Why can’t we all just play nice?

A picture of the mercenary skin for Katarina in League of Legends. A midriff bearing assassin with two large blades in her hands, and several more tied to her belt.

 

I’m relatively new to the concept of esports, games that feature professionally ranked teams who make a living out of competing in tournaments for large prizes.  In fact, I’m actually a spring chicken when it comes to competitive games in general.  My only experience in multiplayer gaming has been MMORPGs, and the closest I’ve ever been to competitive was racing other guilds for bosses in EverQuest back in the day.  Which is why I’m found myself enamored and equally frustrated with League of Legends.

The concept sounds simple, especially if you’ve ever played the Defense of the Ancients (Dota) map in Warcraft.  You have some minions, you gotta kill the other team and their minions, you have to defeat their towers while protecting your own, and you have to destroy the enemy team’s base (the Nexus) to ultimately win.  You play a champion (there are 100 to choose from) and you have 4 abilities that are enhanced by purchasing gear with the gold you earn from completing objectives within the game.  However, it’s actually an incredibly nuanced game.  There are concepts such as last hitting, split pushing, zoning your opponents, a metagame to study, and countless other advanced concepts that no level 1 player will understand without some guidance.  But who should be providing that guidance?

In League of Legends, when anyone makes a mistake it is always the first reaction from the team to insult that player and shame them for what they did.  Rarely do you hear someone give constructive feedback that will teach the player what they did wrong.  Instead you’ll be called a noob, told that you suck at the game, and occasionally reported for being a “bad player”.  I’ve had times where I’ve said to people, “hey this is my first time playing Sejuani in the jungle, let me know if I should be doing anything different” and I’ll be told that I’m stupid for picking that champion.  There will be some particularly bad games where no matter what I do, I’m insulted for it.  Particularly when playing a support character whose role is to buff and heal my teammates, I will often hear that I’m doing things wrong.  Know what?  I probably am.  In fact, I’m sure I’m doing things wrong.  But how much research should I be expected to do outside of a game just to play the game without suffering through vitriol and hate speech from my team?

I’ve come to love the “ignore” functionality, but I know I’m just masking a problem at large.  I do understand that in competitive environments, people want to win games.  You can’t win when someone on your team is doing things wrong. I just don’t understand why the first place that people go to is one of hatred and shame.  Telling me that I’m bad at the game isn’t going to help me learn, it’s not going to help us win the game.  It’s more likely to frustrate me more, causing me to make silly mistakes that I wouldn’t normally make if I didn’t feel that I was bringing the team down.  When I catch one of my teammates saying something mean, I try to follow it up with something nice and encouraging, but I’m definitely in the minority there.

I’m not sure why I continue to play League of Legends, because it’s actually a spiteful place to be at times.  (Note: I’ve heard that it’s one of the better games of the MOBA genre to play, and that Heroes of Newerth is even worse).  I enjoy the game when I feel like my tactical strategies are working, and I love trying out new champions and learning how to master them.  I do read guides online and watch streams of the professional players so that I have a working knowledge of the game.  I’m just finding that more often than not, it’s a depressing place to spend my evenings.  I end up logging off at midnight wishing that I’d played a solo RPG, somewhere where I can be alone and do things the way I want to do them.  For someone with anxiety issues (like myself) it’s certainly not therapeutic to be ridiculed all evening.  Yet I keep going back, and keep wishing that League of Legends would become a more friendly and accepting place for newbies and those who might not be as skilled.

How do you all handle the raging and insults when you play competitive online games?

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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41 Responses to Why can’t we all just play nice?

  1. Amanda Lange says:

    Wow, this is funny. I was just posting in the other thread about how I was trying to learn this game.

    I’m starting to play the game with just a small group of close friends showing me the ropes. So they’re really nice and patient, and understand that I’m a noob! (and I keep apologizing for doing noobish things). I don’t know if I’m brave enough to wade out in to random public games and subject myself to that ridicule. I think if I’m trying something new, I’ll try to stick to friends first, until I feel confident enough to go it on my own with strangers.

    • Cuppycake says:

      Definitely! League of Legends is a far happier place with friends. :) Sometimes my friends aren’t around though, and I end up playing solo or duo.

  2. Seagloom says:

    If insults and raging occur consistently enough to sour my enjoyment of a game, I stop playing with PUGs or quit altogether. I play games to feel good and relax. Not to heighten my stress or risk falling into depression. It’s why I never bothered to try League of Legends. I could smell the rotten stench of that community on the wind almost immediately.

