Developers need to step up and cater for casual players

Whether your favourite pastime is fishing, golf, Call of Duty or Dota 2, there are certain facts of life you cannot avoid. Archetypes of players, competitors or just participants are found time and again across the world, and one of the most common anywhere is the ‘tryhard’. In golf, they have a terrible handicap, but all the right gear, and in gaming they play at a low to average level, but act as though winning the game is a matter of life or death.

In some ways, the level of frustration you can see in the exchange below is understandable, as those people who invest time in a game don’t want to have their enjoyment ruined by other players, even if they are not playing at an elite level themselves. On the other hand, it is a fact of Valve games that getting to play as an amateur is equally frustrating, and borderline impossible at times, meaning that this is inevitably going to happen if a determined newcomer goes far enough.


Reaction to frustration

You might have some specific argument about buying accounts, and why that is a different case or level of annoyance, but even that is a reaction to frustration players feel about their inability to move out of their current rank, and the lack of tools available to help them do so.

The problem is not account buyers, hackers or kids, but the developers

When you combine that with the number of talented, toxic individuals in any server today, it is obvious something massive is missing from some of the biggest esports titles going.

It might not be a popular opinion, but for this writer the problem is not account buyers, hackers or kids, but the developers. While Valve does a great job of esports, it is woefully bad at helping casual players into their game when compared with the majority of big console developers, and even some other esports publishers, such as Riot or even Blizzard.

This has created a community that in some cases is just not attractive to try and be a part of, and that not only doesn’t help lower ranked players, but actively hurts their quest to improve. You can see the same in titles such as Rainbow Six and even Super Smash Bros Melee, where increasingly toxic behaviour is excusable if the player is good enough to ‘justify’ it in game, at the expense of people trying to learn a new skill.

The people who can solve this problem are the team at Valve, or Ubisoft in the case of R6. There is obviously no hope for Melee at this point, from a dev or community point of view, but the other games could make it far easier for the casual to play, but offering more matchmaking options, and far better ones too.

Valve matchmaking is a shambles

For example, it is frankly ridiculous that Valve doesn't run any of the best places to play CSGO competitively, and that their matchmaking is such a shambles. Hackers and cheats are a massive problem at the lower level, too, and for all the good the trust factor stuff does it hasn’t made it easier for a new player to enjoy CSGO today than it was five years ago.

This might not seem a big deal to your 5k MMR player in Dota, or aspiring Global in CSGO, but if you want to work out why these games are "dying" you need to look at where the new players are coming from. When you compare CSGO to other FPS titles, it is much cheaper, because you get so much less game. Compared to the effort developers make for CoD games, Overwatch and the like, it seems unsurprising that the player base is stagnating.

That would not solve the problem of account buying, for example, but it could provide more options for players to work on their skill outside of the ranked games they already play. It would also mean one crucial factor - that the serious, tryhard players are kept apart from those normal humans who just want to have fun, or maybe get a bit better. Because that is the truth, the most annoying person in the lobby is the tryhard, unless it’s a competitive setting, which it almost never is, and we need to find a way to keep those people away, or at least contained.

So, if you’re tryhard, account buyer, casual or just aspiring to improve, the person you need to petition for change is the one in charge of the game, not the guy who just bought an account, or the player in your game who has fewer kills. They are always going to exist, and only want to have fun in the game you love, but the developers make it impossible for everyone to enjoy the experience.