heroic Archimonde, and each time I politely yet gratefully turn them down. The problem, as I see it is simple: I do not have the tools or the equipment required to earn this item legitimately. Being ‘carried’ is just that, acknowledging I’m incapable, and this effectively cheapens the value of the reward to those who earned it. It is, almost to a point, cheating the game in an attempt to exhibit generosity that might be better served by teaching people to play better. I have no desire to belittle or condone anyone who is making this happen, because I fully understand how this can be seen as an act of selflessness on the part of people who do the carrying. My perception is simple: if you really want to play a game, then that’s what YOU have to do. I am but one person, after all. What others choose to make matter is their concern, and nobody else’s.
Charity is all well and good, but I feel it better to teach people to stand unaided.
If all you are here for is show, then maybe gaming isn’t the right place for you to begin with… except it’s all about the skins, and the Prestige and all points in between for anyone now doing ANYTHING competitively. Whilst gaming uses the visual as an indicator of effort? There’s no way to prevent the toxic fallout that will ultimately result from people not wanting to work for the rewards. However caring and sharing you’d like to be, at some point everybody has to put in the hours, or else you pay the price. Hard work is, believe it or not, quite satisfying if the reward is something you can be genuinely proud of. I only need to look at my writing to understand that, or the changes to my body that have been wrought by only my effort, and nobody else’s. It’s true: the only way you avoid toxic in gaming is never to play, but if you do that properly and with dedication?
The rewards can be significant indeed, and feel justly earned.