    In my experience, competitive games bring out the worst in people. If your team loses, the jerks gang up on whoever they feel is responsible. If your team wins, then the other team hurls insults or complains you all cheated or bent the rules by exploiting flawed mechanics.

    I had patience for that sort of thing years ago. These days there are so many games out there to choose from, dropping one hardly fazes me. There’s always a more entertaining alternative I could be playing instead. The rare game that runs smoothly, without any ill will, is not worth putting up with all the crap.

  3. Lena says:

    The Lol community sadly tends to be rather toxic; I love the game but I just don’t play it unless I have at least several friends around to play with, I haven’t solo-queued in over a year.

  4. jobias says:

    Amanda’s nailed my ideal solution: Play team games with a team you know. Not only is there less stress and fewer insults, it’s more fun and becomes a bonding experience for all involved. :)

  5. Twitch says:

    The kinds of people who take games way too fucking seriously are only interested in dominating their opponent, not having fun, making friends or having real human interactions. Graceless losers.

    Mentoring another player while also playing yourself is considerably detrimental to your own ability to play, since focus would be split in two.

    This manner of bad behaviour is probably* more prevalent in moba’s because poor play by a teammate has a more distinct impact on their ability to win the battle, hence putting them in the frustrating situation of being crushed by their opponents with little power to stop it, so they look for an aggression outlet other than beating people, in the form of framing themselves as superior to others.

    In, say, a directly competitive genre like FPS, there’s nobody you can reasonably blame for getting fragged but your own lack of skill, and so the only option is to contemptibly call your opponent a gay communist nigger jew from fuckyou’sville.

    *I’m theorizing here, because I don’t play the genre myself. Come play Starcraft, we’re (mostly) friendlier :)

  6. Ophelia says:

    MOBA type games are unique in that it’s really easy to observe your teammates at all times (unlike in FPSs) and your success is integrally tied to that of your team’s. When one player isn’t playing well, there’s a significantly increased chance that the next 30 minutes of the game will be wasted upon a loss you have little to no control over. And that disappointment/internalized shame (because you are, after all, losing) combined with a lack of maturity for many gamers equals some pretty terrible reactions.

    As such, I honestly don’t know how you construct an institutionalized solution. There are already methods available to report players who are hostile (and their judgment system, The Tribunal, has a significant player-run component as well). Otherwise, the ignore button is really your only recourse when playing in PUGs because the psychological dynamics are just so fraught. I’ve been playing since LoL’s release and 2 years of dota before that, and I know that sometimes you just have bad games and sometimes you just get teammates who don’t want to accept that team games mean you have to rely upon teammates.

    At any rate, it seems like folks are getting more interested in playing LoL (which would ease the problems of PUGs). Would there be any interest in trying to get a Borderhouse group going? You can create in-client chatrooms, which can be great for starting games.

  7. GarrickW says:

    I tend to deal with hostility very poorly (I lash out and then fixate on the insults for hours afterwards), and so over the years I’ve drifted away from multiplayer gaming with anybody but (A) friends and family I know from outside the game, or (B) random people in games where there is no easy communication between players (such as action games where only typing is allowed, so most people are too busy playing to even bother typing out an insult).

    Unfortunately, I’ve experienced similar (if usually a bit milder) attitudes from a lot of people in real life too, any time anything gets the least bit competitive. Heck, even when it’s not, I’ve had people trash me because they think I’m doing something wrong (I’m not peeling my potatoes “properly” and they laugh at me, patronizingly informing me that I’ve “clearly” never cooked for myself and that I should just let them do it, when I’ve been cooking for years – I could ****ing strangle them). It’s almost always men, in my experience; I think this kind of non-nuturing, domineering, competitive trashiness is an attitude that grows out of certain forms of hegemonic masculinity. Being helpful and empathetic is apparently something only a silly wuss would do.

    …Sorry to get off-track, it’s just that I’ve had a lot of nasty experiences with that kind of attitude in real-life (and, it goes without saying, in games as well).

  8. Danielcb says:

    Yeah, I always either pick the simplest role to play(medic in TF2) play 1v1 games, with friends; or just lots of singleplayer to pick up. If I screw up after that, I just apologize; that’s not enough for some shitheads, in which case I’ll use my talent for derision to “rip them a new one”.

