Home Features Overwatch toxicity and the privilege of not caring about endorsements

Overwatch toxicity and the privilege of not caring about endorsements

6 min read
28

Toxicity is an unfortunate and expected part of any kind of competitive setting. Dealing with defeat (as an example of what could cause this) is often something many people can’t actually process properly, and there have been many circumstances where those people straight up quit the game or even blame others for the mistakes that they have made.

In gaming culture, this kind of behaviour becomes amplified in the sense that playing online means you have nothing to lose, realistically. Being online means that you can become completely different to how you act in real life, and that also means that you can say whatever you want without having to suffer the consequences or knowing the effect it has on the person you are targeting. On top of that, it also opens the opportunity for people to be bad winners – we’ve all seen a “gg ez” in our games.

That’s where being a woman online becomes difficult. Being attacked purely because of your gender is something every woman who games online has experienced at least once, and one is often undermined for that same thing. For the most part, it’s just an irritating expectation when you log on that you will have some dude shouting at you that you can’t play that DPS hero because ‘girls usually play healers’. But a lot of the time it can be so much more than that.

That takes us to Overwatch and the scene surrounding Blizzard’s popular competitive shooter. It’s a community that I have been a part of/exposed to basically from the start, and it’s my most realistic point of reference when it comes to this kind of behaviour.

Personally, I am fairly new in the competitive Overwatch community. In the sense of the game, I tried playing comp in the beginning – but I just got way too tilted at the absurdity of the SR system (honestly, I just couldn’t accept the fact that I was bad), and the fact that people are horrible when they are thrown in a competitive setting. It wasn’t until I joined a team and started competing in the VS gaming league that I really got back into it.

Strangely though, I have experienced more toxicity from other women than I have from men. I’m not sure why this is; if I just naturally get along with men a lot better, or if the women I have played with online are just naturally toxic people, but it has been a difficult ride. The treatment there has been incredibly targeted and has even leaked into areas of my life that have nothing to do with playing games. It’s been the spread of nasty rumours, the fear of logging on, and being pushed away from playing with my friends.

That has been a ride, to say the least. I have been accused of nepotism – that I only got into a team because my boyfriend was part of it. I have been called a bully because I refuse to play with toxic people, and I have had people who try and tell me how to play my game when we play completely different categories of heroes because they have a weird chip on their shoulder. Don’t get me wrong, being in the COWSA (Competitive Overwatch South Africa) community has given me the opportunity to meet some fantastic people who are willing to help others grow and become better players. But I have met some people who just refuse to work with me like I am a human being. I have seen this happen to people who are close to me as well, and I am just lost as to why this keeps on happening overall.

I have some theories as to why this has been happening with women as the perpetrators of toxic interaction though – and it might be the ingrained misogyny that a lot of people struggle with. Not to say that women hate themselves, but there is an insecurity that a lot of us hold and that affects the way that we interact with each other. This means that when we have the chance to be in a place of power, we will take it and hold on to it for dear life – no matter the consequences of the actions we take to do so.

But this is mainly just speculation.

When it comes to men, they have usually given me the same treatment I could expect from them in real life. The weird messages asking me for ludicrous favours, and getting angry when they don’t get the attention that they want. It’s more easily moderated online, because I can’t block a person I am talking to physically  – imagine how that would go. This is a systemic issue which is detached from gaming entirely, but is something which we have been given the tools to at least moderate in the gaming community.

That brings us to Overwatch’s recently introduced endorsement system. I have heard so many people complain about it – that others are being “fake nice” in order to get endorsements, and that insincerity is difficult to deal with while you are playing in a game.

While I understand that insincerity is not the best way to go about getting compliments for the way you play the game, I don’t care that people are being insincere. If I don’t have to deal with that guy who screams obscenities at me for any reason, I am happy. It means that I can go into the game with a feeling that I am safer in this environment, and it means that I can play it without fear of being ostracized for being a woman. Sure, these people might say horrible things behind my back, but if I don’t have to deal with it head-on, why do I care about what Johnny from nowhere has to say about me?

As such, I am incredibly thankful for this system. It means that people start thinking about the way that they interact with each other. That is what is more important. We have all heard the cliche that if you fake a smile you will end up being happy – now, I am not sure how true that is, but I am so sure that if we pretend to be nice and see the effect that has on how people interact with us it will make a change for the better.

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and there will always be people who will stay toxic. But for what it’s worth, this could be a step forward for the community of Overwatch to start thinking about more than their ego, and start appreciating the small things; good communication, fewer insults, more respect, and more teamwork in a game where that is what it is all about.

It’s a privilege as such, then, to complain that people are being fake nice to get endorsements. It’s all about compromising, and if the starting point of that comes from a place of ego, it doesn’t really matter – because the endpoint we could reach is a place of genuine concern and humanity.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: July 26, 2018

28 Comments

  1. COWSA?!? Bwahahahaha!

    Does Gary Larson know about this? It would very likely give him a good chuckle.

    Reply

  2. Kromas

    July 26, 2018 at 14:39

    GRL GAMER!!!!!! Run away!

    But seriously don’t let the asshats distract you from having fun in games. I least that is my 2 cents.

    Reply

    • Allykhat

      July 26, 2018 at 16:16

      Chill Chomma…. She don’t have the cooties….

      But while I agree, easier said than done. Having the asshats hound you day in and day out detracts from having fun in games, no matter how thick skinned you are. Everyone cracks eventually.

      Reply

  3. Original Heretic

    July 26, 2018 at 14:51

    COWSA?!? Bwahahahaha!

    Does Gary Larson know about this? It would very likely give him a good chuckle.

