Toxic Player Behavior Means Your Game Is Doing Something Right, Dev Says

Orcs Must Die! Unchained designer says, "They're not going to go away. And honestly, I don't think you want them to."

Games that elicit toxic player behavior must be doing something right, according to Orcs Must Die! Unchained developer Robot Entertainment. Designer Jerome K. Jones told Polygon that if these unsavory players are flocking to your game, it means you've made something compelling.

"There's probably something good about the toxic players showing up and sticking with your game," Jones said. "The good thing is probably that it's a good game. It's holding their interest, it's keeping them around. It's making them passionate enough to give a damn."

"They're not going to go away. And honestly, I don't think you want them to" -- Jones says about toxic players

Different games approach toxic player behavior in different ways. For example, Riot Games has a history of banning professional League of Legends players who have used racial slurs, harassed others, or verbally abused fellow players. Meanwhile, Strife developer S2 Games has created a "karma" system for its MOBA that aims to foster a more positive overall experience. Valve has even discussed the possibility of having toxic players pay more in Dota 2.

Jones went on to say he anticipates that Unchained will attract "aggressive" players. "I don't think those are bad people," he said. "You just gotta do your best to deal with them in whatever manner seems to work the best."

It's these very players, Jones went on to say, that are going to push Unchained forward and keep it alive.

"They're not going to go away," Jones said about toxic players. "And honestly, I don't think you want them to. You need those people there. They're driving the game. They're giving it longevity. They're giving it passion. And when they find something about your game that they love, they defend it to the death. Those are the same people that can go to bat for you."

Unchained, described as a "fast-paced fortress siege game," entered closed beta today on PC, and you can sign up for a key now at the game's website. If you participated in the previous alpha, you're automatically granted access to the closed beta. That's not the only way to get in, though, as you can also buy a Founder's Club Pack ($20) to immediately jump into the game.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Orcs Must Die! Unchained

Orcs Must Die! Unchained

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68 comments
surferosh
surferosh

errr... clicked the link for Sony's press conf on main page and this story opened up.. GS, please rectify the issue if the hyperlink points to an unintended page !

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Here is the main problem with toxic gamers- They push away new player adoption. And when a mmo stops adding in new players it quickly dies and then everyone loses out. 

Toxic gamers are the griefers, cheaters, flamers, and dupers of the mmo world- ones who will sit in a city for days just flaming anyone or anything that walks by. If a new player starts a game and in the starting city is a dozen douchebags spam flaming and blocking access to areas and just in general being douchebags are the new players really gonna stick around when there is others they can be playing. 

And without new blood, old players and high end content suffers which then he really good and players that help make the back end content also start to leave. 


I'll give you an example of a game that went wrong Everquest Online Adventures - without the support of a good development team and monitors - the game quickly went into a duping, flaming, cheating mess. Any new player trying the game out were met with griefers, an economy out of wack, leveling system gone to hell, and a very unfriendly environment both in the starting areas of the games and also on the forum boards.  Nothing kills the population faster then allowing toxic gamers to run amock. 

MMO are basically dungeon and dragons - and if the dungeon master, the GMs the developers are not doing their job of controlling the Cartmans of the world " NO, my staff now shoots nuclear sharks and creates force-fields of impenetrability". I love the freedom of doing what ever I want in a MMO but without a structure and rules - doing what you want quickly has people camping starting levels with lvl 80 killing any level 1-9 that walks out of the city. The worst is when developers cannot control the forum boards and message boards- when information is blocked/ hindered by toxic gamers - the flow of information vital to new gamers and old hurts the game everyone is trying to play. 


But the above guy Jones is right about one thing: toxic gamers do show up, they do pay, and usually buy and play the most, and spend 24/7 with the game trying to ruin it for anyone else playing. They may be a loyal customer for the game - but they push away many many more potential and long time players. Once the population of a gamer is low - the toxic gamers move on to ruin another game. That is why toxic gamers are bad if not controlled by the developers. 

xbabyrabiesx
xbabyrabiesx

lol the Developer has no idea what he is talking about but good please keep all the Toxic players in your craptastic game it will make the MMO's  that people DO WANT to play that much better

Merseyak
Merseyak

This is exactly why online gaming is no longer good and it will keep getting worse its sad to see gaming about the money but it was inevitable after the 90s

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

What companies are forgetting is this --


*  Toxic players kill communities.

