Hell is Other People – How Gamers are Ruining Gaming

I like League of Legends. It’s taken me a while to warm up to it, but after a few dozen games, I’ve finally gotten the hang out of it to the point where I can play a match, and not be unspeakably awful. Sometimes I’m even…good.

But the road to get here was exhausting, and with how much hate I received on the way, I’m surprised I stuck with it at all, and am not shocked when I hear many people quit. It’s stunning to me that a perfectly good game can be sabotaged to this degree by its own community, which is one of the most juvenile and hateful I’ve ever seen across the industry.

Learning to play different characters in League takes time. That means as you go, you’ll be dying plenty as you figure out what the hell you’re doing. The problem? Such a thing will earn you a torrent of hate from those you’re playing with, or against.

This is tame. They only said ur mom twice and noob once.

I’ve never been called a noob so many times in my entire life, and that’s saying something as I’ve been an avid COD and Halo player for a while now. The other team trash talks, your own team threatens to report you “for sucking noob.” Noob. Noob. Noob. It’s enough to make you ragequit even though the obstacle isn’t the game itself. I even had a game yesterday where a player on the other team died once, blamed one of his teammates, and spent the rest of the game feeding us kills while typing “u mad bro” on repeat. One guy ruined the entire match for nine other people, and there was nothing any of us could do about it as it was happening.

Of course, this is not unique to League of Legends. I can’t play a game of Starcraft without something similar happening. If you win, you’re a loser with no life and are cheating. If you lose, you’re a noob. Noob. Noob. Noob. And of course, if you dare to unmute people in Call of Duty, you’ll hear probably the most vile things out of any game out there.

How did we get this way? It’s pretty easy to trace. Back when multiplayer was only local, trash talking while playing a competitive game was the norm. The term “noob” hadn’t been coined yet, but that didn’t matter. You would lambast your friends when they lost, and discredit them when they won.


That was all in good fun then, but now, it’s not the same with people you don’t know. There’s something indescribably infuriating about being trash talked by strangers on the internet in every game you play. When I play games with my friends online now, we’re never trashing each other anymore, rather, we’re banding together to fend off a verbal assault from a crew of thirteen year olds from halfway around the world. It’s not fun, it’s just annoying.

What used to be a good-natured ribbing of your friends, is now just a faceless collection of douchebags who are at their best, extremely negative, and at their worst, horrendously racist, sexist or homophobic. In fact, when you run into someone who’s NICE in a game, you want to party up so that you don’t lose them in a sea of loudmouths.

Something needs to be done to clean up the gaming community as a whole, because if we’re trying to make the case that gaming is a “grown up” activity, that’s absolutely disproven by anyone who joins a game with voice or text chat.

He may look cute, but you should hear the things that come out of that mouth.

My solution? I’m not sure I have a specific one, but I think it has to be something draconian. Yes, it may quash freedom of speech to a certain extent, as to paraphrase 21 Jump Street, you do have the right to be an asshole, but the “bad manner” reporting systems we have in place do not issue real penalties the vast majority of the time. Permanent bans, account forfeiting , whatever it takes. This plague is only getting worse over time.

There needs to be a system in place that rewards civil players for being mannered or helpful, and levels strict penalties on those trolls who degrade the experience. I’m also in favor of a permanent ban of the word “noob” in any game, as its use has never been followed by anything remotely worth hearing.

I think it’s a great thing that I can boot up a game and be playing with someone halfway around the world. But if that kid’s calling me a “fag” for the duration of our match, I wouldn’t exactly call that progress. Great games are being tainted by the very people that play them, and developers would be wise to seriously consider substantive solutions to this issue, as their games would benefit greatly because of it.  Until then, I’ll just keep hitting the report button, and pray it’s not a placebo.