Gaming Toxicity, The Spread

You play hours upon hours of games. Soon enough, it starts to get lame. Every loss starts to make you feel pain. All your effort seems in vain.
“Just one more.” But what for?
Be it playing for a rank or just to pass time, you’ll always find yourself starting to whine. “MY TEAM IS GARBAGE! TIME FOR ME TO SHINE!” You die and die, it’s finally crossed the line. “YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A US-”

And that’s where we stop. In online games, toxicity will always happen. Be it just banter or people sending legitimate threats, games can be frustrating and you will get mad. Even I’m not perfect. Though I’d never take my rage out on other people, when I was younger I’d find myself hitting my desk or screaming cause I died in Minecraft PVP. Yeah, Minecraft PVP. Though for this, let’s talk more specifically about League of Legend’s toxicity.

Tyler1, a famous streamer, intentionally “inting” to lose the game.

Now obviously, the biggest source of toxicity in online games is frustration. I think it’s a better word to use than “rage”, cause anyone can get mad at a single loss or defeat in a game. However, I think frustration fits better for the countless streaks of losses. The many attempts at trying to beat your promos or achieving your peak rank constantly washed away at both your and your teammate’s mistakes.

It’s hard to blame yourself. You obviously don’t say, “I’M PERFECT. I’M THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD.” I hope, but when you lose so many times and can’t figure out why, your easiest option to turn to is your teammates. You start to ignore yourself and watch others as if you’re a high ranked coach that knows everything and anything. You point out every mistake they make to boost your confidence in yourself, “It’s not me! It’s them!” This is the mentality that not only players, but streamers as well, encourage throughout the community. No, not everyone does this, but there is a large margin of people that act like this.

In League of Legends, I peaked Platinum 2, now it’s not the highest, but it’s definitely the higher rank in my friend group. The moment I hit this, I stopped. A large reason for this was frustration. I play games to have fun and relax, not to stress myself out at the constant anxiety of making sure I don’t lose this next game. To avoid myself from being “that guy” , I just simply quit the game.

My Champions Played in Season 8

Other people are different though. People don’t play League of Legends to have fun, no. People play for the rank. Which I believe to be the BIGGEST reason for not only toxicity, but misery. Thousands of players spending countless hours every day pushing for a digital rank that might not even matter cause it’s not Challenger. Unless you’re Rank 1, you’ll never be satisfied. You hit Silver. “Yeah but ur not gold lol.” You hit Gold. “Yeah but ur not Plat lmao.” You hit Platinum. “Yeah but ur not Diamond you low elo scum.” You hit Diamond. “Yeah good luck getting to Masters.” No matter how far you climb, people will find ways to move the goal post. People will find ways to hurt you most.

As a community, we are both the problem alongside our fellow streamers. For every game you finally decide, “Maybe it’s okay to int.” (Inting is the act of dying repeatedly in game on purpose to give the enemy team such a large gold advantage you lose.) You become part of the issue. Maybe you only do it once, but those nine other players see you feed, and will be closer to justifying that it’s alright. “It’s okay to ruin the experience for everyone else.”

Streamers obviously affect far more people, having a larger influence overall. They hold a responsibility that their actions, even if it may seem minor, can cause thousands of people to follow. I think the most obvious example to use is Tyler1. Years ago back when he was a toxic Draven one trick, people would follow in his foot steps. Not in a good way. Tyler1 would int if people didn’t follow his playstyle, made a mistake, or simply didn’t like the way he was talking to other people. Draven mains would go and follow Tyler1’s example, causing Draven mains to this day to be considered as one of the most toxic player base out there, despite Tyler1’s reform in being a better player.

While I do use Tyler1 as one of the biggest sources of toxicity, he is also a great example of what streamers and Riot need to do. Even though he is not perfectly “reformed”, he’s improved as a person. Riot keeps streamers who remain toxic and ruin the game for others because Riot believes bringing in an audience is more important rather than stabilizing the community. Time and time again, I’ll see the same streamer on Reddit running down midlane or calling people complete garbage and worthless. Riot’s response is minimal, fearing the ban will cost them money.

The longer Riot fears to ban those with the largest influence on their community, the faster toxicity will spread. Tyler1 is not perfect, even after his “reform” he’s been seen being toxic and inting, but it is far better than what he once was. Streamers need to be held to the standard they have a larger influence on their audience than they believe.

Games are meant to relax and have fun. Especially during these days where we’re not out in the sun. Take some breaks and go for a run. Be kind and now this article is done!

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