*  For each toxic player that stays, at least a handful of good, supportive players leave...  some of those don't just leave that game, but the franchise as well (I certainly did).


In essence, toxic gamers may keep playing a game, but they keep that same game/series from growing.  In fact, they hurt that game/series in the long-term.


The fact that game companies don't want to police their communities is like a school that refuses to stop beatings and bullying on the playground -- school grounds.  In fact, these game companies are enabling bullying, threats, and abusive behavior.  This is sickening and shouldn't be accepted.

Yes, it's true that not all toxic behavior can be removed form the online environment...  and people sometimes get carried away in games...  but certainly these companies should be taking the responsibility of removing serial-offenders.

charlieholmes
charlieholmes

Reality is, developers are in the business for one thing only. And, at the end of the day, that's to make money. No matter what this guy says, the problem being discussed is so far out of any kind of real ability to control, developers don't and can't really do anything about it. It's the worst kept secret of the whole, "social gaming", craze! If you don't have friends who play and that you can hook up with, you're going to have some really crappy experiences. But the good experiences will make up for the bad right? No, psychology dictates that the good games you have won't make up for the bad! It's as simple as that.

Sucks, since many people want to enjoy these games too but just don't feel like putting forth the effort when there's other options that are better experiences.

hochstreck
hochstreck

There are way too many amazing games to play, to waste your time on games with annoying communities.

jharring
jharring

Toxic player behavior is the reason I don't play much for online games anymore.  I don't even really like co-op because everyone is trying to do everything asfastashumanlypossible and I like to take my time.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Most ridiculous thing I have read this week. Almost as ridiculous as geting mad because of a game.
One thing is being agresive and "trashtalking" and another one is being "toxic". Somebody should remember this guy that online games have moderators in forums and GM ingame for that very reason; toxicity implies a negative impact which is not necesarily a guy talking bullshit.


I.E. This guy's mentality is heavily toxic for player retention and new customers adquisition (just look at WoW, barely any newcomers since furst "pro" they find scares them out with his misguided elitism and sense of pride)

lilflipp
lilflipp

There are the toxic players that lash on every little mistakes and just go insane, the truly toxic ones.

There are the silent type of players with no communication skills, the bot like players, that are even more game breaking than the ones who rage. These players are assholes.


Then there's the passionate players who lose it when they keep on trying to work together and are just being ignored. At least are trying to play the game properly. And in most cases, if you just say it: "Look, I'm new, I'm not very good but my brain functions properly, so if you just help me out and give me tips and hints, I can make this work" and if you actually try, most people will be nice, even the ones that tend to have a temper.



It's always nice to see a new player, trying to get into a game that you like and that just happens to be clueless because he's new.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I'm not a toxic player telling people to kill themselves, I'm just really passionate!

Jaxith
Jaxith

Oookaay....  Whelp, thanks for biting that bullet for us Mister Jones.  We will all immediately forget your sacrifice as we play games that give us the same joy while trying to combat toxic behavior rather than embrace it.

It's nice to see you're thinking about the success of your game, but really, toxic players don't support games.  The people who play them *in spite* of the toxic players do.  If you're going to encourage that type of behavior, what incentive do people actually have to play your game?

There are plenty of other games they could play with less of a risk of being harassed and bullied.  A happy gamer will spend money on your game.  An unhappy one will make sure nobody else does...

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

Jerome Jones, you my dear sir are a ridiculous dolt.

I once played an online co-op shooter that shall remain nameless.  It was my first online session with the game.  It was essentially a hoard mode, and although I played well, I certainly didn't know all of the lanes of ingress and egress and the nuances of enemy AI.  Anyway, after one round I received a text from may co-op partner...

"You f@#kin useless c@#t.  K!ll your family and yourself, you godd@mn waste of flesh.  If you don't, somebody should.  Make the world a better f@#kin place." (and it went on to much more shocking and descriptive language, but I only remembered the first few lines word-for-word)

After that I never played that game again.

