Massively Overthinking: Dealing with toxicity in MMO communities

This week’s Massively Overthinking comes to us from Kickstarter donor Dahui, who asks,

“What do you think MMO developers can do to try to minimize the toxic behaviors that are so prevalent in some of the bigger name MMOs?”

I posed Dahui’s question to the writers, and now I pose it to you.

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): The reality is that the internet allows people to evade the consequences of their actions. When there are people out there actually bullying others over the internet while remaining unpunishable or even completely anonymous, we can hardly expect everyone to be friendly in our online games. There have been cases in which the media and Twitter mob have ruined people’s lives and nobody was punished, to say nothing of those who have called SWAT teams or bomb threats on twitch streamers. In Northern Ireland, we used to call it “10p terrorism” when bomb threats were called in from public phone boxes, but the internet has made this free and given it global reach. Law enforcement worldwide has some catching up to do in tackling these most serious of cases.

That said, there are a few ways game developers might be able to eliminate abusive players and behaviour from their games. Using a buy-to-play business model rather than free-to-play would help put a price on consistently breaking the rules, and gameplay with long progression systems may make people value their game accounts more so that they’d be less willing to risk a permanent ban. I think Guild Wars 2 also stumbled on a nice recipe for making the community more friendly when they eliminated competition from normal gameplay by giving every player their own separate full reward for every monster or event they fight.

The vast majority of toxic behaviour in MMOs stems from competitive gameplay or difficult group gameplay, both of which place your success partly in the hands of other players. There’s always a temptation in team games to blame your teammates for your losses rather than admitting that you made a mistake or were simply outplayed, and that naturally leads to toxic behaviour. League of Legends has seen some success in battling this by handing out automated temporary chat bans for infractions and giving the players report cards showing exactly what they did wrong and how to avoid escalating punishment. The vast majority of those who receive such a ban reportedly reform their behaviour, and that means fewer cases for the GMs to handle.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): To a degree, they can’t. Some people create toxicity wherever they go, and after they’re inside a game, there’s nothing developers can do but weed them out, one by one, an extremely expensive process. It’d be nice if every MMO studio could throw bajillions of dollars at the community problem the way Riot Games is doing, but instead we’ll have to be content with learning from Riot’s research.

In the meantime, I’d like to see MMO studios work on prevention. Some games actively seek miscreants as their core constituency, and once your community has been tainted by or overrun by toxic players, it’s almost too late to salvage it. We need to start in the beginning, in the alphas and betas of video games. Devs need to stop the swarming behavior on their forums and streams and social media early on, demonstrate that asshattery is unwelcome, and prevent that culture of toxicity from ever forming in the first place. That can come from within the game, with game mechanics designed to reward good behavior and cooperation, and it can come from without, too: Studios like Daybreak and Trion have gone so far as to block players from their games based on bad behavior outside of them.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): One of the things that I’ve been thinking about over time is that a lot of it comes from treating other players as fundamentally resources. This isn’t a mindset unique to any specific game style; it’s just that relying on other players more directly and visibly narrows your focus. If no one has crafted the sword you want to buy and started selling it on the auction block, you’re annoyed with crafters in general; if you’re in a dungeon with a specific player who is not making a run easy, you’re annoyed with Craig.

There’s no easy solution, but there are tools to minimize toxic behaviors, and one of those is to not make the only possible route to advance in the endgame amount to “get locked in a room with seven to 39 other players repeatedly every week so that your success relies upon them even if you know what you’re dong.” It’s also exceedingly good form to have systems for commending other players, offering praise for those who do things well and keep players motivated to be kind to others. Encouraging positivity and allowing players to choose their own means of advancement both make the game more pleasant for the people playing it.

A lot also depends on how a game’s community is moderated, just the same. EVE Online has a contentious and nasty environment not just because of the mechanics that encourage self-serving competition but also because the studio behind the game actively encourages players to be cutthroat and rewards members of the community who do so. The punishments given to offending players tell players what the designers want the game to be, so it falls on the side of the studio to determine what sort of environment they ultimately want to encourage.

Jef Reahard: Toxic behavior is present wherever humans are present. There is no effective (or cost-effective) way of stopping undesirable behavior, and that’s assuming we can all agree on what “undesirable” behavior actually is, which is unlikely in today’s politically correct America.

Someone will probably say that we should do away with internet anonymity, but no, we shouldn’t because there are no data that show that to be an effective deterrent, especially given the ease of IP spoofing, acquiring unlimited numbers of F2P accounts, etc.. And of course like any other draconian big brother remedy, removing anonymity can and does cause more harm to the rule followers than the rule breakers.

