I almost became a toxic gamer

Just this past weekend, Rainbow 6 Siege (R6S) welcomed me back after four years of being afked with 12 straight losses; but what really disappointed me was the toxic gamers community, which hadn’t changed at all in four years – I was intentionally killed by my teammates more than five times in over four hours of gameplay.

From my favorite R6S Streamer, you can get an idea of what the game is like through this video.

Unlike shooting games like CS:GO or Call of Duty, R6S has always been tagged as a counter-terrorist operations simulator by gamers. To initially understand the most basic aspects of the game, new players must go through a 100 + or 300 + hours of learning process due to the core characteristics of the game: small indoor combat space, breakable walls, and the variety of guns and gadgets. In other words, the game is a bit hardcore.

R6S doesn’t provide new recruits with a passable-looking tutorial, instead a few clips of short introductory videos and some extremely difficult training levels with the ai (I haven’t been able to pass them so far). I can understand that Ubisoft – the developer of R6S – does not want to lecture the gamers, which is usually perceived by us as a disrespect to our creativity and to the cores of the game -the high degree of tactic freedom, but the French gaming giant underestimates the negative impact this has on the community. 

You know that almost all competitive games are still criticized for their horrible matchmaking algorithm, where players of very different levels can be matched up in a game. This may not be a big problem in some games, such as Fall Guys, but in a SWAT simulator like R6S, which requires people to be extremely detail-oriented and need to know the basic tactics of counter-terrorism, the situation can be quite challenging. For example, as a player with over 350 hours of game time, I often encounter newbies who block my important pathway back to the bunker; in turn, elite veterans with over also have trouble tolerating my poor aiming – indeed I barely won in duels.


The most immediate consequence of not being familiar with the game mechanics is that you or your teammates will be quickly eliminated, and since the players cannot respawn after being killed in the same round, every death that happens in the game can have a decisive impact on the result. This can make every one who get killed (especially in the earliest phase) feel very frustrated.

It’s important to understand that in FPS games, people usually focus on the graphics and sound of the game, so ignoring text or voice communication from teammates is a common occurrence. The solution for many veteran players is to shoot directly at teammates who make unreasonable actions, or even kill them outright – this is now a default rule by the gamer community, and as I mentioned before, what I think is the most toxic side of the game. I don’t know if Ubisoft also seems to endorse this unspoken rule that doesn’t seem very decent, at least in my opinion, their punishment for friendly fire is quite minimal, and the most that can be done is a game ban that lasts a certain amount of time.

I consider myself a well behaved gamer with a good temper, and I have never intentionally fired at my teammates; I can also understand teammates who have killed me because I made a huge mistake – and I’ve never felt angry at what they did to me after I learned about this rule. But a game yesterday afternoon made me slam my keyboard in anger and plot revenge. As a defender, I was using my shotgun to destroy a wooden wall to gain more space and flexibility to defend – which is one of the most basic tactics of the game. As I was nearing the end of my work, the last shot had a stray shot that accidentally wounded a passing teammate, and I hastily typed SRY in the chat box as usual, but he still rushed at me and shot me in the head with the submachine gun, and then my screen went gray. This was the fifth time I had been viciously killed by a teammate in the same day, and I was at the end of my patience, so I had planned to kill him with a grenade on the next turn and quit the game immediately. But in the end, luckily my sanity overcame my fire of fury, and this not-so-friendly teammate helped me end my 12-game losing streak.

As I reflect on what I experienced yesterday in the virtual world this afternoon, what disappoints me most is not the unadulterated, bloody vitriol from strangers, but the fact that I see no real effort to build a healthy gamers community at Ubisoft since R6S went into operation in 2015. It also reminds me of the way most of the teacher and administration staff perceived schoolyard bullying when I was studying in high school in China. In order not to embarrass the bullies – whose parents usually had more wealth and power – the teachers, even principals, would usually only impose the lowest level of punishment. This is how the jungle society on campus is formed – and seems like Ubisoft is doing the same. R6S brings me lots of sweet memories, but one day I don’t think I’ll feel sorry for it if the game service is shut down.