In my first post I shared that global gaming networks were the huge breakthrough that allowed modern day PvP gaming. This technology has allowed every networked game that is produced to develop its own online community. This can be of great benefit to members of the community and provide comradeship within a shared pastime. However, many PvP communities have become toxic, and toxic video game communities are a beginner PvPers worst nightmare.
Modern Gaming Communities — Hyper Competitive Elites
Many of today’s PvP games require a great deal of skill to play and master. Those who master these skills can and often do consider themselves an elite group, somewhat justifiably. It is easy to develop an elitist attitude when you are at the top of a sport.
Speaking of which, PvP gaming has become a sport. Many of the most popular games have tournaments that altogether can award millions, yes millions, of dollars in prizes. When players who already consider themselves elite can make a living off of their video game skills, their feelings of superiority often soar.
Not all PvP titles have huge tournament winnings available. Only the most popular. In this way the community of peers supports and idolizes elite competitive gamers. Not only do the gamers think they are something special, it is quite possible their peers think the same way.
Finally adding to this hyper competitive, elite atmosphere is the game designers. Designers want huge successes in their games. Designers know that if they can convince the elite gamers that their game is the new, best thing, they can go a long way to having a hit. Thus, PvP games are often marketed to promote the idea that those who master them are truly special.
Low Tolerance for Learning Curve
The hyper competitive, elite atmosphere of these gaming communities often leads to a lack of willingness to tolerate others needing time to learn. Those who are at the top of the talent heap often forget what it is like at the bottom. They can also forget that once you have PvP skills you are never truly new at PvP gaming again. You may not have played a brand new game, but you have a previously mastered skill set that gives you a leg up on true beginners.
Also common amongst elite members is a concentration on the expansion of their own glory. These types will often scorn the newcomers as not worth their time, forgetting that new blood to a game will keep their favorite game alive. These types often sacrifice the health of the community for their own benefit.
Another contributing factor to the toxic game community and scorn for beginners is the maturity level of many players of these games. Either young or young in outlook many gamers in these groups have very immature methods of playing with others.
Player Base Maturity
Many video game players are young. While some of us old fogey’s still hang on, the majority of players fall into young adult age bracket. Many of the elite players are no older than 30 with some as young as 7 or 8. Age has a tendency to bring hard experience in community building and the relatively young makeup of the gaming community leads to a great deal of age based immaturity.
Aside from age is the tendency for gamers, no matter their age, to be socially immature. When more and more of a gamer’s time is spent online in the gaming community, social maturity can stagnate. It is hard to grow in social maturity if everyone within your community is as backwards at it as you. While this has improved in recent years, social immaturity is still a contributing factor to toxic gaming communities.
Jerks Love Being Anonymous
The very nature of online gaming provides a cover for any negative actions people want to engage in. Communication within a gaming community is often completely anonymous text or only what you can tell from a voice in your headset. Online communication also lacks context, meaning that what you consider harmless teasing can be taken by your target hard. These kinds of misunderstanding happen all too often in face to face life, but have become almost universal in online life.
Bad behavior within games is often without consequence. When an individual who wants to be nasty can create an entirely new account just for trolling, consequences against that account mean practically nothing. Your troll account gets banned? Create another email account and use it to sign up for a new troll account. Thus, behavior correction within a gaming community is reliant on peer censure with very little game designers can do.
PvP’s Toxic Reality and the Beginner
For all the reasons I have stated above, I hope you can see that toxic gaming communities can be a beginning gamer’s worst nightmare. Often someone just getting into PvP will find themselves getting right back out due to this reality. While there is nothing you can do about the perpetrators, you can do things that will help your enjoyment of PvP gaming.
Before starting a new PvP game find out about that game’s communities reputation. The videos below could be helpful.
Learn about the games meta, an idea that I will be covering more in depth at a later time.
Take advantage of co-op or training within the game. Often a PvP game will provide simulated PvP play against AI controlled bots, either one on one or as a player group versus a bot group. Learn the basics by utilizing these game modes.
After all the above the only thing left to do is bite the bullet, start PvPing, and develop a thicker skin!