Niceness sometimes feels like a rarity in gaming.
I won’t lie, there’s a reason why it took until Overwatch (the reason I may have been quiet for a little while – ahem!) for me to even consider playing a team-based PVP game. People can be kind of awful, and while most days I can shrug it off when it’s directed at me, other days it can feed whatever negative loop is going on in my head. It’s certainly when I know it’s time to leave and do something else, but it’s a bit depressing when you realize that it’s not the person throwing abuses (and not even constructive criticism, but ones intended to just make people upset) that leaves, but the ones getting the brunt of the abuse.
I won’t get into the deeply rooted anger issues the internet seems to have always had but have become more prominent lately. It’s not my place to speak of it beyond what I’ve witnessed myself. It just always said a lot to me that games like League of Legends were forced to put together a system to heavily combat this very problem. It’s sadder I wish this was the gold standard for all online games, though I’m sure it’s extremely hard to pull off unless you’re a big company.
For what it’s worth, I haven’t seen too much of the wily internet asshole in Overwatch…yet. Ranked matches are coming, and with that competition I’m sure they’ll start coming out of the woodwork more. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to consider playing that, but if I do, I certainly intend on playing with people I know versus the mostly random people I’ve been playing with in Quick Play. It’s sad my assumption is I’ll have a bad time whether I’m a decent player – and I like to think I’m becoming one! – or not if I try to play with people I don’t know.
But that isn’t even out yet. No, there’s plenty people still complain about now, to the point I’ve seen someone wish our team would get hit by buses just for having one Bastion on the team, along with a string of other choice things (including the good old ‘kill yourselves’ line) that eventually lead us all to report him.
Maybe I’ve finally hit the age of being Old, but it just baffles me nowadays why people get so worked up about things. The above example was the most extreme, but I have seen plenty of screaming people in my time playing. They don’t suggest, they yell. They curse, they insult. I rarely ever respond to these people and they go on my block list very quickly afterwards, even if what they’re suggesting is right, because it feels like you’re rewarding a tantruming child. On the other side of the coin, people who suggest calmly someone switch to someone I will often happily go along with, because I know this is crazy, but you can actually convey things without being a complete douchebag about it.
Wild, I know. Completely wild.
I’ll give them credit, though, they did make me decide something simple but important recently. A few nights ago, I saw someone completely being terrible to someone who clearly was playing a character they didn’t know well. I told them to lay off, of course, because we’re all learning, but realized no one else was bothering to shut him up. In fact, I rarely see anyone talking at all unless it’s negative, and that felt wrong. Since then, I’ve been making it practically a mission to compliment people as much as I can when applicable, going beyond that one upvote you can maybe give a person at the end of the match. This is especially true when I see someone doing something awesome and having a relatively low level, still. It felt like a small gesture, but I’ve been surprised at how happy people seemed to just get one nice thing said about them.
Even more importantly, I’ve seen something even nicer – my compliments have lead other players to chime in in agreement sometimes. I don’t pretend this idea is something revolutionary, but I certainly have been enjoying the game more the more positive I’m being about it. It’s something I challenge anyone playing a team-based game to try to do more often, especially in games like Overwatch where you can go without ever speaking to each other.
Doing something like this won’t get rid of the problems. It does, however, inject something to counter the assholes that doesn’t just involve blocking the hell out of them (though I thoroughly suggest you do that too and report if it goes beyond being a general jerk, your game experience will be better in the long run). There’s always that saying that you don’t know what’s going on with the person behind the screen, and a single nice comment might be exactly what they needed in that moment.
I like to think that alone is more than enough reason to keep it up. It certainly doesn’t take much time to toss a ‘good job’ at someone who deserves it.