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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.

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Now we’ve established the only sure-fire way to deal with toxicity?

Why ON EARTH is anyone still bothering with competitive gaming?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 legitimatelyBeing ‘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.

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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.

10 thoughts on “Toxic

  1. I hate toxicity as much as the next grown up, I never hesitate to just report anyone being an arse.

    Today the Overwatch competitive mode launched and like any responsible adult, I had two matches while yelling at the manlings to ‘BRUSH TEETH/FIND SHOES/COMB HAIR’. The first was what eSports dreams are made of. 6 completely random strangers all spoke on in-game voice comms, encouraged each other, grouped up when necessary and we won 3-0. I took a short break to get myself ready for the day, and then queued for a second match with one eyeball on the clock as to when I’d have to ferry the manlings to school…the second match was frankly NOT the same. Again, 6 random strangers, no one speaking, and of course one asshat with all the time-honoured pearlers of ‘Have you guys killed anything yet’ ‘where the F is the healer’ ‘how long do I have to suffer with you noobs’ etc etc. Of course we lost 3-0.

    One day those arses will realise that they’ll actually get a better game when they DON’T like that.

    Here’s hoping!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got 8 million gold, but I refuse to pay 30k to get that moose for the same reason… I’m against being carried for content I couldn’t be bothered to even do LFR for.

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  3. Pingback: Legion: Blizzard Feedback Forums – Coffee Cakes and Crits

  4. Just wanted to throw in my two cents about your point about the moose mount. I think we can agree that WoW is a game with a huge number of sub-games within it: collecting, pet battles, raiding, RP, questing, AH/goldmaking, guild running etc. etc. etc. The way I see it, one of those sub-games is social and networking. If I can get my moose because I am a decent raider (team or PUG), great. If I can get my moose because I have played the social game well enough to have decent raiders offer to take me along, great. If I have played the guild game well enough to be part of a guild that offers carries to members, great. If I have have played the goldmaking game well enough to buy a carry, great. It is one reward with multiple means of acquisition all of which require playing a part of the game fairly well, which I think is pretty brilliant. I certainly don’t see one method of getting that mount as any less valid than another. At the end of the day, it is a goal that rewards being able to work with other people in the game, one way or another. And that, IMO, is pretty awesome.

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    • With the model of “everyone who kills it gets a mount” the scenarios of carries and paid runs are a given. Whether they’re able to achieve that via their social network or via their banker’s coffers shouldn’t make a difference. For me, it doesn’t cheapen the reward that I “legitimately” earned in December of ’15, but then again I raid primarily to raid, and to be among the folks I’m guilded with. Perhaps that makes me an odd one.

      Toxic though? I don’t see that.

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  5. The two titles that I want more than anything else in Warcraft are both no longer available. Scarab Lord was removed before I ever even heard of the game. Immortal was removed long before I was even close to good enough to raid. I will never be able to get either of these titles. I wish I could, but I can’t, and that’s ok.

    It is a basic trait of economics, and humanity as a whole. If something is more rare, or difficult to obtain, it has more value. I remember being told in school that early Europeans would trade salt to the people of Africa in exchange for gold. Sounds ridiculous, right?

    But salt was a rare and valuable resource to the Africans, who had plenty of gold that served no purpose for them. Meanwhile the Europeans had an excess of salt and a desire for more gold.

    Rare = valuable. Not rare = not valuable. Everybody can make any class and therefore no class is special. There is no accomplishment in making level 1 Mage or Warrior because that action has no value. Defeating an end game raid boss and getting the rewards? That DOES have value.

    Yes, someone else getting a carry and getting the Cutting Edge achievement does not negate the achievements of those who earned it “the right way”. But it can devalue it, if that happens on a large enough scale.

    I think this is the basis of the disapproval of LFR as a whole, really.

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  6. I wonder, knowing that thousands of people have been granted Moose status, how many of those people have subsequently put anything back into the Community or intend to play at raid level at Legion. For me, I would like to think that some people didn’t just turn up, take their mount and walk away, but I’m fairly confident that’s not the case.

    Toxic can mean thoughtless and selfish too ^^

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