Why are players so toxic in Rocket League? (and what to do about it)

In this article, Speedy looks at the issue of toxic behaviour in Rocket League, what motivates it and how to deal with it.

Imagine you’re playing your 3rd consecutive match and you’re losing once again. You’re finally 1 goal ahead with 15 seconds to go. All you and your team need to do is hold off for those last few seconds to take your first win of the evening. But then it all falls apart.

You miss an easy clear. You then get demoed. But it should be fine because the ball is slowly rolling towards your teammate who is back and goal. But…. yep, your teammate somehow missed, just like you did. It’s 2 – 2 in overtime. They get a kickoff goal and win the game. How do you feel? Easy to react with toxicity at this point.

Maybe you can related to this story. Looks like SunlessKhan did.

Toxicity – we’ve all seen it. “You’re so bad kid, uninstall”, “Why are you even playing?”, “Kill yourself”. It’s clearly part of every online gaming community but are some games worse than others?

Let’s jump into Rocket League by starting off with a Twitter poll we did. It received over 1100+ votes and helps give an idea to how players feel about the topic:

Now that we’ve shown that almost everyone experiences toxic behaviour, we can list the 3 most common types of toxic players that are usually encountered:

1. The ‘Sarcastic’ Classic

What better way to start the list with the classic toxic player.

This guy makes the game a nightmare for everyone. There the rudest of all the toxic players. They don’t care about what they are saying or what effect it might have on the people they are playing with. Sarcasm is a default go to for most toxicity as it’s easy to communicate thanks to quick chat options.

The insults might range from telling them to kill themselves through to racial slurs. It’s hard to know what motivates these types of behaviour. Most likely it comes from the comfort of anonymity that the internet offers as well as furstration within the match or previous matches.

2. The ‘My Team Sucks!’ Guy

Next, we come across the ‘My team sucks!’ Guy. For example, this player thinks that they could probably beat Dignitas if they had good teammates. They also think they have GC mechanics even if they are still in Platinum 1.

Curiously, the ‘My team sucks!’ guys will often just give up after they get scored on. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 20 seconds. Once they get scored on the best solution is to give up, then, if the team refuses to forfeit they either quit the game or go AFK to prove a point.

3. The ‘Time to be a child’ Own Goaler:

Nobody knows why this guy plays the game or how he managed to rank up. He does nothing but complain but unlike the ‘My team sucks!’ Guy, he doesn’t just leave cause he knows you’ll probably do better without him. Instead, he makes sure that you lose by – you guessed it – own goaling

Don’t lose hope. You’ll outrank them someday and never see them again.

If you do run into them, it’s always possible to change the chat settings to ‘No Chat’ or ‘Team Chat’ only in the options menu.

What causes players to be so toxic in the first place?

Going back to to our story at the start of this article. Notice how there seems to be a sequence of events that takes place before a player is triggered to be toxic.

There could be other factors too. Maybe they just had a rough day? Or maybe someone just ate all the frosted doughnuts at work? Maybe they just came out of a game with another toxic person and this is a one-time thing for them? Or maybe it’s just a joke that you weren’t supposed to see? I’ll be honest, I have accidentally written ‘gg ez’ in All Chat instead of Party or Team Chat by accident followed by a quick Leave Game.

What I’m trying to say is that, no, it’s not nice to be on the receiving end. Playing games in a competitive environment are emotional. Feelings running high and low. It’s only natural to feel anger or frustration when it does not go your way. Or when a teammate doesn’t complete a basic action. Having empathy is probably the last thing on your mind at this stage, but it’s the starting point for this issue.

We can also look at it from the other side, as SunlessKhan helpfull pointed out in a recent video. Can a little bit of controlled toxicity be helpful? What about ‘Wholesom toxicity’?

In short yes, ‘Wholesome toxicity’ is certainly a valid method to win more. Let your playing do the talking.

What can we do about it?

Unfortunately, we do need to accept if you’re playing Rocket League or any other competitive game toxicity is going to be part of the game, but there are ways to reduce it.

