For any younger gamer these days, many a gamer their senior, myself included will tell tales of a bygone era when fatal headshots garnered a well deserved “Good one” from the victim as they awaited respawn, teabagging and killcams had yet to be invented, and most importantly, that much vaunted combination of RPG, FPS and MMO was but a glimmer in the eye of possibility, oft speculated upon by laymen, but never so much as attempted with the now aged and frail network infrastructures and anemic computing power of yore.
Some of this is simply horseshit.
But for anyone who lived in this time, it’s hard to argue that there wasn’t what seemed to be more of a sense of decorum between fellow players. One speculates the barrier to entry was much higher before the advent of DSL, and the relative convenience of LAN parties was much higher, ensuring one would be more likely be playing with someone in the same room or at least building.
Fast forward to today.
I recently entered into a closed beta test for a game; Memories of Mars. As with any Survival shooter beginning with the Day Z mod for Armed Assault 2 the standard problems cropped up with spawn campers, yet when one party would die from a more equitable firefight, it was quite commonly attributed to the “TOXIC COMMUNITY, JUST LIKE RUST!” or “AND I THOUGHT THIS GAME WASN’T JUST ANOTHER FORTNIGHT.”
The latter leveled at me after a player that’ll go unnamed opened fire seemingly unprovoked only to get his comeuppance in short order.
But that’s not to belittle the very real problem of toxic gaming culture. It has seeped into every facet of every community culminating in undeserved elitism, gatekeeping, entitlement and at its worst, directed harassment campaigns including threats of death and violence against some of our most marginalized comrades.
But it’s a survival game, your decisions are geared to have consequences, just because the game doesn’t have a plot like your Mass Effects and your Witchers doesn’t mean your choices don’t matter. Be careful around other players, your actions might set something in motion you can’t control, and you should never expect to play one of those games in a PvP server and never die. And after all of that even if you made all the right decisions and still lost to someone you consider less deserving, remember, it’s still a game, and at the end of the day, it can only affect you as much as you let it.
Don’t let “Wow, what a toxic community this game has!” become the new “No fair! Something’s wrong with my controller!” it muddies the waters and just creates more toxicity where it pretends to be calling it out. It’s important for us, as gamers, to keep the channels open for when toxicity is really a problem so responsible parties can’t just write you off as crying wolf when something bad actually happens.