Leaderboard: Which MMO gameplay type encourages the worst player behavior?

    
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One of the common tropes held by MMORPG players is that PvP, particularly free-for-all environments prone to ganks, generates the worst type of behavior. But while it may be more common for PvP, I have also witnessed absolutely wretched behavior from all types of players, including psychological abuse from roleplayers, to say nothing of plane-jumping, ninja-looting, and greed from PvE gamers. The problem in my mind isn’t PvP as much as it is conflict and competition, which is something most game types engender. I bet you’ve seen the same.

Making that point is a story from PCGamesN this morning, which reports on a World of Warcraft player who’s apparently been DDOSing teammates to ensure himself a raid spot in the well-known raiding guild Limit. Limit has since booted the player.

But I’m curious whether our readers are swayed by anecdotes like that one. Let’s take it to the polls for a quick Leaderboard, shall we?

Leaderboard: Which MMO gameplay type encourages the worst player behavior? (Choose three.)

  • Free-for-all PvP (32%, 270 Votes)
  • Battlegrounds / factional PvP (8%, 68 Votes)
  • PvE raiding / endgame loot (14%, 117 Votes)
  • Achievements / world firsts (4%, 30 Votes)
  • PvE questing / farming (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Global chat (10%, 88 Votes)
  • Roleplaying (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Economy / crafting (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Guild life (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Gearscore / DPS meters (20%, 169 Votes)
  • Cash shops (4%, 33 Votes)
  • Housing / territory (2%, 14 Votes)
  • None of these (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments). (2%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 397

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Sashaa

Non permadeath gameplay.

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Alex Malone

I voted for gearscore / dps meters.

Whilst bad behaviour is probably more common in pvp (though, I think it’s probably just more visible, rather than actually more common), games that have terrible vertical progression have resulted in the worst behaviour.

As a former guild- and raid-leader, this was very common. There is a certain breed of self-deluded gamer who think that good gear and being a good player are the same thing. They are typically quite dumb and have too much time on their hands, so they’ve managed to grind out the best gear simply through always being online. But, they’re still not very good.

As a raid-leader, it was my job to select the best teams possible for our progression raids. Whenever I had to turn these types of people down, they would go ape shit! They simply couldn’t process the fact that they were not good players, despite providing loads of evidence. They would blame absolutely everyone but themselves and occasionally go on rampages – stealing from the guild bank, trying to get people to leave the guild, trying to stage coups to get me kicked out, badmouthing the guild on official forums and general chat. Deeply harmful behaviour with lasting damage, all because they suffered from self-delusion.

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Zen Dadaist

Ooh this is tough. I can only speak from my own personal experiences, and I’ve found that in each and every one of those options the vast majority of folks have been fine – but there’s always been a handful of utter shitters that spoil it for everyone else. Every. Single. One.

I suppose the 3 where I’ve seen it a little more often than the rest would have to be FFA PvP, high-end raiding, and PvE farming. On average. While I’ve not had to deal with folks DDoSing others out of my raids (!) I have had arrogant egomaniacs who refuse to follow my rules and consequently make it much harder for everyone else, or try to ninjaloot by assuming that because they know the raid and have high DPS, they can circumvent the looting rules. Dirty tricks while farming are ten-a-penny as well. Training mobs on others, rounding up and leading away mobs, kill-stealing etc. And, of course, unstructured FFA PvP (by contrast I find structured team-based PvP to have less terrible behaviour).

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Zen Dadaist

I should have mentioned that I voted for Questing/Farming because of the farming more than the questing. That said quest mob greifing is a big thing.

Veldan
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Veldan

I voted FFA PvP, but I think the real bad behaviour enabler is freedom. Humans are trash (forgive the misanthropy) and given freedom a large part of them will be assholes towards one another. The only solution is rules and consequences for breaking them (which is why society has laws). So, I voted FFA PvP because there people typically have the most freedom to abuse.

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Space Captain Zor

Yep, all you have to do is watch The Walking Dead and you get plenty of examples of a certain type of gamer with no rules or consequences to govern their actions.

kjempff
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kjempff

Very much a question of game design and whether rules of conduct are enforced. Obviously on a broad perspective open/free pvp opens up for most possibilities of bad behavior, and anonymity (including hiding in the crowd of mega server and instances) plus competition to some degree.
It is mostly a question of consequence; community reputation mechanics, game rules/design, developer policing & rules enforcement is what define how players behave.
The 95% of players will have no problems setting their own behavior boundaries even if the game allows them to be nasty, it is the remaining 5% that needs to be regulated by game design (mostly) and policing.

Veldan
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Veldan

Exactly. It’s important to realize that bad behaviour is not a property of any of these gameplay types. Bad behaviour is a result of there not being enough consequences for bad behaviour, and most of that is in the game design.

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Utakata

Oh…I just realized I could of chosen two more. :(

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rafael12104

Hmm. PvP is low hanging fruit in this discussion, but I think it misses the mark. Anything, and I mean anything that is social or competitive opens the door to bad behaviour. And the anonymity allows anyone to walk on in.

So, PvE, yes. PvP, yes. But I’ve seen bad behaviour in crafting, Auction Houses, Gen Chat, etc. etc.

I’m not sure pointing out which gameplay type encourages the worst player behaviour does anything more that get the ire up between player types.

Sorry guys. No. It’s not the game play type that encourages bad behaviour, it is anonymity and the permissiveness of devs or moderators.

So, I would say, all types or none more than another.

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Peregrine Falcon

I can’t believe that this is an honest question. Anyone who plays MMOs, especially the folks at MOP, knows that the majority of toxic behavior comes from the PvP community.

PvPers brought us the term ‘carebear.’ A pejorative used by PvPers to describe PvErs. Are there any commonly used phrases used across the entire internet to describe any other of the MMO communities? No. Do the RPers have an insult to describe crafters? No. Do PvErs have an insulting term to describe raiders. No. But PvErs in every forum of every game know what carebear means. Why is that?

Because the PvP community is the most toxic MMO community on the internet.

Veldan
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Veldan

Oh please… there’s a reason the “gearscore / DPS meter” bar is the 2nd largest. It’s not because of the PvP community.

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Alex Malone

The PvEer equivalent of “carebear” is “ganker”.

I’m not sure about general insults for roleplayers or crafters, but raiders are often referred to as “stat whores” or “elitists”.

I also strongly disagree that the PvP community is the most toxic. I have never found that to be the case within MMORPGs. Maybe other genres, like shooters and mobas, but not MMOs. What is different is that the bad behaviour is on show. In the PvE community, the bad behaviour tends to be restricted to groups/raids/instances, but it is just as prevalent and just as toxic.

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donvweel

I think certain games become hang outs for antisocial misfits. WoW is certainly one of them. It also helps if the game gives these players the tools they need. PvP is one of them for sure.

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Robert Mann

Anything with any sort of competition will inevitably bring the jerks out of the woodwork. That being said, the problem isn’t competition… it’s a social acceptance and limited possibility of paying the consequences that inspires this (mostly.) There’s always people who are either stupid or hateful enough that they care not about the consequences or acceptance.