Are you a toxic gamer? 9 ways you can recognize

Gaming should be a fun and positive experience for everyone involved. But some individuals spoil the art of gaming with an attitude that makes it difficult for others to enjoy their favorite games. We know these people as toxic gamers, and they are the biggest problem in gaming, especially when it comes to online multiplayer games.

No one likes a toxic gamer, but how do you know when you’re turning into one? Watch out for these nine behaviors.

1. Cheating in multiplayer games

Toxic gamers love to cheat because it allows them to beat players who easily follow the rules. They don’t care about getting good because they want to win at any cost. And if their cheating methods ruin the experience for everyone else, so be it.

For example, they may use an Aimbot in a game like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) to aim perfectly. This way they can easily shoot down opponents.

2. Telling someone that they are not a "real" player

There is diversity in gaming, and that’s a good thing. While some people love putting hundreds of hours into "soulslikes" like Bloodborne, others put the same amount into more casual experiences like Candy Crush. However, the former do not have to tell the latter that they are not "real" gamers.

But toxic players do it anyway, and it is known as gatekeeping in video games. The goal is to make other players feel bad for not liking the same genres as them, simply because they believe their preferences dictate how they play games. And since everyone has their own criteria for what counts as a "real" gamer, the term is ultimately meaningless.

3. Being liberal with the insults

When you play online, not everything will go your way. However, toxic players insult their opponents or teammates during or after they have had a bad game. And they will continue with this terrible behavior even when they are in the wrong.

Cursing others out online like a sailor is simply cyberbullying. And many players won’t hesitate to report toxic players to get them kicked out of the game or even the community.

4. Intentionally provoking other players (griefing)

Griefing is participating in an online game for the express purpose of provoking others into becoming annoyed or angry. A Griefer does not engage in this behavior to win, but tortures other players, even their teammates, to spoil their fun. They usually do this by understanding the rules and systems of the game and then using them in unintended ways.

Griefing occurs in almost every multiplayer game and is a major problem in gaming as it is another form of cyberbullying. And even though some game developers have implemented systems for reporting grievers, the most prolific offenders have multiple accounts. This has made it extremely difficult to stop the act.

See also: unmistakable signs that you have become an internet troll

5. Rage quitting in competitive online games

Rage quitting is when you quit a game out of frustration, and almost every gamer has done this at one time or another. A rage-quit is usually no big deal if the result only affects you, as in a single-player game. You can even argue that if you play a 1-on-1 match where your opponent wins when you stop raging, it’s not much of a problem.

Rage quitting becomes toxic when a player leaves an online match and causes an imbalance. An example would be a player leaving a team-based Battle Royale game early because an opponent knocked him down. People do this to quickly jump into another game without caring if their teammates can revive them or are at a disadvantage.

6. Camping

When someone camps in video games, it means they have found an advantageous position on a map that they can easily defend while taking out other players. Campers usually find spots where their opponents normally pass or respawn, making them easy targets.

Camping is the bane of online shooters because it’s lazy gaming. Less experienced players may rely on scoring points quickly and easily instead of using their skills and using the entire map to engage their opponents in combat. Those who camp are basically cheating and spoiling everyone’s fun.

7. Boost

Boosting is when two friends enter a match as opponents and hit or shoot each other to score easy points. Another way players engage in this behavior is by letting a highly skilled player take over their account. Doing so can cause you to quickly rise in the ranks and appear as if you are a newbie to be reckoned with.

Boosting is toxic because it attempts to manipulate a game’s ranking system and earn in-game rewards by cheating. It is unfair to other players who have earned their rank and rewards through hard work, which makes it toxic.

Related: What is cheesing in gaming?

8. Smurf

Smurfing in video games is when a high-ranking player creates an alternate account to play against low-ranking players. The other players in the game will think they are dealing with someone on their level, but in reality they are no match for the Smurf.

There’s nothing wrong with creating another account if you want to escape friends you don’t want to play with anymore, for example. But when they do that to dominate others below their rank, it creates a lot of frustration. And that’s no fun for anyone but the Smurf.

9. Harassment of game developers

Most of the time, the people who develop a game are not responsible for the decisions that affect the design, release, or support after the final release is released. But that doesn’t stop toxic players from harassing them when they had no choice but to follow the instructions of upper management. These players are looking for someone to blame for a ruined experience, and they don’t care who it is.

Don’t get us wrong; It’s okay to voice displeasure and offer constructive criticism. However, when people call developers names or even make death threats, they become toxic gamers.

Don’t be a toxic gamer

While toxic gamblers are common in gaming culture, that doesn’t mean you have to be one of them. If you’ve ever done the things above, then you’ve engaged in toxic gaming. And even if you haven’t exhibited these behaviors, you know what to look out for so you never become one.

The next time you are tempted to cheat, insult someone, camp, or smurf, take a deep breath and say, "I will not be a toxic player."Keep gaming positive and fun, not negative and frustrating with toxicity.

You may have a program called EasyAntiCheat.exe running on your computer. But what is it? And is it something to worry about?

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About the author

Chifundo Kasija
(18 published articles)

Chifundo is a writer for MakeUseOf. He initially studied banking, but then discovered his passion for writing and became a freelance writer for Upwork in 2017. He wrote articles, blogs, essays and web content for dozens of clients. Chifundo loves that writing allows him to learn and explore different topics and turn them into engaging and easy-to-understand content that helps people. In his spare time he designs and programs websites and develops video games.

More from Chifundo Kasiya

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