    I’d play games where the fun is in the playing, and not in the victory; it attracts different kinds of people; especially games that have slower paces and are more intellectual. There’s something about blizzard games and their spin-offs that attracts the worst kind of people.

  9. Kimiko says:

    Off-topic; You misspelled midriff-baring.

  10. Laurentius says:

    From my experience and things read on-line I think “team fail” is more breaking and damaging then “just” losing to an opponent. Sure there may be toxicity in some game design or some communities that especially cling to nastiness but I assume there is some “critical point” of “team failing” that will break even most helpful and level headed people. It will rot you especially when you are getting better and there are statistics or rankings that are adding weight to losing and wining, even if for months you were helpful and ready to explain things to new people, this “will my team fail me ?“ finally rot the heart of the majority of players. So I have no other answers then play with group friends, where you can set your expectations properly, ease the tensions, smooth the failure no matter who is responsible, yeah that’s possible. In random team competitive games, nope I don’t think most people are capable to stay on the top of it.

  11. Wojit says:

    I played HoN for quite a few months, always with strangers, and quite enjoyed the gameplay (with reservations), but eventually realised that these kinds of incidents, whoever they were directed towards, would leave me feeling so shitty for long enough for the game to really not be worthwhile. I tried LoL for a very short while, but just didn’t find it sufficiently different, and wasn’t attracted to relearning how to play.

    I could never help wondering why the atmosphere was so different between HoN and TF2, which I had been playing for much longer. The best explanation I heard suggested it was due to lower stakes: shorter game times, no permanent rankings, and fluid team loyality (thanks, perhaps, to autobalance). Perhaps also less need reliance on direct teamwork. What interested me is that, though I tended to play as Medic in TF2, very few people gave off any sense of entitlement to my heals, unlike in HoN.

    I’ve vaguely wondered whether similar gameplay decisions could be made to encourage a healthier community in a DotA style game, but I suppose it just may not be possible without breaking the appeal, and I’ve frankly given up any hope of Valve pulling it off with DotA 2.

  12. Korva says:

    How do you all handle the raging and insults when you play competitive online games?

    I don’t. First of all, I’m a “stereotypical female” in the sense that I don’t like competitive gaming. While team versus team is also meant to have a cooperative aspect, the fact that much of the time one’s “team” is a bunch of putrid assholes usually kills all potential of fun. I’m firmly with Seagloom in that I have subzero patience for that sort of shit. It’s not like many of us don’t deal with abuse already, just for being part of at least one marginalized group, so we really don’t “need” more of it in our free time. Even with a group of friends, I’d rather play pure co-op against the AI than against other people.

    I did do some PvP in World of WarCraft, mainly back in vanilla when “hybrid” classes got shoehorned into being healers only. I was a feral druid tank, so pretty much the only way to get any gear was to do battlegrounds for the PvP armor set. It always baffled me how asking for tactics pre-battle was usually met with silence or derision. How do people expect to win if they actively refuse to cooperate and communicate? The people who screeched NOOB and FAG and LOSER and OMG the loudest were also the ones who refused to be team players in even the most basic way. You’d think anyone with two working brain cells to rub together could figure out that making plans and supporting a “weaker” team-mate increases their chances far more than silence and insults. Are those LoL-style games the same with a random group?

    At any rate, my theory is that these people don’t play so much to win as they play to feel “superior”. Winning is part of that, but shitting and pissing on as many people as they can seems to play an even bigger part (and as a way of shifting blame for losing).

  13. ProdiGal says:

    I just throw it back in their faces. When people get mad and say dumb things to me, I just say obnoxious things back at them, like “how do I move around?” and other ultra-noob questions. And if I don’t feel like doing that, I just hit the ignore button.

    Although to be fair, nowadays it’s harder to get away with that without getting blacklisted by the community, with static names tied to fixed accounts.

    • Matt says:

      how do I move around?

      Awesome. :D

      Never played MOBAs myself, just FPSes, and at least in my (privileged male not-easily-triggered, but also both-sides) experience ragers have always been a minority that can be shut down (or at least made bearable) easily as long as 2-3 people express a healthily dismissive mindset about it.

      (Also ragers are 1000x funnier with the pyrogoggles on, but I digress)

  14. Joe Tortuga says:

    I think this is pretty much why I don’t play multiplayer games with people I don’t know.

