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Maybe we’ve been too hard on MOBAs.




Sure, they’re full of toxic players who insist you play the game perfectly or else they’ll unleash a stream of profanities in your general direction. Sure, the people running the show are mostly powerless to do anything about it (if they care at all).

But I’m starting to think this isn’t an issue exclusive to MOBAs, but rather is something that can crop up during any instance of – and I’m totally making up a term here – Online Random Group Interaction. You know, a good ol’ ORGI.

Unless you play solo versus bots, ORGIs are the only way to play a MOBA. You line up with a group of random strangers, of various skill levels, and then are expected to perform like a well-oiled, cooperative machine and mow through your enemies with clockwork precision.

To put it mildly, it doesn’t always work that way. And when it doesn’t, the knives come out, often pointed at you or one of your teammates. Sometimes it’s deserved – some players really aren’t very good – but there’s a distinction to be made between people who literally don’t know which buttons to press and people who are competent but haven’t poured their souls into a game for 100+ hours a month and read/watched every strat article/video on the Internet.

The thing is, I think that last paragraph could apply not just to MOBAs, but to all sorts of ORGI situations.

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You’ve probably been in one of “those kind” of groups in an MMO, especially if you make frequent use of random group-finder tools. The tank doesn’t hold enough aggro. The healer doesn’t heal, the DPS pulls the wrong targets. Some people are actively bad.

But I also think that the vast majority of people I’ve played with in these sort of things are pretty good, but they’re used to running things a slightly different way, either with friends or with their guild. Maybe they aren’t expecting the tank to speed-run from one encounter to the next or they’re used to standing in a different spot when fighting the boss. Or maybe they’re generally good players but don’t have experience in the dungeon or whatever other content that’s currently being run.

I’ve noticed the same sort of thing in team-based shooters or open-world games that have large dynamic events, where the majority of players know how to do something, but there are always going to be a few new or inexperienced players who are either new to the content or have reached the peak of their skill, so telling them “lrn 2 play” isn’t going to accomplish anything.

The bigger the ORGI, the more likely that there will be someone who doesn’t know exactly what to do in every situation. And, given these games’ “just jump in” mentality, lambasting people for being less-than-elite acts counter to the game’s primary draw.

(True story: On the second day of the Guild Wars 2 beta, there was a guy raging in chat about people not knowing what to do during a big encounter. On the second day of the beta.)

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As you might have guessed, I consider myself to fall into that “competent, but not often willing to devote my life to a game” player. I’m hesitant to PUG a dungeon in most MMOs and have no interest at all in picking up a MOBA, due in large part to figuring I’ll get hammered because I’m so far behind the curve in the meta. If I could find a group of friends to play a MOBA with on a regular basis, like I have my guilds in MMOs – thus, taking the R out of the ORGI – I’d consider playing more.

I feel like that’s the case with a lot of MMOs I play, too, at least when I don’t have guildmates or friends online, or when I’m new to a game and don’t know anyone. I’d like to play with people, but… people suck. So I solo. No, I’m not some super-sensitive flower who avoids criticism, but someone telling me I should use a different weapon is a whole lot different from that same person telling me to die in a cancer fire.

Sure, this can all boil down to “people are dicks on the Internet,” and specifically “people are dicks in online games,” and that’s not news. But while MOBAs take a lot of the heat for toxicity, I think that’s just due to the nature of the beast and that it’s a phenomenon that exists in many online games that feature ORGIs. MOBA developers can do what they like to try and curb that behavior, but the only real option is to play solo – not really an option in MOBAs – or in non-random groups. It’s probably not something that can ever be “solved,” but it’s also not exclusively a MOBA issue.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

