Are online games with player chat, always prone to developing toxic communities?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Lord KJWilliams, Mar 15, 2019 at 7:14 AM.

  1. Lord KJWilliams

    Lord KJWilliams Member

    Jul 2, 2018
    So I have been studying the issue of toxic players, or toxic communities. But what is the cause of it? Where do you draw the line with toxic communities for online gaming?

    I would like to know your opinions about this....

    Consider the following questions :

    • What do you do, when you have been playing a online game that has player chat, that has evolved into a toxic community, from the non-toxic community that you remember ?
    • Is it the fault of the game design, the fault of who plays the game, the age demographics of who uses the game, or a combination of the three that creates a toxic community?
    • How do you adapt to a game, that you have invested in ( time and/or real money ) and have enjoyed playing in the past, that has become difficult to enjoy because the people who now play it really have no respect for playing the game fairly with other online players currently?.
    • Is it hard to deal with a toxic community from the start , when your new to the game? ( e.g. RUST , visit Steam's website for more information )
    • Are online games with player chat, always prone to developing toxic communities vs. a online games that do not have any kind of player chat ( microphone or text )?
    • Is it inevitable that all online games will evolve to having a toxic community, regardless of a chat feature?
    What do you think?

    Thank you...
    Cloaked Games likes this.
  2. sitebender

    sitebender Member

    Sep 13, 2016
    TF2 felt fine ish when I played it. I'd play with high level players and I only remember 2 or 3 people being absolutely toxic that I think we and the rest of the community blackballed them from their terrible attitudes. Back when I wasn't at that level, one of them was pretty hateful toward me, but it never bothered me. Most of the community would teach one another how to get better, because no one wants to play with an idiot on their team so you encourage them and give them tips and hope they listen or can manage it.

    It's the people in general and their backgrounds. Through my other TF2 friends I knew these three toxic people. One was a bell boy at a hotel in real life that was spending all his money on the game and stuck living in a terrible environment. One was just an absolute jerk because he thought it was funny to say the harshest things possible. Like he didn't play the game to enjoy the game, he played the game to insult people. Literally. As for the third, he was toxic in a different way... he'd be the star of the team and bail before victory on the hardest difficulty of Mann vs Machine. It was his way of saving money to leave before the last round, leaving the five lesser players to languish unable to finish the map.

    Beyond that, with trading there were a lot of scammers preying on idiots, new players and children. That makes for a toxic community, but there are others that look out for the idiots and just kick or ban the sharks. With that said, there are so many public communities for the game and public servers that no one monitors, so they can always shark people out of their good items.

    Even outside of TF2, there were games that would make fake TF2 items for the community market. I think that's a different issue with the point that anywhere there is money to be made, people will do what it takes to make it. Sure TF2 might have a micro economy, but there are plenty of lesser economies where a little money is big money.

    This all revolves around chat, but for TF2, instructions, talking and bargaining.

    You can always take more control of a community. I know plenty of developers / publishers are hands off. My friend works for a company that has 3 people hired for the company's Facebook page just to delete mean posts. There's probably now a catch all system in place. But she said it cost $60,000 a year to have 3 people working round the clock because their company made cheap knock offs for kids purses and that garnered absolute hatred.
  3. Cloaked Games

    Cloaked Games Member

    Jul 4, 2016
    This is a really interesting topic to me, and I want to see what others have to say about it. EDIT: Consider requesting this to be moved to Game Design and Publishing? I don't think this is off-topic at all!

    One game I've been playing recently that is relevant to this is Sea of Thieves. I think that as much as it technically depends on the people in the community as to whether it goes bad, that is also a rather useless sentence. To say one community is particularly toxic or nice is silly because I think the reason that happens is that either a game ends up fostering a nice community, or a toxic community. Nice people don't play in toxic communities, and toxic people go to other games where they can be toxic without being held accountable by nice people.