    I played TF2 once, and while I was with people that were reasonably nice, I still felt like I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, and was pretty sure I was doing things wrong.

    I don’t know how you’re supposed to learn how to play these things. Friendly guilds, maybe? But that just begs the question.

    • Matt says:

      Dunno about other games, but TF2′s great about having items that dilute your character’s worst weaknesses. I was never able to play sniper at all until I got the Sydney Sleeper and was able to get the hang of the sniper rifle interface without the pressure to get headshots, while frequently rocket-jumping well ahead and above the reach of any medic got a lot less unbearable for a while with the Black Box and Gunslinger-spamming was my first baby step to being able to play engineer.

      (the demo’s charging shields meanwhile totally ruined my ability to use the grenade launcher and sticky bombs, but that’s another story…)

  15. ellie says:

    I played LoL a ton last summer with some of my brother’s friends. They gave me links to strategy sites, answered my questions, and never cared when I was screwing up. Mostly they just wanted a 5th person they knew so they could practice. They dominated plenty on their own. But we also played against the harder bots a lot more than against real people. Any time I played by myself I just played bots. People seem to be less hostile there. My group hasn’t been playing as much, so neither have I and I’ve pretty much forgotten how to play so now when I do jump on I feel pretty useless. I like the idea of a Borderhouse group there!

  16. JB says:

    I seem to go back and forth in patience for this. It’s never okay, but my reactions change. When I’m super patient, I’ll remind them politely to keep it positive or be ignored (muted via the in-game UI) and mute them if they continue to be destructive. If I’m impatient, I’ll quickly mute the entire team and enjoy the quiet game of LoL. I’d much rather lose the ability to communicate with teammates than lose the “ability” to get yelled at and shamed like the author mentions.

    Also, I frequent the Tribunal when I’m feeling particularly saddened by the community. Voting to punish those that insult and shame is cathartic in its own right.

  17. gia says:

    I LOVE League of Legends. Love love love the game. I main Lulu and second mid! or support!Lux. I think it’s a fabulous game, love the constantly shifting strategy, love the variations in play, etc.

    People are, however, complete and other tools on League- at least the U.S. server. I have a friend from eastern Europe who now plays almost exclusively on the E.U. server because he says people there are a lot less harsh.

    However, League is a game with a VERY high barrier to entry. You don’t really become “competent” at it until you have a pretty decent sense of what all the champions in the game can do- and that takes a LOT of time and energy, especially now that we’re at a full 100 champions. It’s also a game that can be very frustrating if you have a player on the team who plays poorly. Riot tries to preempt this by matching people below level 30 only with others below level 30, and by having an “elo” score to help match people above level 30. However, as someone who started playing with friends who were mostly level 30 (and all 25+), I had a very steep curve to work against because we were ALWAYS playing against level 30 players!

    I stuck to it partially out of spite (my boyfriend didn’t think I’d stay with it) and partially because it’s a very nuanced game. But yes, other players can be frustrating, whether they’re bawling you out for stuff that’s not your fault (I just had a game as mid!Lux against a very talented Vlad and was fortunate that my team wasn’t too snarky about how poorly it went- sometimes you just play against people who are better than you with champs that exploit your champion’s vulnerabilities) or whether they’re the ones doing very stupid things. Playing as a support champion with a partner in the bottom lane, I’ve had my share of not-very-good carries who weren’t able to get any kills no matter how hard I tried to help them.

    I don’t piss and moan. I enjoy the game and the unique challenges it presents every single time, and I don’t mind losing. But I’ve watched friends play and get VERY intense about the game, and I’ve even felt the temptation to complain to someone myself.

    I think part of it is that you don’t have a lot of time in the game to chat- you have to type quickly or you might get caught out and killed -so no one has time to really think about what they’re saying. Then there’s just gamer culture, where everyone is a “fag” whether it’s because they’re really bad at the game and losing for their team, or because they’re really good and the other team is the one doing the hollering.

    Personally though, I will take all the obnoxious chat in the world over the problem I’ve had a lot over the past few months: no one talks during champion select, and then when the game starts there’s a fight over a lane or who goes where. I always select my champ and then chat what lane I want. If someone else wants it I’ll usually give it up if there’s another slot I can take, no problem. But I hate it when I say what I’m doing, get into the game, and then someone else says: “No lulu, WE’RE going bot.” Why didn’t you tell me that during champion select? It might have impacted what champion, runes, and masteries I would have taken, which may very well impact whether we manage to win this game.

