No one wants to have to deal with toxicity in any game. In some games (like MOBAs and online first-person shooters) the toxicity is almost impossible to avoid. MMORPGs, however, the toxicity is generally less obvious. In general play at least; in PvP content it’s a different story.
World of Warcraft is arguably the most well-established, successful MMORPG in the world. It attracts players of all creeds and motives- old-time RPG players, PvP nuts and MMO noobs alike. Unfortunately this also includes toxic players.
Now, there are many approaches to dealing with toxicity, whatever form it takes. In my opinion, the most effective of these is simply the use of a constructive or creative attitude. It’s amazing how disarming a positive attitude can be in a toxic environment. When faced with actual helpful advice, many toxic players react positively. At the very least it often it makes their own ignorance far more obvious to other players, which in turn alienates them.
Reacting to toxicity in kind only breeds even more negativity, so reflecting it with a refusal to partake is the only solution. As a community of gamers we all want a positive environment, so we need to contribute to that instead of trying to fight fire with fire. Don’t give them the satisfaction of a bad a reaction. Go to your Happy Place instead.
It is difficult to avoid toxicity, but not impossible. Staying away from highly competitive guilds- or guilds known to have a bad attitude or atmosphere- is a good way of avoiding at least some of the toxicity in World of Warcraft. Finding a good guild is a great way to improve your experience in WoW; surrounding you with other positive players (and a positive atmosphere) and presenting you with opportunities for team-play. A good guild will shield you from the over-competitiveness of other groups and will have your back in any situation.
As well as guilds, the main faction cities of Stormwind and Orgrimmar are also hubs of pleasant player-to-player interaction. Whether based around trade, raids or general game information, this is where the real community of World of Warcraft is most evident. Walking into one of these cities and taking part in the ongoing discussions really does feel like becoming a part of a larger whole. Additionally, it isn’t as intimidating an environment to new players as some games are, as there seems to be a commonly held respect for new players- after all we were all there at one stage.
Conversely, the atmosphere surrounding the more competitive environments tends to hold more toxicity. That isn’t to say that playing the game (or any game) competitively is a bad thing, but it’s obvious that toxicity is more common in a tenser environment. Most of my negative player-to-player experiences have been centered around these environments. This is discounting a few isolated incidents, including the time someone in Dun Morogh (the dwarf starting area) opened a trade window, displayed that he had 100 GOLD, and called me a noob. I know. I worry about some people.
In general, I would advise simply avoiding those heightened environments to cut out your experience of toxicity as much as you can. This is no guarantee of course, and if competitive PvP play is what you’re looking for then approach it with this warning;
DO NOT REACT IN KIND!Related: Blizzard Entertainment, game community, MMORPG, Toxicity, World of Warcraft