TLDR, /addignore the toxic people and move on with your gaming.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Egads, that’s not an easy order to fill, is it? Unless you want to go so far as to eradicate in-game chat and all forums so people cannot interact at all, there is always going to be some level of toxicity thanks to the nature of humans and the internet. However, I do think there are steps that can mitigate it to a fair degree. These include an easy report system (click on the name, don’t make me have to hunt through a slew of UI windows!) with real people manning complaints who can actually look into problems, an account-wide block ability, and easy-to-use chat filters. There needs to be a no-tolerance policy for harassment that is strictly enforced and serious repercussions for false reporting. Forum behavior should affect access privileges to the game and vice versa; be a troll in one spot, can’t access the other either.

Oh, and devs need to never exhibit a “gamers will be gamers” attitude that excuses vile behavior as just a part of gaming. That just sets the whole tone for a game.

Beyond that, the ability to totally turn off other players (their chat, their visual presence, everything) as a block feature would be pretty snazzy! I am talking levels from just specifically named folks on a block list to show only guild members — all the way up to the point that no one even shows up on your screen unless he or she is on your friends list!

Tina Lauro (@purpletinabeans): Developers can only do so much about toxic players without nannying us to the point of ruining the social experience that’s supposed to be a big part of MMOs. They most definitely should monitor player interactions and have a robust reporting system in place, but I think the real answer might lie within the community. Players can deal with issues more directly since they’re the ones who are a part of the social experience, and every time someone pipes up or kicks someone from a group to quell any toxicity, they make that social experience better. As I’ve mentioned before, I liked rating party members anonymously in World of Warcraft and would like to see further iteration on that kind of community-led rating system going on in MMOs. That way, we’d have a good idea of how someone has previously conducted themselves in our favourite game before deciding to party up or guild invite them.

Patreon Donor Roger: To me it’s a simple answer: community managers and reachable GMs. They are the frontline of defense against toxic behavior. The next step would be community tools like reporting and blocking and people who can investigate the reports. These have proven to me that they work well in lowering toxicity as long as the company is willing to or can put in the resources to dedicate to the community team.

Your turn!

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163 Comments on "Massively Overthinking: Dealing with toxicity in MMO communities"

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syberghost
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syberghost

TiaNadiezja if you don’t mind losing coverage when somebody is sick or vacationing, that requires a minimum of six people for EACH position you’d like covered. So 30 people to implement your plan. If you DO mind losing that coverage, you need a minimum of 36.

How do you envision incorporating that into the budget without a corresponding loss of funds for some other purposes?

TiaNadiezja
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TiaNadiezja

Park someone in each major social zone. Actively moderate, instead of waiting for player reports. If a free IRC channel can keep a few ops in the room all the time, Cryptic can have somebody in each of Drozana, Earth Spacedock, First City, and Alpha and Beta Quadrants to actively moderate chat.
On multishard games this might be less effective.

Hallon
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Hallon

mandodo69 Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a bit of in-game toxicity in the guild roulettes of FFXIV towards players who either make mistakes or are newbies. Sucks, because there is no easy way in that game to report someone while you’re playing.

OwenWells
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OwenWells

sray155 Vorender Actually I’ve found the EVE community to be one of the most welcoming and helpful communities I’ve ever been in, however I would also say you need to approach it in the right mindset.  Expecting it to be the same and work the same as all the others is going to get you nothing more than a kick in the ass as you storm out the door but be able to show you understand and accept the core principles and people will fall over backwards to help you out.

I wouldn’t hesitate to push Signal Cartel for players in any way interested in exploration but there’s a ton of others who also welcome and support new players, some of which are supported by the biggest alliances around.
Examples include RvB, Brave Newbies, EVE Uni., Karmafleet (Goonswarms newbie alliance) and Pandemic Horde (same thing but for Pandemic Legion).

TLDR Show you get where we’re coming from and we’re a lot nicer than you might think.  There also a ton of newbie friendly outfits.

Zardoz1972
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Zardoz1972

That is an extremely insightful comment. I do realize it. But in my mind there are only 2 options in life. You handle the problem or someone else handles it for you. I prefer to be self-sufficient. When I would go to this one gym you were verbally abused from the moment you came in till you put a few people in their place. What was I supposed to do complain to management and be labeled weak? Life is about overcoming to me. It’s the Old School way. I”m 43. Tough it out. Beat the trolls down with verbal judo. (Police term).

syberghost
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syberghost

Zardoz1972 the irony here is that you don’t even realize what that environment has done to your personality.