    So to anyone reading: it is in your BEST INTERESTS to chat during champion select to coordinate everyone’s champions, masteries, runes, and summoner spells. Seriously.

    • Cuppycake says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the game. I’ve been playing for about a year (my mains are Kayle, Nidalee, Lulu, Soraka, and Swain). And I always make sure to talk about who is going where in champion select! I agree with you that it’s so frustrating when people are fighting over who goes where.

  18. Lupus753 says:

    These types of people are all over the place in online play. The ones who play PC games will act as rude as possible towards anyone who makes mistakes, blame others for every mistake they make, then log on to web forums to slam console games for having fanbases composed primarily of rude and immature college students. In short, they prefer to wear the largest hypocrisy blinders they can find.

  19. Nefa says:

    I can’t deal, so I don’t play.

    With the multiplayer games I have played, I avoid PvP content as much as possible, since the PvE environment ends up with enough push-back to get me upset.

    Well… it wasn’t bad with FFXI (when I played), there was some snarky comments here and there but I had a few mentors and tried helping others, and it was genuinely fun. I only remember the off time where the leader of our linkshell (guild) single-handedly blamed me for their loss at a dynamis zone (raid). He later apologised, but he called me out over the group-chat, so it was significant to me and I still remember it years later…

    Unfortunately, I moved to World of Warcraft after… and ended up with many more dark marks in playing history. Doing group activities with strangers was trying, and people wouldn’t hesitate to grief you. Luckily, I had least grouped with a friend! However, I remember one dungeon, the group considered me to be dead weight and were purposely trying to/letting me die until I had to return to city to repair my gear; at this time they removed me from group. My friend, offered no support really for the situation, commenting that he couldn’t help my playing and that the group had a point… or something…

    In all, sitting around crying playing multiplayer games isn’t fun. As much as I don’t have as much PvP experience as some, I avoid it for it being worse with the name bashing and finger-pointing. Lately, I’ve only been playing multiplayer when friends ask me too since single player ends up being more enjoyable.

    • Korva says:

      That was shitty behavior from the friend. :( If someone doesn’t want to bother with a less skilled or experienced friend or guildmate, they should at least be honest enough to say so — that is less of an asshole move than grouping with the “dead weight” and silently watching the insults. Or worse, joining in.

      I didn’t PUG much in WoW, but when I did I pretty much had a zero tolerance policy for jerks. Being the tank comes with the advantage that your word tends to carry a little more weight than that of the foul-mouthed DPS brat who is much more easily replaced. And honestly, I found it significantly less stressful and more fun to tank for a “weaker” DPS crowd who were at least polite, trying and actually in need of the gear from the instance than for inconsiderate wankers in full hardmode raid epics who thought they were too “leet” to bother with teamwork with “scrubs”.

      And then people whine about how hard it is to find tanks and healers for PUGs. I wonder why that is, eh?

      In all, sitting around crying playing multiplayer games isn’t fun.

      This. Or being incoherent with disbelieving rage. It’s really no surprise gaming often has such a bad reputation, and it really doesn’t help that the gaming companies generally seem to be more likely to ignore — and thus tacitly support — or even pander to the toxic parts of the “community” than do anything to curb them. (Hello, Blizzard! That’s one reason why THAT company will never see a cent of my money again.)

      • Nefa says:

        In follow-up, I’m getting the feeling that ArenaNet will be more proactive on this. I’ve pre-ordered Guild Wars 2, and from my experiences in the beta I think it will be better managed.

        In the official forums, there was a thread from one player complaining that he was banned for swearing (although, the GM debunked his claim saying there was more to the story then what the player had given) and that ArenaNet was being too severe.

        I would suggest if situations like this are appearing in the beta – they’ll be even more controlled upon release.

        Here’s hoping!

  20. Space Dazee says:

    This happens on all MMO’s, especially when it comes to competitive parts of the game. I will admit, I have found fustration with people who didn’t know what they were doing, but I’m usually nice with my verbage and give an understanding to lower levels. And limit my critism when people are actually ASKING for help.

    I love MMORPGS.. except the MM part. I have a habit of not asking for help or for teams and try learn things on my own. One’s that pretty much force me to play with others, I tend to avoid, because I didn’t want to be belittled for playing, or worse, for being a girl playing. But lets not let me ramble.

