A few months ago I ran a dungeon with two friends and two pugs. While I know I could trust my friends to perform, the pugs made the dungeon both difficult and time consuming. The whole time my friend Boot and I complained on Discord, bashing the pugs. What happened next is something I will never forget. After killing the final boss we were about to unleash on the pugs but suddenly we were stopped by our other friend, Zippy. “Why ruin their day? It’s not like they intentionally tried to make the run bad. You never know their circumstances.” And with that he simply typed “Thanks for the run” in party chat before leaving the group. I was dumbstruck.
The whole run I thought of nothing else but ripping into the pugs, only to be reminded of true human decency. I remained quiet and began to reflect. Had I really become so cynical that I couldn’t give strangers the benefit of the doubt? Why was I so eager to hurt someone that may not have been aware that they agitated me? I concluded that Zippy was right. I don’t know them, and a small hindrance didn’t justify hurting someone. I had become a toxic player, and I wanted to change.
Let’s face it, the toxicity problems in games are getting worse. People constantly harass teammates, bash new players, and camp people until they rage. Maybe you get some joy by causing others to rage, but no one enjoys being on the receiving end. It’s an issue that not only has caused people to stop gaming, but in extreme instances commit suicide. But I’m not trying to guilt you here. What my goal is with this article is to share my experiences, and try to promote a more positive gaming community that can benefit us all.
Like it or not, games are now a major force in socialization. They can instill morals, values, and even educate people. Players also learn from and imitate those they play with. While playing games such as WoW (World of Warcraft), minecraft, and other mmo’s, you have without a doubt influenced others, even if you are not aware of it. Personally, I have taught many young and new people how to raid, which addons to use, and general tips. But what I don’t think about is how my actions influenced their behavior. I’m not proud of it, but in the past I have harassed players, camped them, and worse. A habit that was almost immediately picked up by those close to me. I essentially ruined a generation of gamers by being selfish and thoughtless; and I’m not the only one. It’s like playing a game made me forget how to be a decent person.
I have since changed my ways and am glad I did. Not only do I find my interactions with others more pleasant, but I actually enjoy the games themselves more too. Looking back, I honestly don’t know why I ever became so toxic in the first place. We all hate being bashed and singled out, yet we constantly do it to others online. It’s not like we can’t understand why people make the mistakes that drive us crazy either. No one starts a new game as a pro. When starting a new game or even after an update we rely on others to teach us how to play and tell you what to do. We seem to forget that and ignore those that find themselves in our former positions.
Instead of raging, why don’t we try to teach them to be better players as others have done for us. When I recruited for my guild’s raid roster, I did not simply ignore any player because they had bad gear or logs. You don’t know why they perform like they do, but you know they could be better. So make them better. Take the time to teach them how to craft an item, the correct rotation, or even refer them to a useful guide. You may not only find a skilled player afterward, but a new friend as well. Some people I’ve helped have come back to me, thanking me and asking for more advice. Honestly, it’s a rewarding experience. Instead of ruining someone’s day you make it solid. You may even feel a sense of accomplishment.
But don’t get confused, I’m not asking you to be saint or get along with everyone. I’m only trying to get you to think before you act. Most players you come across you will never play with again. So don’t worry if you think they suck or ruined one game. But if they truly bother you, well most games come equipped with a mute or ignore feature which can be handy. Maybe you PVP and that’s cool too. Just don’t camp the same person for an hour without a reason when there are other more deserving players that need your attention. Be excited you conquered an enemy or got your revenge, then move on. There are always better alternatives that leaves everyone feeling better than raging and trolling. Sometimes it’s better to just move on and head to the next experience by entering a simple “GG WP.”
Let’s try to be a better version of ourselves. If we all try to improve, we can create a better experience for everyone. Build a strong community, not a hostile one. Next time you feel like you have to insult another player, just try to catch yourself. You don’t have to attack them, you can help them be the player you want them to be instead. And if that seems like too much work, then just mute them. It’s a small step, but an important one in improving our community.