Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Why Can’t These People Simply Enjoy the Game?

I’ve been playing a bit of League of legends again lately, lacking other games to really focus on. The game is slowly growing on me as I get a better grasp on the underlying strategies and map awareness but the players (I won’t call that a community…) still really annoy me. Why can’t there be a single game without at least one player being called an awful noob? (Euphemized version of what they are actually saying.)

Winning or losing in normal (non-ranked, non-tournament) games in League of Legends has very little impact on anything. You will get less experience (and influence) points but that’s about it. That should imply a relaxed and fun attitude, but that’s not what you get from players at all. Instead you’ll see them flame pretty much everyone: players on their own team for (allegedly) being bad or stealing their kills or choosing a non-standard champion and Players on the opposing team for all of that plus playing an (again, allegedly) overpowered champion or being lucky.

I’m sure behavior like this is not uncommon in Lobby based group PvP games, but I simply don’t understand it. I would accept that there are individuals that get a kick out of their power and anonymity, but this is not a few players, this is a culture. The other night I watched a professional LoL player’s stream and he seemed like a decent guy. Then he’d make a mistake, die, blame someone else for it in in-game chat and then talk about how badly he himself played there. This player knew it was his fault he died and had no quarrels admitting that to his viewers, still he flamed someone else for it in the game. I don’t get it.

Other styles of games are far less volatile this way. Sure, there are idiots in World of Warcraft groups as well, but most of the time I’ve experienced a decent group environment there. Very rarely have I ever seen the kind of language that is used in almost every game of LoL. Maybe the difference is in anonymity once again? In LoL you are paired with so many different players with really odd names that at least I rarely remember anyone. Add to that that these names are the only identity players have (and you therefore can’t remember “that awful hunter”) and you have the next best thing to anonymity. As long as you don’t go so far as to get reported to the game masters for your behavior, you are very safe from repercussions. Even the people you flamed likely won’t remember you.

Granted, not all LoL players are like this. I’m sure most of them are actually quite decent human beings who simply get dragged into this culture. I’ve started to make a habit of apologizing for and calling out my own mistakes in team chat and – lo and behold – I get flamed far less for being bad. Instead I tend to get “it’s fine”-style responses and the atmosphere of the game often lightens.

To me, that means that many other players don’t like how people treat each other in the game either but are simply drowned in the hostility. League of Legends (and surely other games as well) could be so nice if people could just relax, lay back, and chill.


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