If you aren’t into video games, you may not know there are unwritten rules for conduct. The environments that gamers play in, myself included, are a breeding ground for negative behaviors. Because MMOs go by a different set of rules, people may think they have free reign to “act a fool.”
Those familiar with online games will know well how vile a person’s language and behavior can get. We all have one burning question, though. Why bother signing into something if you’re going to burn every person you meet?
Is There Even an Answer to the Question?
Having a bad day is understandable, but there is no need to take that anger out on another. Some might feel “safe” from behind a screen as the type whatever profanities come to mind. For the individual that chooses this, it may be a sort of “therapy” for them, despite how unhealthy the behavior.
Personally, I do not believe there is a definitive answer. I know I’ve logged into online games on a bad day. Yes, it was tempting to say something cross to a player I just met, but I knew there was no benefit. I simply walked away from the screen for a few seconds and I “enhanced my calm.”
The ‘Bad’ MMO Game Personalities
To give it a little more depth, going into personality types is a great way to understand this problem. As there are people from many parts of the world, there are almost as many personality types when it comes to the MMORPG games space.
Here are a couple of the “personality types” that I’ve encountered on my journeys through virtual worlds:
- The Sad Gamer – this person isn’t necessarily “bad,” but they do not hesitate to share their dismay. They’ll often share some tragedy going on in their lives, many times fishing for sympathy. No matter how much someone wishes not to hear their story, they continue to share whatever sad event is plaguing them.
The story may not always be genuine, of course. But if a player’s dialogue concerns you and you worry for their well-being, contact developers and give them the player’s gamer tag.
- The Racist Gamer – this is one that you’ll encounter even if you aren’t playing an MMO. The problem with these sorts of MMORPG games is that they are unfortunately a perfect place for these gamers to spread their hate. Last time I encountered one was in Neverwinter, where a person was spreading their anti-Muslim/pro-Nazi philosophy. The Racist Gamer and the Angry Gamer may be the same person on occasion.
- The Angry Gamer – everyone’s had a momentary lapse in judgment, prompting them to scream at the top of their lungs. You’ll occasionally encounter a person who will simply not be satisfied. It won’t matter if you can inform them where the best weapons are. If you aren’t helping them achieve certain goals, you earn their ire.
- The Overly Helpful Gamer – I do appreciate when someone can answer my question. No one likes exiting the game window and checking Google or another search engine for the answer. But there is such a thing as being “too helpful.” It’s not hard to encounter someone who believes they’re so informed that everyone else needs their answers. This is the most common personality type I’ve found in Digital Extremes space-ninja MMO, Warframe.
- The Saboteur Gamer – saboteur is usually someone whose only role is to sabotage. This type of gamer seeks to be the reason every one of their groups fails. It’s unfortunate, but something a lot of people do. There were times where my squad was doing extremely well, and the healer we heavily relied on stayed logged in, but did not participate in the battle.
Don’t MMOs Have Rules?
MMORPG games do have their own set of rules. That being said, it’s up to the community itself to abide by those rules. A handful of MMOs will have an admin signed in at any given time. But the admins can only do so much on their own. MMOs often require the aid of the players to ensure that their community follows the “conduct guidelines.”
When I was younger, the gaming community had teams of all different backgrounds squabbing up. Nowadays, if your views do not align with theirs, you are automatically added to their blacklist.
Regardless of your background, life does not always treat people well. Some of that may translate into the virtual worlds created for entertainment. Depending on your mental fortitude, a touchy subject may drive you up the wall once mentioned.
If your mental health is a genuine concern while playing, research a community before officially joining. Steam Reviews are a great way to gauge how toxic a game’s player base is.
When I look at possibly getting into MMOs, the first thing I do is check how welcoming others might be. If I feel that it may affect my mental health or bring me undue stress, I simply avoid it.
Stress alone may aggravate certain conditions you already have. So make sure to manage it well and take a break if the stress levels are too much.
Changing the Landscape
“Kill them with kindness” is a good philosophy to follow on this subject. If you see veteran players ridiculing another for being new, take some time to help the new player out. Not only will you have changed the individual’s perception, but you may also gain a future squadmate.
Do not hesitate to report someone if they are not conducting themselves accordingly. The same way that “it takes a village to raise a child,” it takes a game’s entire community to help keep it from getting extremely toxic. Let’s all come together and take care of the issue head-on.
Do you believe there is a way to combat the toxic players we may encounter in MMOs? Is it worth the trouble of trying to educate them? Is it worth reporting players if they can just come back with a different account?