    Reply

  4. konfab

    July 26, 2018 at 15:16

    “Strangely though, I have experienced more toxicity from other women than
    I have from men. I’m not sure why this is; if I just naturally get
    along with men a lot better, or if the women I have played with online
    are just naturally toxic people, but it has been a difficult ride. The
    treatment there has been incredibly targeted and has even leaked into
    areas of my life that have nothing to do with playing games. It’s been
    the spread of nasty rumours, the fear of logging on, and being pushed
    away from playing with my friends.”

    Spreading nasty rumours about someone is pretty typical of the ways that girls will bully someone. Boys are more physical in their bullying, but you cannot really be punched in the face over the internet.

    Reply

  5. Allykhat

    July 26, 2018 at 16:19

    I must admit, I saw the article going a different direction initially, but it ended very pleasantly.

    I actually think systems like this should be the norm. Act like an asshat, you play with other asshats. Its effectively segregation that pairs asshats with asshats and lekker peeps with lekker peeps…. for the most part.

    There are peeps out there who live and breath toxicity, so let them… but let them do it with people as toxic as they are.

    Reply

  6. The Big Bad Wolf

    July 26, 2018 at 16:24

    Great article. Whenever I get attacked, I just call them a pregnant goldfish and move on.

    Reply

  7. Deceased

    July 26, 2018 at 23:48

    Interesting read … this is a 2 parter comment…

    1. Toxicity in gaming
    Perhaps looking at the bigger picture ( NOT necessarily you Emily, but anyone feeling like a “victim of toxicity” ):

    If the majority of competitive online gaming communities have toxic elements, perhaps it’s time we stop with the whole:
    “I’m a different skin-color than the majority of the community – therefor I experience toxicity”
    “I’m a different gender than the majority of the community – therefor I experience toxicity”
    “I’m a different than the majority of the community – therefor I experience toxicity”
    The whole “victim-role” does not help at all.

    The fact that other women are toxic towards you isn’t really that surprising if you view them as “just another human being” – try to ignore their gender for a moment, look at the environment you’re interacting with them in, and it’ll make sense. Men receive toxicity from other men online, why is female->female toxicity noteworthy?

    EVERY SINGLE COMPETITIVE ONLINE GAMING COMMUNITY THAT I’VE BEEN A PART OF HAS BEEN TOXIC!!!
    And just to point out… yes I am white, yes I am male – yet I’ve soaked up so much toxicity at this point, it rolls off like water off a ducks back… This brings me to the conclusion of point 1:

    You CANNOT be sensitive on the interwebs – it’s not a place for delicate flowers – you CHOSE to be online, so YOU need to grow a thick skin, the online world will not change very soon – and there’s a reason for this:
    Humans will ALWAYS find a way to make themselves feel greater that other humans – unfortunately that’s the kind of cancerous species we are…

    2. The endorsement system
    No idea what “fake nice” even means – the person in question is either doing his job, being a good teammate, doing good shot-calling or being a pleasure to play with, i.e. sportsmanship – if the person does not fall within these boundaries, they’re either a neutral player … or you know, they’re toxic and need to be reported for the appropriate category.

    Reply

  8. Deceased

    July 26, 2018 at 23:48

    Interesting read … this is a 2 parter comment…

    1. Toxicity in gaming
    Perhaps looking at the bigger picture ( NOT necessarily you Emily, but anyone feeling like a “victim of toxicity” ):

    If the majority of competitive online gaming communities have toxic elements, perhaps it’s time we stop with the whole:
    “I’m a different skin-color than the majority of the community – therefor I experience toxicity”
    “I’m a different gender than the majority of the community – therefor I experience toxicity”
    “I’m a different than the majority of the community – therefor I experience toxicity”
    The whole “victim-role” does not help at all.

    The fact that other women are toxic towards you isn’t really that surprising if you view them as “just another human being” – try to ignore their gender for a moment, look at the environment you’re interacting with them in, and it’ll make sense. Men receive toxicity from other men online, why is female->female toxicity noteworthy?

    EVERY SINGLE COMPETITIVE ONLINE GAMING COMMUNITY THAT I’VE BEEN A PART OF HAS BEEN TOXIC!!!
    And just to point out… yes I am white, yes I am male – yet I’ve soaked up so much toxicity at this point, it rolls off like water off a ducks back… This brings me to the conclusion of point 1:

    You CANNOT be sensitive on the interwebs – it’s not a place for delicate flowers – you CHOSE to be online, so YOU need to grow a thick skin, the online world will not change very soon – and there’s a reason for this:
    Humans will ALWAYS find a way to make themselves feel greater that other humans – unfortunately that’s the kind of cancerous species we are…

    2. The endorsement system
    No idea what “fake nice” even means – the person in question is either doing his job, being a good teammate, doing good shot-calling or being a pleasure to play with, i.e. sportsmanship – if the person does not fall within these boundaries, they’re either a neutral player … or you know, they’re toxic and need to be reported for the appropriate category.

    Reply

  9. Craig "CrAiGiSh" Dodd

    July 27, 2018 at 12:34

    Blizzard titles are for me the most triggering multiplayer experience ever and I find myself being the most toxic in their games.

    Their ranks systems are a massive joke and for me personally, I see this as their biggest problem.

    Reply

  10. Hvd

    July 27, 2018 at 17:52

    esports are toxic thats why i dont play them.

    Reply

  11. Lukin

    May 22, 2019 at 10:32

    Overwatch is toxic game and will be forever. :/

    I found this article – How to win in Toxic Overwatch game. There are some good tips, give it a try.

    The site is Czech, but the article is in English.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Cross-play is finally coming to Overwatch

It includes every system, so try and play against a bunch of Switch users for some easy wi…