The Burning Question: Do you suffer from online gaming anxiety?

Multiplayer games are becoming one of the main reasons people consume games. The single-player experiences will always be around, but we’ve seen multiplayer modes creep into most games nowadays. Since the birth of the internet and online connectivity and subscriptions, we’ve paid money to play with others in various games. Some games are meant to be fun and enjoyable without the need for intense tactical team play, but there are some that need it in order to either enjoy the game or win it outright. Party games especially don’t require this type of intensity and are relatively open to anyone to just jump in and not feel intimidated by other’s skill levels. The hardcore FPS games and simulation racers though can deter anyone from participating.

This is mainly because you’ve either experienced a situation where you’re thrown into a highly competitive arena and get blasted by your teammates for not pulling your own weight, or being such an obvious novice at the game which brings about placing the label of “noob” over your head and ridicule from other more experienced players. I’m one who tries any multiplayer game that catches my fancy and tend to play it solo until I feel I’m confident enough to participate with others. I feel it’s natural for me to do so, so I can understand the mechanics and not necessarily because I want to be good enough to play well with others. What brought this topic to mind was a discussion I had with my peers at SA Gamer as well as an incident where I was playing an online multiplayer game with friends and because one of them didn’t fully grasp the games mechanics or best practices, he got crapped on from a dizzy height. This made me feel horrible for inviting him to play the game with us. I tried defending him by reasoning with the other team members, but he ended up leaving the game in the end. This left a sour taste in my mouth and I¬†decided to chat to my mate after. Turns out that this wasn’t the first instance in which he was ridiculed for not knowing how to play a game.

Some people have thicker skin than others and can easily brush off a bit of name calling, but others may not have the same capabilities. The online world can be toxic as we know and not a lot of players are open to helping someone with the ropes which generated this divide between veterans and newcomers. I’ve only encountered one instance where I was on the receiving end of similar treatment, but that just made me want to play it my way and understand the game better. For some, the opposite effect comes in to play and they never touch multiplayer titles again because of it, even in games that don’t require you to be a master in order to just join in and have fun. Although I have a different mindset than that of my friend, I can sympathise with his predicament and can imagine the feeling of disappointment having spent money on a game that he decided not to play after his ordeals.

We all know that there are helpful communities out there that would take anyone under their wing in the name of fun and gaming, and the same can be said for highly competitive games, but it does feel like their are too many know-it-alls out there that have put a damper on getting others in on the fun, so I understand why people can feel too anxious about joining a party and playing a game with others. This is why we have the Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe SA Gamer lobbies on Tuesdays and a dedicated server on Discord to get more individuals in on the fun. Even with that, we’ve received responses that they might feel unwelcome because they lack the skill or experience to participate. So, we know that there are others out there and we’d like you to know that we understand.

What I’d like to know, and we can have a healthy discussion around this, what games for you personally bring about this onset of anxiety in participation and why do you feel so uneasy with the idea? I’m not here to judge or ridicule, I’d just like to hear your thoughts.

I Game, I Design, I wish I could Game Design.

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