The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The Problem with Competitive Gaming

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Too many times I hear it said that “a little competition is healthy.” While that is a true statement for many things built around competition (i.e. sports, job applications, etc.), it doesn’t stand true for everything. When it comes to video games, this line becomes blurred. In some capacity, competition is valid and natural in gaming. At other times though, it causes many headaches and issues.

Before we dive in, I want to preface how this isn’t a dig on competitive gaming as a concept. Esports and other competitive gaming organizations create a place for gamers to test their skills against other gamers. Games that are built around this idea, like fighting games, online shooters, and multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) are made with competition in mind. This form of competitive gaming is fine as it allows for different types of players to separate based on their preferences.

My problem comes from how competitive gaming is handled. It has gotten to a point where it has had a negative impact on the industry. I am astounded at how some developers are creating their games with competition in mind, only to make it an unbalanced nightmare ….

And that brings me to my first point: Balancing.

If you’re going to create a competitive game, it is imperative that you provide a variety of content to appeal to different play styles. Not everyone likes to play exactly the same, and some may perform their best playing in a way that feels comfortable to them. However, games built around competition are rarely ever balanced. Most of the time, only a select few characters or weapons are “viable,” and everything else is considered useless. It becomes an issue when you can’t play the way you want because it makes you considerably worse in the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that balancing every aspect of the game takes time and is not easy to accomplish. However, I find it frustrating that most of the time, all you’re seeing is everyone playing the same exact character or using the same weapon because anything else is a handicap. And no, patches rarely fix these problems; they just cause the game to be more unstable and for more issues to arise.

Remember how I said that some games are meant to be competitive? Well, some are even made so there can be esports events and tournaments. Games like Valorant, League of Legends, Splatoon, and Rainbow 6 Siege are built with esports in mind. You know what games aren’t built with esports in mind? Games like Super Smash Bros. and Fortnite. When you have to ban 95% of the game just to make it partially okay to play in an esports setting, then I’ve got news for you: the game isn’t meant to be played in that setting. Too many times, people try to make a game created for casual competition into something else entirely, and it ruins the core experience.

Want to play online? Too bad, because you’re just a filthy casual and you don’t understand the deep fundamentals of the gameplay. This mindset turns what used to be fun games to play with friends and mess around with into bloodbaths where people with less experience get curb-stomped into oblivion by people who spend too much time playing. This sucks out people’s enjoyment and goes against what the game was made for in the first place.

In order to be a professional esports player, you need no life. What, you think I’m joking? You don’t just inherit good video game skills. You need to train day and night if you want to stand a chance and win competitions. Prepare to neglect showers, cut off any social life, and say goodbye to the outside world because your entire existence will be spent focusing on becoming a good player. 

But anyone can join a team or participate in a tournament. So then, if there isn’t a skill threshold, why do people still spend their lives training for esports?

That was a rhetorical question. I don’t have an answer.

Anyone can join tournaments, but only a select few have so little of a life to begin with that they can afford to spend it training. So now, you’re seeing the same few people and teams winning tournaments because they obliterate everyone else. If organizations and games actually wanted to be recognized like professional sports, then why isn’t there a cut-off for players? Instead, we’re getting people who play competitively for fun going up against people who play games for “glory.” See why it doesn’t mix?

“Oh, by the way, if you’re not playing video games competitively or are just trying to have a good time, you suck.”

That’s the mindset of a lot of competitive gamers. It seems like every game with an esports following has a toxic mindset when it comes to their game, and other games as well. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Joel, every community has toxic members. It isn’t exclusive to esports!”

Well, dear reader, who was definitely thinking those words verbatim, you must not have experience dealing with the nightmarish abominations of body odor: the competitive gamer.

Not much is known about the competitive gamer, only what has been found from them on the internet. Upon typing heinous slurs and bullying anything with a pulse, they tend to flaunt their so-called “girlfriend” who can be found on Twitch. Many of these “girlfriends” have the same name, mainly “Pokimane” and “Belle Delphine.” Rumors surrounding the awful hygiene of the competitive gamer are true, as showers and deodorant appear to be a form of kryptonite for them.

More research must be done on this species. Problems occur due to the fact that the competitive gamer is rarely seen and only comes out of their rooms in order to play at in-person tournaments when online tournaments aren’t an option. Be wary, as the competitive gamer is known to attack anyone who they deem has a “skill issue” and who isn’t constantly trying to win at every aspect of their life.

Especially proceed with caution if you play casual games or story-based games as the competitive gamer will see this as an act of war. Legends say that the leader of the competitive gamers is a man who only goes by “Ninja,” however, none have ever seen him. Regardless, the competitive gamer is a menace to society and should not be approached.

Okay … so that was a somewhat goofy generalization of competitive gamers as a whole. What I listed above does not ring true for every single person who plays competitively. I just wanted to pose this to you to inform you that this is a sad reality for some people. Even if it is only a small percentage of competitive gamers (I don’t have an exact number so I don’t exactly know … ), it’s still a very vocal percentage.

These unhealthy habits, such as bigotry and a negative attitude, are sometimes enabled by developers. Their games are designed with such a massive skill gap that the only way you can play effectively is by being a toxic person with no social skills. It’s a terrible truth, I know. 

Take competitive Pokémon for example. You have to spend so much time building a competitively viable team by doing things like resetting the game, breeding, stocking up on rare items, and more. From someone who plays casually, I can say for certain that doing even one of these things is hardly worth it because of how long they take. Now imagine that, but multiplied by 1,000%. People will spend pretty much all their time building a team that can stand a chance in a competitive setting. Also, because a lot of aspects are based on luck, nothing is ever really guaranteed.

And even after all this, the developers can update the game and change what’s viable, making you have to redo everything again.

So yeah, that outlines a few of my problems with competitive games. Competition is a fine thing, especially in video games. However, it has gotten to a point where esports and developers are creating issues simply because they’re focusing too much on competition within their games. This creates a toxic community that shuns anyone trying to play casually, which can lead to unbalancing and other such issues. I think it’s time for someone to hit the reset button and consider what went wrong so the fun can return to gaming.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Any comments that are considered racist, sexist, using expletives or slurs, based on factually inaccurate information, or are derogatory in any way will be deleted.
All The Comenian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *