The Top 10 Most Toxic Game Communities Ever

Published: Aug 9, 2023 - Last Updated: Apr 1, 2024

For decades, gaming has been an inherently competitive pursuit – and where there’s competition, there tends to be toxicity. Thanks to the relative anonymity of online gaming and the veil of protection provided by sitting behind a screen, many games have come to build up a reputation for being worse than others when it comes to toxicity. In this guide, we’re breaking down the top 10 most toxic game communities ever, so you can figure out if, unfortunately, you’re a part of one.

It’s almost a hand-in-hand discussion – there are skill gaps, there are superiority complexes, and there are bursts of adrenaline associated with competitive gaming – it’s partly what makes it so fun. However, these aspects can combine to ultimately contribute to toxicity in gaming. There are dozens of top-tier competitive titles in the esports scene, but which of them boasts the most toxic gaming communities, and what are the most toxic games?

Let’s find out.

most toxic game communities


What Are The Most Toxic Game Communities Around Today?

It takes a lot to be the best at something, but if what you’re best at is being the worst, then is it worth calling out that accolade? For the most toxic gaming communities in the business, there are deep-seated, underlying issues present within those ecosystems. There are traits of misogyny, narcissism – even racism – and while most toxicity comes from passing comments or trash-talking, it can sometimes escalate to devastating levels. In some cases, the toxicity can even extend beyond the game and into real life!

Below is a list of the most toxic gaming communities, and then in descending order we have delved into each of the 10 most toxic games to expand on the ugly side of gameplay.

PositionGame
1#Call of Duty
2#League of Legends
3#Dota 2
4#Rainbow Six
5#Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
6#Halo
7#Fortnite
8#Rocket League
9#Hearthstone
10#Overwatch  2

10. Overwatch  2

Our first example is an exception to the rule of toxic gaming communities. While there are plenty of loudmouth Reaper “mains” and voice-chat-abusing Winstons out there, Overwatch largely avoids problems with toxicity. A strict code of conduct enforces consequences for Overwatch esports players showing bad manners. Comprehensive word filters make for a tranquil, casual experience more often than not, though some argue Activision-Blizzard’s methods are a little overbearing.

Overwatch’s reputation as a toxicity-free game was partially spawned from a famous Kotaku article accusing the game’s player base of being too nice. That can’t be said for the other toxic gaming communities on this list.

9. Hearthstone

hearthstone most toxic game communities
Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

It might be hard to imagine toxic behaviour coming from a card game, but Hearthstone is one example where it happens. While Activision-Blizzard’s other esports game Overwatch has several measures in place to prevent communication abuse, Hearthstone’s tools are preemptively limited to six voluntary emotes. The most threatening produces a short, snarky quip from your character.

Due to Hearthstone’s often random and explosive nature, expect to see those emotes fly at every opportunity. Take too long to sequence your turn? Stomp your opponent? Get mildly lucky? Expect emote spam from some of the most toxic game communities. The limited options prevent anything beyond minor annoyance, but Hearthstone’s most toxic players would clearly do much worse if they could.

8. Rocket League

Whilst not an obviously toxic game, Rocket League’s emote system works very similarly to Hearthstone. Most players have a few preset messages tied to hotkeys, and that’s it. Typing in text chat is possible, but the fast-paced nature of Rocket League makes that impractical. The key difference between Hearthstone and Rocket League is that the latter is team-based. What does this mean in terms of toxic gaming communities?

The guy chat-spamming can be your teammate. Rocket League’s griefing potential helps elevate it to one of the most toxic gaming communities. Matches are short, and players are quick to judge each other. The younger player base also makes for some less-than-emotionally-stable teammates even at the highest levels of play. Still, there’s a fairly big jump to the next spot in our list of the most toxic gaming communities in the world.

