Morality, League of Legends, and a God Who Didn’t Care

"League of Legends Fan art - Tahm Kench Retreat!!" | Art by Benlo. Used with permission.

I have never, I repeat, NEVER, found a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Oops, I mean, I have never played with a group of players with quite the level of negativity and hatred and bickering found in the League of Legends ranks. It. Is. A. Treat, ladies and gentlemen, with a capital ‘T’.

If you can stomach the mental abuse via in-game chat, the game itself is very enjoyable and engaging (which stands to reason, otherwise who would put up with all the garbage that gets tossed at you by other players? Amirite?).

When I first started playing League of Legends, I didn’t really have a problem with the raging, hating, unkind, unreasonable, idiotic, and any-other-negative-adjectives-you-care-to-throw-in people who found their way onto my team or the opposing team. That is to say, I was always able to stomach that side of the game relatively easily. I even found it quite amusing most times. For some people, it would bother them so much that they wouldn’t be able to play the game (and that’s fine. Not every game is for everyone). But I was able to enjoy League in spite of the negative community, especially since I had a great group of friends who I would regularly play with.

If someone had asked me if I was a good person, I would have answered, “I’m not sure about ‘good,’ but I’m better than most.”

However, I would also ridicule raging players, make fun of them, and insult them. Essentially, as soon as they made any kind of comment or did anything to show me they were a nincompoop, I would put in verbal shots whenever I got a chance because, after all, they deserved it, right? It’s not like they were going to stop being morons regardless, so why not take some jabs at them and make them feel a little bit of the negativity they were spreading to me and my teammates? It was only fair… Nay! It was justice!

This response to players came from a time in my life when I believed I could set my own ideals and morals. Some said that morals came from a higher power, but I thought that if a God existed, He didn’t seem interested in me and, as such, there really wasn’t much to interest me about Him, either. With all the hatred, pain, and violence going on in the world, it was pretty obvious that He didn’t care about me or anyone else. I was on my own.

And I thought the moral standards I set for myself were pretty good; I didn’t intentionally hurt people (unless I thought they deserved it), I wasn’t rude (unless they were rude to me), I tried to be trustworthy and honest. If someone had asked me if I was a good person, I would have answered, “I’m not sure about ‘good,’ but I’m better than most.”

Then my life started to change. My best friend died in a motorcycle accident, and shortly thereafter my marriage of six years ended. I had never felt so alone, betrayed, lost, and angry.

I just couldn’t seem to get rid of the frustration and bitterness that had been building up over the course of my life and now was further fueled by these recent events. I was sick of the fake society and people in the world I lived in. The corporate greed mentality, the liars and cheats in politics, the ignorance, racism and violence that people just seemed to pretend wasn’t happening…

Nothing I did seemed to make any difference. I tried for several years to find any kind of peace on my own. I tried all the things society claimed would make me content, but eventually came to the realization that it really didn’t matter what I did, how much money I made, the close friends I had, or the romances I kindled, I was bitter and unhappy.

At that point, I noticed a few people in my life who seemed to be at peace regardless of their circumstances. They were all Christians, and I wondered if that had something to do with it.

Eventually, I decided I wanted to believe in a God who cared about me. If He was having an impact on these people, maybe my assumption about His disinterest had been wrong.

Deciding to be a Christian didn’t mean I walked around with a smile plastered on my face all the time, didn’t magically remove all my problems, didn’t alleviate all my anger. But I found a peace and a purpose. I had something to look forward to each day, instead of just finding meaningless things to fill up my time with until I died.

My sister told me the other day, “Your attitude in League of Legends has really changed lately. You know that? You’re not so mean to other players anymore.”

So why not take some jabs at the negative players? It was only fair… Nay! It was justice!

Yes, I’m going to say it: Becoming a Christian made me a better gamer to play with.

I realized that those negative players probably have a lot of bitterness and anger in their lives; maybe they are living in rough circumstances or experiencing tough situations. While that doesn’t excuse their behavior, I can relate to it. Sometimes I even say a quick prayer for those players (often while simultaneously pressing the ‘mute’ button on them. After all, sympathizing with the potential turmoil in their lives doesn’t mean I have to listen to their five minute, colourful and often racist rant about how great of a player they are and how horrible everyone else is).

I’ve also started trying to encourage my teammates who are making an effort instead of verbally pummeling those who are being negative. I realize that ridiculing trolls, ragers, and those little twerps who start a ranked game five minutes before they have to go to work won’t change their mentality.

What I can do is try to counter some of their negativity with positive words. I’ve seen encouraging words improve a game that otherwise would have been forfeited. I’ve adjusted my morals to a Biblical perspective where I don’t judge and condemn others for their actions and behaviours, and the virtual environment is no exception.

Believing in a God who accepts and loves me despite my countless faults has enabled me to accept others. And if it’s helped me to become a more amicable League player along the way, I’m not complaining.

Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee

Guest Writer at Area of Effect
Timothy beat the Canadian cold by moving to British Columbia, where he spends most of his time on adventures with his wife, playing video games, and asking people if they tried turning it off and on again.
Timothy Lee

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