So, Jerome Jones...  you think that was good for the game?  You think that helped the company?  The community?

Maybe so...  I emailed the company about my experience and they never showed any interest whatsoever.

tonytones21
tonytones21

For people wondering why COD is still alive... here is your explanation lol.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Just b/c someone acts like a jerk online doesn't mean they are dedicated to your game.  Some people are highly competitive no matter what they're playing, and do that rude crap on day 1, they might not even be particularly engaged.  And some of them that get banned and come back simply do that b/c that's the game their friend is playing.

It's a fallacy to think that poor sportsmanship and online abuse follows being a diehard fan of the game.

hystavito
hystavito

Sounds more like Robot is talking about highly dedicated players rather than "toxic".  Speaking about players defending the game to the death is a lot different than racial slurs for example :).

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

Well, you don't see developers endorsing bullys and harassment everyday.

straightcur
straightcur

Thanks for the heads up to avoid your game. Much appreciated

EMP3rr0R
EMP3rr0R

Can be a game good, when it can make you toxic? Yes, because, it provides challange and it makes you care about the outcome of your efforts.

Can be a game good, when it shuts you in one lobby with the toxic player? I think here lies the problem.


Its okay that one gets angered, frustrated by a game. It happens not just when gaming. It happens when ones at work, when doing the daily chores, when traveling... everyday life. However, one does not simply start cursing and blaming or yelling at his boss, the vendor, the chauffeur ... anybody. The keyword is reputation.

Most of the people obtained the ability of anger management, some just don't give a damn about it when_on_the_internet. Why? Because its anonym and inpersonal, and that gives enough reason for one not to behave socially. Period.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

I totally disagree. A passionate player does not need to be toxic and a toxic player can be a non-passionate player. That aside even IF they stay on your game, they drive others away.

I remember trying League of Legends. In the first few games as a level 1-3 player other 1-3 player insulted me all the time because I was a noob. After talking with some veterans they told me that a lot of player make new accounts to gather different runes and stuff, I don't know it anymore. Either way, I decided to turn my back on it because of the toxic players.

Now I am just one person who is nothing in this huge community, but it shows that toxic players CAN drive people away

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

"Go kill yourself you [insert racial slur here]"


C-C-C-C-COMBOBREAKER!!!! 2x!!!!! 500 POINTS!!!!!!!

Too-DementeD
Too-DementeD

This is the dumbest thing I've read in the last 10 minutes. 
There is a line between passionate players and 'toxic' players that make it their goal in life to ruin the experience of the game for everybody playing.

linthes999
linthes999

"You need those people there. They're driving the game. They're giving it longevity. They're giving it passion."
They're destroying the games reputation and driving off potential customers..

fede018
fede018

Just cancelled my preorder. I won't buy a tro ll/hacker friendly game

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Sad thing is, he's sort of right.


That doesn't mean you shouldn't do everything in your power to drive these losers out of your game's community though.

Hybridos
Hybridos

With my more than 1600 hours of Dota2 I can honestly say that you can be really passionate about a game and don't be a douchebag at the same time.

Hagan
Hagan

hmm, I would having toxic players means you designed a game for immature people and teenagers, with bad game mechanic's to exploit legitimate player's time and enjoyment. Funny how we are on opposite sides of the spectrum.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

Sweet, so this guy believes being told to "go kill yourself" is a great thing! Oh how wrong I was, playing a game to have fun and not be harassed...


I'm sorry, but I don't play dota2 anymore because I was tired of that mentality, 100%, I would be playing today if not for that community. It's a dealbreaker for me. I won't play a game just to be harassed.


SO, is "swatting" the single best sign that your game is the single greatest thing in the world or what?! I mean, if being told to kill yourself is good, then actually putting people's lives at risk must be amazing!


Anyway, I HAD planned on buying Unchained, but I think I'll go elsewhere. There are tons of other games I can play and enjoy my time with. I won't support online bullying or harassment.