7. Fortnite

fortnite most toxic gaming communities
Image Credit: Epic Games

While Call of Duty is a victim of popularity, it at least has the saving grace of being an M-rated game that costs $60. Fortnite, on the other hand, is a complete free-for-all and it has quickly fostered one of the most toxic game communities. Fortnite: Battle Royale’s close connection to streaming, an industry where people become famous for getting mad, and a spry player base has led to one of the worst reputations in gaming.

Read also: Fortnite Best Players

Between the high-variance nature of Battle Royale, the average age of the player, and a close connection to the culturally conscious, Fortnite attracts some of the most poisonous players in gaming. Between angry children in chat and angry men on Twitch, Fortnite lands just outside the top five most toxic gaming communities in the world.

6. Halo

Call of Duty’s heyday in the early 2010s defined a generation of video games, but the origin of console-based multiplayer shooters can be traced to 2004’s Halo 2. Halo is the icon of multiplayer shooters on Xbox but has become one of the most toxic games. In fact, many of the harassment complaints connected to Xbox Live are a result of Halo games taken too far.

Like Call of Duty, content creators and professional Halo esports players aren’t afraid to bring toxicity to the most visible level of the game. There are even celebrity trolls that make a living recording themselves disrupting multiplayer matches and posting the results on YouTube. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the community that invented teabagging ranks on our list of the most toxic gaming communities.

5. CSGO

counter-strike most toxic game communities(1)
Image Credit: Valve

In fifth place on our list of the most toxic game communities is CSGO. The first-person tactical shooter has all the makings of a toxic gaming community; free-to-play, voice chat, high skill ceiling, and plenty of griefing potential. Valve’s less-than-strict safeguards make sure that your delinquent teammate only gets to kill you three times before being kicked in a game with no respawns.

Smurfing and cheating are both significant problems in Counter-Strike, and it’s incredible how rampant both are when Valve has taken major steps to try and tame one of the most toxic game communities. Kick and mute options help stem the tide, but Valve still has to chat-ban tens of thousands of players every couple of weeks. Thanks to the sheer rampancy of toxic players, Counter-Strike secures a mid-table placement on this list.

4. Rainbow Six

Rainbow Six Siege boasts a dramatically toxic game community as a result of its intensely competitive nature. It’s a very stressful game and people often play it while wired, checking every corner and spinning around on a dime to take on enemies in a desperate bid to land that headshot and instantly finish the fight. It has a solid Team A vs. Team B mentality, and as there are defined ‘Operators’, players are often at each others’ throats attempting to prove why ‘X’ Operator is the best.

Typically, Rainbow Six Siege’s toxicity stems from players seeking to ruin the fun for other gamers. They’ll go AFK, throw matches, block teammates, team kill, or gang up against ‘solo’ players. There’s also an issue with cheaters ruining Rainbow Six Siege, even if Ubisoft is actively working to combat that problem. Basically, Rainbow Six Siege is one of the most toxic first-person shooters out there – which is a shame, considering how ambitious a game it is.

The Rainbow Six esports scene isn’t much better – especially on social media, which can be just as brutal and uninviting.

3. Dota 2

Coming up in third place in our list of the worst gaming communities is the first of both multiplayer online battle arenas on this list. Dota 2 features many of the same problems as other esports titles, namely common abuse of voice chat and griefing. Dota’s unique situation is that the worst of the worst are always one step ahead of the developers.

Players have found ways to avoid AFK detection by going permanently invisible near a creep wave. Given that an angry player can waste wards, Smokes, and Tomes, and open voice and text chats, you’re always one keystroke away from hearing a very well-informed and articulate message from the guy wasting nine other people’s time. Add in the ease of making burner accounts and rampant smurfing, and Dota is solidly one of the most toxic gaming communities out there. You have been warned!

2. League of Legends

As we approach the end of our list, we slot League of Legends into second place. The toxicity of League of Legends players is downright studied – artificial intelligence software from IBM determined that the League of Legends subreddit is one of the most toxic gaming communities on the site.