36 Readers Commented

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  1. Groximus on December 9, 2014

    i swap from MOBA to Starcraft 2 beacuse of toxicity, i learn to carry whit Kayle whit Hurricane and i carry every single match from the jungle, i played always in arraged team, but mi friends (real life friends) started complaining about me carrying every match. they wanted me to leave kill to the ADC that was really bad when he had 0 participation in the kill. my friend turn agaist me they all were mad because i learn to carry a match i always end up like 20/4/10 and they said that it was bad score for a jungler, the jungler should not carry. they don`t understand the whit the new jungle items Jungler-Carry was an option. they wanted to make champions selection like pros do and thats pretty stupid if you`re not pro. i got so frustrated of carry the team (mi real life friends) and only reciving critics and complains that i unistalled the game, funny that when i finally learn how to play well people started being jackass to me, so i bougth Starcraft 2, i love playing 1 vs 1, i seriusly dont want to play any more “team based games” only 2 vs 2 or something like that whit my brother, he is the only person whit who i can really cooperate and we understand each other and seek the greater good and no indivudal goals

  2. GamerForLife on December 8, 2014

    This is basically why I play with friends and only with friends! I don’t get mad if the party wipes or if we lose a match I just shrug it off and try again. But there are people that just LOSE it and it annoys me to the point of quitting if I can’t get my friends in on the game. Usually though in games like LoTRO,WoW,TERA,and so on I’ve usually played a tank or supporting character and I ALWAYS mention that I am new to the game. This usually gets me one person bitching about it and the others telling me how to properly do certain things and giving me a heads up if there is a debuff or aoe I should just dodge because I can’t block it(TERA). I did this once in LoL and holy shit my entire team just went off on me! JEEZ! I think it’s more prominent in mobas because people are really REALLY competitive as opposed to like TERA or WoW where it’s usually PvE content that I run.

  3. the6freak on December 8, 2014

    Wow, just look at the toxicity of the comments. I could never understand why so many can’t help but be disdainful.

  4. daWanted on December 7, 2014

    TOXICITY is a song of system of down…toxic players are everywhere because no one like too lose…and in moba games should be ranked matches like people in higher ranks play with people in same rank or level….because is painfull when u spend hours in one game and some “noobs” kill your experience…have nothing against noobs because i was one….and noobs should play with noobs in the same rank…just a opinion

  5. duty14 on December 7, 2014

    “Sensitive flower” is the right word. MOBA’s are competitive games. Nerves will come no matter what… Even between teammates that are friends.
    Someone can curse a lot but you don’t have to take it personal and be hurt by it… Nobody is forcing people to play MOBA’s but these games are the most played anyway. Why is that? People like to swear? ( some of them do … )
    No these games are competitive and when things go wrong you need to let disapointment out. Same happens with sports too… Looks like the author of the article is a stranger to sports… Sports are team based also. When things go right everybody is happy and when things go wrong everybody is nervous and disapointed. This article its putting a doubt or blaming the NATURE OF PEOPLE.
    When you play a game you know what to do after some point of the game. It comes logically. The people who don’t know what to do didn’t given their interest long enough to the game meaning they are casual and anyway they won’t play the game longer or the game is to difficult for them to manage? IF you do the wrong stuff or actions into a game you should be able to take criticism for your mistakes even tough the criticism is a little harsh ( but at the end of the day those are just words and be called noob or die of cancer still has the same target telling you that you are bad and you need to become better). If these words are flamed continuosly from a certain person over and over again you should allready know who are you dealing with and you should allready know not to get down to that level and take those words personal.

  6. ama8o8 on December 7, 2014

    Can people stop saying people should just play bots to learn a new champ…honestly its like people think bot games = pvp games…even if you find out what build works, if youre getting killed a lot by a real player that means the bot games didnt help….normal Q is there for a reason …to help you learn the ropes so that you can be able to compete in ranked -_- everyone starts somewhere you cant expect someone to magically become good at thegame…thats why I hate league so much the community just makes me feel like no new people are allowed to play the game ….

  7. devilr on December 7, 2014

    A team game like it say must be play as a team or you wont win,and rage is a part of those game,i loose lots of game ranked because of other player …I am not a pro but i am not bad …SO rage is sometimes just frustration because u dont do anithing to loose the game,u where playing good but the other do sh*** !