    So in Sea of Thieves, there's this tension at the very moment. You have two crowds of people. There are a lot of people who play because they like to role-play, they just want to #BeMorePirate and call their buddies "Scallywag" and "Scurvy Dog" and "Rapscallion". They might sink an enemy ship and take their loot since that's what pirates do, but they'll also look to team up to conquer a skeleton fort together because it's more fun with more people. There is also toxic player behavior, but it's really hard to define because Sea of Thieves is a pirate game, so the line between toxicity and good-natured piracy is fairly narrow. This question has come up a lot recently, particularly in concern with Summmit1g (which I will not comment on because I don't watch his streams, though I suspect I have a higher standard for fair play than he does).

    I've played Sea of Thieves since launch, and I still sometimes can't believe how easy it is to find a ship and make an alliance. Almost everybody I meet in that game are just other chill gamers, and if I want to hang out with some fellows on the sea, or build an epic fleet, or try trick-shots with the cannons, or play hide and seek on Wanderer's Refuge, or do voyages, then I can. They'll help me take revenge against that one dude that boarded my ship and stole my golden chicken (yes that happened. There was a pile of treasure and he just took the chicken). Or, if I want a battle at sea, people are game for that too. The most fun I have in that game is with other people and most of the community is on the same page and helps build that fun.

    And while it's easy to attribute that just to a bunch of cool people deciding to play the same game, that would really overlook all the effort Rare put into fostering that community. From the beginning, their design for Sea of Thieves was a community game, and they created that game intentionally. The pirate code right in the first tavern makes that intention clear (though on it's own it would be a pathetic joke). The Megalodon update required players to work together to meet certain goals, and while this was a clunky way of doing it, it worked. People liked playing with each other, and having a goal to meet encouraged gatherings at Shark-bait cove of friendly players waiting to help you sink the new dreaded beast. Later updates they continually add new tools for encouraging good player interactions. The flags made it easier to state your intent, the megaphone made it easier to communicate at distances, the alliances allowed people to share loot, and so much more. And, they direct address toxicity in their developer updates, saying, "this is not okay". While it might not convince the toxic players, it does encourage the friendly players to keep doing what they're doing and not give up. That's how you build a community.

    Not as related: For those who say "it's Sea of Thieves, not Sea of Friends"... first of all, the theming of a game has nothing to do with the gameplay or the designer's intent for the players. That's a ridiculous assertion to make. Second, I think "pirates" has a much broader definition than "jerks who kill noobs for fun". I imagine Sea of Thieves as the game of Captain Hook and his Jolly Pirate Crew, and while that might not be what everyone thinks, you can take a look at the art direction of Sea of Thieves and let me know if you see the connection. It doesn't look like Black Flag for a reason. I think to address the question of what toxic behavior looks like in Sea of Thieves, I like to think about it this way: is what I'm doing causing the other person to stop having fun? You can steal treasure and sink ships without making the other people feel upset, the treasure isn't worth anything anyways. You make it fun by bantering, using ridiculous strategies, and giving them a fighting chance even if you're going to crush them in the end. If any SoT PVP expert wants to spend a day obliterating me, but teaching me how they do it--entirely in pirate speak--please let me know.

    The point being, a friendly community can be developed and nurtured by the developers and the community alike. And, that's something we should strive to do.
    Lord KJWilliams likes this.
  4. Rob

    Rob Member

    Jul 12, 2016
    There are two games that I've played a LOT in my life. Infantry and Warband. They're both PvP multiplayer games (although Warband also has single player of course) and both games have/had their fair share of "toxicty". I could probably write an essay or two on my experiences but my main take is that people who play the same game 24/7 can turn from "I love this game" to "I hate this game for X reasons, and I'm still gonna play it because I miss the old days, but I'm gonna be a jerk doing it."

    And I'm not gonna lie. I've had my butthole moments too. When that happens, it's time to take a break, lol.

    I've also had the "pleasure' of being an admin on several servers for Warband and some players seem to just live to troll, to see how far they can get away with racism or to see if they can get people in trouble. I figure these types are probably young and/or immature though.

    I would expect all multiplayer PvP games to be like this but I guess not? (regarding TF2).
    Cloaked Games likes this.

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