  1. Mute chats. I’ve mentioned this above but you can remove the chat completely to avoid even seeing it. Of course, you might want to allow team chat or rename yourself to ‘No chat, I Got it’ to make sure you can still communicate on kick off.
  2. If you don’t mute chats then use it sparingly. Let your playing do the talking. If you lose your match then move on to the next one. Just make sure you still communicate with your teammate.
  3. Report players who are being particularly toxic. It’s pretty satisfying seeing the message a day or two later saying that person has been banned.
  4. See the funny side of it. There are plenty of memes and screenshots of some hilarious toxic conversations. If you’re part of a Discord community that’s a good start.
  5. Give others the benefit of the doubt. It can be easy to misunderstand chats. In other words, if someone quick chats ‘Close one!’ on a shot you made that you thought was terrible, maybe they were just trying to be encouraging and not passive aggressive. They might not be trying to be toxic but things spiral out of control which leads to toxicity, even if it wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

It could be interesting to see Psyonix implement new systems to help deal with this. Other games are being creative with some solutions such as matching toxic players with other toxic players or forcing a player to win 3 matches in casual before being allowed to play ranked again.

Ultimately, you can start helping by not being toxic yourself, try and be helpful or even invite those toxic players to join your community to allow them to explain their frustrations. One chat at a time it can certainly improve.

Speedy

Speedy

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4 thoughts on “Why are players so toxic in Rocket League? (and what to do about it)”

  1. Yea. Your comment is spot on:
    “The longer a game is out the more the toxic base will grow. It becomes no longer fun when you don’t see self improvement. It also feels much better to blame someone else for your own misfortunes than to blame yourself.”

    I also think due to the style of the game that it’s so easy to see when someone makes an obvious makes a mistake (more than other games generally speaking) then that emotion is emphasised even more.

  2. Hey,

    I’m an “Old Timer” round these gaming parts so allow me to share some of my *personal* opinions on why players become toxic in games. Using Rocket League as my main example – though this can apply to other games as well.

    When Rocket League first came out the amount of toxic people in the community was very small. In fact I may have been the most toxic person in all of my games for the first year or so by being that sarcastic guy taking easy jabs at my team mates when they missed, something I would do probably more often than anyone in those games then. It was all in fun!

    As a game ages and evolves many players start to take the game a bit more seriously. Most of us “gamers” are playing to evolve and get better. As you are climbing the ranks you are really having fun learning the game and getting better at a quicker rate than other players you are going against. This is the climbing phase.
    The amazing players reach a peak and their learning curve becomes a bit more parallel to the rest of the community though still slightly rising.
    The great players follow this but flatten out a bit sooner. Leaving them slightly behind the amazing players and slightly above average.
    This continues down the ranking system.
    When players seem to be on the same learning curve as the rest of the rank they are currently in this is when you get “stuck”. You are not learning at a faster rate than anyone else in your current rank.

    The game has been out for multiple years now. The longer a game is out the more players get “stuck”. The longer players are “stuck” but notice they are improving (without noticing the rest of the ranks player base improving around them) it becomes easier to start placing blame.

    This is where most of the toxic player base comes from. The longer a game is out the more the toxic base will grow. It becomes no longer fun when you don’t see self improvement. It also feels much better to blame someone else for your own misfortunes than to blame yourself.

    The ranking systems in these games are very good. Much better than how things used to be 18 years ago when I started gaming. The rank you have earned is the rank you are. If a Champion player were to start a brand new account they would get Champion. If a Platinum player were to start a brand new account they would get Platinum.

    Hope you enjoyed my LITTLE comment here. If anything whether you agree or disagree with anything I said just know someone read your article and took the time to interact! 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading my post :). As for your comment I don’t think I can agree or disagree seeing as how you have been gaming for longer than I have been alive, as a result I ended up joining these games after their evolution. What you’ve said is definitely something i had not thought about and if i ever do an update I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks again for your comment.

      1. Waaaaaait speedy?? You’re not 18, dayum learn something new everyday, but yeah I’d say I’d agree with that mostly I think, just to clarify it is that when you say stuck you mean that they are getting better but they’re staying in the same rank as the player base skill increases at the same rate?? Cus if so yeah pretty much, I’m currently d3 c1 area and my progress is slowing a lot more, and I’m also thinking that maybe I’m getting better at the same rate as before as I’m still practicing new stuff and playing as much as always but the skill in between ranks is greater as there’s less players in that rank as for instance plat which was very easy to rank up through, just a thought that might contribute to the thing you’re saying about slowing progress

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