ForceChuckle
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ForceChuckle

Sorenthaz ForceChuckle jonny_sage I have been meaning to finally check out Smite.  Thanks for the reply. :)

Mynxee
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Mynxee

Maybe players themselves can make a difference, especially in sandbox games like EVE. My EVE corp operates according to a credo based on respect for others and their play styles, peaceful exploration, and other honorable qualities. Our credo is the core of our culture and is a huge challenge to foster and live by in EVE Online but it’s giving us a lot of opportunities for interesting and fun gameplay precisely because we are taking the path less traveled–with a vengeance :P As our corp membership growth velocity suggests, it resonates with a lot of players both newbros and bittervets. As an example of how we think about and apply the credo, check out this fireside chat recently published to address questions from our members: 

The Signal Cartel Credo in Practice: Fireside Chats from evescout

Loyheta
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Loyheta

As long as there is anonymity there won’t be a way. All you really can do is grab those you like and wall off the scum. (I have a great Free Company (guild) and plenty of great linkshells (basically chat groups) in FFXIV. I have two general chats, one with and one without shout (zone chat).

Dragonchirps
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Dragonchirps

(darn editing time period…)
 3.) Toxicity that is allowed to thrive without social or moderator objection will breed more toxicity. Think about it. If you occasionally come across dog poop on the sidewalk, you’ll go, “Eww”. What a jerk to let their dog poop here! I’ll be responsible and clean my dog’s poop up! If you come across a sidewalk covered in dog poop, you’ll still think, “Eww”, but hey, why pick up your dog’s poo when the sidewalk is already a mess, right? So you leave your poop and don’t even notice because it’s the new standard, and you don’t think you’re part of the problem.

Dragonchirps
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Dragonchirps

1.) I’m slightly offended an image from Glitch is used as the cover image for an article for toxic communities, considering it was the best online community I’ve ever been apart of (and to a degree, since we refuse to disband, still am.)

2.) I disagree with the numerous FTP vs. sub posts below. In every population, a certain percentage of those people are going to be turds. The higher the population, the greater number of turds there will be. In a low population game like Glitch, I think there was literally 1-2 people that thrived on dissonance out of the thousands that played. I didn’t see them often because we played at different times. If there is a higher population, then the odds that the turds will be online at the same time as you or in your area increases.
I think the type of game has far more to do with how the players act then the pay type. Competitive games pit players against each other, so of course there’s going to be a higher incidence of players butting heads or trying to gain an advantage in unsportsmanlike ways. In cooperative games that goes down as players aren’t competing against each other for points or resources. I also think games that support and encourage the roleplay community tend to have less toxicity due to the nature of the interlaced community, and tends to socially govern itself, even if it does have its fair share of drama.
“I’m gonna join the RP server. I don’t RP, but the players there are usually more mature.” Seriously, how many of us has seen this typed out on a forum? I’m betting quite a few. A sense of community and cooperation is what keeps toxicity level low, not the pay model.

Neo_Wolf
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Neo_Wolf

When people are anonymous they are brave and therefore outspoken and without filter, and when those people are of all ages you get all measure and type of stupidity spilling out of their mouth’s from time to time.  Such is the internet.

However, that all said ALL MMO’s have CoC’s (Codes of Conduct) on acceptable behaviour and EVERYONE whether they realise it, read it or not AGREED to abide by it.  As such, people have little recourse to complain when companies hold them accountable for their behaviour, sadly however unless someone is TOTALLY O.T.T then most companies don’t say anything, they don’t want to rock the boat as largely they just want your money not your hassle.

For me personally if it were me, well money has never been a large driving force in my decision making but decency has. (maybe its a brit thing) but I like good manners, I like decent people, I like politeness.  And if people are jerks and behave poorly or speak inappropriately then I would go with a three strikes policy, you get a warning, then a stern warning then your gone. period, done.  If people cannot conduct themselves in a decent rational courteous manner amongst other people then they should be prevented from being among other people until they understand and learn how.