Maui_Lion
Maui_Lion

Well this just makes me want to NOT play Unchained.  Welcoming and encouraging the arrival of toxic players?  It's because of players like that that I stay away from LoL and DotA.  Sure I'd love to play it, but from all the horror stories I've heard, it keeps me from wanting to try them out.

And when Maplestory was young, I was into it, until the player base became so incredibly terrible that I just up and left.

I've been passionate about games and been into them without resorting to being a d-bag.  ..Well, once, in Maplestory, because this Assassin was, and I was sick of it by then.

Anyway, yeah, remind me not to play this game. Not in the mood to deal with the kind of people he's encouraging to come in.

Barighm
Barighm

Hard to disagree with him, but devs should try harder to keep toxic players under control. They can reduce the success of a game. Anyone ever play Gunbound? Fun game, but the number of jerks playing it was huge. I quit just because of that, and so did a lot of my friends.


I say toxic players, when labeled as such, should be confined to a pool where only they can play together, sort of like that one method where all cheaters are only matched against other cheats.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

Remind me not to play his game then if he actively wants one of the worst communties this side of LoL.

grenadehh
grenadehh

 Uh, no. It means your game did something to cater to dbags and encourage them to flock there. Fool.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@lilflipp 

Sir, I am the silent type of player, but not because I don't have communication skills, but because I just want to enjoy the game as it is. Players don't provide good voice-overs, they scream and whine, and that is the most game breaking thing in a multiplayer game. But honestly, I rarely play mobas. Plus, my microphone sucks. So maybe I'm an asshole, but you're a turd. No offense, right?

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@hystavito  I think back to the time playing CoD online, and some guy kept calling me or someone else on the team (I wasn't sure), the "N" word, over and over. during a couple matches  And I couldn't report the guy because almost everyone was miked and I had no idea which one was doing it.

I the next day I stopped playing that year's CoD, I didn't need the aggravation.

Yeah, that guy did a whole lot of good for the CoD brand...

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@ArchoNils2  The toxic community is the reason that I wouldn't even bother playing Payday 2 unless I had friends to play with online.  The poor rewards for success and crushing punishment for defeat (by getting basically nothing) leads to that community being more toxic than it should be.

If I don't have any friends that want to buy Payday 3, then I'm not buying Payday 3 either, the community sucked.

Deano
Deano

@linthes999 hardly, if toxic players truly drove off potential customers we wouldn't be seeing stories like this http://www.gamespot.com/articles/10-million-dota-2-international-exceeds-super-bowl-masters-and-tour-de-france-prizes/1100-6420785/  and this http://www.gamespot.com/articles/league-of-legends-was-the-most-watched-game-on-twitch-in-may/1100-6420756/. games like dota2 and lol are notorious for having toxic communities yet are highly competitive and generate alot of income.

lilflipp
lilflipp

@Hybridos With more than 1600 hours, tell me that the players that don't listen, don't talk, don't even attempt any type of teamwork, are just silent. Tell me those people aren't as bad for the game experience as the ones that lash out. The difference is that they are "politely" ruining the game and are less likely to be noticed.

Hagan
Hagan

@---Cipher--- according to this guy, once people start "swatting" due to playing your game, you've made the greatest game on Earth. All praise CoD as our lord and savior.

kezz12345678
kezz12345678

@Maui_Lion One thing is worse than toxic players.  Pretentious snobs who are too blind to see they are toxic themselves.  

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Barighm  Why make it overly complex, the cheaters and the abusive players should be lumped into the same pool...

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@DarkSaber2k  Developer plays their own game online and says "Someone just called me the "N" word!  Yes!!  That must mean they really do like the game!"

deadline-zero0
deadline-zero0

@grenadehh Problem is dbags will exist in every single game. I can't think of any game who's main, core community isn't toxic in some way.

he's right in the end. The more the fanbase likes the game, the more obssessed they become with it, turning into the "elitists" of said game.

it's a unfortunate side effect, sadly.

realiamnot
realiamnot

@xsonicchaos Yeah I agree, I'm the same. Most online players are pretty aggressive anyway, so I find its best to just ignore. 

lilflipp
lilflipp

@xsonicchaos @lilflipp Clearly some multiplayer games are more heavily depends on teamwork than others, if you're playing CoD where the point is to just get kills, fine.