  8. Zhao Yun on December 6, 2014

    As far as mobas specificly and as far as being new in them i believe that people kept getting the wrong idea or ignoring entirely the fact that theres games where u can play vs bots and its u and 4 bot allies vs 5 other bots or u and 4 more people vs 5 bots so in that prespective u can play vs bots and with people without getting the blame and stuff cause most times in these games people try to just learn a new hero/champ than trying to “win” the game or “get kills” or whatever but noone does that and specificly in LoL for example people just ruin other peoples games by trying new champions in normal games instead of just going and learning the champion in bot games therefore people get mad which i find normal so i think it just gets down to how “stupid” are the people playing the game rather than the whole raging aspect of it

    • fromhelll on December 6, 2014

      I always wondered about that, I don’t get why people don’t just try out new champions vs bots. That being said, bot matches aren’t that much better than PvP, there’s plenty or as@holes there too, you have those that claim to be “pros” yet for some reason their level 8 and playing bot matches.

    • ama8o8 on December 7, 2014

      Whats the point of learning a new champ if youre not gonna practice with real people? Bot mode doesnt teach you anything about the champ…it only teaches you how strong a champ can be

      • Fact on December 14, 2014

        An experienced player would play bot games until he or she is comfortable with the champ. They will not feed like a noob vs players. Only a noob will feed like a noob.

  9. Cyril on December 6, 2014

    Captain Obvious to the rescue!

  10. cacalips on December 6, 2014

    1) Mmorpgs have block, ignore, blacklist and minimize chat. Moba does not. But you can ignore it easy since action on screen.

    2) Sensitive people need to shut it. Its competitive gaming. People are gonna type stuff. While they type… You play and get advantage. Its not like violence and greed of the game is innocent.

    3) more offensive than a chat you can ignore. Map pinging. Afk. Disconnect. LoL has millions of people on poor people pc’s and dial up. 95% matches one team or other or both lose 1/3 of their team first 10 min. Of play.

    • cacalips on December 6, 2014

      Also. I played in eu, us, and other regions in lol. I found in Eu, germans, spanish, french russian all try and meet in broken english. To avoid bans you cuss in ur language. This whole “we ban bad people. And tounement players are guilty too!” is just a riot market ploy. They cant track all languages mixed in all servers. Its a lie. They just target certain examples to please investing players and moms leave the credit card on tab.

    • Adrian87 on December 7, 2014

      “95% matches one team or other or both lose 1/3 of their team first 10 min. Of play.”
      Sorry but i do not agree. I have a few thousands (about 5k or more) of games played in LoL, and probably another thousand in the other mobas put togheter. For the first 10 min of the game as you say it’s more of a 33% instead of 95%. Even less as you climb the ranks.
      It is probably closer to your percentage on beginner games and lower ranking.

  11. Skizezero on December 6, 2014

    Ok, I have to say this is one most pointless articles ever written. Toxicity has ALWAYS existed. Whether it’s in online games or not. You see it in any type of competition. It’s just part of human nature. When you play a game, you want to win. Winning is far better than losing. You’re lying if you say that you’re enjoying the game if you’re consistently losing. The more you lose, the less enjoyment and fulfillment you experience. When you win, it gives you a good feeling.
    Honestly, any one with common sense knows that toxicity is everywhere. Who in their right minds thought toxicity existed only in MOBAs? Heck, the most toxic people were generally in fps games before MOBAs existed.
    You guys ever hear of fights breaking out in sports, etc? Yeah, that’s toxicity cause they want to win or the team they’re rooting for to win. It’s been around for centuries. Welcome to real life guys.

    • Notreally on December 7, 2014

      Toxicity comes from the people that want to win ALL the time.From people who cannot accept defeat and from people who think they have mastered the game more than everyone else.Sure i agree that in every competitive game the main purpose is to win and victory is always the greatest satisfaction but when you forget you are still playing a GAME and you let every single mistake and defeat ruin your mood you going to become toxic to others and that means that even if you win in the end the time you spend fighting with your teamates takes the pleasure away.

  12. Yup on December 6, 2014

    Gw2 SoloQ Feelings
    (Same about Arena, train mode)

  13. Deyirn on December 6, 2014

    This is simply because on the internet you are anonymous and there are no consequences for insulting others.
    Those who insult and act nasty obviously have some sort of emotional problems or something like this and they get easily frustrated by petty matters and explode on the internet, and if there are others like them, the chain reaction is hilarious.