Too many people these days happy just to let things pass imo, people need to be held accountable for what they say and do.

greywolfe_joystiq
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greywolfe_joystiq

Sobach sray155 
i’d like to add on to sray155 post, because it closely mirrors my own perspective.
part of the problem i have with [especially] modern mmo’s is that they’re all built on the raid-or-bust model and i find that pretty sad.  there’s lots of different types of player – some are oriented towards exploration.  some are oriented towards achievement hunting.  some are oriented towards the boss kill – and yet, the only place to “get good loot” is from the raid path.
there really ought to be more to mmorpg’s than just that one path.  and this is just one of my bones of contention with modern design.
and this is just part of what exacerbates the actual problem going on in the over thinking piece:  even in raid contexts, people can be massive jerks, so, just saying, “everyone must be forced into groups” really doesn’t even solve the issue.
even back when there were no raid finders or dungeon finders, there was always “that one guy.”  and you know he existed.  the guy who, when the 0.02% mount dropped and everyone had made a verbal agreement to “greed” for it, because that was fair, he just shrugged and rolled “need” and ninja’d it right out from under you.
so, no.  forced grouping doesn’t even solve the jerk problem.
what it does do, though, is pull people like sray155 and i out of even wanting to try that kind of content, because either:  we’ve been around the bush and seen that or we’re just not into “that social aspect” of mmorpg’s.  and again.  that should be fine and ok, assuming the developers build “many paths to loot” [which they don’t do.]
and the thing is, we’re silent.  but there’s probably a lot of us.  one of the reasons you don’t hear from us is exactly because we’re often not really into dealing with others.  but we’re there.  i promise.
moreover, as i get older, i’m finding that i’d prefer my gaming sessions – if i do them with other people – to be with close friends in small groups so that we can have fun together.  large scale things can be fine on occasion, but i’ve become less and less a fan of them, because they’re not intimate and because it’s like herding cats.
and we all know things end when you herd cats.
plus:  being in a small group that i know well automatically takes care of the jerk problem.  [not, again, that i do this a whole lot, because i’m mostly a solo player.]

sray155
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sray155

Sobach sray155 greywolfe_joystiq First, I apologize for my sarcasm as it was antagonistic and uncalled for. 

My “more and more” and other such terms come from being a regular on MMORPG forums for years, and from coming to this site everyday, and seeing and increasing number of posts on a regular basis, even from this very site’s editor in chief, talking about how burying pinnacle PvE progression in raids is an old style of design that many aging players don’t have time for in world with far more online entertainment options than existed when MMORPGs first started. 
I use these types of terms because of watching the explosion in the popularity of “drop in drop out” online games. 
And from reading articles, very often from this site, that talk about how much of the success of those games come from how gamers have less time, or are less willing to spend a great deal of time in a video game.

I have no idea what these “single player games with chatrooms” are that you’re talking about are, because virtually every themepark MMORPG I’ve ever played, or that I even know of, puts the top end PvE gear as raid exclusive only. I like playing a video game in a virtual world, surrounded by other players, where my actions or words can affect those around me; but I don’t like being forced into group content in order to progress my character. Please tell me an MMORPG where I can continue to progress my character at the max level to the pinnacle of progression without raiding, because I honestly don’t know of one.

I understand where you’re coming from. The top notch gear represents something to you: it’s an achievement. From your perspective, the best stuff is a trophy.

But now I ask that you try to see a different perspective. Where players like me are coming from.

Here’s where the fundamental difference of opinion lies: there are people who play video games that are “achievement oriented”: they play for competition, or to get a sense of accomplishment; and these are their priorities over entertainment. 
And then there are those who are “activity oriented”: they play to be entertained; and that’s their priority over any sense of accomplishment. 
It’s not a black or white: getting new stuff, and becoming more powerful is definitely fun and entertaining. Conversely, if someone is not enjoying the game they’re playing, then they’re not going to get any sense of accomplishment out of anything in it. .

Right now, MMORPGs that place the pinnacle of PvE progression in raiding favor the “achievement oriented” interest group, leaving “activity oriented” players on the sidelines. There really are no MMORPGs that don’t do this right now; not a single one that I can think of. Maybe Trove… I don’t know, I haven’t really played it much… But as things are right now, once you hit the level cap in a themepark MMORPG, a non-raider very quickly gets capped out on vertical progression, while the raiders continue on.

My point is that there are players who want the activity of progression in an MMORPG, and they aren’t concerned with whether or not it represents a great accomplishment. They’re not looking to be handed top notch gear for nothing, and are very willing to “work for it”, but it’s not about gaining a sense of achievement: it’s about enjoying the process of progression. There are people, such as myself, who do not enjoy large scale group content: for most of those I speak to it has far more to do with losing the freedom to play how they enjoy because of the commitment to other players (I like to get up to go pee when it suits me, not when it’s convenient for 19 other people), rather than anything to do with “difficulty” or “challenge”. When progression gets buried behind unenjoyable content, gamers such as myself do get upset and wish that there were more MMORPGs being built for those who want solo or small group character progression without large time commitments to other players.

I’m sorry for this wall of text, but the issue is nowhere near as simple as “you just want easy mode” on one side, or “you’re just elitist jerks” on the other.

