Opinion: Modern shooter game toxicity isn’t because of a recent sudden change in gamers, but because of the trend towards matchmaking.

Conclusie: de toxiciteit van moderne schietgames komt niet door een recente plotselinge verandering in gamers, maar door de trend naar matchmaking.

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51 thoughts on “Opinion: Modern shooter game toxicity isn’t because of a recent sudden change in gamers, but because of the trend towards matchmaking.

  1. Unfortunately, publishers realized that they don’t need private servers or custom content to sell a game.

  2. this and ranked queues

    edit: anyone remember clanbase and barrysworld ? back in the day developers made games and communitties made esports out of them … today its the other way around , games come out of the shelf as esports titles . wtf

  3. The players could also police themselves in those dedicated server days. You didn’t have to wait for thousands of tickets to be reviewed, because an admin was often right there in the server with you. If someone was cheating or being a prick, the problem usually got dealt with quickly and decisively.

    Barring that, you could leave the problem server and find another. Like Player 4 here, you’d eventually find a good place with some like-minded people.

    And when drama did arise, it was a lot more interesting. CLAN WARZ anybody?

  4. It’s extremely true. When I played CS 1.6 and Source you’d just find a server with a bunch of cool people who play there every night. You’d try to be good but you wouldn’t get screamed at if you fail. People would have fun, laugh and we’d all show up the next night.

  5. This isnt wrong. For the first 10-15 years of gaming you chose who you played in just about every genre.

    But its also wrong, any game that is competitive in any way has always been this way. I played competitive counterstrike in 1.6 and source and it was always this bad.

    At the end of the day people just need to learn to ignore it if they are playing a game of skill against others. Even in real sports I have played its toxic because when it comes to humans competing in a sport, skill, or game emotions are involved and emotions are toxic.

    In alot of ways older gamers are doing a disservice to younger ones by not mentoring and instead reporting and banning them. Gaming competitively is lacking leadership and maturity. I always try to mentor toxic players in overwatch and make them better people than getting them banned.

  6. I would say this is true of any pvp game since they’re all about causing friction between players.

    I think the more compelling source of problems are

    1. Anonominity (which was more introduced with large pool matchmaking).
    2. The trend towards team competition.

    Generally when extraineous factors affect your performance, this causes anger towards that thing, which now is typically people.

    However, I think it’s more people being people mainly because you get this sort of nonsense even in pve or cooperative games without stakes I’ve personally found.

  7. I miss server browsers in general, a lot of modern games seem to forget about those.

    Team Fortress 2 died for me the day they hid the server browser and put bigass matchmaking buttons in the front page. Ok, confession, the game was dead to me long before then, but it is easily one of my bigger complaints.


    – Guy at the bottom of the scoreboard with no Objective points

  9. God I love this , bring back the days of team fortress classic and cs1.6 no games today can compare. Most games are full of rage quitters and trolls now and there’s no way to deal with them. Have admin on a full tfc server .. ban them in 5 seconds if there a problem and game continues on peacefully. Or even a nice kick or slay command could do the job. Gamers were so much more friendly back then when there was real consequences for your actions.

  10. I won’t lie, probably half of my playtime in TF2 is probably in 24/7 2Fort or the turbines level(forgot the name).

    The random bullshit you see in those really are what makes it fun

  11. I don’t think any game encapsulates this more than World of Warcraft.

    I know a lot of people look back on classic WoW with rose tinted goggles, but at the start, when the game confined you to your server of choice, then communities were more focused. Rivalries were built, names were forged, people knew each other.

    When they brought in cross realm queues is when things really started to become more anti social. Now you don’t need to have friends, you can play the entire game single player. You don’t get to chat with people while running to the summoning stone, or call for help in Stranglethorn Vale, or team up again with the same people in Alterac Valley. Hell, even Blizzard’s new take on Tarren Mill vs Southshore is a heavily instanced cross realm experience.

    I wouldn’t say cross realm is the only thing wrong with WoW, but I feel it didn’t help the mentality of people,.