    This kind of people, depending on the country they live in, if they act the same way in the real world, they will be either, alienated by their peers and other people, or get bullied, or get beaten up to dust, or maybe the three of those all together.

    It’s kind of sad that such “broken” individuals found the internet as their proving grounds, but hey, let’s forget about the internet and be happy that some don’t fall for this.

  14. fromhelll on December 6, 2014

    I posted this a couple hours ago, somehow it didn’t actually post, here it goes again.

    It sucks that there aren’t any real solutions, but that’s life, people are assholes in person ,if you put them behind a monitor and keyboard where there’s no chance that they’ll get smacked on the head they act even worst.

    I think I heard this on a movie, “there are two kind of bad people the ones who do bad things and the ones who let bad things happen”, in other words, toxicity isn’t just about the person who’s raging, it’s also about everyone else in the team who just sit there quietly and let the crazy person take over the game, I’m not saying arguing with him is gonna solve anything, but if people actually talked to each other before someone starts raging , after all FPS, MMO’s and MOBA’s are supposed to be team/group games (sometimes at least), and by just sitting there playing quietly you’re not really being part of the team either, yes you’re not raging at your teammates, but neither are you helping build up the teams morale, you’re just there existing.

    A couple days ago i was playing Dead Island: Epidemic (Crossroads mode) and 3-4- minutes into the match some guy started raging at another player for spending too much time killing zombies instead of doing to the target area, I get that he was slowing us down, and leaving us 1 man short while he stayed behind fighting, but if no one said what the plan was at the beginning of the match, so how was the guy supposed to know?

    I’m not saying that’s the cause for all the toxicity in gaming, but not talking is a big part of the problem, you can’t expect for people to guess what you’re gonna do if you never told them or if they never played with you enough to know your playing style.

  15. Dough on December 6, 2014

    To be honest its no the mobas or internet’s fault that so many people rage these days, its the power of anonymity, and its especially apparent in mobas since with the current matchmaking and the amount of players you are not likely to ever meet the same person again. You can rage all you want and there wont be any consequences apart of you getting banned in the most extreme cases. Which just forces them make a new account and ruin the poor newbies games with their reinforced toxicity levels. So back to the anonymity part, most people wouldn’t rage IRL and wish cancer to their friends because they care about them or just don’t want their asses handed to them by either their friends or some random strangers.
    Talking about MMOS, you are not likely to rage as much at your guild/clan mate since you are going to see and do things together with them for a while, you are better off being on good terms with them and maybe teach them something useful instead. MMOS aren’t that competitive anyways so it’s all good.
    and a few thoughts about the article, I didn’t feel like it meant anything at all, just a long rant about the current situation or kids raging in games, what would be nice to hear are some solutions or causes of it all, maybe some deeper examination as to why this is all happening, not just stating that it’s simply happening. I’m quite sure most of the people experienced it in most of the multiplayer games they play in one form or another.

  16. Anon on December 6, 2014

    If you want to see toxicity, play Archeage or check the forums.
    Honestly I love ArcheAge but the community is by far the worst of any online game. It makes toxicity in MOBAs like LoL look as sweet as a bag full of sugar by comparison.

  17. Razer on December 6, 2014

    Obviously it exists in other games, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a community that’s comparable to the open hostility and bitterness of MOBA players. The snowballing momentum of the leveling mechanics in MOBA games seems to bring out the worst in people.

    • Your Maker on December 6, 2014

      are u srs ?

      In at team oriented either sport or game, no1 fking like garbage players okay ?

      The team is only strong when individuals are strong individually

      • Annonymouse on December 8, 2014

        Thanks for confirming that MOBA players are generally more toxic than the average human being.

        • Fact on December 14, 2014

          What will happen if you messed up on your job? You will probably get yelled at or fired. What you could do next is up to you. You could suck it up and do better or leave. Same here in MOBA.

          Real MOBA players do take this game seriously.
          If you are new and can’t handle the toxicity, you better leave.

          • But on December 15, 2014

            But it’s a game. I’m here to have fun, no to get yelled again by someone

  18. Your Maker on December 6, 2014

    Lol is this guy srs ?