Sobach
Guest
Sobach

sray155 Sobach greywolfe_joystiq 
continuing on because I missed the edit window….
In short, ask yourself what would happen if solo progression is made
to be as hard as group progression is, and group progression made into
easy mode, with both having the same reward.

And then ask yourself again how much it was about solo vs group play, and how much it was really about difficulty.

Also important to note here.  I’m not saying that every game should be this way – In fact, I pointed out earlier that there are plenty of MMOs these days that seems to cater to your play style.  It is YOU people who seems to be saying that every MMO instead should cater to YOUR playstyle.

Sobach
Guest
Sobach

sray155 Sobach greywolfe_joystiq 
No, and stop putting words in my mouth.  What I said is that players will go for the EASIER way to obtain the same reward if said easy path was available.  If the devs tuned the solo fight to be harder than the group fight, then people will flock to the group fight rather than the solo. 

You sure use a lot of “so many” ” more and more”  “huge number” “majority of” etc., may I see the survey or research you’re obviously basing your claims on?

From the rest of your post, it looks to me what you want is basically a single player game with chatrooms, frankly I think there are in fact more of those kind of MMOs out there than everything else, the endless parade of F2P games seems right up your alley.  Incidentally, there are certainly a lot of people these days that are coming out saying how devs should put contents in cash shops so those “have less time in their lives” can progress as well, by your logic every game should strive to be P2W as well!

sray155
Guest
sray155

Sobach greywolfe_joystiq Wait a second.. you’re saying that if developers stop burying the pinnacle of PvE progression behind massive group content that large groups of players will stop doing it? That’s crazy! It’s like saying that people would prefer to do something else that they find to be more enjoyable than raiding.

All sarcasm aside, it’s kind of the point of why so many people are coming out of the woodwork these days and saying “stop blocking my progression because I don’t want to raid”: more and more players are getting less and less enjoyment out of large scale, heavily scripted encounters that they have less time for in their lives. 

You’re damned right: if developers stopped burying the pinnacle of PvE progression behind raiding you would see huge numbers of players stop raiding. That kind of points out that there are large numbers of players who only raid because they want to continue to progress, not because they’re interested in competitive gaming, or because they find raiding enjoyable. 

Raiding as it exists right now is for people who want to “win the game”, even though these games can’t be won; but there is an audience that isn’t looking for that, but is very much interested in a persistent world, non-isolated single player experience: why can’t they have what they want? Not every MMORPG has to stop the “raid or GTFO” mode of endgame design, but would it kill the people who enjoy raiding admit that not every MMORPG needs to have it. God forbid that these games move away from a nearly 20 year old design model that does not work the majority of gamers in today’s world, and thus has stagnated the growth of MMORPGs for the last half decade.

Sobach
Guest
Sobach

greywolfe_joystiq Sobach 
That still doesn’t solve the fundamental issue I pointed out earlier, you’re still creating a system where solo progression is simply superior to group progression, ergo, group progression becomes redundant and pointless, as the vast majority of players always takes the path of least resistance.

And while you may not play the games competitively, plenty others do.  I don’t think you can dictate to others to how video games are meant to be played.  Take Eve Online for example, there’s nothing in that game that’s not competitive on some level, and even in pure PvE themepark MMO like FF14, there are definitely competitive scenes in endgame raiding and crafting.
This is nothing against solo players, I myself these days play mostly solo when I go on Eve, but I know fully well the limitations when I choose to do so, there are certain aspects and contents in the game I simply cannot compete when solo, and there’s nothing that can be done to change that without destroying that content.  Solo players can and do participate in group-centric MMOs, but if you turn every facet of the game into something that can just as easily be soloed, then it’s not really a group MMO anymore is it?

greywolfe_joystiq
Guest
greywolfe_joystiq

Sobach 
one way you can solve this problem is the way guild wars 1 did it:  they gave you ai henchmen that carried the “load” of doing healing and dps.  so, you’re still doing “group content” [if they don’t want to scale it down to one person] – but you’re doing it on your terms as a soloist using the tools available to you.
sure.  it’s a balance issue, but it can be solved.
and while you’re right about your analogy, it’s also a bit flawed.  while that’s a competitive setting, a video game is not [really] meant to be a competitive setting, ergo:  me showing up with my four npc henchmen or you showing up with your five person team should be an equally valid setup.
soloists do participate [in all kinds of ways] in your group-centric mmo’s.  they’re just not as vocal or as visible as folks who are more sociable.  and again, that should be fine.  there ought to be space for all sorts in an mmo.

