I will be talking about behaviour in online competitive games. I have played a lot of different games with a lot of different people but I always come back to games that have a ranked system or some way to make it competitive and compare yourself to others. I don’t know exactly why but I just get bored of games eventually if there is no way to measure up against other people. However all these games have a certain type of behaviour in it. Due to the competitive nature people can get frustrated or mad if they feel like they lose because of other people, online this behaviour is called toxicity or flaming.
I started fairly young by playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with a friend, I was 10 or 11 at the time. CS:GO is an extremely competitive tactical shooter, the game revolves around strategy and reflexes. The game had a voice chat system so you could easily make strategic calls for your team and communicate, sound like a good idea right? Except it wasn’t. The voice chat was mainly used to yell at each other for making mistakes and cussing out the bad players on the team. As a young boy I didn’t really talk but I did listen to all these insults. I wasn’t hurt a lot or anything cause I wasn’t the one being cussed out most of the time but it did desensitize me to toxicity online.
I got into overwatch sometime during high school, I think I was around 14. My friends found this game and we thought it seemed cool so we tried it out. Overwatch also had a ranked system with a voice chat but for me it was a nice upgrade. You’d have only 1 toxic guy per game on average. My friends for whom this was their first competitive online game were not used to this at all. Another big thing I noticed while playing overwatch was the rank. By playing ranked mode you would get placed in a certain “skill tier” that described how good you are at the game. In our group of friends this rank would mean respect. It was so weird to me that the rank in a video game mattered for the social hierarchy.
This idea of rank started mattering even more when I got into League of Legends a few years back. The higher rank you are the more respect you get. What’s even weirder is that your rank doesn’t even affect the toxicity you get. League of Legends is notorious for its toxic community. The games last up to 45 minutes at times which can really piss some people off and they lash out at other people. However even if you are the highest rank and proven yourself to be good at the game, people will still say you are bad at the game and insult you in many other ways.
In conclusion, as fun as I think they are competitive games bring out the worst in people, especially online. The frustration and anger that can come from losing something you feel like you deserve combined with the anonymity the internet gives you makes people act like they never would if you met them in real life.