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How to prevent/avoid toxic gaming in MMOs?

Discussion in 'All Other Games' started by Imaus, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Imaus

    Imaus Prince

    Sep 26, 2016
    This has been on my mind lately. In two of the games I've been most engrossed in, I notice one or more sides turn into toxic cesspools that hurt the gaming experience for others.

    In the most recent game, based on Fallout: New Vegas, across three iterations, the Caesar's Legion faction, Brotherhood of Steel, Raider, and Enclave factions often turned into griefing, murderbone, or toxic via enslavement and points of contention for the other factions (NCR, Vault, Civilian, other), who often had to bend against them or fight them off on and on. One iteration of the game has basically played with the idea of scrapping a lot of factions just to make up for it.

    In another game, far older, a Space MMO, there originally was one faction, the Alliance, which was much like the Federation of Star Trek. Everyone was either an Alliance Starfleet member or civilian. Then as the game went on, other factions were opened up, and that included a 'Klingon' faction (Imperial Lizards) and a 'Romulan' faction (Religious Space Elves) and then a breakaway faction related to the Alliance (angry space fish). The 'Romulans' didn't do much, to my knowledge, but the Klingons and Angry Space Fish wreaked absolute havoc on the Alliance, and the game's chemistry was so wonky that there were cases of prisoners being dropped on cryonic worlds - where they could never die but never awake - and being left there; outside the reach of rescue or knowledge. The Alliance was sapped of manpower and broken up to the point the game finally shuttered.

    Is it due to the intrinsic and competitive nature of these factions? The Fallout game - Caesar's Legion are misogynic slavers, raiders are murderous drugged up criminals, the Enclave is a 'Pure-Human' supremacist group, the Brotherhood is elitist technological fetishists. The Space game had Lizard-Klingons, though the wrath of the Angry Space Fish, I could never discern. None of these people make for fair-competition good neighbors.

    Both of games were very niche, maybe less than 2000 players ever overall. Does that factor into it? Or does it not happen in bigger games: say, like, Planetside or WoW with their factions?

    Would more active moderation help/had helped?

    Or am I just a big softy on the losing sides? :D
  2. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

    Mar 27, 2009
    Griefing is an unfortunate reality of such games and an occupational hazard if you play them. My two examples:

    1 - Elite - There was a community quest - deliver a quantity of cargo to an outpost for credit. Result - someone parked their overly large ship in the docking bay entrance and destroyed all the freighters that entered.
    2 - Left 4 dead - player joins team and kills all team mates

    On the second one, theres an ability to kick via a voting system. But on the more general games like Elite, its not possible to do anything about that behavior. The best you can do is impose gameplay penalties like fines. But they can often be avoided.

    Im not keen on games that dont have effective anti griefing measures in place. Some devs seem willfully blind to it.
    Imaus likes this.
  3. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

    Jan 26, 2008
    General anti-griefing/anti-teamkill goes a long way. Other than that, the game system itself needs to avoid degenerate incentives. Trying to win and griefing should not be considered the same thing in a well made game. Though sometimes people falsely equate the two also.
    Imaus likes this.
  4. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

    Oct 11, 2008
    Short answer is you can't. Long answer is you can't because it's just humans being humans.

    This might come as a shock to you but some people are just mean. It's who they are. And mean people just do mean things because they are garbage dressed up as humans. The reason why MMOs and multiplayer games in general tend to attract large numbers of toxic people has absolutely nothing to do with their story, thematic or content or even gameplay mechanics and everything to do with simple statistics. Get enough people in one place and you are statistically likely to get a lot of bad people as well. It is just an inevitable fact of any social interaction. And it does not matter if you are playing Nazi Death Squad Simulator or Hello Kitty Island Adventure you'll always get the same thing.

    The reason why people think it's some sort of problem isn't because there are statistically more of them than in any other population but because evil deeds are simply more memorable and intense than good ones. The guy that ruined your evening or wrecked a weeks work is simply going to cause you more emotional grief short and long term than the 10 cool guys that you hung out with during that period.

    But really you can't root these out any more than you can root out crime.
  5. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Night Elven Ghost Agent

    Jun 17, 2002
    Versailles City, Vekta, United Terran Systems
    Even in team based games like TF2 and Overwatch, you're still going to get greefers and trollers.
    Imaus likes this.

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