As far as I can remember I’ve been fairly lucky when it comes to the gaming community as a whole. I’ve always been in friendly environments with overall nice guilds, nice people and nice servers. From the moment I set foot in WoW untill today I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced extreme toxicity, harassment or other negative experiences in the games that I play. Ofcourse there are some games where toxicity is unavoidable, MOBA types like League of Legends are one of the most notorious for this, but I’ve always tried to stay clean of that and if there was negative stuff in my games I just stepped away.
I think the “worst” experience I had online was with guys who couldn’t take a hint about me not being interested in them and they would stick around and be annoying for a little bit too long. In the end I either had to have a firm talk with them or just put them on ignore and they wouldn’t bother me anymore. All in all I’ve been lucky I guess.
It also helps that I’m not famous in any way. Most likely because I can’t commit to a game to become good enough to compete with the top people in that game, and that’s fine by me. I like poking about on my own or with a group of friends, just having fun and doing random things. That’s why I don’t hardcore ladder in Hearthstone or do ranked games in League of Legends. The only game in which I tend to tryhard and achieve stuff is Heroes of the Storm, and I am actually planning to actively ladder up when the season starts. Other than that though, I play relatively safe games where the only thing you have to deal with sometimes is DPS elitists, but even they are starting to become a rare breed.
Over the past weekend I’ve seen how truly toxic the gaming community can be. One of my favourite casters from League of Legends has gotten into trouble because of false allegations aimed at him personally. Very long story short, a streamer accused said caster of pedophilia for no apparent reason other than to create drama. Although he retracted the accusations the damage has already been done and Krepo has been dealing with the fallout ever since. This happened about a month ago after I visited the League of Legends playoffs in Rotterdam.
Fast forward to the present. Caster X has been streaming for the past few days, a mix of League of Legends and Digimon. The Digimon streams were small and fun, lots of viewer interaction and all in all quite positive. The moment he goes back to streaming League of Legends though, the jerks appear. Constantly reminding him of the false allegations, calling him out, trolling him in Twitch chat, on social media, via messages on Snapchat and Facebook. It’s gotten so bad that they tell him to go kill himself followed by “haha joking”. I can only imagine how tough it must be to deal with this on a daily basis and when things got too much for him yesterday he quit his stream and annouced he’d go blackscreen for quite a while.
As a fan and as a human being this saddens me. No one would have to deal with this amount of harassment and I can honestly not understand why people would do this to someone. I’ve seen some toxic behaviour already but this just overshadows everything I have ever encountered. People seem to enjoy bringing him down and I just can’t seem to grasp why. If it were only a handful of people doing this it’s one thing, but when it’s tons of people every single day it turns into something much more serious.
Suddenly the positive gaming community, the community I have always called my second home that was and is filled with nice people has turned a very very dark page. I guess there is always two sides to everything, but in this case I feel like Pandora’s Box has been opened and there is no way to close it anytime soon. It also makes me very sad that it gives the League of Legends community, and the gamer community in a broader sense, bad rep. All these people identify as “gamer” in one way or another and it just adds negativity to the tag. It only strengthens the stereotypes where gamers are kids and ragers and where gaming is bad for you and turns you into horrible people.
This has also shaken my core belief that people all have some good in them. Seeing people revel in someone else’s misery, seeing them make light and fun of serious accusations and seeing them just absolutely ruin someone’s day and maybe even career just for fun… I just can’t deal with it properly. My heart bleeds and I’m upset and angry at these people. I don’t think they feel empathy of any kind, if they are willing to be like this. But honestly what can I really do about it?
I guess this is the price you pay for being “famous”. People like bringing you down because of jealousy or malice and whenever a juicy drama occurs people are eager to jump into it. You see it happen with the normal athletes. With people from Hollywood and now also within E-Sports.
It does make me wish I could somehow punch them though.