Egos and Cyber Bullying: Two Problems in Competitive Halo
Ever since the competitive Halo scene was born, conflicts between players egos and the eventual cyber bullying became a major negative about our competitive scene. Of course, having strong belief that your team can win and talking a little trash to get in your opponents' minds is not a problem, but using racial slurs, sexist remarks, physical threats or anything else that is purposefully meant to hurt someone to me is going too far.
As a Halo player who has been a part of the community ever since I was a little boy, I have seen our community change for better and for worse over the years. One problem that I personally believe has become significantly worse is this egotistical behavior that has infected our competitive community. Amateur competitors have much less of a filter today than in the past and I am seeing players use terms I personally could never forgive myself if I were to use them.
The lack of respect some have for individuals for something as simple as playing a video game to me is absolutely mind blowing. As someone who was raised to treat others with respect, I at many times wonder what has caused these players to act so cruel to others, especially today where leagues like the HCS Pro League hold such a high standard for professionalism and respect.
Back in the Halo: Reach era, this egotistical behavior was a common thing. With the professional community doing little to enforce positive behavior and with the immature amateurs having no positive role models to look up to in the scene, players could easily be lured into this dark environment of negative behavior and self centered thinking where the only thing that mattered in life was your ability to beat someone in a one-on-one. Of course, this negative behavior formed well before the Halo: Reach era, but the Halo: Reach era in my opinion was one of the worst times for this behavior.
The biggest problem that I noticed about this behavior is the individuals who have this behavior honestly do not believe they are doing anything wrong. They believe that treating others terribly just because they are better than others at a game is completely fine and some actually believe that they are helping the competitive community by eliminating anyone they view as weak. They believe that bullying players by using insulting terms rather than helping them progress as players is helping the community, I do not even have to point out the sheer stupidity of this logic to show how wrong they are.
To those who are emotionally sensitive, this could be a very discouraging challenge to overcome and with this problem getting worse, one of my fears is that we may lose some talented players over this. It would make me beyond furious if I were to hear about a talented individual who decided to leave our community because they were tired of having to deal with the constant bombardment from the amateur players. It would not only be a very embarrassing moment for our community, but this problem could potentially hurt us on a professional level with major companies not wanting to even associate themselves with us.
As I have become older, my tolerance for this behavior has worsened, but my understanding for the individuals who commit the behavior has improved. Although there is no logical reason to act this way and this behavior must change, we can very easily compare this behavior to other forms of cyber bullying, as well as real life bullying.
I am almost certain that at least a small percentage of the individuals who spend all day playing video games and act like men amongst boys around people they view to be not as significant as they are have some sort of problem they are facing in real life. It could be bullying they are facing outside of the game, social problems they may have in real life or anything else that may encourage them to act this way in a video game. Although we should never make fun of them for having any problems, we should always keep in mind that these bullies could very easily have their own fair share of problems.
Someone who commits this behavior believes that this self-centered thinking will help them reach their goals of going pro. As someone who has witnessed several talented individuals rise and fall due to this behavior, I can assure you that this is definitely not the path you want to take if you want to go pro. A perfect example of this is a player that I know very well by the name of Scaryotic.
Formerly known as Karyotic or Karyotic Fours, this individual has made himself well known for being one of the rudest and most self-centered individuals to play the game. Although he is an individual with great talent, his behavior has cost him several opportunities with great teams who had to release him due to his toxic behavior hurting the overall vibes of the team. A player who has all the talent in the world and who was so close to landing a spot on a pro team now spends his time hopping from one amateur team to the next, hoping that one day, someone could look past his negative behavior and glorify him for all of his talent.
Unfortunately for him, everybody else that competes could care less about his talent at this point. Love him or hate him, no one can deny that Scaryotic is the perfect example of how sheer talent alone cannot carry you to a pro team when your negative behavior is a problem.
My biggest fear about all of this and what could quite possibly be the unfortunate reality is that these kind of players will never change and our community will always be plagued with these individuals. In this case, we must mature as a community and not promote this kind of negative behavior by glorifying the individuals who disrespect others. Understand that acting like a jerk will not make you look any better than anyone else and if you encourage others to act like a jerk, you are just as much of a problem as they are. We must be the bigger individuals in this matter and not allow these bullies to continue finding reasons to act up and discourage others. It is not a logical way to progress as an individual and is a proven method to hurt not only your potential of going pro, but also hurt others.
What do you think about the problem of massive egos and cyberbullying within our community? Let me know in the comments section below.
Image credits go to Gamespot, Halo Waypoint, Halo eSport Wikis and VG247