The Daily Grind: Is there an MMO endgame that isn’t toxic?

    
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But robots.

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?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Regan Heath

This is one of the reasons I generally prefer online co-op games with optional PvP content like The Division, to MMOs.

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feleran

I used to raid 3 times a week for a while. Never saw anything horrible, we were a nice bunch. So yes, there is an MMO endgame that is not toxic.
Once I heard that one new girl had gotten angry because of some demands the raid leader had had and she left us but that’s all. And even this sounded like her fault.

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Crow Noir

Guild wars 2 has a very toxic side when it comes to the raid community, the endgame content where everyone expects you to provide kill proof (kp, boss drops) to show you know the mechanics. Any other game people just take their word.

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John Kiser

Depends entirely on who you interact with. PVE being competitive is silly (some people made that comment idk why).

I think the current ease of mmorpgs and the end game treadmill of them and no real reason to group before them along with too much public group tools has created a situation where mmorpgs lack real community unless you get in a decent guild.

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Dupree TheBoss

This!!!

My favorite MMORPG of all time was pre-maintenance FFXI. That remains the only MMO I’ve ever played where you more or less needed a party to level up past 10, and since there was no matchmaking, the result was a polite, friendly, and extraordinarily helpful community (I remember someone randomly gave me 10,000 gil just because I was new once). When you actually can build a reputation on a server and have that reputation affect how easily you find groups, people tend to be a bit nicer

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Andrew Brown

if you think MMO endgame is toxic, then MMOs aren’t for you, simple as that.

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MassivelyMacD

If you don’t like wrong-way-drivers, traffic isn’t for you?

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Bruno Brito

That doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Damon Anderson
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Damon Anderson

Whether or not there is any way for game designers/devs to eliminate, lessen, or maybe cause toxicity (not saying there is on the last one there) I think the answer is ultimately, no, but maybe lessen, I have seen that (mods in chat for example). It really is a human being issue, not game design exactly, clearly though higher competition or stakes for whatever we as human beings do will bring out our egos. The question is not at all limited to gaming, it is a question of a very large motivating factor of the human experience, what is the ego? The answer will never be found in computer code, perhaps design, however if it is an ego boost we are seeking a game designed without anything that would trigger our egos and so then lead to toxicity, would not be popular with us. There are lots of really fun things in gaming that you could say are maybe very harmless and non toxic ego boosts, like an epic gear drop, achievements, just playing at your best, maybe all the things we enjoy in our gaming, even life, but as in life so in game, we can control ourselves, not others. There’s always going to be the issue of toxicity/ego in gaming and life, it’s an extensive topic that effects everything about us as human beings but…

“The answer is not in the sky, it’s in your heart” -Buddha

And/or

“You have power over your mind, not outside event’s, realize this and you will find strength” -Marcus Aurelius

Maybe not so simple a thing :) it’s a process not an event, enjoy your gaming however you choose and be you, don’t let anyone tell you different but be or do so respectfully would be a way to go.

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Utakata

CoH? I’m not sure they have much of an endgame though…

…and I also lean to endgame not being the only source of toxicity in MMO’s. But I suspect it’s a big contributor.

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jarrod neuhaus

The cover picture just makes me want Wildstar back…

Dani Reasor
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Dani Reasor

I’m on the outside of the competitive PvE and PvP scene, looking in, precisely because I value my mental health.

My curiosity about raids was satisfied the first time, when I was the only one on at the scheduled time and we couldn’t start until the Guild Leader’s pothead buddy logged on three hours later.

Dealing with that lack of respect for others’ time, only to have more hours wasted by unforced errors that wipe the group, would absolutely bring out the worst in me. It’s not my idea of fun. It sounds more like the Anti-Life Equation than fun to me.

I don’t know what the answer is. My endgame is small team content, puggable enough that my health-draining wizard can tank for the rest of the fight when the designated tank is face down on the floor.

Spaceboy
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Spaceboy

For the year I’ve been playing Star Trek Online I’ve seen no toxicity in the endgame at all, but then that endgame has mostly been “space Barbie” so I’m not sure what there would be to get toxic over other than a distaste for lootboxes.

I guess for those that choose dps-chasing as their endgame there may be some toxicity, but AFAIK even the elite TFOs are not so difficult that an underperformer makes that much of a difference.

There’s still the chat toxicity in ESD over politics, but you find that in any game with multiple people and a chat function.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

It may have changed. But at one point, certain task forces were plagued with Log Parser Elites. Who would record the combat, and then specifically call out whoever did the least DPS according to that. Which also kind of ran into aproblem where the highest end builds basically break the game, doing literally a million DPS. Which makes slower builds even worse, because it’s hard to do damage to something that’s dead half a second after it comes in combat range.

I know at one point it was bad enough that the high DPS builds were effectively freezing people out of even getting rewards. Because they did so MUCH damage so quickly that the game got confused and flagged the people at the low end of the scale as *actually being AFK* because they did less than 0.5% of the total DPS.