Rocket League has received a new update which sees the return of the in-game voice chat feature after it was removed last year due to technical issues related to the game’s cross-platform matchmaking. The feature returns fully compatible with this cross-platform matchmaking, though, allowing players to communicate with each other once again.
In a surprising move, developer Psyonix has also turned voice chat in the game on by default, requiring players to opt out of the feature by going to the settings menu and unchecking it. Those bracing themselves for the worst, however, might be pleasantly surprised, as many players on the Rocket League subreddit have reported a significant decrease in online toxic behaviour.
“In one day, I’ve made so many friends, had so many amazing games, and climbed much faster than before, all because my comms are clear and on point,” wrote one player in response to the change. “I haven’t experienced any toxicity yet… to the point when I get in a match with a mute teammate I get sad.”
“I think this update fixed toxicity in a very unconventional way,” wrote another player. “It’s incredible how much tension is gone once you can communicate about the little mistakes verbally,” wrote another.
While it’s perhaps a little naive to expect Rocket League, or indeed any multiplayer game, to suddenly become free from all toxicity, some players have expressed that thanks to voice chat, the toll of the toxicity has lessened somewhat. One player expressed that it “feels less bad” and is “actually funny” to hear someone get upset over the game, at least in contrast to enduring a wave of passive-aggressive pre-set messages.
Some players did express concerns over Psyonix’s decision, with one writing ”in a game already toxic over text chat, I cannot fathom why on Earth you would put the voice chat defaulted to ON,” while also worrying about any children who might be exposed to more toxicity after the patch. In response, a Psyonix staff member wrote: “This is why Epic accounts have parental controls,” and proceeded to link to instructions on how to set this up at home.
Regardless of whether toxicity has been eased across the board for Rocket League or not, it’s still fascinating to see so many players coming forward to speak in favour of such a change. It will be interesting to see if Psyonix reverses its stance on the default chat decision in future – perhaps after the violence of the game’s recent ‘Super Smash Bros for cars’ mode inspires a spike in children exposed to swear words.