There are a lot of theories, speculations, and general cries of how malicious individuals that play MOBAs can be. It spans from the trash-talkers to the game-ruiners to the all-around terrible individuals that we don’t seem to directly encounter so often outside of that environment. The question is, why are they so malicious? What makes someone log into a Dota game and start spewing sewage so vile that we would completely avoid that street if we had the choice? This is a huge and complicated topic, but I began viewing it in light of MMO communities, which are far more accepting and pleasant, and what fosters such a difference. I think the main reason comes down to the fact that MMO’s require a personal connection, while MOBAs have nothing of the sort involved in the gameplay. Again, this is not the complete picture of what’s going on, but I do think it illuminates the situation at its core: how individuals are even able to act like vicious demons that they would never let their mothers see.
A Difference of Character
First, let’s look at the types of connections we make with MMO characters as opposed to MOBA characters. MMO characters always require an individual’s input. You design their hair, eyes, skin color, height, sometimes even their voices, and there is no way that your personality is not going to come out in that process. In creating the character, you’re creating something of yourself, something you can endeavor to relate to as you play and grow with them.
On the other had, you have MOBAs, which create the characters for you. The backstories are, at best, interesting but still already told. There is nothing for you to add to, nothing that you can do to meaningfully impact that character’s core essence. What’s further, these characters already have very distinct personalities which you are going to make a judgement about. They are established persons, in a sense, and as such require no personal input. (more…)