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A group of colleagues and I are friends outside of work. We like to go out together. We found out most of us play the same online team-based, player vs player game. We added each other as friends and started playing together. Myself and two colleagues play often, the rest jump in occassionally. Let's call those two Tom and Peter. We only play non-ranked games together. There is a ranked mode in this game.

I tend to enjoy the games I play with Peter. We play together well. I'm starting to enjoy games with Tom much less lately. Tom found out I am ranked slightly lower than him in the ranked mode, while Peter is ranked slightly higher than him. Since that point, he started changing his behaviour towards me. In the office, he keeps reminding me of my low rank, even though I haven't played the rank mode since the time I was just starting out the game (so my low rank won't change and I don't care), insinuating I'm that rank because I am a bad player. In the game, he tends to make me feel bad when I make a mistake. He never does this to Peter or other colleagues and even compliments them at times, so it does feel like he's singling me out.

Tom often indirectly targets me, like "Why am I top healing while I am in a damaging role?", when the game just started, I am playing a healer role and he's playing a character with self-healing, he took some damage and healed it himself. Sometimes he targets me directly, for example after I died, he said "Of course you would die if you do that, can't you see that?" Another time we almost lost a game but an action from me got us the win after all, to which Tom said: "That was so close, but we played very well together, Peter!"

My goal is to create a nice office and gaming situation for myself again. I could refuse to play with Tom. This will improve my gaming situation, but Tom and Peter are both direct coworkers. I'll have some explaining to do. And it may not stop his nabbing in the office. I could also talk to Tom about his behaviour. But I'm not sure how to handle that.

I could block all my coworkers on the game and pretend I stopped playing it, but I do enjoy playing with my other coworkers, like Peter. I consider this a last resort and would rather not do it.

How can I make it so that I can play games with Peter and the other coworkers without Tom constantly making me feel bad?

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    Have you tried to talk with Tom and explain that you play this game purely for pleasure not for rank or achievements and his behaviour don't make it fun to play with him? – SZCZERZO KŁY Feb 28 at 11:03
  • @SZCZERZOKŁY to the first part, yes. The second part I need help with. – Belle Feb 28 at 11:04
  • We took the conscious decision to play non-ranked together because most of us play only for fun. – Belle Feb 28 at 11:27
  • Hey Belle, your question read a little like a "What should I do" to me. Maybe you could rephrase it to ask "How can I talk to Tom so that he will stop his behavior?" instead? – Ælis Feb 28 at 15:14
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Disclaimer: I don't play pvp games, only pve games, but my boyfriend has his fair share of pvp and competitive gaming and I see how he tackles 'toxic players'

If you just want the flaming to stop (in game and in the workplace):

Talk with Tom. Again. Preferably face-to-face.

Tell him you've noticed hostile behavior towards you and you don't appreciate it. Tell him you'd like to stop talking you down during the games and in the workplace. You play for pleasure and he's taking the fun out of the game for you. You guys decided to play casual for a reason. If Tom would like to play more competitively he should find a team with people that have the same goals. Also mention this is affecting you in the workplace.

When he flames you, tell him to stop. Maybe you can get Peters help with this. Unfortunately, I don't see any other option than to stop playing with him if the situation doesn't improve.

If you would like him to help you get better (if he's actually a better player):

Still have the talk with him and ask him to help you to get better and give you tips on specific situations that you could've improved.

During the games, if he starts flaming you, ask him how you could've done better. Acknowledge your mistake and try to not make it again. Try to make him into a helping person instead of a flaming person. It seems he IS capable of this, as he is capable of complementing the other players.

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