EO_Lonegun
Guest
EO_Lonegun

Most toxic players just want to be heard, the easiest thing to combat them with is the mute feature. Another thing is to not engage them in conversation as it goes no where and it ends up making you look like any other toxic player.

mandodo69
Guest
mandodo69

Im glad FF XIV ARR community is great and non toxic.

You guys wanna see toxic? Go to the forums section for any game here : http://www.mmorpg.com/

Ceder
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Ceder

Another side of the coin that wasn’t well addressed is that “Toxic” is also a label that is now being more commonly used by studios that desire to suppress criticism of them games.  It is “toxic” to their profit margin in that regard.  Additionally, players now are using it similarly to label others they don’t agree with or other similar things no different than how the “Troll” label can be used as well.

And while I do agree with some of the thoughts posted in the article that there is a certain amount of bad dynamics that is groomed by game design or studio-player interactions, the accountability for such seems to have much of the weight on the player instead of the studio.

Zardoz1972
Guest
Zardoz1972

What is “toxic”? Free for all PVP looting? Training? Stealing loot? Most of the Old School “toxic” behaviors has been removed. All we have left are words? Someone called you a name? Aww, go cry. Toughen up people. You can fight back against anyone that verbally “harasses” you or “bullies” you. The only time I ever report anyone is if I know they are a pussy and they will try to report me 1st. Lets just verbal PVP and stop crying to Devs or Mods. I’m not scared of words. Many of you seem to be. Guess you do not ride the subway in Brooklyn every day like I do.

MikedotFoster
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MikedotFoster

CharcoalCrow MikedotFoster Aww thanks!

Wolf_Mother67
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Wolf_Mother67

Kageokami, oTQ They exist to those who care. 

That’s why after getting into a game I work hard at finding a friendly guild. I can at least get away from azzhats that way.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

MikedotFoster I feel like I knew this, but didn’t at the same time, so:
Congratulations on your new digs :D

Sobach
Guest
Sobach

greywolfe_joystiq Peregrine_Falcon

That’s a rather faulty logic.  The sub/box fee is for the access to the MMO, and nothing else.  It doesn’t grant you automatic passage to bypass the rules and regulations in the game.  Just like people who pay the entry fee for an autocross event, the fee allows you to participate in the race per the rules and regulations, it doesn’t mean you can take your STS car and compete in the Stock category.
In some games, the rules may involve forced grouping for certain contents, this is a design & balance decision.  You are not required to participate in it, but if you want to, then you must follow the rule.  Saying that solo players should have everything that group plays have access to or “make dungeons and raids solo-friendly” sounds nice on the surface, but when you look at it from a design and balance perspective, what you’re really saying boils down to “both solo and group gameplay needs to yield the same reward”.
This presents several problems.  First is difficulty – no matter how tightly they tune the fight, a group fight that demands the same amount of proficiency from the participants will always be more difficult than their solo counterpart, if for no other reason than the fact that the group fight inherently have more points of failure, this will make the solo option the default go-to mode for the fight.  Beyond that,  this would be especially problematic for MMOs that utilizes the trinity setup – how will the dev create a fight that works for Tanks, who can’t deal much damage or heal, and healers, who can’t deal or take much damage, or DPS, who can neither take the hits or heal themselves?  Would the devs now have to create 4 versions of the same fight?
Of course, you can remove the issue with solo modes being preferential by removing or reducing the reward from the solo version, but that wouldn’t be “access to everything” now would it?  This is the what these line of arguments usually boils down to, people asking that solo content should offer the same reward as group, but not realizing that by doing so they are also asking to eviscerate the relevancy of group content at the same time.

Grimmtooth
Guest
Grimmtooth

Sorenthaz Grimmtooth There is room for many different types of games. I don’t think all game should adopt all of these ideas. I was making suggestions of things that could be done to remove toxicity.
I think the lack of defined roles in GW2 is what leads to everything being a zergfest.
Open targeting, individual crafting nodes, no factions and instanced only PvP are all things that remove opportunities for toxic/grieving behavior. 
Did all of these ideas appeared in other games first, yes they did, but They were put into GW2 specifically to counter toxic behavior.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

sray155 Estranged Fair enough.  Good discussion.  :-)

sray155
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sray155

Estranged sray155 What that says to me is that it’s about the game and the way the developers have built it, promoted it, and the type of community they have fostered; and that was something you pointed out yourself when I used Call of Duty as an example. I’m saying that a toxic community has nothing to do with whether or not people are paying to get into the game.

