The chances are, if you play games online, you’ve played with an asshole. A rage quitting, trolly-messaging, toxic shitheel of a player. There are many types of this breed of dickcheese, but they all have one thing in common. They take a pastime that we all love and they smear a little bit of shit on it.
Ever since the advent of online gaming, there have been toxic players, but the problem is now getting so bad that Overwatch even had to put out a video stating what to do if it happens to you, how to deal with it and also just how much dev time it costs them to deal with. Just type “Overwatch Toxic” into YouTube now and watch any of the three quarters of a million hits that you get, to see what I mean.
The sad thing about, though, is that we’ve all been touched by it in some ways. A dude creepily hitting on you via message, a Git Gud Scrub message or even getting DDOS’d by pricks cheating their way to their sixth Lighthouse visit of the day. It’s happened to all of us and we’ve probably all been guilty of it in some way. I know I’ve rage quit once or twice, I’m willing to bet you have too.
Part of the problem is the anonymity offered by the internet itself. It’s very easy to be Billy Big Bollocks when you’re not face to face with someone, whether in voice chat or via text. I’m sure we’ve all seen or heard things said that you know for a fact the person would never dare say to you in person. I once had someone tell me he hoped my kid died because I beat him at FiFA. Almost every girl I know that plays online has been spammed by creeps and had unwanted dicks, metaphorically, shoved down their throats. People think it’s perfectly alright to tell people they want to vigorously sodomize your grandma and to send strangers surprise schlong shots because they are behind a screen and a controller.
I think the second part of the problem is the competitive aspect that goes hand in hand with a hobby that encourages us to murder each other time and time again, to let us fail at the last moment and to constantly let ourselves and our teammates down. Anything that puts our chances of success in other people’s hands is hard to deal with, to be honest. Leaving your win in the hands of another and not getting more tilted than than the pinball table at the World Sumo Championship is no mean feat.
It’s a problem that isn’t going away, though. In fact, it’s one that keeps escalating, especially with PC style competitive gaming seasons finally making a huge mark in console gaming thanks to the all conquering Overwatch. Making the pressure to perform at last season’s (a matter of weeks!) result or better puts so much pressure on gamers that they become one of three things. Burnt out, an asshole or one of the ultra rare zen masters of gaming, able to protect the payload and their sanity via their bulletproof Chi. The problem is that there are very few of those latter guys around, so that the end of each season in a highly competitive game becomes an ugly slangfest, populated by horrific, swampy creatures screaming at you how shit you are and how your momma shouldn’t ought to have you in the first place.
Maybe we should give up competitive gaming? It’s too fun to win, though. Maybe we should stop team play? It’s better to play together, though. Maybe we should stop being creepy, ragey, toxic nightmares towards each other and just get over ourselves? Maybe.