Experience Tranquility: 5 Ways to Counter Toxicity



Thu 3rd Aug 2017 - 12:41pm

Overwatch has over 30 million players world-wide. With this diverse player base, sometimes we run into people who are just down right mean. Trash talking is going to happen, there are so many players we can’t expect everyone to be friendly. However, toxicity refers to players who deliberately throw games, leave games, troll or harass other players. Overwatch heavily relies on teamwork and communication, so these players can often ruin games.

While Blizzard is implementing new policies and punishments to deal with toxic teammates, here are five ways to counter toxicity and save your sanity (and hopefully, your game.)

1. Don’t take it personally

Taking things personally will just lead to more toxicity, and it’s good to differentiate toxicity and criticism. If a teammate calls you out for not doing your job, that’s not toxicity. Be willing to work with you team, try to be kind, and don’t take someone’s insults to heart. Don’t engage in an argument with this toxic teammate. Negativity spreads easily, and you don’t want this toxic play to influence you or your teammates.

2. Mute. Mute. Mute.

Sometimes listening to toxic teammates is not worth it. If someone is attacking you or one of your teammates, mute them. The point of the game is to win, but don’t forget that Overwatch is indeed a game. The purpose is to have fun! Sometimes protecting your own sanity is more important that listening to a toxic teammate rant.

Trying to have a conversation with a toxic player can be similar to having a conversation with a crying toddler. They are completely incapable of seeing any logic or reason, and you would be wasting your breath trying to change that. At this point, it’s likely that the toxic teammate is throwing, but if they aren’t, do your best to work with the teammates you can communicate with.

3. Be the bigger person.

A lot of players like to play damage, and those are often the first roles to be chosen. For a toxic player, picking a hero they want to play is reason enough to troll and throw. You aren’t required to switch off your hero, but sometimes being the bigger person is enough to salvage a game.

Not to say that this only happens with damage heroes, because it can happen to anyone. If they aren’t completely belligerent, ask them if there is a hero they want to play. However, I would still report them at the end because part of this game is playing as a team. You cannot simply throw the game because someone picked your main hero.  

4. Use the report feature.

No, it’s not a perfect science, but Blizzard is working on it. Many toxic players simply do not care if their teammates report them, but do it anyway. That person is in your skill bracket, so you could potentially get matched with them again. You also should try to empathize with the players who may have to deal with this toxic player in the future.

Blizzard’s current system allows players to report for lack of teamwork, spam, cheating, grieving, bad battle tags, and inactivity. In-game, Blizzard defines each of these terms to discourage players from submitting false reports.

Console players are still waiting for the report feature, but Blizzard promises that it is coming soon. As Blizzard’s values tell us, “Play nice; play fair”. Since the company has expressed how seriously they value a positive community, console players are likely to get this update in the near future.

5. Take a break.

When the game starts to feel like a chore, try taking a short break. Everyone wants to level up, but toxicity can spread. Encountering teammates who throw, troll, and harass others can put you in a really bad mood. You don’t want to push yourself to play when you are obviously tilted, and you don’t want to spread your bad mood to other players.

There are plenty of other game modes, and I’m not talking about quick play. Try one of Overwatch’s silly, but incredibly fun arcade modes or hopefully even Lucio Ball in the future (fingers crossed). Even join a custom game so you can just goof around and unwind for a moment.

Don’t let toxic players get to you or make you forget that Overwatch is a game. These tips are meant to improve your games with toxic players, but they are also meant to help you maintain a positive mindset. If a teammate is toxic, you can try to see if you can turn their attitude around. However, if they are completely raging do not try to get in a conversation with them. Often times, mean people are trying to get a reaction out whoever they are harassing. Ignore them, and try to remember—Don’t feed the trolls. Your peace of mind is more important than arguing with a toxic player. Remember what Zenyatta says, “Do not be discouraged, everyone begins in ignorance."

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