MikedotFoster
Guest
MikedotFoster

One of the interesting things I’ve learned since moving to Riot is that (in League, at least),  the vast majority of toxic behavior tends to come from regulars player having a bad day rather than a collection of dedicated bastards (though they do exist, in smaller numbers). It’s also been interesting to see that bans and suspensions don’t necessarily reform behavior, and that many reported players don’t actually realize their conduct is inappropriate until someone tells them so.
The challenge is much more complex than we often realize. It’s just not possible to ban your way out of having toxic players. Studios need community measures, GM support, reform systems, and the ban-type options to really address the issue, and frankly it’s a huge investment. As players, it’s probably on us to communicate to studios that things like this are a bigger priority than new content (if that’s how we feel).

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

sray155 I dont believe either one of us can truly prove our point.  All opinion.  Neither one of us are correct in ALL situations.  My comment was a suggestion to be considered.  I could list how great the TSW community is, however.  That is an actually MMO.  Eve, the game is promoted as a cesspool, no surprises there…

Omedon
Guest
Omedon

Loxi Omedon And I’m legitimately happy for you in that regard, it’s of course possible in any situation where many people are sharing space, and will always be a side effect of that…  But MMOs seemingly have been rightfully shifting away from *focusing* on that for awhile: less dependency, more “one player at a time” systems and execution, with options available for groups-that-might-form-naturally to do things together, while not making those natural groups mandatory.

Polyanna
Guest
Polyanna

GW2 had at least some success by going to lengths to remove incentives for players to grief each other in group settings. When people get little or not reward for being assholes, it turns out that they behave badly a lot less often (or maybe all the assholes just go elsewhere, leaving only the non-assholes around). Where you reward people directly for productive, cooperative behavior, or at least deny them any reward for the opposite, people will behave about as well as can be expected in any social situation; not ideally, but at least not as badly.

CharcoalCrow
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CharcoalCrow

BalsBigBrother TomTurtle Oh yeah… I think solutions are to get people to be more social, themselves, by choice. But we also know that as soon as a <GM> tag shows up everyone starts the attention show. I bet as TomTurtle says, and you have also stated, that it works best in the small communities :)

sray155
Guest
sray155

Vorender A lot of people in this thread are pointing at free to play as the boogieman, but the article itself points to Eve Online as one of the biggest examples of a toxic community. In many subscription optional games, the guys who are paying behave far worse than free players: many of them believe that their money somehow gives them the right to be a douche, and shields them from consequences. Putting money into a game, whether via a purchase, subscription, or multiple microtransactions, does absolutely nothing to encourage civilized behavior.

greywolfe_joystiq
Guest
greywolfe_joystiq

Peregrine_Falcon 
if you read down below, i never suggested it should be “easy.”
if i go into a dungeon and it allows a solo mode [or if i go into a raid and it has a solo mode] it shouldn’t be a walk in the park.  as a soloist, i should be working toward that as much as you work toward a clear with a group.
but my point really is:  for the soloists [who aren’t crazy about grouping to begin with] there does need to be a viable way to obtain that stuff [be it achievements, gear, mounts, etc.]

Gangrel
Guest
Gangrel

Celestia Still didn’t stop american account holders from harrassing members of the EU roleplaying community though. And then it went to out of game harassment over on the Titan Network (city of faces) and beyond.
And this was due to “non competitive” gameplay.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

CharcoalCrow Yeah I get that but that may prompt an out is sight out of mind response from people.  Even when in reality they may well get punished later that doesn’t really help the poor sods who are trying to use chat legitimately but end up getting a torrent of abuse from the ass wipe.
The idea of a visible presence is more deterrent before such a thing happens rather than punishment after that fact. Much like seeing the police will moderate behaviour perhaps seeing a visible GM presence will do the same.  
Honestly I have no idea but it would be interesting to see if my Fallen Earth experiences were just a one off or if that type of approach would work else where in the right sort of environment :-)

Kageokami, oTQ
Guest
Kageokami, oTQ

If there is no real “policing” by gaming companies any more ( I think the Original SWG and the Original EQ had the best “on call mods” for this but, no more these days) and no “real repercussions or adjudication”, how can we expect “anonymous people” to behave?  It seems these days, that “good morals and ethics” are a thing of the past.

