I think it’s commonly accepted in the MMORPG community that PvP breeds toxicity. But what I seldom see argued is that PvE can breed the same toxicity, especially when it funnels everyone into some sort of competitive endgame where raiders are fighting for zones, gear, rank, or even ephemeral status. I was reminded of this a month or so ago when a thoughtful thread on the MMORPG subreddit expressed frustration with the state of endgame raiding.
“How come endgame raiding is always toxic?” it asks. “I am genuinely curious as to why the endgame in every MMO is such a cesspool. Many times it feels like even if you clear the content, it isn’t enough because the entire experience just devolves into oversized egos engaging in parse chasing and general e-peen measuring contests. Is there any way to clear any meaningful content in an MMO without having to deal with the extreme side of the elitist, min-max parse chasing element that often surrounds it?”
My snarky side wants to say no, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Nobody is forcing game designers to build these kinds of endgames; they are doing it on purpose, and it sucks.
So I’ll put it to you: Is there an MMO endgame that isn’t toxic? Is it PvE? PvP? Or is it the concept of endgame that is the problem?