Toxic Behavior in Games

Jul 21, 2015 | 1 Votes by Aethyna 9 rate Your vote
With the rise of eSports, the rise in toxicity in these competitive games is rather unsurprising. In fact, popular eSport games constantly struggle with the demons spawned from the toxicity, not only via chat in the games, but also in their forums and fan pages. So, what actually is toxicity? Let's find out! WWGDB - Toxic Behavior in Games

With the rise of eSports, the rise in toxicity in these competitive games is rather unsurprising. In fact, popular eSport games, like League of Legends (LoL), Defense of the Ancient 2 (DotA 2) and Call of Duty (CoD), constantly struggle with the demons spawned from the toxicity not only via chat in the games, but also in their forums and fan pages.

In fact, toxicity is so real that the developing company at LoL, Riot Games, are extensively researching and addressing the issue. They have rolled out an anti-toxic feature that includes restrictive chat mode, a vote-based surrender system and a very efficient player reporting system. Toxicity is also one of the main reasons why Heroes of Newerth (HoN), which was among one of the top 5 MOBA games a few years ago, has lost a huge chunk of its playerbase – the game has a taunting feature that propagated and increased the degree of toxicity in its community.

If you still think toxicity in the online gaming community is not at all serious, well think again! Just recently, there was this one case whereby several pro Hearthstone gamers has hounded a fellow female pro gamer, MagicAmy, so excessively to the point where she gave the game up and quit her pro-league team, Tempo Storm, just so she could escape all the drama and hate directed towards her.

What is actually a toxic gamer you may wonder? Well, in gamer-terms, they are any player, who is rude, racist, sexist, homophobic, or any and every kind of bad that you can think of. They are the players that ruin the gaming experience for others and infect other people in the game with their negativity too. How? Let us find out!


The most common form of toxic behavior is raging/ flaming. If you are a regular ranked gamer at any sort of competitive games, you will surely encounter people, who call you, and your mother, non-existing sister or girlfriends (for some), all sorts of names and hurl curses around like they are confetti, making the entire atmosphere of the game fouler than it is supposed to be... all because you are not playing up to their idealized standards.

Some players are playing the game for fun and there is this one person filling up everybody’s chat system (public, team-based or private chat) with incessant verbal abuse, including sexist, racist or homophobic remarks. Some may even go that extra mile and respond with threats of physical aggression or even death. Granted that most games have a mute function, but once the negativity starts to take hold, it’ll not go away that easily.

Trolling comes a close second among the most common toxic behaviors in online competitive games. Trollers (people who trolls) get their kicks and amusement from irritating and provoking other people verbally or via chat and making other people rage at them or at other people, triggering a chain of raging that will ended up creating an extremely toxic gaming environment. I’ve personally seen one of these people in action and trust me, if you are their intended target, they will latch onto you like a leech… teasing and prodding you until you couldn’t take it anymore. They are literally nit-picking every single thing you do and it goes on even after the match is done. Unless you have mastered the skill of absolutely ‘no shits given’, you will definitely be affected in some ways by their trolling. Similarly to any sort of verbal abuse, mute is, of course, the best solution.

Let’s not forget the highly popular toxic behavior, griefing, as well. These are the scumbags of even within the toxic community and will do whatever it takes to cause distress to others as a prank. They don’t usually use abusive words unlike trolls or ragers, instead they act abusively in the game. This includes spamming voice or text chat to annoy others or acting out of character in order to deliberately disturb the role-playing of others. For instance, 2 players are having a conversation on public text chat and there’s this one person that is spamming the chat with random letters or huge blocks of text, just so the conversing players have to scroll way back to read what the other person had said.


Other examples include kill stealing, camping a player’s corpse or spawn site, purposefully blocking player’s path in a narrow road, aggroing or baiting huge groups of strong enemies that can wipe out any unprepared team or player and even to intentionally lag the server everybody is on by spamming or spawning ridiculous number of resource-demanding items. The list can actually goes on and on.

Since most competitive games are somewhat co-operative in nature, they may also intentionally throw the game in various creative ways just to ruin the game for their teammates. They can do so by intentionally feeding, which means that they let the opposing team repeatedly kill their characters (in MOBA); or by team killing, whereby the toxic player kills their own team member using any means possible (in MMO shooters). They can also rage quit the game in many ways, such as by going AFK or by Alt-F4ing the game, leaving their team with 1 player short. If that’s not bad enough, the worse part about griefers is that, short of quitting the game or match that you want to play yourself, you cannot escape from them. All you could do is report them and hope a Game Master is around and can act promptly to remove the griefer/s from the game. However, if the game has a vote-based kick option, it is a great way to get rid of griefers from the match.

Honestly, it’s kind of sad to see how humans can be so lacking in empathy when they are playing behind a screen. The amount of toxicity in online games, particularly in MOBAs, has reached critical levels in certain games (hint: Heroes of Newerth and according to a redditor, SMITE) and without prompt intervention, these games won’t probably last very long as more and more new players are deterred from staying by the nastier people there. If only more games would take the toxicity of the online gaming community seriously, like LoL and Strife, and coordinate their ideas and efforts to curb this problem to prevent toxic behavior in games from rising to astronomical proportion... to the point where the game will literally become unplayable. With some anti-toxic restrictions in place, hopefully, the majority of the players will be able to enjoy some nice gaming time while playing their favorite games.


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