What is trolling?
If you would prefer the easier to read version, please click here.
“Trolling” in an online game is most commonly used to described when players go out of their way to annoy everyone and make other players rage. The acts of trolling can range anywhere from committing friendly fire to just telling other players that they suck, repeatedly. Now, while this seems like harmless fun on the surface, it can have some really bad effects for those on the receiving end. Not only is the game ruined for everyone else but in some cases, the consequences can be way more severe than just a broken controller. 😡
So, what’s the problem?
Phrases like, “there’s no real harm” get thrown out a lot. This infuriates me because the point of trolling is to cause harm and effects of trolling are mostly all negative. One form of trolling is spamming game chats so that players reading it will be distracted and depending what kind of game you’re playing, the effects will vary. For example; in an FPS, the reader will likely die… (in game) this could ruin their hard work and KD ratio.
Another example would be if you’re playing online and the game chat is being spammed, half of the player’s screens are blocked. This prevents them from being able to score or defend. When people are trolling servers, it makes other players more likely to rage quit. This ruins games for everyone else because in most cases they will be replaced with a bot and who wants to play an online game filled with AI?!
You might think “…but making them angry is the point?!” Well, my response is this… where’s the fun in that? What is the point in going out of your way to make someone that you can’t even see angry? In most cases it won’t affect their day, however in some, it can have a more serious effect. Trolling can have deeper impacts than you might think. For example, when taken too far, trolling can lead to paranoia and can affect sleep. I know this because of my own personal experiences online.
What games are doing to combat trolling
Aside from your usual timeouts or server bans, developers are taking steps to combat the trolls and prevent trolling. A prime example of this is Blizzard. Blizzard are the creators of the popular online shooter, Overwatch. What they have done is, when common trolling phrases are used such as “GG EZ” the text will automatically be changed into a randomly generated phrase by Blizzard. This can be anything from polite gestures to self-deprecating insults. Some examples include:
“Well played. I salute you all.”
“Gee whiz! That was fun. Good playing!”
“It’s past my bedtime. Please don’t tell my mommy.”
“I’m wrestling with some insecurity issues in my life but thank you all for playing with me.”
This was a wonderful idea from Blizzard and has had an overall positive effect to their online game chats. Hopefully, this will become commonplace amongst all Blizzard titles moving forward.
But wait… there’s more
In hardcore modes of Call Of Duty, players that team kill are kicked from the game. While this has been around for a while now, it is important to recognise the importance of the feature introduced all the way back in 2007. Simple things like this can be done to prevent trolling in online games.
It’s far from over
Despite developers best efforts, trolling is still a massive issue that continues to slow down the development of online gamers and gaming. Games are still being ruined by these unfunny people – we all have to do what we can to put an end to it. Not only must we block, mute and report them, but we have to do our best to make in game chats positive, safe spaces again for all gamers. As well as this, we have to let them know that they’re not affecting us, by not reacting to them at all. Don’t give people who troll the satisfaction of a response.🙄
Other than that, all we can really do is play on.