    Long and short of it. This happens. It happens offline too. Think about the kid that’s in gym and misses the basket, hitting the ball, blocking the goal and loses the game. They get called names as well. Telling them they’re a bad player and probably a noob nowadays. Who offers to teach them? Who offers to help? The anonymity offered by the internet just makes people worse.

  21. Oscuro says:

    This always frustrates the hell out of me. I’m a teacher, and it constantly amazes me how many people don’t realize that YOU CAN’T BERATE SOMEONE INTO SUCCESS!!! It never works, ever. Admittedly, there are limited and specific ways where public shaming (if you can live with yourself for utilizing it) can act as a motivator for greater effort where the lack of such is what’s causing the lack of results, but team online play doesn’t lend itself to any of them. I mean, to think that this is effective instruction you pretty much have to think that everyone is born awesome at everything and that you simply have to bully people into getting out of their own way in order to make people succeed at stuff. Can you toilet-train a child by hitting them and yelling “STOP PISSING YOURSELF!!!” enough times? Gads!

    • meerkat says:

      I agree very strongly, Oscuro. Unfortunately a lot of people, including teachers I’ve had, think that berating people for not being able to do things is the ONE AND ONLY way to motivate them to practice or put effort into it or something. Personally it makes me want to never even think about the activity again. This is one reason I never did sports, because allllll the coaches are like that on TV and my experiences with organized sports, if they didn’t live down to the worst of the stereotype, didn’t do anything to expel it either.

      Teachers also have lectured me on how it is 100% impossible to learn anything ever without being yelled at for making a mistake, because apparently if you don’t experience pain for your mistake you will never remember the lesson? If that were true I would never want to learn anything.

  22. wererogue says:

    I’m a straight white male gamer and I’ve never played on a pub server with voice chat enabled for more than my friends. Console chat was enough to teach me that I would want to quit games if I had to hear that stuff said out loud instead of just being able to ignore the text box 99% of the time.

  23. SquirrelGirl says:

    I play LoL pretty regularly, although I use a gender-neutral screenname. And yes, I hear all sorts of terrible talk and slamming in the chats. I tend to respond with well-written, slightly chipper, usually sarcastic comments. Something to show that either I don’t agree, or that I am above that sort of trolling.
    It’s fun to make the idiots look dumber.

  24. Doug S. says:

    How do you all handle the raging and insults when you play competitive online games?

    Oddly, I haven’t run into much of this when playing Magic Online. There’s no voice chat and it isn’t really needed. Games that aren’t one-on-one tend to be more casual than competitive, and the norm while playing group games tends to be “gang up on the biggest threat” rather than “kill off the weakling”, so it tends to be somewhat self-balancing.

    Those times when I do get insulted, I usually take comfort in the fact that I just won the match. ;)

  25. Wintrborn says:

    League is best with friends, but you can find good players in solo queue. Also, if you’re 30, start earning a little extra IP with http://www.leagueoflegends.com/tribunal – clear out some of the trash, get a tiny reward.

    Also, please, don’t try new champs in a regular game! Riot lets you get IP for all practice games now, so use bots to work on strategy with.

    The biggest thing is to learn to love the ignore bubble, and report the toxic players. Leave a detailed reason why, it makes it much easier in Tribunal. Something like “Player harassed both teams constantly, a never ending stream of insults to both teams.” really streamlines our job.

  26. Adam says:

    My main responses to the meanness of many players on LoL are:

    1. Calmly but firmly point out to them that they’re being mean. Many of them respond “well you deserve it, because you’re bad at the game”, but at this point I start to feel a lot better, because I’ve surfaced the issue – they’re a bully and I’m just up against people who are outplaying me. I think this tends to get the other quiet players who aren’t bullies to speak up for you, since now they know you’re one of the many (but quiet) players who aren’t mean.

    2. Play with a friend. Point out meanness toward your friend. They do the same. You can often get people to be quiet and play the game if you out-number the bully. This even works with meanness toward someone else in the game (A bullies B, you and friend call A out on it, A feels out numbered and gets quiet.)

