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‘Coup de Gueule’ (French for ‘rant’) is a feature about topics that make our blood boil. Warning: Might offend susceptibilities.
For those who don’t know, I am a bit of an old school gamer (*hint* offline). Yes, I was one of those who grew up without Internet. So my childhood was spent playing video games on my own, occasionally inviting friends to play with me at home. While gaming could be a reasonably social activity when you had someone else sitting next to you, let’s say that the idea I had of playing a video game back then involved the concept of alone time.
Now fast forward to 2016 and most of the games are online and social – social to the point that sometimes I wonder whether people are there to play or talk. If you had the chance to read my review of Smite, you probably already have an idea of how I feel about that. Play first, talk later – specially if you don’t have anything useful to say. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy playing with other people or don’t appreciate some healthy competition beyond AI. However, if I have to be completely honest, I wish most of the time they could just refrain from typing, at all. This was also one of the main reasons why I got bored of the very popular LoL (yes, I know there’s a ‘mute’ functionality, but that’s not the point).
Let’s be clear: Flaming is not nice. Even when you are supposedly right – yeah, that guy sucks, he’s a newbie, we know that. We are all newbies at some point. We are still newbies in many areas of our lives, and obviously, in many areas of these games. Flaming doesn’t help, and frankly, it just makes you look stupid. But there is worse, oh there is so much more depth and complexity in this world of toxic players.
So let’s go further and analyze all of these different species, shall we? For the sake of better understanding, I have come up with a very unique nomenclature of my own.
Species 1 – The One Who (genuinely) Thinks He Can Play
We all met this one. He can’t play very well (let’s put it nicely) but he strongly believes his gaming skills are flawless. He might have been playing that specific game for a while, which contributes to his strong belief that he is a sort of example to follow.
I’d say we could have the following subspecies.
a) The one who (genuinely) thinks he knows more than you because he has watched the ‘pros’ on YouTube
Typical statement along the lines of, but not limited to:
“Go learn how to play. Check the ‘pros’ on YouTube!”
Ok, so last time I have checked a game was still a game. And for me, a game is something I do on my free time, in order to have fun. It’s part of my leisure time, ok? The only kind of research and ‘studying’ I want to be doing is a short introduction tutorial. That’s it. You are not supposed to follow a how-to extensive guide in order to play a game. You should just do it! Which brings up another point: The fact that the most fun of a game is to actually discover it, and most of all, discover YOUR way to do things. Surely, ‘pros’ have found their ways of doing things, and it worked for them. But what is the fun in ‘watching’ what others have done? To me, it’s very similar to the concept of finding a solution of a puzzle before bothering to do it yourself.
Game, this is a game! No, thanks, I have no interest in watching the ‘pros’ on YouTube for learning purposes – This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching gaming videos okay, YouTubers? Keep ’em coming.
b) The one who (genuinely) thinks his team ‘sucks’ and he’s the only one who doesn’t
You, my friend, are one of a kind. How unfair life is, when all of your team members ‘suck’, and you almighty one, incapable of saving the world on your own? Oh, cruel world, cruel fate!
Aham, we all know this one. The rule normally goes like this: The one complaining about his teammates, is normally the one who is actually playing the worst.
c) The one who (genuinely) thinks he’s giving good tips
This one is really difficult to deal with, because they can come in two different forms: nice and rude. The rude form will verbally attack you from the very beginning and give you very specific instructions / orders that he expects you to follow. Usually, he only shows up when your team is losing. The nice variant will try to genuinely help you, however his tips are incredibly inaccurate as well, and will only make the whole team’s life more difficult.
If you are a newbie, you will probably think this person is right, and you even might take his advice into account – or you can be lucky, have a more experienced player in your team that will decide to intervene. If you are an experienced player and call him out on his bullshit, he might take the rude form.
In my opinion, this is one of the worst type of players you can find because they are not only ruining new players’s experience, they are also preventing them from gaining an accurate understanding of the game.
d) The smurf who (genuinely) thinks he’s good, however only plays with lower levels
Again, this is very typical. Someone creates a smurf account. This someone in specific was never very good to start with; however with his smurf account he thinks he’s the best because he plays against low levels. Of course, he will be better than a new player who has just started a game, and he will try to even make you feel bad about it!
New players, ignore these. Simply enjoy the game and the gradual understanding that comes with it.
Warning: Species 1 can also, occasionally, evolve into Species 2.
Species 2 – The One Who Gets Personal
Ooh, you won’t want to find this one. This person will get aggressive, and eventually, potentially banned. These are the ones who you can just mute instantly because whatever they have to say is not even related to the game.
Most of them are trolls, but some of them are actually people who basically don’t know how to handle a game. So yes, some of them are actually crying and banging their head against the screen.
a) The Racist and/or Xenophobic
They will insult your race, or your country, or both, make use of any possible stereotypes, and spend the duration of the game typing instead of playing. There is not yet a scientific explanation for what triggers this type of behavior.
b) The Sexist
If he happens to suspect you are a girl, he can either tell you that you suck because you are a girl (plain rude form) or kindly offer to teach you (fake nice form). Hint: Do not accept his offer, because he normally has nothing useful to teach.
c) The Sexist Pervert (aka OMG-I-have-never-seen-a-girl-before)
Very similar to The Sexist, except he will use graphic language. He will probably ask you ‘n00ds’ too.
Species 3 – The Self-proclaimed Pro
Ok, fair enough, this guy / girl is actually an experienced player who knows what he is doing. Most of us will get there, eventually. Now, the real question is, how toxic do you want to be when you get there? Self-proclaimed pros can include gamers who either excelled at a particular game or never actually excelled (and probably never will) but are reasonably good at it.
The species featured here, of course, belongs to the toxic players category, but this doesn’t mean all experienced players are toxic. In this case, the self-proclaimed pro will brag endlessly about his achievements and will lose his patience if you do a rookie mistake twice.
From my experience, it’s more common to find this species among the ones who have never completely mastered the game (despite having played it for years), and I guess, feel somehow frustrated about it. The result is that many will be intolerant towards newbies and potentially display behavior from any of the species described above.
I just want to finish this (genuinely) insightful article by saying that despite my light tone, it does make me sad that there are so many toxic players out there. I also want to point out that you do find non-toxic and grown ups, occasionally, in some online gaming communities, and that we are not ALL bad. We should keep fighting to improve the online experience for us all.
We were all newbies one day.We were all newbies one day. Click To Tweet