Gamer Behavior That Poisoned Perfectly Good Games
Calling gamer culture toxic is unfair. Not to gamers, but to the many sewer pipes farting out acid sludge that have way more tact and empathy than your average Battlefield troll. In fact, toxicity can learn a thing or two from gamers, the worst of whom go above and beyond to think up new ways to poison their favorite games with a virulent strain of hate, bigotry and/or cruelty. For example...
Mordhau Players Fought To Create Segregated Battlefields
Medieval video games allow for a wide array of role-playing. If you're fun and kooky, you can play them as a mad squire or a metal-themed bard. If you're terrible and ignorant, you can play them as white supremacist simulators. All in the name of historical accuracy, of course, which is why these Teutonic racists get so angry when anything ahistorical happens in their game about half-naked dudes killing armor-clad knights with frying pans.
When Mordhau, the historical brawler by first-time developers Triternion, was released unto the masses, players could only select white men as their Dark Age avatars. But it was exactly this lack of diversity that attracted Mordhau's main player base, the unholy union of "girl gamers aren't real" competitive incels and Deus Vult throwback white supremacists. The game's ranks quickly bloated with these bigots relishing in their little violent (as per the game's design) white boys' club, spouting sexism and racism in the chat to the point that reasonable players started to abandon the game. Of course, their time was not meant to last. Eventually, Triternion announced they would be introducing some much-needed diversity in the character creation process. This only spurned these very old-timey racists to embark upon a new quest: to prevent their game from implementing any obviously ahistorical female or minority warriors.
The very, very insecure player base of Mordhau threw a fit, putting pressure on the neophyte developers to keep the game as white and male as a dry-erase board with a penis. Unable and/or unwilling to weather the backlash, the developers accidentally let slip that, while they were still intent on introducing more options, they were also considering introducing a toggle to let players switch off any of the diversity a player didn't want. Because nothing screams "good idea" like giving a bunch of bigots a button they can push to make all women and minorities disappear.
When confronted about this very discriminatory policy, Mordhau's semi-pro developers, who hadn't put any of their Kickstarter money into P.R. training, first outright denied the thing they had very publicly posted, then started backpedaling by claiming it was never really on the books. In July 2019, Triternion released an official statement denouncing their toxic players and promising that their future diversity upgrades would not be optional. As of the publication of this article, Mordhau players still can't play as minorities or women. At this point, it's fair to assume there aren't any left anyway.
Runescape Players Led A Pogrom Against Starving Venezualan Goldfarmers
Venezuela has had it rough for a while now. The country's currency has become so worthless it has less buying power than a Disney Dollar, and while its dictator president eats empanadas on live tv his starving people are forced to eat rotten meat to survive. As a result, Venezuelans desperately seek any kind of money more valuable than theirs -- and that includes fake medieval gold.
The economic situation in Venezuela is so horrific, it's the only place where internet spam has become a reality. Poor Venezuelans can earn big bucks working from home, earning more than six times the national minimum wage (so still only $40 a month). How? By collecting and selling in-game gold in Runescape, the only MMO many beat-up old Venezuelan computers can play. In return, Runescape players were made aware of Venezuela's plight when they noticed the incredible influx of gold farmers grinding fake goblins to feed their flesh and blood children. And as one, they vowed that this economic injustice would not stand. Not the real one, mind, just their dumb fantasy one.
For the temerity of sometimes collapsing a fake online economy to not be starved by their IRL one, Venezuelan players were hunted down by other players with the express intent to, and we can't stress this enough, make sure they couldn't make enough money to eat that night. Of course, it didn't take long before particularly racist gamers (which is fast becoming a pleonasm) started launching indiscriminate attacks on all Venezuelan players -- and we're sure there's a term for that and that it rhymes with "rate crime." Players even posted public hate rants against these digital refugees, with one popular Reddit post including a guide on how to best spot, insult and kill "Pablos," Runescape's racist slur for Venezuelan gold farmers.
As for developer Jagex, they seemed to side with the genocidal trolls, with one senior employee saying: "Gold farmers, wherever they are from, do mess up an economy, and left unchecked, can destroy it." In retaliation, Jagex started heavily banning gold farmers and nerfing quests that were netting them too much life-saving fake gold. We're sure they're working on implementing a burning cross trinket for one of the next patches.
Atlas Players Turned Naval Warfare Into A Race War
Atlas, from the makers of Ark: Survival Evolved, is a seafaring MMO that promised an epic swashbuckling adventure but delivered a game that made players feel as pirate-y as a beached whale.
From day one the game was a jagged, broken, and rehashed mess that wasn't worth the players' time. But some were too enticed by the allure of a Jack Sparrow world to leave, and tried to spice things up the only way gamers know how -- with mods, mass-scale faction battles, and a full-fledged ... race war?
With the game losing steam in the West, more and more of the European and American servers became populated with teams of Chinese players. These quickly started dominating vast swathes of the map and flooding the chat with Chinese characters the server couldn't display correctly. At first, this otherness created small rivalries between the West and the East like in the heady days of the Age of Sail. But this is a gaming community we're talking about, so that quickly devolved into some ethno-nationalist nonsense.
Atlas crews would decorate their sails with nationalist imagery, launch coordinated attacks and lynch players of other ethnicities to bully them off the servers. Chinese players who bridged the divide and played with Westerners were labeled "race traitors, and blood traitors." And thanks to the game's immersive yet janky mechanics, it didn't take long before these jingoists stopped fighting with naval honor and start acting like tub terrorists. Hackers started spamming whales on top of enemy ships to send them to a watery grave. Meanwhile, the less technically gifted racists began suicide-sinking ships by boarding them with an inventory filled to the brim with the heaviest crafting materials.
