What is “toxic”
What does it mean to be a toxic community? In multiplayer online video games you are bound to play against some trash-talkers. There is trash talk in physical sports, e-sports, regular life. Some people just talk trash, but they might still respect their opponent and their team. Judging a community’s toxicity is not a science, it’s more of a “feel”. When I play Titanfall 2 online, most people aren’t using voice chat, but when they are, it’s largely not “hate speech” and vitriol. So if I were to judge the Titanfall 2 community, at least on Xbox One, I would say that is not toxic, but also not especially helpful. That’s just how it “feels” to me, and your mileage may vary.
A “toxic” game on the other hand has an apparently plentiful stock of players who have zero respect for others, and they blissfully display this disregard in voice chat, text chat, and private messages. (Thanks for letting me know how “trash” I am through an Xbox Live message. The win wasn’t enough, you have to kick a guy when he’s down?)
Identifying a community as toxic isn’t to say that the game isn’t fun. A game can be full of hateful, disrespectful punks who want nothing more than to verbally abuse you as they play competitive video games; but the game can still be fun!
What I mean is, the mechanics of the game can still be fun. The actions performed in the game can be enjoyable, and the developers shouldn’t be blamed for a certain game attracting a demographic of mentally underdeveloped half-men. But how can you enjoy a game despite having such a vocal chunk of its community coaxing you to commit suicide?
I give up
All it takes is some surrender. You don’t have to quit the game entirely, just the parts that are so hurtful. Unfortunately, today I had to surrender to the persistent scumbags that fill my Rocket League chat window with hurtful comments and sarcastic compliments. For my sanity, and to preserve what I do like about Rocket League, I disabled all chat. Through this act, I no longer will be subject to the community, for better or worse.
No more “What a save!” as I miss a block and let a ball go by me into my goal. No more “No problem.” after I try to sincerely compliment an opponents skillful shot. No more “ez” after losing by one point in overtime to a cocky, boastful egotist who is likely never to have a successful relationship with another living human being.
But there is more that I’m giving up.
By disabling the Rocket League chat, I miss out on the literally tens of people who are kind, sincere players who want to play a game they enjoy and have a positive interaction with their opponent or team. I’m giving up on the remote possibility of getting a “Thanks!” back after issuing a “Nice shot!” comment. It’s these few people that I’m truly sad to be giving up on.
What can Psyonix do to fix Rocket League’s toxicity
Psyonix is the developer of Rocket League on all platforms. They maintain the servers and ultimately, they decide who has what rights on those servers.
Why then, is there no apparent function to the “Report” feature within Rocket League? There is a “Mute” option, and I can mute some dirtbag lowlife after he insults me with gapped, profane text. But why should I have to? Am I supposed to believe that I am the first person that he has unleashed a torrent of evil, misspelled, gutter talk to? Rocket League has been filled with toxic players since it was released. Clicking on “Report” should have some consequence. Instead, it seems that all it does is go to some Psyonix email inbox marked “Trash”. I literally wonder if they have ever taken any action against a player.
It seems that Psyonix are so used to the fact that their community is rife with human vomit that they just ignore the complaints. But this just emboldens the socially inept players to continue their barrage of garbage. “Hey, Psyonix doesn’t care if I am a jerk. I guess I’ll be a jerk!”
So for starters, Psyonix, how about talking about what measures you are going to take against the turd-eating harassers, and back it up with some statistics. Psyonix alleges that they do enforce bans at their discretion. But we don’t know what they even consider to be a ban-worthy offense. It’s obvious that these orcs have gotten comfortable in their ways. Why even report them if it’s just going to the circular file in the cloud?
And as far as I know, Psyonix has no way to monitor Xbox Live messages, which is where offensive players go to make sure you hear their venomous ramblings after the game has concluded.
Sorry in advance…
I’m sorry to those players I will accidentally ignore after a polite comment. I’m sorry that you won’t be getting a “gg” from me for a while. But this is for my health and wellness. I am a person, and I take things personally. When you say mean things to me, I feel it. That’s exactly why the trolls say mean things. They want to hurt people.
Hopefully, this preventative measure will help me retain the joy I have when playing Rocket League. It already seems to have helped. I still lose quite a bit, but there is no one there to rub my nose in it. (I. Can’t. Hear. You)
Maybe after a rest period, I’ll unmute everybody again. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy the silence.