Playing video games is the favorite activity of many of us. When you’ve had a hard day, you come home and do what you adore the most – you sit in front of your computer or pick up the joypad and open the game you’re pumped to play. It is an enjoyable experience… But, things are not that simple and there’s one thing that contradicts what I just said – toxic chat rooms.
Single-player games’ most expressed feature is usually storytelling. It feels somewhat like watching an interactive movie which can be influenced by your actions and skills. Some games even have different endings based on how you chose to progress the game, and which ideals you followed. These games usually act both relaxing and immersing.
Some people, on the other hand, think this is not enough. More experienced players no longer feel joy and immersion from playing simpler single-player games, as they’ve already played dozens, if not hundreds of them and have seen all kinds of possible game mechanics. This makes them feel like reskinned versions of previously played games and frankly, boring.
So, there are two options. First is, they look exclusively for harder games both mentally and motorically, and if that’s not enough, there’s the second option: Online competitive games.
Online Competitive Games
This is when things start to get heated. When you play online, it isn’t possible to know the game or enemies’ behavior by heart, and neither is it possible to always be on the winning side, which is the part which makes this so exciting.
However, some people do not take losing so well, or competitiveness in general. While this seems like an obvious answer, some games’ chat rooms are noticeably less toxic than others. So why is that? Why do League of Legends or World of Tanks contain so much toxicity, while normal and casual conversations seem almost nonexistent? Why do the same people communicate in a far more civilized fashion in World of Warcraft than they would in World of Tanks?
The Humanity in Digital Characters
The first reason is simple – people forget that it’s other people they are dealing with. Why is that in certain games only?
For example, you are playing League of Legends. Someone wants to refer to you through the chat. Do they refer to you through your username? Of course not, they will say “Tryndamir you ****” and continue their game guilt-free.
This is due to the fact that the characters are in no way unique to each other, despite the fact that unique people control them (yes, every person is in some way unique, that’s what makes life so valuable). Thousands of people play the same characters over and over again every day, which somehow removes the human factor from them. They seem like a copy paste computerized bots. It’s easier to scold something that seems lifeless, isn’t it?
Also, the same username controls multiple characters. This almost makes the username irrelevant.
On the other hand, we have games like World of Warcraft. It is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). You make a character and give it your own certain name. You don’t play Nidalee, you play a hero named by yourself and are instantly unique in some way. Add to that your own customization of the character and your own set of armor, and things start changing dramatically.
Another thing is that both the name and character are permanent. When you play, you often play with the same hero, instead of changing him/her every other round. People are then able to recognize the humanity in you. They easily see they are dealing with another person and vice versa. This creates a natural wish to be liked and accepted and a less toxic environment.
Communication Time Limitations
In some games, the time you are exposed to other individuals is pretty limited at a time. If it is based on one-by-one battles, most people assume they will never see the other parties again. This is mostly wrong and you probably will play with them again, but you won’t know it. This is the result of dehumanizing them due to referring through the names of characters or vehicles, instead of their own.
The Game’s Mechanics
Of course, there is a reason people do this – the games are strategically demanding and it’s simply not practical to refer to them with their usernames. If you have to focus on a game and simply don’t have any time for talking and chit-chat, the chat room will come down purely to strategic battle communication.
In World of Warcraft, on the other hand, you can choose whether you will simply chill and do nothing or go and do dungeons, raids or just do quests and kill monsters in the world.
So, all in all, the game’s very mechanics determine what kind of chat rooms it will have.
Video Game Addiction
Gaming is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it provides you with endless entertainment and a way to be in another world.
But, as a result, some people are not able to control their time spend behind the screen and escape their real-life problems by playing. If someone’s entire life resides in a game like League of Legends, they start taking it too seriously – almost like a job. This is when anger because of other’s incompetence comes into play. They’ve won and lost endless battles and the point is no longer entertainment and relaxation – the point is just to play.
Some people manage to monetize this either through streaming or Esports. At this point, this is a job, but then you’re rarely playing with random people and more often with clans and your organized teams. It is normal for a job to produce stress, but that stress is not in vain and you know you’re doing that with a point. You probably won’t see a professional player being toxic and cussing at your family or calling you names in a random battle.
To sum this up, these are the main factors that determine whether the game will be plagued with toxic chat rooms or not. Every game has it, don’t get me wrong, it’s just some have significantly more than others, and we were talking about why this is the case. As we’ve said, the main factor is the game’s mechanics and dehumanization of people is a result of them. So, if you are truly bothered with toxicity, take a look at MMORPGs.
They have shown to have the most civilized communication, and you will probably meet new people playing those games. No toxic chat rooms there!