Yesterday, June 28 2016, Blizzard launched a competitive game mode for Overwatch. This has many gamers itching to show others how skilled they are, but others fear they will lose the lighthearted gameplay they love. The competitive game scene has been growing fast lately and many new titles seemingly aim for this kind of gaming. Through many hours of research in various games, I have found the more competitive a game is, the more serious players are about it. It seems this style of gaming is gradually turning into sport, something many people play games to escape from. This is not to say that competitive gaming doesn’t have a place, but it undoubtedly introduces toxicity to the game’s community.
A friend of mine has expressed that he may quit games entirely, solely due to player toxicity. A father of four simply doesn’t have the time to read three books worth of meta data just to play a game. These days if you join a raid party on an MMO or don’t know anything about the MOBA you’re playing, people turn on you faster than your enemies. There isn’t a competitive multiplayer game that has come out in the last six months that toxicity isn’t rampant in. Being this serious about gaming isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it has its place and shouldn’t be assumed of others all of the time. Everyone was a noob once.
Players in most of the popular FPS games are non-communicative with ‘randoms’ or ‘Randos’ as they are often called. This can alienate players. The behavior between players is part of every multiplayer game, whether it’s PvP or PvE. Some games such as Left 4 Dead reward cooperation and encourage players to do their best. This passive encouragement is lacking in many PvP games these days. Destiny, for example, forces you to build a party for end game content and raids. Teamwork is essential just to get through the levels.
Competitive gaming is a positive thing in the bigger picture. More exposure means more interest, bringing gaming into a new light of recognition with a broader public. Developers can and will eventually carve a niche specifically for this evolving way of play. Casual gamers will be able to play many titles that are ‘too serious to have fun’ one day. Until then, from one gamer to another, try to teach one noob a day. It will better all of our worlds.