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What Does Toxic Mean In Gaming?

We’ve encountered people in gaming who bring with them a positive attitude and influencing the entire community in a wholesome way. But there are those who’re just there for one thing and that’s to ruin the gaming experience for everyone.

Just like in real life, video game culture is surrounded by good people and toxic people. The latter is what we will be discussing today. And if you haven’t experienced toxicity in gaming, maybe you’re the one bringing the toxicity.

What Does Toxic Mean In Gaming?

Toxicity In Gaming What Does Toxic Mean In Gaming

As in real life, toxicity in gaming has the same meaning and implication. A toxic gamer is driven by negativity and influences the entire gaming community with their attitude.

A toxic player is not there to play games. He or she is there to ruin the entire gaming experience for everyone around them. Toxicity is not only limited to verbal abuse but also through other means, but we’ll go more into that later on in the article.

How Can You Tell You’re A Toxic Player?

In any online gaming context, toxic players are rampant but it’s also important that you’re not contributing to the overall toxicity. If anyone tells you that the video game they’re playing is not toxic, then they’re probably lying most of the time.

By doing any of the actions listed below, you’re probably heading into the realm of toxic behavior or you might not have been aware of the fact that you might have ruined someone else’s gaming experience.

If you want to know for yourself that you’re not a toxic gamer, here’s how you can determine if you’re one.

Harassment

There’s no room for harassment of any kind towards anyone in the gaming community. Harassment is a persistent form of verbal abuse that results in the victims developing depressive or suicidal thoughts.

A lot of video game companies are always on the lookout for toxic players, and harassment just so happens to be the number one thing they look for. Sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, and even to the point of issuing death threats to other players and/or game developers are all punishable by law as well.

Cheating

Cheating in single player games and offline games is negligible because you’re not exactly playing with other people. But multiplayer games are a different story. Toxic gamers love to gain a competitive advantage, especially when ranked games are involved.

Cheating doesn’t necessarily mean using cheat codes or hacks. There are times when online games are exploited for their bugs, and players use this to their advantage.

Telling People They’re Posers Or Not Real Gamers

Verbal abuse in gaming starts with someone telling another person that they’re not real gamers. Not everyone who plays multiplayer games are dedicated to playing the game 24/7. There are people out there who just take a couple of hours a day after work or school to chill and play.

Insulting and Provoking People

Friendly banter may be a part of the entire experience with online multiplayer games, but there are times when some people will just cross the line. You’ll know when you’ve insulted someone when they take what you said personally.

Provocation is also part of a toxic gamer’s arsenal of verbal abuse, and we’re not talking about the Taunt or Provoke skills that Tanks use in MMORPGs. Provocation means that you want to have an actual confrontation with a player, or group of players. You are trying to get them all riled up negatively.

You know you’re not going to be affected by what they say, so the point of you trying to insult or provoke people is that you find pleasure or joy in doing so.

Camping

Camping has varied definitions, but is mostly done in first-person shooting games or FPS. The first definition of camping is when you’re waiting on another player to respawn before you kill them again. You don’t give them a chance to recoup their lost items or regroup with their teammates. You’re just there to give them a hard time.

Another definition of camping is when you find a spot to pick off easy targets, and doesn’t necessarily have to be where the enemy players are respawning. For example, in Call of Duty, camping is done by hiding in a very advantageous spot and is not directly noticeable by the enemy team.

Rage Quitting

Rage Quit What Does Toxic Mean In Gaming

Rage quitting in a multiplayer game is the equivalent of walking out of someone in the middle of something. Toxic gamers often find it easy to just quit while the game is still ongoing because they’re not doing as well as they’d expect, or they don’t want to waste time with the current match.

More often than not, rage quitters don’t have a sense of accountability. They blame everyone for the mistakes they’ve made, and rather than just own up to them and being a better player, they quit.

When you’re playing online, you better be ready to get called out by people in case you make mistakes. This is part of the competitive nature in any online gaming context. Smurfing

Smurfing is another common way of being toxic. Smurfing is when you make an alternate account and play against low ranking players in a competitive game. A lot of players usually smurf to gatekeep certain rank. Gatekeeping happens when players do not provide other players the opportunity to move up in ranking.

This is common in a lot of multiplayer games where ranked games and promotions are involved.

