Toxic Communities

After a long 10 months, I finally broke and loaded up League of Legends to fit in a few games in an effort to kick back, kill some time and relieve some boredom.

Oh boy.

Oh boy, oh boy.

A mere two games in and I was reminded, quite harshly, as to why I quit in the first place.

Sadly, I didn’t take any screenshots but in this Lyte Byte I will do my best to recreate what happened on my fateful return to League…

The following is my best attempt to recreate and contextualise just a few moments from within one of my League games:

Kalista: omg nami hit a bubble

Me: yo, I haven’t played in a year or so

Me: i’m sorry if i don’t hit every skill shot, i’m a little rusty!

Olaf: (pinging wildly at my lane)

Small team skirmish breaks out, I survive but Olaf and Kalista die and we take down their Draven.

Kalista: WTF nami!! why did you leave?

Me: they’re literally two levels above us, it was a risky fight to begin with!

Me: if I’d stayed and tried to have killed the janna I probably would’ve given Vi another kill!

Olaf: lol not ganking bot again

Kalista: fk u nami, use your ult next time

Obviously, I’ve taken some creative liberties here, but the gist of the conversation is kept. Essentially, I made the decision to back away after my two team mates got greedy and chased after kills that would be quite difficult to pull off. It didn’t pull off. As a result, they turned to someone else to blame for their failure – and found a scapegoat in me, later in the game, playing off of the fact that I hadn’t played in a year to suggest that I was a bad player.

Perhaps it was my fault, and perhaps I’m at fault for complaining about being complained at but I didn’t once during that game accuse the Kalista or the Olaf of playing badly. So where did our communication go wrong? What was the cause for the other two in the team to break, so badly, and resort to verbally attacking someone else?

I’ve found, after having played ranked League at high gold ELO with a duo partner during season 3 and four, that typically when communication is reduced to a blame game this is when teams tend to begin to free fall to a crushing defeat. My duo partner was notorious for getting angry at the game, and I tend to be a slightly more patient and collected player. When something would go wrong in the lane he’d typically snap at me for, perhaps, missing a skill shot and as such blame me for the loss of a fight. At the end of the day, the missed skill shot might’ve indeed been the reason we’d lost the fight and so I usually kept my mouth shut and wouldn’t react and we’d continue on throughout the game with relatively little arguments.

However, if I did react this is when our lane would typically begin to rather quickly start to deteriorate. Rather than communicating properly, we’d both fall silent, and only snickering at the other’s misfortune or a cough would break the uneasy tension. Inevitably, we’d lose the game as we wouldn’t be as coordinated as we usually would be, where we would mostly crush our lane opponents at least.

While I’ve stopped playing recently, I think it’s universal in online games where you play competitively in a cooperative team environment that if members of the team start to get angry at each other and focus on each other’s mistakes, rather than just simply striving to win the game, this is where teams lose the game. In a team with decent, positive communication the game is more often than not won, again, at least in my experience.

While I understand that shouting at something when you’re frustrated is a way to relieve the stress of the game; the levels to which people get angry always baffles me. There’s no need to say that someone is “trash” and should “uninstall” – what does that mean to you, if you’re never to play with them again? Why bother telling them they should die horribly – again, you’re literally playing a video game? Is sucking at it truly worth death?

I don’t know.

Maybe I’m missing something here? If there’s anyone that does typically get angry at competitive games like these, could they try to explain why their brains decide that firing out an insult will solve their problems? Perhaps it’s just younger, and more immature players that are the ones with these issues? Let me know in the comments!

Toxic Communities

5 thoughts on “Toxic Communities

  1. “In a team with decent, positive communication the game is more often than not won.”

    That line sums it up perfectly. The community has come on a long way but things like this still hold us back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Martin says:

    I wonder how much this is just conveying of traditional team sports dynamics + anonymity. Like, if you do baseball or basketball or hockey, there’s no question that good communication plus a positive atmosphere leads to better results. As video games have gotten more cooperative, they naturally take on that team dynamic. Perhaps what’s different is that basically, if you can’t see the relevant person and they don’t know who you are, you’re more likely to be super harsh than you would be if they were next to you on the field. Do you think this is just a natural evolution of how e-sports was going to go?


    1. lytebytes says:

      I think the comparison between “traditional” sports and e-sports is becoming more and more apparent, and this comparison is very apt. I’m unsure as to whether, say, if a traditional sporting game had teams full of players that didn’t know each other and would probably never play with each other again past this one game would act in a similar fashion.

      Rather than anonymity, I think it might come down to the ability to disassociate the player with the human behind the player. When you “rage” in a text chat, or over voice chat, at someone that you don’t have a physical human body to consider and therefore you may be more willing to be insulting and degrading because its almost as if you’re just shouting at an AI or a part of the game, rather than a person.


  3. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    I never played League of Legends, but before this DOTA was the shit. I remember when it came out with friends of mine, who were brothers were really into it. I saw them constantly fight because they kept accusing each other of bad plays.

    They tried to get me into it, so I casually got DOTA running and played a game on my own at home. This was literally my first game without their coaching and I did poorly, but I was greeted with some very negative messages because of it. I decided then and there this game or that community was not for me.

    With the same 2 brothers, we all got into Left 4 Dead, those same two got in huge fights as well for similar situations. It really turned me off from that as well.

    People make mistakes sometimes, it’s only human. I’ve recently discovered Overwatch is much friendlier and even though I’m far from being good, I still enjoy it, because instead of people saying immature things, I’ve had people simply suggest very politely, hey try this, and the team gets along.

    On another funny note, years after this I decided to try and get back into a game called Gunbound, similar to worms. I was playing pretty bad because I hadn’t played in years. Another player kept needing to point out I was bad and sucked etc. With my new found maturity, because he was the only one verbally attacking me, I decided to play like I thought I was actually good and started messing with this guy, and without stopping to his level, just made polite funny remarks that he was actually doing bad. It made me oh so happy. Once that player finally made a mistake, oh man I jumped on him quicker than a fat kid on a smartie and called him out on his error. I was literally messing with this guy and he thought I was serious.

    Liked by 1 person

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