Toxicity is a fact of life in popular MOBA games like League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, and Dota 2. No two toxic players are exactly the same, though. Encountering toxicity can even lead to genuinely heartfelt moments between people who've never met before. What's your most memorable run-in with MOBA toxicity?
These can be great moments where you made a new friend and in-game ally in the least expected of ways, or demoralizing moments when some bitter old smurf seemed hell-bent on ruining your day for no good reason. Or: were you a toxic player at one point in your life? What made you change your ways?
I'll start things off with a story of an unfortunate encounter I had with a certain League of Legends player a few weeks back.
I probably should've seen the player's in-game handle—"woodinthebutt"—as some sort of warning sign. But there are a lot of people playing League with dick-themed handles. Plus, some of them can actually be pretty clever (a ferocious assassin character who went by the honorific "FEAR THE D" certainly earned the right to put "fear" in all-caps in his name, for example). I didn't think much of woodinthebutt's unfortunate name choice as a result. Then the game got going.
Sir woodinthebutt was playing as Shaco, a demonic jester champion, in the jungle. I was playing on the top lane as Garen, a standard-model sword-wielding tank character. Our positions means that woodinthebutt would pop into my lane from time to time to help me take out the opposing champion. At least—that's what he was supposed to be doing. The first time he showed up to do this, we doubled up on the enemy before I used Garen's ult move to finish him off.
"wow nice steal," woodinthebutt wrote once I'd killed off the opposition. 'last time i help u out."
He was accusing me of taking an enemy kill out from under him by finishing the guy off after he'd done all the hard work winnowing his health down. Still new enough to be scared of starting any unnecessary fights, I promptly apologized.
"and you used yr ult," he added after I apologized. "what a ******* noob"
Ok...that was a little rude, I thought. But it's also hard to read anyone's tone from a few lines of text. Plus, he actually called me a noob. As an insult. People still actually do that? It just sounded like an antiquated stereotype of what a rude gamer was supposed to sound like more than something a person I was in the middle of a heated game with would actually say.
A few moments later, and woodinthebutt had left my lane to go attend to something else. Things were pretty quiet. Than another message from Shaco popped up.
He was doing the same thing to another member of our team. Then another.
'are u fkkng srs noob'
'why am i on a team with these losers lol'
Luckily, there was one other player on my team in that game who sounded like he was far more experienced than I, and wasn't putting up with
woodinthebutt kept heckling everyone besides the one other teammate he seemed to already know from outside the game. Having a friend to egg him on only made it more infuriating, as there was always someone there to validate his crummy jokes.
Playing through another 30 or 40 minutes with woodinthebutt and his compatriot was irritating enough in its own right, knowing that every idle mistake would be greeted with a barrage of increasingly harsh rejoinders about how we all sucked and were ruining the game for him. But what really got under my skin about this player—and the others like him that I've come across—is that they're not just being disrespectful. They're also being counter-productive. Raging at a teammate takes valuable time and energy away from doing more valuable League things like, say, actually helping your team by coordinating attacks or offering constructive tips so someone can avoid messing things up again. And what does it bring in return? The satisfaction of knowing you've rubbed one of your teammate's noses in their embarrassing stumble? These are the sort of moments that leave you with such a bad taste in your mouth that abandoning a fun game entirely can start to seem like a good idea.
Thankfully, dispiriting experiences like my game with woodinthebutt have been countered by plenty of positive experiences as well. After getting crushed by an enemy team's Heimerdinger player (a mad scientist who can drop turrets around and drive you insane in the process) and singlehandedly losing the entire game for my team as a result, for instance, I slunk away from the match in shame only to see the very Heimerdinger player who'd embarrassed me so thoroughly show up as a teammate in my next game. Luckily, he was actually so friendly we ended up adding each other after that next game.
You win some and lose some, I guess. Hopefully win more often than lose.
Ok, enough out of me. Tell me about you!
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.