My Time With Rocket League and Its Toxic Players
I finally unplug my controller from my desktop with a heavy sigh and realize that actually, in fact, these players are just rude, short-tempered children who have learned no respect.
Disclaimer: The names/handles mentioned in this piece have been edited for the sake of anonymity, but are only a few of the experiences I’ve had.
“No, no, no! NO!” The ball bounced a few feet in front of my Twinzer after being delicately knocked over by another player on the opposing team. As the ball bounced towards me, I rocket jumped to hit it before it reached the highest point of its arc. Annoyingly, as my Rocket League vehicle flipped, the ball only just skimmed the bonnet and carries on following its set path…right into the goal. The opposing players’ goal celebration plays out, a display of lasers and sparks erupt, blowing every car to the other side of the pitch.
“What a save!”
“What a save!”
“What a save!”
My teammates spam the chat with sarcastic uses of the quick chat function while I reply with a simple, “Sorry!” I failed to stop a ball entering the goal during a competitive match of 3v3 Standard in Rocket League. I’m ashamed of myself; I let the players down and now we’ll probably be demoted down a division, from a Gold Division I to an awful Silver Division III.
I don’t know how I can carry on like this: the chat is still being spammed with “Wow!”, ensuring I feel bad about my failure.
Then suddenly, a manually-typed message appears in the chat box: it’s my teammate who says, “Go kill urself.” Ooft. That’s a bit much, isn’t it? I know it’s annoying losing a match in Rocket League, but is it really such a life-changing issue that deems it acceptable to tell someone to go and kill themselves for simply failing to save? No matter, I’ll just reply with the quick chat command, “Wow!” That’ll show him.
The klaxon sounds as the next match begins to load; another 3v3 Standard match that has the potential to be a winning match for my team. I just hope the players in this one aren’t as salty as the Salty Shores map. One minute in and my team scores the first goal of the match, good aim from FERRYROCHER as they smack it into the goal halfway through the air. Three minutes in and the other team get a goal, the ball rolls right past Huet_92 and FERRYROCHER sends a series of the same quick chat command, “$#@%!”
Suddenly, the match’s atmosphere changes: friendly chatter has ceased, tensions are raised, and FERRYROCHER is racing around trying to get the ball all to themselves. I watch from the goal as they smash through both the opposing team and also our own teammate. Suddenly, that ball is theirs and theirs only. They flick the ball up into the air, an opening presents itself to me: a clear shot to the goal and a win. I slam my finger down on the accelerate trigger, press my thumb firmly against the boost button, and propel myself towards the ball at speed.
I speed right past two fumbling opponents also heading to the ball, to my right Huet_92 is gathering more boost, and FERRYROCHER is nowhere to be seen. I jump and glide towards the ball, I unleash my second boost, sending my car flying towards the ball to deal the final hit into the goal. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, FERRYROCHER smashes into the side of my car, I still hit the ball and it goes into the goal, we won the match, but for some reason this player is angry.
“FUIHV YOU HIV MEMBER” they scream at me as our team is announced as the winners of the match. “We won though?” I ask. “Die” they reply before leaving the session. The other Rocket League players all send replies of shock, “wow…” “ok then.” Why was that player so angry that we won? Why did my second match end up with me being targeted for abuse? Soon I begin to wonder if perhaps I’m playing the game wrong.
The next three matches play out and with each one, my team wins. No further abuse has been dealt out by angry players and the games were fun. “Another match” I tell myself before I head off and make a coffee and do some writing.
“I got it!” KevinKellyKay says as the next match starts, so myself and the other teammate hang back. They miss the ball as they jump right past it, uttering a “$#@%!” as their car smashes into the wall instead. Throughout the match, every time KevinKellyKay misses the ball they post various “$#@%!” quick chat commands. It changes the atmosphere to the point that the only person using the chat is KevinKellyKay.
I pass the ball over to the other teammate, but in doing so I’m moving the ball away from an incoming KevinKellyKay who is now launching themselves into the wall once more. Rather than using quick chat commands, some messages start coming in while their car sits motionless on the pitch.
“Stop hittn the f***** ball”
I decide to respond, “Try working as a team.”
“Uninstall the game”
“Delete ur accnt”
With a sigh, I write back, “How about shutting up and playing the game you child?”
By this point, the only players playing are the three players on the opposite team, and the one player choosing to not get involved. Both I and KevinKellyKay are parked on the pitch engaging in a war of words.
KevinKellyKay: “Learn 2 play”
You: “I know how to play, by working as a team.”
KevinKellyKay: “U hit the ball out of my way. Idiot noob”
You: “At least I’m actually hitting the ball”
KevinKellyKay: “F*** u noob”
We resume playing, and suddenly I get a goal after getting a good pass from KevinKellyKay. “Great pass!” I choose to send in hopes we can just put the stupid argument behind us. Silence. The next kick-off starts and I get a goal instantly by hitting the ball over the opposing team. Silence from everyone. Next, the ball goes around the pitch for about one minute until finally heading towards me. I jump, then rocket jump to flick my rear bumper into the ball, tipping the ball over the other team’s goalie landing me a hat trick.
The replay reveals my flick made the ball go over KevinKellyKay as they attempted to steal a goal from me. Having won the match, everyone begins saying, “gg” “Well played.” but KevinKellyKay is typing while we all check out how much XP we earned in that match.
“F*** u ur mother die” they write. I sit confused and state, “we’re on the same team.” But this fact doesn’t seem to phase them, and instead, the chat box states the following,
KevinKellyKay: “Get cancer”
KevinKellyKay left the match.
I begin shutting Rocket League down, confused about why my experience on PC had been so aggressive. I assume that they have expensive bets placed on the chances of them winning. Perhaps losing makes them feel less superior than they actually are and they need to show an aggressive burst of energy to feel relevant. Maybe they’re actually an eSports player and playing with the common rabble angers them to this degree.
I finally unplug my controller from my desktop with a heavy sigh and realize that actually, in fact, these players are just rude, short-tempered children who have learned no respect. Players who hide behind the anonymity of screens and ruin the game for others by paving a disruptive atmosphere. One thing I thing solace in is that I’ll return to the game knowing full well that there are plenty of players who actually deserve the “gamer” title, and maybe, just maybe I won’t end up getting “reported” as so many sore losers seem to say they’ve done.
The anger in Rocket League seems prominent on PC, with console versions coming across more passive-aggressive for what feels like mostly selfish reasons. While toxic players have been around for years in online video games and can be worse in other titles, I can’t help but feel like Rocket League is suffering badly. And with Psyonix’s latest full cross-platform play update, I can’t help but worry that the title is going to grow more angry and bitter as more toxic players bleed through onto the consoles.
So, if you’re someone who likes to randomly spurt out racism and profanities just because someone got a goal before you…ask yourself, “why am I doing this?”