But if you're playing a game where you need to work together, like LoL per instance, you're just doing your thing, ignoring calls for help and not pinging not communicating and just being "silent" and leaving your team in constant 4v5 situations, and not tactical 4v5s where you agreed that they'll hold off the team while you side push, then yeah you're a selfish asshole. You're griefing and you shouldn't be playing multiplayer.

Or Planetside 2, people who join squads, and go off and do their own shit, you're in a squad and you're an important asset, follow the squads objective, if you disagree with it, then leave and go rambo.


That's like playing soccer with someone who doesn't pass. Even after nicely being told to pass bit more, just keeps on soloing. Not only are your teammates going to give you shit, but they'll get you kicked off the team because you're ruining it for everybody.

I don't know what games you play where every players don't provide voice overs, scream and whine.

reBOOT2099
reBOOT2099

@Deano @linthes999 Yes, but how many more players they would have if the community was better? I am one of those who doesn't play Dota and LoL for that exact reason. I don't need to be yelled at because I am a new player who isn't good at the game. 


I decided to try the Infinite Crisis game in beta to have a MOBA taste and thought the community would be better since it's a new game and in beta. They will wipe out stats anyways so who cares. Well, guess a  lot of people cared because in 3 games (where I admittedly had no idea what to do), I got all sorts of  insults and yelled at, even in the forums where I asked for help. A couple good souls helped me in the forums, but there was also a lot of stupid people telling me to stop playing if I didn't how to play.


If people were competitive but nice, there would be even more players playing right now, as I'm sure I am not the only one with that kind of experience. 

Maui_Lion
Maui_Lion

@kezz12345678

Are you calling me a pretentious snob? If not wanting to associate with toxic jerkwad d-bag players makes me a pretentious snob, then I will happily be one!

Lt_Logan
Lt_Logan

@kezz12345678 That's true. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that you're trying to be witty here and insinuate that the OP is one of these pretentious snobs, which based solely on his comment doesn't seem to be the true at all. 

jharring
jharring

@deadline-zero0 @grenadehh  During Burnout 3's heyday, the community was FANTASTIC.  Not only was it the best racing game I'd ever played, but everybody seemed pretty cool.  And this is a game that actively encourages you to make your opponent crash.  I remember joining a group that would do a custom 5vs1 gametype and it was so. much. fun.  If a new person joined the game we would briefly explain what was going on and most people were down with the idea.  I seriously can't remember anyone throwing around insults or racial slurs like these other games.


I miss that game.  :(

kate_jones
kate_jones

@deadline-zero0 @grenadehh Really depends on the type of game you play. Hardcore Simulations have fantastic communities. Never seen anyone be mean in Warframe and I have 500 hours on that. Warthunder seem's fine too so it's not a free2play thing. 


League of legends though people spend more time typing insults than they do last hitting creeps.



xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@lilflipp

Oh, I completely agree. It's not that I don't see your point, because I totally do. My issues are with you calling people you don't know assholes. Maybe they don't have microphones, maybe they're shy, maybe they're deaf. What, are you gonna tell me mutes aren't allowed to play games. I played a lot of games where teamwork is a necessary must, from Battlefield to Spiral Knights, from Starcraft's Brood War to a few matches of Dota 2. To be honest, I never could get into mobas, nor massive mp games like WoW, I just don't know why. I always play by the rules. I hate CoD's mp because there's no reason to it, as I probably grew out of Quake 2 and Unreal Tournament long ago. Do I hate it when others behave erratically in a game? Do I hate it when a guy gets lost in a dungeon and you can't progress without him and have to go back and guide him? Do I hate it when an italian screams at his wife, sister or mother while listening to abnoxious music, not realizing his mic is on, and you can't ban him because you end up being overwhelmed? Yes, to all of that. But there's no reason to get over-competitive and insult other people. To me, they're just frikin games. Yeah, it's a passion, it's something I love doing, and that's why I mostly play stories. Yeah, I rant about endings, stupid characters, design choices, or milking franchises. Does all that make me an asshole? No, just different than you. Wouldn't you be bored to death playing with copies of yourself? Wouldn't that be like playing with yourself, alone?