  12. This is somewhat true, but people tend to forget that there are easily a hundred times more people playing video games now than in 1999. Playing online games back then or having Lan parties was extremely nerdy, not at all mainstream, and you had to be invited to a lot of the games and events. That meant gamers were a lot more of a community, and you had to behave in such a way that people wanted you around.

  13. I want to add something me and my friend have both agreed on, and it’s the reason we no longer play MMO’s.

    Ranked with MMR games breed toxicity, because you are no longer focusing on enjoyment of the game, you are enjoying the game while focusing on the fact that you may lose MMR.

    You are more enthralled with how high your ranking is, an arbitrary number that you’ve now assigned importance to, rather than enjoying the game.

    This is causing people to become very angry with others, because they assign their “being better at the game” as the whole of this number and nothing more.

    The game has become a rat race, where you are peddling an invisible ladder, that in the face of it has no context (You are how many thousands of people below the top players in the world? Who cares how many thousands are above and below you then?).

    A ranked ladder with context is the single most toxic system any game can apply to it’s players, because while you enjoy the dizzying high of success as the numbers increase, your failure leads you to blaming, cursing, getting angry, because you are not succeeding on the contextually arbtrary ladder of winning and failiure which is your MMR.

    My friend and I have discovered true joy in gaming again and enjoying one anothers company, we stopped playing ranked. We play to win, but if we lose, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that we made moments we remembered, we had fun, and we enjoyed getting beaten into a bloody pulp as much as winning.

    My tip: Avoid MMR, Avoid ranked, and plays games for fun again. You know, the reason you started playing games.

  14. It’s funny that Overwatch is used as the example here because that game has had custom servers for the last six months. Plenty of opportunities to just fuck around and have a non-competitive experience

  15. this is so true!

    I miss the times of browsing The All-Seeing Eye, ‘member ASE?

    or using IRC to organize ‘mixes’ or ‘gathers’, paradoxically it was way easier to get into a balanced game than nowadays

    the matchmaking in overwatch made me quit the game, it’s disgusting, 10 stomps (not fun either way), 1 semi-balanced game

  16. Not included– when your clan would have its own public server, and you could play god when you wanted. Don’t like the map? Change it. Want to do some stupid variant of the real game, like skeet or slappers only? Awesome.

    My favorite would be playing without the clan tag on, and get some idiot who would start causing a ruckus, and I’d change my tag over and then kick em.

  17. Servers created real communities. You found a server you liked playing on, you talked to the people there. You could do some trash talking, but you couldn’t get away with the shit people do now, because you’d get banned.

    The people I play games with today are the ones I met playing CS: Source. I have not really added any more friends in newer games like CS:GO, OW, CoD, Dota etc. I might have added some people to my friends list, but I haven’t really formed the same relationship I have with the people I played CSS with.

    Yeah you can ignore the shitty people, but if you’re doing that all the time, it takes much longer to meet decent people and as a result, I play almost all my multiplayer games muted or with a full team of friends only.

    EDIT: Oh and if you’re a girl, I feel so sorry for you lol. It wasn’t great back when we had dedicated servers, but now it’s just a shit show. I made a few female friends from CS: Source, but now that’s pretty much zero chance of that happening in newer games.

  18. I just miss the days of having a server that everyone played on, always the same peeps. You would have friends and enemies but they were always there…waiting…

  19. This is the only thing that has ever been posted to this sub that isn’t complete dogshit, I’m so proud of you.

  20. I miss the days of playing a specific map server. Just play the map you enjoy the most, and zone out. Less worry about playing your best and a lot more messing around.

  21. I am still yet to find any modern games fps games better then wolfenstien ET or quake ET

  22. You should rank gamers based on troll level. I hate wasting my best material on noobs

  23. This is even true within the Halo franchise.

    Halo 3 you had matchmaking queues for ranked play, and some for casual, unranked play. Then you also had some that were focused on kills, others on objectives. There were wacky game modes to pick from too, like infection, or grifball. Custom games were easy to make, share, and join too.

    Then 343 happened. They get rid of large swaths of map types and game types each game they release. Classics like infection are missing entirely. Custom game options are gutted and sharing files isn’t in at launch.

