Toxicity isn’t anything new on the internet. Regardless of whether you’re in an online community or playing a multiplayer game, there’s always a chance of bumping into a toxic person hiding behind an anonymous username.
In gaming, toxic players and trolls are considered normal. Regardless of what game you choose to play, there’s always a bunch of them around. They live off pestering other players just because they can.
But before you let them get on your nerves, take a deep breath and figure out if they deserve even an ounce of your attention and time!
Here are some things you can do to distract yourself from toxic in-game negativity:
1. Put them on mute
Perhaps the most straight-forward advice in this list is to mute other players’ in-game chat/microphone so you won’t hear or read what others are saying during the match.
Toxic people may be a part of your team or one of your opponents— there’s no guarantee where the negativity is springing from. Remember that if you don’t want their toxic comments to mess up with your gameplay, you have the option to simply mute them (in most games). Once you do, the match will become a more peaceful experience!
You might be unable to mute players in the lobby (global chat), but you can just mute everyone upon entering the game which is pretty close.
2. Be the bigger person
Toxic players have various reasons why they are acting that way. Some of it may include: they’re on a losestreak, they’re dealing with stressful situations in real life, or simply that they want to assert their dominance by trash talking others.
Whatever the reason may be, chances are: your online nagging won’t put their attitude to a stop. So do yourself a favor and carry on with your game.
Be a bigger person by ignoring whatever they’re saying during the entire match. This may be harder to do if you don’t mute them— but you won’t be able to read what they’re saying by doing so. Practice the art of ignoring things and do not let them throw you off your game. It takes time and patience but it’s definitely worth doing!
3. Report them
The Report Player feature is present in most games, so why not make use of it? If you have a teammate or opponent who’s verbally harassing any player, remember to report them after the match is over.
They might end up getting penalized for their attitude (Goodbye XP) and become a more well-mannered player for their next games. Developers encourage keeping a healthy in-game environment so report those toxic players once you bump into them!
However, it’s up to the system to detect if a harassment truly took place during the match, enough for a player to get penalized. Most games are pretty much laxed when it comes to player trash talking, as it’s considered as the norm in gaming. Submitting a report won’t hurt though even if you won’t get concrete actions ASAP. Think of it as informing the system that a player’s already on strike one.
4. Catch them off-guard with friendliness
As the old saying goes, kill them with kindness. A toxic player who frequently trash talks other people for fun may be expecting the same hostility thrown their way— so they might not be expecting to see some kindness in exchange.
If you manage to catch them off-guard by playing the nice guy, there’s a chance they might shut up for good. Behind their anonymous profile is still a human at heart. They can say all the mean things they want to say, but they might be lost for words once they bump into someone who’s still friendly despite all the hate words.
Nothing beats triggering a player’s conscience, if they have one at least!
5. Avoid provoking them further
If you want some peace in your video games, try not to provoke them in return. Sometimes, it’s very tempting to return the trash talks thrown your way— but doing so would only prolong the verbal harassment during the match.
There are players who just lose it at some point and stoop down to their level; trying to provoke them even further until they completely lose their minds. While this can be fun and entertaining, this is certainly not the proper way to deal with in-game hostility.
You’d typically want to put a stop to it, not prolong it further. That way, you can focus and concentrate on the match better.
6. Do not Rage Quit
When the trash talking gets out of control, some players opt to just quit the game and wait around for the next match. If you’re in a similar situation, keep in mind that “rage quitting” is not worth it. You’ll only lose your hard-earned XP especially if you’re playing on ranked.
Quitting the match might be the fastest way out, but there’s always the mute feature you can use! Just ignore the provocation and use your annoyance towards winning the game. That’d make a great point instead.
When you quit a match because of a trash talker, there’s also no guarantee you won’t be queued with similar players who badmouth others. It’ll be a total waste of time on your part.
7. Play offline
If you want to save yourself from the consistent in-game toxicity, play an offline mode of your video game of choice (if there’s available) or opt to play a game that doesn’t put you in a Player vs. Player (PVP) situation. Another option you may also consider is to just pick a different game to play.
This way, you’ll be at ease and you can enjoy your video games at your own pace. Sometimes, we turn to games to unwind at the end of a long day or whenever we want to escape life’s harsh realities. Do not ruin the love you have for video games over some toxic player who won’t stop blabbing their mouth in-game.
Playing offline will also give you more focus as you’ll be less distracted in your matches. You’ll have all the time to concentrate on your progress.
8. Laugh it off
Trolls get bored or simply shut up when they are not getting the reaction they want from others. There will always be toxic people and trolls in every game. Instead of flaming them, laugh it off instead. Remember that agitated reactions are primarily what drives these toxic players to go on their trolling ways.
Replies in the form of “lol” or “K” would make them give up after a while. Do not give in, and just spam these replies whenever they type something in the chat. Think of it like talking to a bot, nobody likes that. They’ll probably give up at some point.
9. Blacklist the player
In some games, there’s also a feature where you can blacklist someone you played with so they won’t be queued in your next matches for the next few days or weeks. This is a great way to weed out the toxic players in your matches if you’re usually playing solo.
However, there’s usually a limit on how many players you can blacklist during a certain period of time, so make sure to use the slots well. At least you’ll be safe from playing again with those toxic players for some time. That’s better than nothing, right?
10. Expose them for their actions
Have you ever heard of the internet’s infamous cancel culture? It’s relatively easy to cancel someone popular for their past mistakes or controversial actions— as long as you have the proof.
While a toxic player may not be necessarily famous, you can save screenshots of their trash talks and post it on various online communities. Inform other players about the troll, and warn them to be cautious when playing with them.
This would serve as a warning to the game community about the toxic player and you’ll also kind of get back at them for all the flaming they’ve done.
In some cases, it might also be better to take some time off the game once the match is over. If you’ve engaged in trash talks and flaming, you might end up “tilting” your next match— which means you’ll lose your focus as you play with agitation.
Give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and go on a quick walk, if possible… Or just do literally something else for a while! Gather your thoughts and relax yourself. Once you’ve calmed down, go out there and play some more matches. Hopefully you won’t bump into another bunch of in-game trolls or toxic players.
One internet search on “how to deal with toxic players in-game” would yield hundreds to thousands of relevant results, but at the end of the day it’s up to you to formulate a way on how you’d deal with it yourself.
May the tips we presented in this article help you the next time you encounter an in-game troll or a trash talker!