League of Legends players debate: Is saying “GG” now toxic?

Olivia Richman • April 11, 15:24

Every League of Legends player has been there. The other team wins that big team fight, kills Baron, and your team is left retreating. It seems like a lost cause, so you type “GG” in the chat. You stop feeling so tense and decide you’re not going to push yourself when it’s a lost cause. 

This might be toxic behavior, according to some League of Legends players. 

The community came together on Reddit to debate whether saying “GG” before actually losing is sportsmanlike. Is it just a natural reaction to knowing you’re about to lose any minute now? Or is it akin to intentionally feeding? Are you letting your teammates down? 

One Reddit user stated that if you’re going to say “GG” in the first three minutes of the game, you shouldn’t even be playing League of Legends to begin with. 

“Instead of sitting there thinking, ‘This game is over. GG go next,’ ask yourself how you can stil win the game. You should always be thinking of how you can win, not how you’ve already lost. If you say ‘gg’ and stop trying, of course you’re goign to lose. Your team is now in a 4v5 with a trantrum-throwing toddler. You are the problem,” they said. 

The League of Legends community seemed to be in agreement with this emotional sentiment. In fact, many noted that there are scaling champions who don’t see a lot of progress early game and instead become explosive in late game.

One player recalled a time when his team comp had Jinx and Kassadin. Both of the players started to complain in the early game and he had to keep telling them to “wait until Kass is [level] 16 and then we instantly win.”

Some users pointed to players behind specific champions who rely on early-game successes as frequent complainers, particulary when paired with late-game threats like Kayle.

Should you say GG during or after a game? 

League of Legends players aren’t the only ones that feel “GG” isn’t always the proper thing to say. On a Blizzard forum, Overwatch players had their own debate about the intention behind the phrase. 

For many players, they believe “GG” could be a “sign of appreciation” if used correctly. In fact, multiple players on the forum said it was the esports version of a handshake. 

Unfortunately, that’s not generally how it’s used these daus. Most people experienced “GG” from an opposing team after they were completely destroyed by them. For that reason, “GG” felt condescending. 

So how did saying “good game” become a sign of disrespect in competitive gaming? 

In 2016, players noticed that typing “GGEZ” in the chat was gaining traction as a way to troll.

Blizzard apparently knew that the phrase, which has been traced back to 2003, has often been thought of as “toxic” among gamers, along with “EZ Clap.” At the beginning of its use, “EZ” was meant to mean “take it easy.” But it soon transformed to mean “that was easy,” which is most definitely an insult to a team or player you just beat. 

In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the phrase “EZ4ENCE” became ENCE‘s catchphrase. It even became the title of a song written about them years later and showed that this sort of talk can still be all in good fun.

But what about “GG” on its own? Is it really toxic to say “good game” to your opponents?

In the end, it seems like it’s all about context. If you are the losing team but you enjoyed the match, throwing a “GG” to the opposing team is a respectful salute. If you’re the winning team and the match was hard-fought and you struggled for the victory, throwing a “GG” at your opponents has a similar effect

But if you’re three minutes in to a match? You probably shouldn’t be saying “GG,” particularly to your teammates who are still trying to win. Instead, give the match all you got. If you know you’re going to tilt too hard if matches don’t go your way, maybe take a break before playing your next game. Your allies will appreciate it.

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