Study says Dota 2 has most foul-mouthed community in online gaming

Steven R. May 31, 2020

Most gaming communities are toxic in one way or another, but which is the most toxic? To the surprise of some outside of it, but none within it, Dota 2 is statistically the worst community in gaming according to one study. Or at least, it’s the most foul-mouthed.

Online Gambling researched the matter by scanning the largest Reddit communities for a number of prominent video games and finding the rate at which users throw out curse words. The list of games studied includes a variety of online titles including competitive titles such as Starcraft and Call of Duty, as well as cooperative games such as Minecraft.

The study specifically looked at interactions on Reddit, not the actual in-game chat. It combed posts for most standard curse words. Because of the platform’s moderation policies, it doesn’t include any racial or homophobic epithets.

Dota 2 saw the most frequent cursing, with “shit” being the most commonly used curse word. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive wasn’t too far behind, and those two games stood apart from the rest. Other competitive multiplayer games such as CoD and Overwatch also had high incidences of foul language.

Surprisingly, the most verbally kind of the games studied is Diablo. Across 102 posts, there were just 25 curse words among fans of Blizzard’s dungeon crawler. This is very low compared to other games, with FIFA clocking in at 133 and Call of Duty hitting 82.

Why is the Dota 2 community so toxic?

Anyone that has played Dota 2 for more than one game has likely encountered some manner of toxicity at some point. It’s a pervasive problem in the game that Valve has made no real headway in addressing.

There are multiple reasons for this, on top of the typical issues that every online game faces.

Dota 2 has minimal restrictions in terms of geographical matchmaking. Outside of China, players are free to queue for games anywhere. This makes for players frequently being matched with people that don’t speak their language, which leads to difficulties communicating in-game.

Exacerbating this is a complete lack of moderation on the part of Valve. Dota 2 has an automated punishment system, where players can report one another and too many reports in a short time will lead to a communications ban or relegation to a low priority queue with other punished players. Though frequent issues might lead to a permanent ban for an account, players can still regularly expect hostility in their games for one reason or another.