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Toxicity can be found in just about any online multiplayer game. Even the smallest online titles have can have a groups of hateful people that intend to spread vitriol to the other members of the community. Developer Triternion is currently dealing with this plague as abused is causing Mordhau player numbers to decline.
According to PC Gamer, this toxic behavior isn’t just a few pointed expletives to mock other players, but an incessant amount of racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs found in-game and on the official forums. This kind of behavior isn’t new to video games (which is another topic all on its own) but typically there is some strict moderation to prevent it from being a widespread problem.
For example, Rainbow Six Siege has been at the forefront of preventing toxic behavior. So much so, there is a section of the Siege team dedicated to solving those issues. One of the most recent preventative measures was making friendly-fire headshots instantly kill the player who attempted the devious act.
However, it is the lack of moderation from Triternion that is at the root of the problem. While the Slovenian team is small, it seems to be less about the studio’s ability to moderate and more on what kind of behavior is determined as inexcusable. An example brought up in the article pertains to one of the forum’s most popular threads that has a portmanteau of “knight” and a racial slur in the title. While the intent of the thread is to let the community share each other’s character builds, the title and some of the comments within is brimming with offensive language.
Despite the blatant toxicity, Triternion rep Andrew Geach didn’t seem fazed by the thread.
“It is on of our longest and oldest [threads], as well as among the most active threads on our forum, full of creative loadouts from our community,” he said. “As a team don’t find it racist or offensive and considering the thread’s content, we find it even less so.”
As things do seem a bit too hands-off, Geach did say that if anyone from the team witnesses players using racial or sexist slurs, they are “pretty much banned on the spot.” Additionally, community manager Jax says the team is “working on improving the situation” and that he apologizes in behalf of the team for “some of these… ‘people’ that are spouting off terrible things in-game.”
Toxic players are everywhere. Every game is bound to have a foul player base in some capacity. But it’s the developers who have the power to create a more inviting environment. Will the Mordhau developers make a better effort to create such an environment? Only time will tell.