    So it’s funny to see even within a franchise how easily the company making it can fuck everything up and make tons of people unhappy.

  24. This is the primary problem. It’s so stupid that everyone plays together. Like, in most of these matchmaking systems a kid playing 30 hours/week gets to about the same point as a decent player that can only play 5 hours/week.

  25. I miss q3a so much. Yes I know I can play quake live but its not the same as it used to be. Are there even any instaunlagged servers anymore?

  26. The only problem with this argument is that virtually all modern games with matchmaking also *do* cater to the non-hardcore crowd. Quickplay, “norms,” arcade mode, whichever the devs call it, there’s pretty much always a place to be casual. Basically exactly the same as the server analogy, but for some reason, the problem persists.

    Maybe it’s something to do with ranked modes being somehow more incentivized, or even just appearing more illustrious, and so non-hardcore gamers feel driven there? But honestly, I don’t even think it’s that. More people are online now, and they’re online for more of their time; it’s become the standard, and has subsequently transferred to games as well. More people does also just mean more assholes.

  27. Why do people act like being an asshole online is a new thing?

    People were dicks in diablo 2. Scammers, Pkers, etc.

    the difference between then and now is people crying on social media about it.

    It’d be nice if less people were assholes online but you can’t take shit personally. these assholes don’t know you or care about you, they just rage because they are frustrated about something in game or irl or just bored and like being a dick.

  28. Also dedicated servers you could rent or host had admins that could ban toxic players. Clans had their own communities, online used to be much much better than it is now with match making.

  29. I also hate that with matchmaking you end up having to wait forever between games. With a server that you pick you have the standard 30 second wait or whatever at the end of a match, and you are tossed right back in.

  30. Remember the days of l33tspeak and how annoying little kids in their teens were when they beat you at videogames?

    Yes, matchmaking has increased the frustration somewhat, along with the prevalence of team-based games as opposed to just straight-up deathmatch (so you have less control over the game). But “toxicity” exists in any competitive activity, whether you’re playing or even watching it, videogame or not.

    The uproar about toxicity, however, is pretty new. This is because videogames are now attracting a more casual market, and therefore more players. More players, more sensitive players. More sensitive players, more uproar. 10 people complaining isn’t much… 100 is a bit of a crowd. If 1% of hardcore players are sensitive, and 10% of casual players are sensitive, and if a game attracts 10 times as many people as decades ago, then do the math: you don’t have 100 people complaining, you have 1000. 1000 is a public outrage.

    There’s another bad thing about matchmaking: it forces you to struggle. Back when you would just queue up with randoms, you knew that winning wasn’t such an important deal since the odds of doing so were mostly based on what team you ended up with. If you were good at the game, you could have a good run and get some satisfaction out of that. If you were bad, you could be either carried, or stomped so hard that it didn’t really matter – you also got to see some amazing players in action and watch/learn from them. You could also do good and still lose because your team was eedjits but you had an excuse for that – no matchmaking, remember? So it evened out. You could concentrate on just playing the game instead of feeling like you constantly have something to prove (since the god of matchmaking always tested your skill). Not that everything was perfect, but you never had people complain they’re “stuck in silver league” and never having a good time at all.

  31. I hated from the jump for the simple fact that playing on my favorite map or my favorite gametype with any sort of consistency was damn near impossible; but this chart makes a lot of sense.

    The toxicity is something I can handle since I don’t play with headsets and mute everyone anyway, but everything else is a nuisance.

  32. Also: Skill based matchmaking!
    Back in the Cod4 era when there was no skill based matchmaking not every game was a hardcore competition. People like me starting onlineshooters were happy to just get better at the game even though I got shat on every round. I was happy losing and getting better every match and chasing the positive K/D, hardcore gamer were happy to have some people they can dominate in the other team. (free kills to make them feel good). Man did it feel got to finally get better than average and be able to destroy lobbies with noobs in them!

    Now you start out skill based being matched with other noobs and you are average from the start, get your first wins. But no matter how good you get it’s always a sweaty game because with your skills the skills of your opponents grow just as much. You still win some and lose some but you will never get that feeling of domination when you destroy a lobby of people starting out because you are a veteran.