Peregrine_Falcon
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Peregrine_Falcon

greywolfe_joystiq – Nobody said you’re evil. I certainly don’t think you’re evil. I just disagree with your point of view.
I also happen to think that people who feel that they have “just as much right as you” to have epic gear, or whatever, without having to put a little bit of effort into it, are exactly the sort of selfish, entitled jerks who make MMO communities toxic in the first place.

dewdodu
Guest
dewdodu

As much as people like to hate on “toxic communities” that some really cool shit came from those things. We got e-sports from Dota+LoL its didn’t exactly started happening when they decide to cull their community and the exploits of players on EVE pulling off those officially sanction acts of scumbaggery has always been deeply satisfying. 
It also might be a stretch but if you see the internet as a game most what we know about the internet came from notorious community like 4chan, reddit, wikipedia,newgrounds,ED, and yes even tumblr. Think cats, rickroll, citation needed, all of the memes, and binding of Issac+meatboy. There is a tastefully done eroge made by /v which that involves dating amputees: she wants to hug me but she’s got no arms damn it.

On a day to day basis the following communities have been labeled toxic: Blues, Rock & Roll, Chess, HipHop, Comics, Gaming, Videogaming, MMOers, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Jews, white people, not white people, feminism,fat people, skinny people.

Its not that to there isn’t some truth to the idea asshole but its just always seem the biggest assholes are the ones who go against those things.In a private forum it make sense have moderators moderate but you also see tone police and minimods try to do that, don’t you think man those people are toxic.

greywolfe_joystiq
Guest
greywolfe_joystiq

Peregrine_Falcon 
i did, indeed, read your post.  my point wasn’t with you.  that’s your opinion.  my point is with the people who regularly spout that line of “but you’re a soloist and soloists are evil.”  we’re not.  we just have different goals and different playstyles to you.  we belong in the game as much as you do.

greywolfe_joystiq
Guest
greywolfe_joystiq

Dukeun 
am i paying $15 a month to access the mmo? [or the box price?]

then i’ve bought in.  and if i’ve bought in, then everything you get to see, i should be able to see, too.  it shouldn’t be “easy” [if there’s a solo mode for a raid and/or dungeon, i’d expect it to tax my character knowledge to the limit.]

Peregrine_Falcon
Guest
Peregrine_Falcon

greywolfe_joystiq – I wasn’t trying to tell you what you have a right to do or not do.
If you’d actually read my post you’d have noticed that I ended it with “in my opinion.” See, I have a right to one of those too.

greywolfe_joystiq
Guest
greywolfe_joystiq

Peregrine_Falcon 
sorry, no.
i have every right to be in your mmo.
i like persistence and i enjoy seeing other people around me.  i just don’t want to necessarily deal with the other people.  eg:  i like that i can “interact” with the server through finding rare recipes and/or mounts and then selling them on the auction house.  that’s “the right amount of interaction” for me.  can’t get that in a single player game.
sorry, but you don’t have the right to tell me which games i can and can’t play ;)

Dukeun
Guest
Dukeun

greywolfe_joystiq No, not every person deserves to experience content just because it’s in the game.  If you can’t meet the requirements, then the content should be locked to you, regardless if you’ve invested (time/money) into the game or not.  Whining because raiders have the best gear, or cooler looking stuff when the players has done nothing within to try to obtain it is beyond stupid.  That mindset is toxic to a mmo, not the others saying “get good” and are actively clearing content.

Peregrine_Falcon
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Peregrine_Falcon

greywolfe_joystiq – “For those of us who don’t want to be grouped with others…”
Should be playing single player games, not MMOs. MMOs are about gaming with other people. If you can’t handle dealing with other people you shouldn’t have access to the best loot or to fun dungeon raids.
In my opinion.

wolfyseyes
Guest
wolfyseyes

Well, firstly I’m not going to accuse you of a bloody thing, so there’s that. :3
On point, I would like to take your examples on a point by point basis, if I may.
“You’re annoying, piss off”. -As said above, hardly that intensely abrasive. That can be a pretty broadly agreed-upon ideal.
“I support Gamergate”. -A statement of opinion is hardly bannable, as inflammatory as the statement may cause things. Still, not bannable.
“White men deserve death” -Again, statement of opinion. Though I would suspect that it should cause a red flag, especially if that person stating would continue their flavor of social abrasiveness. Still, though, harder to pin that as harrassing behaviour, I will definitely contend.
Who am I to decide what is and isn’t acceptable? Nobody. Just a dude on a message board-ish thing with an opinion and more time on my hands than necessary. I am hardly a person to demand anything of anybody. All I’m doing is staring an opinion.
In an opinion piece.
Which was openly asked of by the post’s author.
:D

Peregrine_Falcon
Guest
Peregrine_Falcon

Dystopia Damonvile – I was simply trying to make the point that you can stop people from being dicks in real life. Society does it all the time. Of course it doesn’t always work which is why we have prisons.
Oh and Dystopia, in no way am I a bad-ass. If I was I wouldn’t have to own a gun.

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