This is due to various factors, but the in-game experience for League takes the worst parts of Dota and Hearthstone. The five-versus-five nature means that you’re rolling the dice nine times with every game, and the complex mechanics of League means mistakes are easily punished. The real catch is the lack of voice communications in League. Text chat may have word filters like Overwatch, but this only produces the same kind of constrained rage as Rocket League; Toxic League players are as creative as they are obnoxious.

1. Most Toxic Game Community: Call of Duty

call of duty most toxic game communities
Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

Call of Duty has long been known to boast the most toxic game community in the world. It’s a 20-year-old franchise that has long focused on multiplayer, and that’s where the core of the issues begins. It’s a first-person shooter that rewards players for being the best in the game, and that level of competition immediately triggers some players to become exceptionally aggressive. Through in-game voice chat and text communications, abuse is often hurled over the wire in every single match. It is no surprise that COD makes number one as the most toxic game.

There’s something special to say about Search and Destroy – between every round, players can talk to one another across teams, and it’s almost always a segment that’s packed with slurs, insults, and aggression. In Call of Duty esports, there are typical ‘villain’ characters that take pride in trolling their opponents and being toxic in-game. On social media, it gets worse, especially when the Team A vs. Team B mentality surfaces.

Historically, Call of Duty’s toxicity has spilt out into the streets, and people have been murdered as a result of the ill nature of some in-game behaviour. Since Activision introduced elements like SBMM to the multiplayer portions of Call of Duty, players have become increasingly frustrated. In 2023, a ‘gaming disorder clinic’ in the United Kingdom claimed that 10% of all its patients were admitted because of aggressive addictions to Call of Duty.

It’s certainly the most toxic game community out there.


Advice For Players In The Most Toxic Game Communities

As you will understand from reading this page, sadly there are few truly peaceful experiences when you game online – toxic games are everywhere, even in the most calm titles and that is one of the downsides when spending time in your favorite online world. So, it pays to be prepared mentally for what to do if you find yourself the victim of griefing. These are our four key tips.

  1. Rise above it: This is, of course, easier said than done as it is extremely distracting to have fellow players sending abusive messages whilst you try and relax and enjoy your session. However, toxic gamers may be goading you as they can’t take the fact that they are losing, so you can show that it has not affected you by refusing to respond.
  2. Report or mute: Every game will have an option to deal with griefers. The most common ones are muting and reporting and these will immediately deal with your problem; if moderators find that they have broken rules then they may be banned or in some cases made to play in a different session to you.
  3. Play a different game: Toxic games are no fun at all for most players, so if you find that it is affecting your mood then it is time to try another title. Overwatch 2, which is listed on this page, is a great option for a game with little to no toxicity.
  4. Stay positive: It is easy to lose sight of the game itself when you are seeing in-game abuse, but if possible it can be helpful to focus on the nice aspects of your game, such as teamwork and the players that are the very antithesis of toxic. And the vast majority of fellow players fall into this category; like you, they are there to have a good time.

Most Toxic Games: Conclusion

So, that sums up our list of the most toxic game communities online today. Do you think that there’s a worse gaming community out there for toxicity? It’ll take quite a lot to beat some of the groups we’ve named on this list. From abusing name-calling to offline physical attacks, gaming toxicity is a huge issue in the industry, and despite reporting mechanics, anti-cheat systems, and AI-driven analysis that automatically detects foul behavior, it’s still running rampant. Who knows if gaming will ever lose that toxic edge.

Regardless, our above list of the 10 most toxic games is not by any means list exhaustive. The sad reality is that almost any game can have an ugly social element to it, so keep checking back to see if there are any changes to our list as we keep a watchful eye on all the titles. Of course, the ultimate hope is that players can co-exist peacefully together and this page will no longer be required – but we wouldn’t count on it!

Grant Taylor-Hill

Since: February 12, 2021

Grant is a lifelong, multi-platform gamer with a passion for journalism and more than ten years' experience in the industry. He'll try any game once, and when he's not playing them, he's watching them, being as he is an avid esports fan.

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