Orcs Must Die! Unchained designer says "toxic players" are good to have

Andy Chalk at

Generally speaking, "toxic" behavior amongst its players is not something that most game developers and publishers are looking for. Even pros, who aren't exactly famous for their upstanding behavior on the field of battle, can go too far, as these League of Legends Challenger Series players learned the hard way. But in the eyes of Orcs Must Die! Unchained designer Jerome K. Jones, attracting those players to your game is actually a sign that you're doing something right, and he doesn't want them to go away.

Jones doesn't seem to care for the categorization of Orcs Must Die! Unchained as a MOBA—the website describes it as "a fast-paced Fortress Siege action game in which teams of heroes battle head-to-head to attack and defend ancient strongholds"—and that's understandable; nobody wants their game to be pigeonholed as another "me too" release. But his stance on players who represents the worst the MOBA audience has to offer is somewhat more surprising.

"There's probably something good about the toxic players showing up and sticking with your game," he told Polygon. "The good thing is probably that it's a good game. It's holding their interest, it's keeping them around. It's making them passionate enough to give a damn."

He said he doesn't want to push those players away and he doesn't think other games should either. They're not necessarily "bad people," he said, and other players should simply try to deal with them in whatever way they can; in the case of Orcs Must Die! Unchained, that could mean playing in a defensive or supporting position, he explained, rather than leading the charge on offense.

I'm a little confused on that last point, since there seems to be some conflation of aggressive actions within the game with aggressively obnoxious behavior outside of it, but the bottom line is that these players aren't going away, and that's okay with Jones.

"You need those people there. They're driving the game. They're giving it longevity. They're giving it passion," he said. "And when they find something about your game that they love, they defend it to the death. Those are the same people that can go to bat for you."