    Let me tell u how my LoL games usually go honey boo boo

    I most of the time got most kills on my team, but my team usually pick a champ they have never played bef4, always feed, always does not care about winning, and when i gave up carrying and spam FF, they report me, i didnt even rage, i just simply gave up and just wanna move on to next game and they all report me :]

    So tell me who is toxic now ?

    I love kids with no analysis skills or statistic skill or people-reading skill or have any appropriate credentials try to write shet about things

    I just fking hate journalists dood , who are good at nothing but writting bs :], if u r truly good at writing, write a book pos

    • SirEdwin89 on December 6, 2014

      You should probably never insult the intelligence of anyone else ever again…

      • Your Maker on December 6, 2014

        Correct me if I m wrong,

        Reporter/Journalist are meant to inform, report the news not writing about his/her fking opinion about a news because the last time i check they dont know shet about anything

        Like this guy

        • fromhelll on December 6, 2014

          Yes, you are wrong.
          Look up the definition of “Editorial”. Then, go check under the title of the article, does it not say “Editorial”?

          You’re pretty pathetic. You’re criticizing something without even knowing what it is.

        • JIM DUFFY on December 6, 2014

          LMAO.. Your maker.. Dear stupid window-licking air-stealing lump of Yak fat, Next time you have what you think is a thought please Please kill it.
          this is a Editorial !Not a News piece . Can you say the big word ? .. slowly now .. Editorial. Good boy .. heres a cookie , now go outside and play, the adults are talking .

          • Your Maker on December 6, 2014

            Oh i didnt know MMOBomb have sections, now you can see my point why journalist/reporter should never write any Editorial, ‘cuz it shows how stupid they are lmao :]

    • KainDarkfire on December 6, 2014

      First comment I read only serves to prove the article’s point. Great job, at least you were good for something. The irony.

    • Your maker on December 7, 2014

      I’m a basement dwelling neckbeard who needs to grow his e-peen in online games because I’ll never bed any self-respecting woman on this planet. I also love to be contrarian and act like a little jerkoff behind the vail of anonymity but in reality would cower like a little puss. I da greatest MLG gaemer evar.

    • Adrian87 on December 7, 2014

      @yourmaker
      Let me guess…
      You are the kind of guy that calls ppl stupid from the champion pick stage of the game.
      You start ragging from min 1 at the first random thing that you see and think is wrong.
      In some cases (if not most), those new players you play with get angry or intimidated or w/e, cannot think strait and even though they might have the best intentions they do a mistake or two and you take that as you are right and rage even more.
      After you get killed in first gank at your lane, you already rage in all chat at your team. Knowing you are a godlike strategist and a real live LoL wiki you could have not make any mistake by now. It’s all their fault for feeding (i mean, i guess you call 2 total team kills feeding).
      Then you either start feeding on purpose, either leave the game, making sure your team loses.
      You and players like you are the major toxicity factor in this game. Because of you and those like you, every new LoL player had a bad starting experience. Leavers and raggers like you are usually lowest ranks, and new players are logically put against lowest ranked players. They are not gonna matchmake a new player with a vet, cuz he will just get stomped.
      So a.holes like you are the first LoL experience a newcomer will have. That is why the bad rep for the community.
      @Jason
      I know toxicity is not only in the new player experience, but a high amount of it is gathered there. The community gets less toxic as you rise your rating a bit and get matchmade more with nicer and nicer ppl, but that just says again: learn the game to not get flamed at.
      I think moba’s should try some sort of teacher system to improve the new player experience, with game modes designed especially for it, but toxicity will always be there. If they could successfully get around it somehow, it might even decrease the amount of toxicity.
      And going away from the moba’s, yes i do agree with you that in any “good ol’ ORGI” you have a high chance of finding toxicity, from ppl doing speed runs on an instance in witch you find your self for the first time, to players using meta’s to the bone (this days some of them even tell you where to stay and when to blink – we are no longer players, just living, breathing bots).
      Anyway, imo, the more competitive a game is, the more toxicity it packs, and i don’t mean just PvP.
      [b]P.S. Please do not listen to the hateful commentators. Even though i rarely comment, i read and enjoy your editorials very much. Please keep making them.[/b]

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