  33. Citing old counterstrike maps as evidence of the lack of toxicity is hilarious, given that Counterstrike 1, which to this day is untouched by matchmaking, was notoriously the most toxic multiplayer game of the era.

  34. Oh god yes. I fucking HATE match making with a passion.

    Match making also puts a much shorter life span on games, and adds a ridiculous amount to development overhead.

    Semi-related, but kind of not: I also hate “games as a service”.

  35. Modern games are toxic because the current generation of teens realize there is no consequence for their behavior online and “its just a game bruh, why you getting triggered noob?”

    If people could reach through their monitors to strangle the person on the other end online gaming would be the most peaceful place on earth and you would receive an apology and detailed explanation every time someone killed you.

  36. I needed a break from DOTA 2 at 5000 hours, where matchmaking would put me because of my now-stale MMR means that I wont play it again because I can’t imagine training up to that standard, so yeah, modern matchmaking is IMO a pile of ass and rubbish.

  37. My two cents.. I was a pro level player before it became huge. Competed in Team Fortress Classic, UT2k3/4, TF2, and was a rank 1 in WoW who played with pros but never actually made it to tournament play. For me, the lack of community is the major downfall. There is a huge disconnect. Back in the early days (early 2000’s), all of the top clans had IRC channels, there were huge forum communities, and the dedicated servers were just extensions of those things. Even when TF2 came out in 2007, IRC was still huge. I remember being in the official channel with several thousand others when the game launched and everyone just absolutely losing their shit. The matchmaking queue system provides a shield in the form of general anonymity, so you can act like a shithead and there’s little to no consequence. Back then, though, servers posted their logs, tracked Steam ID’s, etc., and it was pretty simple to blacklist undesirables. I miss the feel of community from back then. As a casual older player now, though, it doesn’t really bother me, but if I played like I did back then, I know it would.

  38. God I’m feeling so nostalgic for the old Half-Life days when I would go to my favorite servers to show off my Team Fortress Classic conc jumping skills.

  39. Wanting to improve or playing seriously doesn’t and shouldn’t go hand in hand with toxicity.

  40. Man you’re not wrong. I remember getting on counterstrike servers that were racing servers. They modded the half life one trains so that you could drive them and they made go karts. Then people realized there wasn’t any limit to what the cars could look like so soon there were maps with these 2 story house cars driving around all horrible looking because half life and cs were not meant to be racing games. But fuck it. That was a blast.

    Then I discovered the jail servers. Oh baby. People made maps where most of the players were terrorists with no weapons in jail cells and a handful of players were cts with whatever guns they wanted. The cts had to keep the terrorists in line and they would do minigames where if you lost they killed you. They would kill all the ts until there was one left and then kill him. Bam. Cts. Win. But the terrorists could find secret weapons, some of the cells had escape routes, and basically by coordinating the terrorists could overthrow the cts even though they didn’t have any guns at the start.

    It was and is amazing. The cts would be marching the terrorists around and if you were quick you could slip away and break into the armory and get a gun. Or everyone would coordinate and all at once just make a mad dash for it.

    I ended up playing on servers like that far more than I ever did playing actual just regular cs.

    Then there was all the rp servers. So much fun

    You can still find basically all these mods on Garry’s mod but it’s just not the same. It always feels so much more clunky and not as fluid as it used to be.

    Man I wish someone would make a stand alone variant of rp and prisonbreak. I know there is an rp game in the works but it’s likely in development hell. Would love to see a AAA prisonbreak.

  41. Dude… Solo queuing in competitive Overwatch for me is like this

    L L L L L L L L L L L W L L L L L L L L L L L L L L

    Completely unplayable.

  42. The first three groups of people are all toxic. Just because they’re allowed to have their own personal cesspools does not fix the problem, it just makes it a pain for the “normal” (aka non toxic) players to get set up. Toxic players need to change or be exterminated, period.

  43. A big part of the problem is that casuals with no sense of teamplay whatsoever que up for competitive, there is quickplay or arcade for that. If you have no interest in being part of a working team, dont play competitive and act surprised if people get angry because of you playing as lone wolf!

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