Competitive Games and You.

Now I’m going to assume that a good majority of people that listen to our podcasts, get involved on our Facebook page, and follows us on Twitter know what I mean by competitive games and what falls under that category. If not, let me explain it to you.

Competitive computer games have you competing (who knew) against other players to obtain a rank in that certain game. Games like Overwatch, CS:GO, and League of Legends have a ranking system to determine your skill rating and match you against players that play at your own skill level. Of course, however, you can simply skip that process of ripping out your hair after every match due to a Genji who forgets what an objective is, your whole team forgetting what an objective is, and your jungler forgetting to pick smite at the beginning of the match. But, that’s the point to my main question, are ranked games healthy for gaming communities or do they turn their player base into salt mines?


When I say atmosphere, I mean to say how everyone acts in that ranked system. Do they offer helpful tips during a fight or do they simply rage at you for not going for an optimized build and threaten to leave? In Overwatch, you don’t really get to build your character other than getting that sweet as fuck skin on your main. However, team composition matters in Overwatch, especially in rank games. Counter picking, situational awareness, and map awareness go into account whenever you pick a hero in Overwatch. Does this map have a good chokepoint as the enemy team escorts that payload? Bastion, Torbjorn, or Symetra can turn a simple hallway into a deathtrap. Wide open spaces during a king of the hill map? Flankers like Tracer, Reaper, and Pharah can get around, behind, and right in the middle of an enemy team and harass them off the point. But what if you don’t want to use any of those heroes? Maybe you want to flaunt that shiny new Sombra skin when your team doesn’t need Sombra. Your team will tell you either to switch out to another character or someone else will just save the team the trouble and switch out themselves. Or they’ll call you bad, flame you for losing the point, and threaten to report you or they simply leave.

Now, when playing any game, your goal is to win. Everyone wants to win, even if they’re not doing very good. But, in ranked play, that want elevates to a need. A need that many players will outright quit a match they think they’re going to lose so they can get to the next game. While part of the blame goes towards how easy it is to leave a match with little to no repercussion in normals, in ranked games it results in a soft ban (a wait time before you can re-queue) and lose of competitive points that can knock you down a rank. You’d think that the potential of being knock down a rank would make people think twice before leaving a losing match. But, you’d be surprised how many people leave before the match evens starts. If they see that someone doesn’t want to switch to a character they want that player to play as, they will simply leave the match, forcing everyone back into queue. If someone died while on the point, they’ll scream at them because they think they’re bad and should uninstall. Meanwhile, when he dies, he’ll blame the healer and start to troll because “if we’re going to throw, then I’ll stop caring”. When you hear someone raging over the mic, it makes you cringe and makes you wonder if the rest of the community is like this. I’m not saying the Overwatch community as a whole is toxic, but, as they say, the loudest minority becomes the majority. And, to emphasis on that point, I bring you League of Legends.


League of Legends, where pro players are born, dreams die, and a Korean will always be better than you. League of Legends, by far, is one of the most influential MOBA titles to pop up in a while. The variety of heroes, the build options, and the multitude of plays available makes it an esports classic. Watch a League of Legends match once and listen to the crowd as a big team fight happens, people live for that stuff. So, why do people despise the gaming community? It all has to do with how a player goes from zero anger to levels of anger we’ve never seen before. I’ll share with you one of the most toxic moments I have ever seen in League of Legends.

When I first started off in League, I sucked hard core. I had no idea what I was doing, I’d build tank items on someone who wasn’t a tank, I’d accidentally use abilities with long cool downs when they weren’t needed, and I was generally a terrible player. But, it was alright, I was with people that were just as equally terrible and they all knew that we were all learning. And I liked that, especially when you’d get a veteran player who would make a lower level account to help people get to max rank on their accounts. They’d share helpful hints with everyone, ally or enemy, and some of them were generally nice people. Fast forward a few years and I’m a fairly decent player now, although I took a small hiatus due to college starting up. Now, by this point, I had never played in a ranked game before and my friends always said “be careful playing ranked, you’re going to get some assholes at your current level of skill.” I just laughed it off and said I’ll be fine. I get into a ranked game and I wanted to take the position that no one else wanted. Back then, you’d have to type in chat what position you wanted to take in chat really quickly to get the position you wanted. I wasn’t very good at that, so I got the less popular positions, like support. As we were discussing what champs we should pick, I just see someone type in all caps “PICK JANNA SUPPORT OR I TROLL” The chat goes silent. I was already hovering over Janna, a hero I really wanted to get good at anyways. So, I picked Janna and just kind of got up from my computer to grab a drink from the fridge.

When I came back, the guy had flooded the chat box with stuff like “I WANT MID, GIVE ME MID OR FEED.” That sort of stuff.  We start the game and the first few minutes were pretty good, we got first blood, the guy I was playing with got a good early game item, things were cool. When it gets to mid game, this player, we’ll call him Greg, starts to signal that he’s coming to our lane. We start fighting, Greg is going all over the place; he was playing a samurai anime guy called Yasuo, so of course he was trying to do anime stuff. As he’s about to kill a guy, I accidentally use and ability that kills the guy he’s about to kill. I say my bad and I start going to back to base to heal up. From out of no where, this guy starts flaming me. He starts claiming that I was trolling, that I need to die, and he starts telling the enemy team that I am trolling. Of course, the enemy team just says meh, free win. This angers Greg to the point where I can feel his anger emanating from the screen. I felt terrible because he was just freaking out over one kill. Then, in a ranked game, he starts to intentionally killing himself by going into fights that he couldn’t win. He’d ping me from across the map saying is this what you want and everyone else was just in shock of how this guy was acting.

Luckily, we won that match, we say GG. Then, it happens, he goes off again. Greg’s caps key must be broken or something. Suddenly, I get a friend request from him. I wanted to say I’m sorry that you thought I was trolling anyways, so I accept this request. Bad move on my part as most of his stuff was death threats. I just kind of sit there and read these messages. “Hey”, I typed, “We won didn’t we? I guess we didn’t need you after all of that.”

I don’t know what exactly happened, but I think Greg got banned before he responded. I tried looking for his profile and it said it didn’t exist. I felt happy.

But, this story has a point. League of Legends can have some very nice people and some really terrible people. And, sadly, enough that sort of attitude leaks into normal games where they want to win, no matter what. That sort of attitude is the reason why a lot of people are starting to move away from ranked games. Greg is probably not even the worst player I’ve ever encountered and I’m sure that there are worse people that play that game.


And I never will.


Now, I don’t want to say that ranked systems are bad and should feel bad. I do feel like the players of those games sometimes give off a vibe that no one really likes and that puts people off from playing the game in general. Has a gaming community ever made you walk away from the game before even picking it up? Let us know in the comment below.