    3. I know that trying to fight bullying on the internet is like trying to fight Godzilla by hitting him on the toe with a stick, but I still feel a lot better about playing League knowing that every time there’s meanness, I am trying to model better behavior. Also, you can frame your responses to people’s anger as “don’t rage, it will just make you and the person you’re upset at play worse and then you’ll lose for sure.” This is sometimes effective with the people who just get frustrated easily and like to take it out on other people – I’ve seen a surprising number of people respond with “yeah, I know” because they’ve lost so many games to feeding due to rage.

    Basically, I try to be a genuinely good person for as much as you can, /ignore after that, try to feel good about the fact that you’re creating a better atmosphere for the many quiet people who don’t like the vitriolic atmosphere of the game but who are too afraid/unmotivated to speak up, and duo (or more) with friends to keep each other’s spirits up.

  27. Greg says:

    [marketing-speak]
    Have you ever dreamed of playing a solo RPG and still being social? Well, now you can! Introducing NetHack! Just telnet to nethack.alt.org, register and start playing. Then join the #nethack channel on irc.freenode.net where you can talk with awesome friendly people about it.
    [/marketing-speak]

    Seriously, it’s not very competitive (although there are tournaments like Junethack and /dev/null/nethack), but the community is really awesome.
    This is the pure gamer culture, untouched by commercial game developers. No frat boys, just a bunch of geeks of various genders :)

    http://nethackwiki.com/wiki/NetHack

    If you’re still not convinced: you can be transgender in NetHack

    • KA101 says:

      Re: being transgender in NetHack

      …at once too complex & too simple.

      Ways to transition (IMO too complex):
      If you encounter an Amulet/Change and actually wear the thing (90% of the time they’re generated cursed, according to the wiki article…so unless you ID it, you probably won’t wear it :-(E> )
      If you hit the 10% chance of sex swap on polymorph (or polymorph into a sex-locked monster: there are no male nymphs); to the best of my knowledge, polycontrol doesn’t let the player specify sex

      Even if you successfully transition, you will remain heterosexual and specifically NOT be attracted to foocubi which you previously found attractive enough to consort with (too simple). So far as I know “preferred sex of partners” isn’t controlled by one’s body/sex/hormones.

  28. Danielcb says:

    Has anyone played Dungeon Defenders? It’s on sale, and it looks fun, but my biggest concern is the community. Any braver souls tested the waters?

    • Seagloom says:

      I logged in quite a bit of time into the game. The community is a mixed bag. I haven’t encountered much in the way of verbal abuse. However, quite a few people will boot you without explanation if your character is undergeared and lacking in stat points. Quite often I’ve run into games were there’s very little communication in general.

      Other than getting kicked, you will run into the occasional ninja looter that vacuums everything up between waves. Worse, some people grief by selling your defenses before quitting the game. I tend to solo a lot by switching between characters or playing with a friend. If you do play online, you’ll have an easier time hosting your own game. If nothing else it makes it easy to get rid of troublemakers and jerks.

      The game itself is very fun either way. It’s much more active than the typical tower defense game combined with Diablo style loot chasing. TrendyEnt is also pretty active in supporting it, and pays attention to fan requests.

  29. KA101 says:

    As to the actual topic: well, I typically don’t play online. From what I’ve seen of others playing online, well, last time was BF3 and that involved my cousin trying out the new gear. We were more interested in figuring out what worked/didn’t than perfectly coordinating with the team, and lacking voice chat didn’t help any.

    I guess there’s something to be said for rewarding “good” team behavior, but I think Autobalance was probably the better method for keeping things marginally civilized. Certainly still had its share of hate speech though–if I’d been playing w/voice chat I’d see about having a speech-to-text* so I could quickly put out a “Hey! not cool!” when people made with the sexism.

    *Intentional. If the sexists use voice then I’d want to as well, but here I was seeing it via on-screen text. Matching formats seems the best way to counterfire.

  30. From yonder land says:

    I’ve never made friends online, so I am pretty much exiled to the random draft on LoL; There I learned to ignore (and sometimes even laugh) at the filth and hatred in the chat channels, and to keep champion testing to vs A.I. games where it is considered less objectionable that you lack experience with a certain champion.
    I’m on a E.U. west server, so maybe it’s different here, but most of the time the people spewing cuss words are often also the people who aren’t exactly giving a stellar performance. Unless you’re in ranked with some over-serious people, which is why I try to avoid ranked games.

    You should see how people sometimes get exicted at cyber-cafés though, it’s like Xbox LIVE but with actual, physically present people throwing tantrums next to you.

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