That’s a good point. This is a pretty small bit of the VG community, and new players don’t find it right away. That said… just yesterday we had an old player come back to the game and this forum (so, kind of new) to say they were really liking it right now, and the very first response they got was “why? Don’t bother playing anymore.” That’s demoralizing, and I think that’s the sentiment Rawzri is talking about. Even if the negativity of this place only effects one person, is it really worth it, just to tell other players who already know and agree with you about how you’re down on it all?
More importantly though - your mood effects how you approach the game (for those of you who are still playing), and it goes a long way to how enjoyable you find the experience. If you’re in a good mood about the game, you’ll take less notice of the bad, be less likely to troll/throw yourself, and have a much better time. I mean, it’s as facetious as “the power of positive thinking,” but… it’s really true. The counter-argument to this is “but I’m just responding to the game. I’m not in a good mood because it’s not in a good state.” Yeah, there’s truth in that. But there’s always a give and take between things you like and don’t like, and how you approach that balance will effect the long-term impression you take away.
A long, long time ago, I kept a bunch of stats for an entire season’s worth of matches - wins, losses, match times, heroes I played as, with, and against, and also the amount of toxicity I saw. A lot of people in the forum at the time had been complaining about trolls in every match: ping-spammers, AFKs, griefers, instalockers, all of it. The impression was that well over half of all games were toxic somehow. So I noted it all, and kept track. I was also super strict. If someone pinged me once with a to say “wtf are you doing?” I marked it as toxic. By the end of the season, I had played 167 games, but instead of the ~60+% the forum was expecting, only 15% had any kind of toxicity, and it was only that high because I was measuring with a hyper-sensitive scale. On top of that, 15% was surprisingly higher than I even remembered. In my head, it was closer to 4 or 5%, limited to a handful of memories of some players who were legitimate Grumpy Gus’s.
But what’s the point, you ask? Plainly, echo chambers produce expectations that a) don’t always match reality, but b) can produce reality. I didn’t see toxicity because I didn’t create it and I didn’t let it throw me. I’ve always been a responsive player, and keen to work with teammates to get the job done, however they’re defining the job. I don’t have much ego when I play. Even in those times when I know that I’m the best player in the match, I try to stay calm while nudging my team to a winning strategy. As a result, I don’t see much toxicity, and I don’t internalize it when it happens. Overall, it’s a much better experience, and, I like to think - I hope - that it’s contagious for other players sharing the game with me. Other forumers were seeing more toxicity than I was, I won’t discount their experiences, but it was because of how they were approaching their matches in the first place. People pinging a at the start of a match when the draft went poorly, or abandoning teammates who they think are unskilled… there are a lot of ways for matches to go downhill if you let them. If you’re looking for faults, you WILL find them, be it in the behavior of other players, or matchmaking, or the UI, or the monetization strategies, or whatever else. You’ll find good too, if you look for it.
Likewise, how you approach your critiques of the game effects how you approach the game itself while you’re playing it. Some of the more persistent toxic responses in the forums, reddit, discord, twitter, etc, come from people that I know are toxic in-game. You get yourself in a negative mindset, and you’re more likely to be negative while you play, which makes negative experiences for other players, which in turn makes negative experiences for still more people.
I’m not saying anyone here has to be super happy-go-lucky about the game. If you don’t feel that way, you don’t feel that way, and that’s fine. It’s not your job to fake it. But, I don’t know… what’s the point in being negative every chance you get? It’s fun every now and then, but it hurts you if you stick with it for too long.
Anyway, I don’t indulge in commentary about commentary often, so, sorry about that. Also, this is rambling a bit. Sorry for that too, and thanks for reading.