Because certain games are notorious for having the most toxic communities, it can be difficult to want to give them a shot. Toxicity in video games entails rude behavior where trash talk, racial slurs, homophobia, and sexism make up a significant portion of communication. Unfortunately, some of the best online games seem to foster this type of attitude more than others, particularly games that are free to play, competitive, and require teamwork.
While a toxic community might not be the sole factor that sinks a popular game, it can hurt its public perception, driving less toxic players away while creating a safer space for those whose enjoyment comes from verbally shunting others. Most gaming developers and publishers actively try to combat the antagonism within their communities, but obnoxious gamers are a hard group to quell. Unfortunately, even good games can be riddled with frustrating fanbases. Check out the games with toxic communities and vote up the ones worst ones.
- Photo: Riot Games
When people think of toxicity in video games, they often think of League of Legends. It's the perfect storm of ingredients for an obnoxious and nasty fanbase: it's free to play, it's both competitive and team-oriented, and it requires a serious modicum of skills to advance. What all that means is that Riot Games, the developers of League of Legends, have to constantly be developing systems to combat hostile behavior, poor sportsmanship, and racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language in in-game chat.
These systems include the usual banning and word filtering, but also use color theory, machine learning, and positive reinforcement to fight toxicity. Riot claims that only two percent of matches are affected by toxic behavior, but that doesn't necessarily account for the people who are immediately driven away by people shouting about character and build choices. Though the game is undeniably fun, the degree of elitism and outright hostility of its players makes the barrier to entry particularly high, creating an environment where those attitudes thrive and fester by driving out people who might play differently.4,584374Is this community awful?
- Photo: flickr / CC0
The Call of Duty franchise is the poster child for bad attitudes and toxic gaming communities, due in large part to its Xbox Live fanbase and its notoriously young playerbase. Unlike many other well-known toxic games, Call of Duty costs the standard $60 as well as requiring a subscription fee on consoles - to some degree, obnoxious players are actually paying a fee to be jerks online.
Voice chat is particularly reviled, as it's not uncommon to have literal children screaming slurs of all kinds in your ears for any kind of offense - killing them, getting killed by them, having too high a kill/death ratio (you're cheating), having too low a kill/death ratio (you suck), and so on. Those comments vary from a single slur to a detailed rant about how a player deserves to be raped and killed, making it an incredibly difficult experience for people who are just trying to have a good time.3,576519Is this community awful?
- Photo: Reddit
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a smurfing problem. The game was first released in 2012, which means that many people have reached their skill ceiling and want to start fresh. Unfortunately, for new players, that means constantly coming up against incredibly skilled players who might not always be tolerant of newbies. Their anger can manifest in the form of graphic insults in chat to getting kicked for low rankings or a bad mic, preventing you from playing or advancing.
Even skilled players aren't a hundred percent sure why they do it. One writer found that even trying to communicate with better players was a recipe for getting yelled at. In a game that relies on communication, a toxic community means that nobody's really having a good time.2,794402Is this community awful?
Dota 2 is often touted as an example of bad attitudes and hostile communities in MOBAs. It's another example of how being free-to-play, competitive, and team-based can lead to nastiness between players, especially for newcomers. Because the game has been around for so long, new players are often up against veterans creating smurfs - new accounts that let them start over and rake up lots of wins against newbies.
Though Valve has tried to develop systems to match well-behaved players with other well-behaved players, some of those systems also punish new players, who are restricted from most of the characters until they've played 25 games.1,884337Is this community awful?