Lastly, funny story about Planetside 2. The first time I played, I accidentaly killed a team mate and alt-f4'd quickly. Never played Planetside 2 since.

realiamnot
realiamnot

@reBOOT2099 Yeah its those type of players that can drive people away from a game. What happened to the days when players would congratulate each other if they had a good match? 


To me this new community of "toxic" players is kinda driving me away from games like this.

Lt_Logan
Lt_Logan

@kate_jones It truly does depend on the game. I would be interesting to see some solid research done into player behavior, but I get the feeling that would be a fruitless situation. To much ambiguity. 

lilflipp
lilflipp

@xsonicchaos @lilflipp I think my definition of "silent" came out wrong. I don't have any problems with people who are quite. I am really soft spoken, and timid, and I have a french canadian accent so I'm not super comfortable talking either, usually I'll stick to typing until I feel comfortable. You'll never hear me talk just for the sakes of cursing after dying, I don't get upset when I lose or die. I doesn't even bother me if you're really bad at a game. The one thing that bothers me is when people just don't try to play with the team and help.


I guess what I meant was just lack of teamwork or the attempt to play the game with your team. I don't CoD online. I've played some of the campaigns, I like stories. Took me about 10 minutes of multiplayer CoD to realize that it wasn't the game I wanted to play. I've seen videos on youtube and that looked like a nightmare. The worst community I personally experienced was League of Legends, by far.


I wasn't calling you an asshole because you're not the type of player I was describing.


As far as Planetside 2, when i first started I was just overwhelmed, everything was happening so fast, the map was huge, I didn't where to go. Team killing is not a problem btw, I've killed so many people out of a quick scare, guy just turns the corner I panic and shoot, just use the "Sorry" emote and no harm done.

One of the first squads I joined in the beginning, and this dude was giving orders and he was using acronyms, it was so confusing, I wasn't even sure what the hotkeys to chat and voice were and he noticed a few people were hesitant on moving. So he called people out, called me out, and then he began to explain, "If you're new, you want to press this key and redeploy and do this and that, if you have questions don't hesitate to ask" in 15 minutes this guy explained everything about the game.


That game has an awesome community. If you're rude and unpleasant you're going to get kicked out, or people will join another squad. No one is forced to play with you.

I've really started playing online multiplayer in highschool with a game called Natural Selection, free Half Life mod. They made a sequel which is great btw, Natural Selection 2.

It's a FPS/RTS, Alien vs Space Marine, game. At the beginning of the game you decide who is going to "command" the team(he needs to be experienced), that player will jump in a station and he will have a sky view camera, like traditional RTS games, and he'll order his troops around the map to control rooms that give you resources to get guns, damage/armor upgrades, new buildings, jetpacks, higher alien lifeforms and abilities, etc.

So it's heavily team dependent, it's the complete opposite of CoD like games. I started with a god awful english, a very soft voice, polite. And people could be harsh when you weren't doing the right thing, but as soon as I would mention that I was new, and was still trying to figure things out and could use extra pointers. People were thrilled to get me to learn it. And that's a good community, people who are involved, that game is very complex because in order to function many roles need to be filled, and it's not roles dictated by a class. It's okay, you 3 pressure the enemies resources so they don't evolve out of control, you 2 keep going around and whenever you see one of our resources nodes under attack go defend, the rest push to this location so we can set turrets and take an alien hive. At the same time the alien team are coordinating attacks, it's like in Star Craft, 1 zerg isn't very dangerous, but a zerg rush can screw you if you're not responsive. If your commander goes: "we have a zerg rush you guys come back quick" if you don't and you keep on getting kills, you lose, doesn't matter if your K/D is 100/0. So I guess that game is responsible for my type of play style, I rather help a teammate or achieve an objective rather than get a kill.


 Anyways this is getting long, my point was, it's not the quiet/discrete type that bothers me but the rambo, don't care about the team type.