Rust Survivalists Have Turned Into Psychotic Killers
Have you ever watched a movie or played a game set in the post-apocalypse and thought, boy, how quickly do people start dying their mohawks green, putting on chain bikinis and calling themselves Bone Molester? As it turns out, pretty fast indeed, as any dedicated Rust player can demonstrate you by introducing you to their slaughter dungeon.
Rust is a bare-bones survival MMO -- literally. Being stranded on a distant island, players start the game naked and shivering cave dweller style. And while the game invites a Cast Away style of survivalism, it didn't take long for some players to realize that the quickest way to get warm and fed was by roasting the player that spawned next to them. Rust's official forums are often flooded with complaints that the game is toxically inhospitable to casual players, even by survival game standards, as very few servers aren't packed with machine-gun-toting raiders who spend their time gunning down half-naked newbies for the few scraps they managed to scrape together.
So far, so "competitive survival games unleash people's inner psychos." But thanks to Rust's intricate crafting mechanics the game was able to go one step further and ask exactly what happens when said psychos stop just surviving and actually start thriving. And the answer to that is: They start building the Thunderdome.
Apart from the typical muscle-heads games like this often produce, Rust has an elite class of psycho raider players who craft intricate death traps to torture weaker players for sport and profit. Some spend countless hours effectively minecrafting (ugh, we hate that that's a verb) blood coliseums for themselves, where they trap others and make them fight to the death for their own entertainment. Other raiders prefer a simpler life. They just want to establish and operate their own small business. Specifically, a serial killer slaughterhouse where they lure in their friendly neighbors with fake trade deals, then trap them in a death machine, loot and butcher the remains before the next player who just wants to have fun on a Friday night wanders into their evil domain.
GTA Online Players Have Developed A Mod That Lets You Rape Other Players
In Grand Theft Auto, you're supposed to play a scumbag, a lowlife criminal who'll steal cars, stab passers-by and shoot down police helicopters just because they can. But apparently, for some modders of GTA Online, that's not a good enough variety of crimes, so they decided to splice in one more. And, of course, we're not talking about mail fraud.
It was rape. Yup, let's get it out there. Of all the messed up mods we've talked about on this site, this one takes the cake, uses in-game animations to strip said cake of its cake-pants and then . It's a simple mod for simple minds. After entering an open server, the player can open a menu that allows them to control in-game animations, one of which is a two-character sex act from a cutscene of the main game. And since these are GTA players we're talking about, they don't open chat to ask for consent first.
Of course, it wouldn't be a pathetic rape fantasy without a power trip built-in as well. This is why the mod also makes the molester invincible so that the victimized player can't even employ their god-given GTA right to murder their attacker's face with a rocket launcher. Videos have popped up of unsuspecting players getting assaulted all over the map, often with plenty of bystanders firing their guns in the air like it's a hillbilly shotgun wedding. One player, who was literally lured into the woods to be Deliveranced by a menacing stranger called it the closest thing to a "traumatic life" simulator you could spend your after-school hours modding.
Tired of all the gross mods, Take-Two took the drastic measure of shutting down GTA's modding scene and taking legal action against prominent cheat engine modders. And with swift justice brought to a lawless place, the villains were driven out of town and -- nah, just kidding. Trolls hammered GTA V with so many bad reviews the Game Of The Year's Steam score was "Overwhelmingly Negative." This bullied Rockstar into renegotiating with Take-Two to allow mods on single-player games so that at least their troll player base could rape NPCs to their soulless hearts' content.
Rainbow Six Developers Implemented An Anti-Hate Speech Filter, So American Trolls Taught Everyone New Hate Speech
"Heated gamer moments," the official jargon for when hot racist garbage comes out of a gamer's mouth, has become so commonplace in the community most players treat slurs like a light drizzle on a gloomy day. But that's not the most depressing part. That honor goes to whenever game devevelopers bravely try to fight the toxicity, only to see all those lazy racist douches briefly transform into crafty, creative shitweasels.
In 2018, Ubisoft implemented a counter harassment measure for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege that would instantly ban anyone spouting racist of homophobic slurs. The system was simple, yet elegant; harsh, but fair. Act like a racist jackass once, and the game immediately gave you a small time out. A second offense came with a two-hour ban, long enough to watch a Spike Lee movie and have a hard think about ingrained patterns of behaviors.
Three slurs and you were out, launching an investigation into your account and, likely, delivering a permanent ban. And despite a backlash of players riled up at the mere thought of losing the freedom of being an awful human being, Ubisoft did something very weird for a video game company. They stood their ground, refusing to cater to the vocal minority that loves to get vocal about minorities.
But the automated system wasn't without its flaws, as any player who accidentally misspelled "frag" found out. And like with any crack, it was only a matter of time before the pests manage to tear down the whole wall. Since the English language has such a rich tapestry of slurs to chuck at minorities, native English speaking trolls started abusing their lexical advantage to trick other gamers into accidentally saying niche slurs. The game chat became a minefield and any question asked by another player could be a trap set to cause an innocent player to accidentally have their own Pewdiepie moment and subsequent ban.
In order not to punish innocent players, Ubisoft decided to scrap the feature instead of improving upon it, which once again allowed racists and homophobes to enjoy the pleasures of being sad and angry online. And this is why we can't have anything nice.
Michael Battaglino is a contributor to Cracked.com. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article.