Boosting Or Match Fixing

Boosting or match fixing happens in an online match when two friends play against one another. These two friends will kill or beat one another to earn quick points, or to give their teams an unfair advantage. Because of the advancements made in matchmaking for online games, this form of boosting is now becoming sparse.

Another form of boosting is when a high skilled player takes over another account and plays on their behalf. This is common in games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and other games with a very competitive scene. For a small price, you can get paid to boost someone else’s account. This practice is frowned upon and is often illegal in the gaming world.

What Are The Other Forms of Harassment and Abuse Displayed By a Toxic Gamer?

Griefing What Does Toxic Mean In Gaming

Harassment in video games does not limit to being sexual in nature. Not all players will berate someone for their sexual orientation, but you will find a lot of them to just turn a blind eye (or deaf ear) to these harassments.

Listed below are the different forms of abuse that toxic players left and right carry out in video games.

Flaming and Raging

Flaming and raging go hand in hand and happens when toxic players lose control over their emotions. Raging is an exaggerated form of provocation and insulting, so much so that it’s not uncommon for the flamer to issue death threats.

Flaming doesn’t necessarily have to carry out insults as well. Constantly complaining about other players is another form of flaming. When these toxic players are on the receiving end of a constructive criticism, they’ll think that you’re also constantly complaining about them as well.

Swatting and Doxing

Swatting What Does Toxic Mean In Gaming

Doxing and swatting are two common forms of Internet abuse and is not limited to gamers. Even professional streamers are on the receiving end of these forms of abuse.

Doxxing or doxing is the intentional spread of private information to the public without permission from the owner. personal information such as address or real name (if the streamer or gamer has not revealed it) are the common pieces of information doxxed by toxic players.

Swatting is a form of online prank that gets you in trouble with the law. This is where you call the SWAT on another player’s address. SWAT members often end up breaking through the door, so there are a lot of people affected by the prank. Swatting is counted as making prank calls to the police, and when proven, you could go to jail for it.

Griefing or Trolling

Another way for players to carry out toxicity in gaming is to grief or troll other players. Griefing and trolling often go hand in hand, and is when gamers would intentionally perform bad to bring down the entire team.

For example in League of Legends, intentionally feeding the enemy team is a form of griefing and many players frown upon this kind of toxicity. Many other gamers would immediately quit the game as soon as they find out they’re teamed up with a griefer.

Thankfully, video game developers such as Riot Games have anti toxicity initiatives in place that prevent more players to become griefers and trolls. There are also gaming communities out there that are proactive in curb stomping toxicity in gaming and will mass report toxic players as soon as they’re reported by their members.

Hate Speech

Video games are not without hate speech, and one of the many anti toxicity initiatives developed by game companies and communities are geared towards preventing hate speech from proliferating.

Hate speech is anything that addresses certain groups, race, and sexual orientation. Calling these groups by their derogatory names is considered hate speech.

Physical Threats and Unnecessary Aggressive Behavior

When gamers start to issue physical threats or death threats against other gamers, then you know that player is toxic. Unnecessary aggression can also stem from flaming and raging, and when two players go head-to-head in a heated argument, it’s not going to end up well for either of them.

Being Toxic Is A Choice

Believe it or not, people choose to be toxic gamers. It’s one of those things that cannot be avoided, and sometimes, people will choose to be toxic whenever certain elements are in a particular video game.

These elements are:

  1. Competitive nature – Whenever a game has a ranked match or anything that has people fighting their way to the top, you’re going to see a lot of toxicity left and right.
  2. Anonymity – Gamers relish in the fact that video games help keep their identities private, and not a lot of video game companies are utilizing a system that Blizzard has for their launcher called RealID. This is probably the biggest reason why gamers are toxic towards other gamers.
  3. Negative Cultural Exposure – Toxicity in gaming often stems from culture. When a player has grown up in a toxic environment, he or she is more likely to display toxic behavior in game as well. They choose to be toxic in video games as opposed to displaying toxicity in real life because they can’t afford to do the latter.

Don’t Be Toxic. Period.

The bottom line is this. People play video games to chill, meet new friends, and to enjoy the game. When players are being toxic towards other players, the latter’s game experience is completely ruined. These victims of toxicity will choose not to play the video game anymore even.

You don’t become a better player when you’re being toxic. In fact, you’re only making yourself look bad when you’re being toxic.

James Stephenson

james stephenson profile picJames is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as a Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.