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How does one deal with online trolling/harassment in video games?

Examples of issues I have faced as a player:

  • Running a game with friends and having one random player join in and ruin it, constantly
  • Playing a game and getting ganged on by a group of players
  • Playing a game in which I set some conditions for a room and players try their very best to get me frustrated
  • Players threatening to hack my online account and to ban me from games
  • Players asking me to relinquish items to them or be mass reported on a game

I would like to know to deal with online trolling or harassment in video games. What can I do, as a player, to fight this off? I am not looking for specific solutions that pertain to individual bullet points above, I am asking how to deal with online bullying and harassment as a whole. What can I do to prevent me from getting targeted by trolls?

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    Players hack my online account and to ban me from games How could that be possible? Are your computers infected or do you have a lousy password? In that case, take your measures. You have far more to lose than virtual money. – user732 May 15 '15 at 13:29
13

This is something that I deal with a lot. For the sake of clarity, I primarily play the following games:

  • League of Legends (stopped playing after S4 ended)
  • World of Warcraft
  • Payday 2 (stopped playing ~6 months ago)
  • Destiny
  • Various other MMOs (RIFT, Swtor, etc...)

Throughout my experience with these games, I have found that there will always be people like this. Yes they are annoying, and yes I sometimes want to throw my computer through the wall before dealing with these people for another minute. So how do I still have my computer?

You want to surround yourself with good people

That's the bottom line, and this is a very simple thing to do. You don't like bad eggs, so why be around bad eggs? If you find some good people to play with, then keep playing with those good people.

Socialize with people and be a good sport. Try to get on the personal level of a conversation, such as a common sports team or region. Bonus points if you can get the other person to willingly discuss something about themselves. I find that the more personal of a level you get with someone, the more likely they'll like you. If you can, make every single person you come across a "bro".

Most important of all though is that you want to do this consistently with any person, both good and bad. You can't blame someone for their bad behavior if you don't make any effort to help them grow out of it. Maybe all that person needs is a friend, or maybe they have never attempted a Payday 2 mission as stealth. I find that many people are willing to improve more if they feel that there is some importance with helping or impressing their teammates. This is in contrast with the "screw it I'm just going to mess around until they kick me" attitude that people can go into when they feel overwhelmed or flustered.

Finally, you want to get these people back in the next game. If you make new friends who have a good attitude and are good at your game, then why not invite them back then next time you're on? As a group, you hold much more weight against potential trolls and the like. That means more support for you and less support for the baddie. It gives someone more incentive to "play nice"; after-all there's more weight to being accepted by a group, and less going for them by playing out against the group.

Last but not least, don't feed the trolls.

I'm serious about this. If someone wants you to feel bad, chances are they're looking for a reaction. Don't give it to them. Again, try to be supportive and help the player to the best that you can. However don't be afraid to set your foot down. If someone cannot, in their full capacity, act as a decent human being, then you're not obligated to deal with it. Remove the problem, find a replacement, and you're set.

In many MMOs, this is easily accomplished via guilds. In WoW and SWTOR, it is common for end-game content to be attempted by guild-only groups. Be a bad sport, and you can be replaced by someone else in the guild or someone interested in joining the guild. While I have seen many bad eggs, it is very easy for a large guild to almost completely eradicate the problem. For example, in my core raiding group in WoW, people will have to have done a non-core raid with us before joining. We can easily deal with a bad egg in our off-time, and this makes sure that our core group only consists of good players.

In other games such as Destiny or Payday 2, it is simply about forming your own groups. Make some friends, and those friends will make some friends. While there isn't any official "guild" or similar system in these games, the same ideals will work. Back when I played Payday 2, I would mess around in random missions to find people who were serious about actually playing the game. I then would invite these people when starting the trickier heists because I know that they are competent enough to help.

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    First and only: DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. – Mazura Feb 3 '15 at 3:24
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    Would reporting "Players asking me to relinquish items to them or be mass reported on a game" be feeding the trolls? I would definitively want to report those to the site/mods - they probably do that with other players too, so you would stay unidentified. Make screenshots to suuport your complaint. – user732 May 15 '15 at 13:28
4

In most games, there are several ways to beat your opponent.

  • Luck, when rolling dice or drawing cards
  • Skill, when aiming correctly
  • Strategy, when knowing which way to choose

And metagaming, disturbing your foes outside the defined game parameters.

These might include showing a unit early you're not gonna use, having a username connected to a certain stereotype, and trying to throw your enemy off balance by means of insults.

Threatening/harassing outside of games is kind of a long-con. Disheartening the better players so the harasser himself may reign supreme in his tiny pool of hate.

If you think of everything non-game-related thrown at you as metagaming, you can easily handle that stuff by ignoring it or however you feel like.

If you're concerned for an enemy spamming the same move, however shows you need to practice that game some more and might be a valid question on its own.

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3

Some tips I have found from other gamers:

Step away from the game

  • Players who thrive upon getting people angry or riled up will love it the longer you stay, obviously getting you to the point where you will blow up.
  • Stepping away from the game for a short period of time allows you to cool off, and forces trolls and bullies to find someone else to pick on, someone that isn't you.

Use online reporting tools

  • Many games offer a report function that allows you to report players or submit tickets regarding harassment in online games.
  • Take advantage of this, and make sure to document online bullying. Most game support teams are more than happy to help you and avoid having harassment in the game.
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2

A lot of Games are played around the world (if not all of them).

When playing Call of Duty, I noticed that there are times of the day and days of the week that are preferable for playing, (at least for me) times when I wouldn't get slaughtered because of my skill level in the game. This also means that certain types of players are on during certain times and days of the week.

Suggestions:

  1. get offline, do something else, and come back later.
  2. Practice the game through Campaign mode (if that is an option to the game) or Offline
    • Campaign mode or Story Mode is when you play the game through in 1-player mode, all the other players are NPCs (Non Player Characters) or Computer players, so you can usually set the difficulty.
    • some games have a Multi-player Training mode also where you can set up the match or level the way you want, amount of players and difficulty and access, you can usually invite your friends and kick players that you don't want in there should they get out of control.
  3. Turn the volume down/off
    • Mute players you don't know (or wish you didn't know) muting players usually means that they cannot hear you and you don't hear them
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Ignore it, and them, and grow up. People, in general, are arseholes. As an adult, you should be aware of this.

Most game networks, Steam included, let you ignore individuals and many games will even take these choices into account in their matchmaking. Many online games will let you have private lobbies so you can restrict games to just your friends.

Some people are douchebags, and present as such more in their online interactions than they would in real life. There is no effective way to deal with these people other than ignoring them.

"Threats" online are rarely credible. People probably don't know where you live, unless you tell them. They probably aren't capable of gaining access to your game accounts without error on your part.

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    @TZHK how would you suggest me to get my son to grow up then? He is only 8 and has started playing games, but has started to face small tidbits of online harassment. I don't know about you, but it's going to be a long way for someone like him to just grow up, just like you say – meme scientist Feb 3 '15 at 0:02
  • I assume you control his internet access? Turn it off. – TZHX Feb 3 '15 at 0:05
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    My advice was targeted at you though, don't try and paint me as callous by suggesting I'm just telling a child to grow up. You didn't mention or allude to children in your question. – TZHX Feb 3 '15 at 0:07

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