Toxicity of the Overwatch City

Normally Monday’s blogs are dedicated to gaming. Typically during the Overwatch League season, it sticks to that. But the Summer Showdown ended up with a great battle that ended in a whimper between the two APAC teams: Chengdu Hunters and Shanghai Dragons. It would have been cool to see the Hunters win, but Shanghai has gone through so much that it was nice to see the back-to-back tournament wins. Plus, Fleta is just a monster and I image they might win it all in the countdown cup and Grand Finals with him getting another MVP trophy, this time for the Grand Finals MVP. As for my favorite team? I’ll just be happy to see them in the final tournaments. I’d be ecstatic for a win. But I’m a realist. Maybe if they actually keep a full roster for once, next year could be our year. If they actually keep their full roster for once.

There’s something about games that end up bringing out the worst in people. Take, for instance, when the San Francisco Shock once again failed to meet the high bar of excellence that they have set as the first back-to-back Grand Finals champions. Their “fans” turned so fast and so hard. The hate the community of gamers seems to just easily spew is a little bananas. I’m not sure that they forget that they are targeting real people with real feelings; rather, I’m a cynic that just thinks people don’t care. Maybe it’s because my oldest is about the same age as some of these kids (and they are just kids when you think about it), but I just can’t. I want to punch all of them because my protective mom instinct kicks in. Or in another instance, when a fan had a poster with a mascot sexually assaulting another mascot. Eek. Toxic.

But it just isn’t towards the pro players and anyone associated with those teams; it’s when you play the games. Normally when playing Overwatch, I stick to mystery heroes. I’ve discussed before my aversion to the other game modes, since I typically play tank or support and this will require me to talk on chat. Girls being on chat is a hit or miss. You get some people who don’t care, or the majority who decides that they are already going to lose because they have a girl on their team. Mystery heroes doesn’t necessarily require chat. It’s generally far less toxic, though my games yesterday (and lately) really test that theory. Like when this girl came on chat and kept repeating “You guys are lucky I don’t want to get angry. So lucky.” Being annoyingly passive aggressive is just as toxic as the guy screaming on chat about everyone being trash. Or this other girl who went off on this guy for seemingly no reason, trying to pull the “I’m not the a-hole, you’re the a-hole”, then making a show of throwing while smoking a bong on voice. It was a super fun match. Or the one guy that was actually so bad I blocked him. I have a very high tolerance for things, so if I block or report someone, it was something extreme.

The point is that there’s toxicity all around in the gaming world. Overwatch I feel is no more or no less toxic than any other game. At least the team behind the game tries their best to curb this behavior. They do what little they can, and I think that makes them stand out from other games that just sorta go “mad cuz bad” rather than figure out ways to address the problem. I think that’s an important distinction to make. Will it get better? Probably not. Because before the equation was exactly as the team at Penny Arcade said with their Anonymity Equation: Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Jerk (paraphrasing. I like to keep things at least PG, if not PG-13). The problem is that now people are emboldened to be the jerk even without anonymity, meaning that they get even worse with it. Maybe solve the “stop raising jerks” issue, then we can go back to normal levels of turds on the internet.

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