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.

Toxicity
Team about to start raging at a tournament.

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.

toxicity
Example of toxicity

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.

toxicity
Helping noobs one day a month makes you a better gamer.
  • Keaton Zuniga

    What the hell is even the point of this article? How is this informative in any way? Everything cited is either anecdotal, your opinion or just a random picture with a speech bubble that YOU probably wrote. As far as I can tell this is no more than 4 paragraphs of you whining about video games.

    Good lord.

    • Zack Harrington

      I meant only to explain how being toxic in a small community can completely ruin the experience for some people. Turning players away from a game they like is not something I’m ok with. Some people just want to play games.

  • Kevin Enyeart

    With respect– I don’t believe that “competitive gaming” is really the enemy here, but rather a system that fails to detour people from becoming toxic in competitive environments.

    I believe League of Legends implemented a system to reward non-toxic behavior, and to my knowledge it has become quiet successful. Perhaps by allowing random players to allocate xp multipliers or bonuses of some kind (post game) to players who were helpful and positive during the match you could counter feelings of resentment while still remaining competitive.

  • NatureGreen

    I would have to say that I agree with certain points such as need for passive encouragement to perform optimally. However, if you’re entering the competitive game standpoint, you must know there is a fine line in between just trying to “play the game” and “getting in to competitive matchup to try it out”. Game companies themselves do try to minimize toxicity and make it more available for general populous.
    What the problem is the community themselves in most cases. You always see people who are toxic, both in real world and online. Especially in gaming, people try to climb and do better through means of “getting good” or spending their money. If you look at an example from a journal article, “Is More Always Better?” They point out that people tend to be competitive in nature.
    What am I trying to say here is that this article fails to touch on the true problem within the gaming as a whole, and fails touches on the subject of why there is a big barrier to get into the game. If a random person hops into a competitive side where the rewards are big, and there is an outside force that tries to stop you from achieving that goal, people will get mad. Also, every game rewards you through means of winning (although not always). On top of that, frusturation and toxicity doesn’t always come from raging against the enemies, especially in competitive team standpoint, therefore, the first picture you showed has no relivance to the topic.
    I would try to research and read more into what goes on within the gaming, before jumping to the conclusion of competitive gaming breeding toxicity and find more constructive argument and sources to back it up rather than the three pictures which baffles the readers on how you’re presenting the article.

  • NatureGreen

    I would have to say that I agree with certain points such as need for passive encouragement to perform optimally. However, if you’re entering the competitive game standpoint, you must know there is a fine line in between just trying to “play the game” and “getting in to competitive matchup to try it out”. Game companies themselves do try to minimize toxicity and make it more available for general populous.

    What the problem is the community themselves in most cases. You always see people who are toxic, both in real world and online. Especially in gaming, people try to climb and do better through means of “getting good” or spending their money. If you look at an example from a journal article, “Is More Always Better?” They point out that people tend to be competitive in nature.

    What am I trying to say here is that this article fails to touch on the true problem within the gaming as a whole, and fails touches on the subject of why there is a big barrier to get into the game. If a random person hops into a competitive side where the rewards are big, and there is an outside force that tries to stop you from achieving that goal, people will get mad. Also, every game rewards you through means of winning (although not always). On top of that, frusturation and toxicity doesn’t always come from raging against the enemies, especially in
    competitive team standpoint, therefore, the first picture you showed has no relivance to the topic.

    I would try to research and read more into what goes on within the gaming, before jumping to the conclusion of competitive gaming breeding toxicity and find more constructive argument and sources to back it up rather than the three pictures which baffles the readers on how you’re presenting the article itself.

    tldr: your sources are sloppy, you vaguely touch on the subject and what goes behind it, referenced to your peers which is a big no no, and overall poorly written.