We have all seen them, trolls, those unfortunate tortured souls that love giving other people's grief for their own amusement. It’s not exclusive to games of course, but they are in every multiplayer game, generally telling people how bad they think they are and causing as much havoc as possible. Even including the more recent and severe cases of "Swatting", where gamers end up calling the SWAT team on a person, leading to someone getting hurt or killed and usually jail time to follow.
So how do you deal with trolls? That’s been a common question for years and many game developers have implemented tools to help to make their games a safe and fun environment. But it’s impossible for game developers to fully end bullying and trolls in their games. So here are a few tips to protect yourself and help you deal with those unpleasant griefers, better known as trolls.
Don’t feed the Trolls: The first rule of thumb is; "do NOT feed the trolls." The whole point of them telling you to “Uninstall Noob” is to get a reaction from you or others. No matter how bad they are or how mad it makes you, the best thing you can do is ignore them. They aren’t having fun if they aren’t creating chaos, so don’t give them food and ammo to keep replying and making the situation worse. Even the most determined troll will eventually give up if they get no reaction.
Report: Use your in-game mechanics to report the abusive behavior! In games such as Heroes of the Storm®, not only does reporting trolls get them banned for a short time but they also get put into special groups with other trolls, so everyone else can get back to enjoying the game. Remember the first tip, “Don’t feed the Trolls”? Well if you reply back to trolls with your own not so pleasant remarks, there is a really strong chance that they will report you too, just to cause you more annoyance. Next thing you know you are banned as a bully right alongside them. So don’t fall for the tricksy hobbitses… err trolls!
Block: Most times reporting a person for bad behavior will also automatically block them from your chat and keep them from whispering you directly. If this doesn’t happen automatically, then block them instantly. I’ve had people try to add me to their friend's list just so they can continue harassing after the game is over! Don’t accept it and again, block them right away. It can be so very tempting to try and lash back at them in a whisper or in chat, but the best bet is to just block and walk.
Play Something Else: Perhaps your game doesn’t have the ability to block or report. Or for those extreme cases where bullies and trolls can be relentless to the point of creating a new account just to message you and continue the harassment. If that’s the case then repeat steps 1-3 and consider logging out, swapping accounts or play another game for a little bit, such as Hearthstone Dungeon Runs = I'm Back!. One might argue that the troll has won if you do this but in the end, you denied them what they wanted which equals a victory to you. Another great option here would be to just step away and cool off for a few minutes. You could even just go make make some dinner. For more information on that check out Why Gamers Should Cook IRL.
Play with Friends: One way to avoid toxic behavior, is to play with friends and add people to your friends list that you really enjoyed playing with. There are several great podcasting communities such as Frogpants and Amovetv, where you can find a lot of great people to play with as well. You will be way less likely to encounter trolls if friends are in your party or groups.
Remember trolls feed on chaos and the grief of others so don’t feed them! Instead just ignore them and block them, no one needs that extra drama in their game time anyway. So stay positive, have fun and report the crap out of those trolls.
Tell us how you deal with trolls in your games in the comments below!