Why is Harder Better? Elitism is Ruining Game Communities, But We Can Stop It

Regarding the Toxicity of certain game communities.
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Ever since the dawn of time, when man decided that he needed to find a partner, there has been a struggle of epic proportions between males all over the world: to become the manliest there ever was. The manliest man was the strongest man, and the strongest (and therefore manliest) man survived to reproduce. Such competition has been an inherent part of humanity for millennia. But that competition isn’t necessary anymore. We’ve evolved past that.

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So it makes sense that the need for competition, lying dormant within testosterone-filled adolescent males, would come out in the lamest way possible. By saying:

“My game is better than yours.”

It is the single, most pointless, destructive, and childish statement that one can make in a conversation about gaming.

You can’t prove or disprove that statement, because it is based around a single person’s opinion. What might be flaws to one can be features to another. Yet a surprising amount of people, in their gigantic ego trips, forget the world does not revolve around them.

It is the single, most pointless, destructive, and childish statement that one can make in a conversation about gaming. It automatically discredits whatever point this person you were having a conversation with had. It sours everyone’s mood for the entire day.

So why say it?

Us vs. Them

Surely by now you’ve noticed some trends in video games when it comes to difficulty or scale. Some games are much larger and complex than others. Thus, the fans of the harder (therefore better, and therefore manlier) game criticize the fans of the easier or less complex game because they can’t take the heat.

This happens everywhere. From Call of Duty vs. Battlefield  to Dota 2 vs. League of Legends, and even in World of Warcraft vs. EVE Online. Obviously the fans of the easier game must be lazy, entitled brats who can’t take the heat while those who play the harder game must be gaming demigods that have been enlightened and shown the true path.

Of course, anonymity on the internet doesn’t help, and neither does the fact that many of these people have no lives besides the game. To them, someone not playing what they play is actually offensive, since it means all their achievements are useless if you don’t care about them.

The main problem with toxicity comes from the fact that it’s so easy to put an opinion out there, no matter the poster’s age or the quality of your work; and if people agree with the comments, it will get voted to the top regardless of its correctness.

With all the hate Call of Duty gets… one would think it hasn’t sold a single copy since its fourth installment.

Usually, fans of the least popular game have the tendency towards this, while the fans of the bigger game just don’t care. With all the hate Call of Duty gets on the internet, one would think it hasn’t sold a single copy since its fourth installment. The same goes for League of Legends, and World of Warcraft. It’s always easy to harass the Behemoth of the genre. Yet oddly enough, Call of Duty is the only one that gets compared to everything (the phrase “So much better than CoD” is already standard in any game with a dedicated following).

The Fix is Simple. And Important.

We, as communities, need to get past our differences and see each other’s point of view. Everyone has different reasons for not playing other games. If someone doesn’t play your game, they might have different tastes, time constraints… they might just not even know it exists.

But we won’t know that until we stop shoving our opinions down each other’s throats. Most importantly, gamers need to understand how petty and childish they’re being. And unfortunately we seem to be a long way from that.

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Zachary Welter
A dedicated gamer that loves sandboxes, realistic games, and long walks on the beach.