Image: EA/ DICE screengrab
Subreddits for popular video games can be some of the most toxic places online. If you’re playing Battlefield 2042 and enjoying it, then sharing that joy on /r/Battlefield2042 these days is a good way to get yelled at and hit with a thousand downvotes. There’s a core community of players that are so mad about the state of the game that any positive statement about it is pushed aside. Thankfully, there’s a less salty alternative, a subreddit where people gather to discuss and enjoy Battlefield 2042 in a more considered and reasonable manner—/r/LowSodium2042.
Low Sodium subreddits for gaming communities are something I first noticed when I was playing Cyberpunk 2077, a game I loved despite its many of flaws. After its release, the mainline Cyberpunk 2077 subreddit was a place where players gathered to bitch constantly about the game. I wanted to see memes, talk about the story, troubleshoot technical problems, and figure out the best graphics settings. That wasn’t happening at /r/Cyberpunkgame, but it was happening at /r/LowSodiumCyberpunk.At the beginning of December, moderators of the Halo subreddit temporarily locked it down because it became too toxic to manage. Fans upset at the state of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer were sending developers and fans death threats and generally being assholes. On January 7, the moderators of /r/Battlefield2042 threatened to lock the sub down if fans didn’t cool it with the toxicity.
Mods were responding to an enormous upswing in hate directed towards EA and DICE after EA’s Global Director of Integrated Comms for Shooters, Andy McNamara, tweeted about his frustration at people expecting the Battlefield team to work over the holidays. “It’s an understatement when we say that this subreddit has grown incredibly toxic,” /r/Battield2042’s moderators said in a pinned post. “It’s near impossible to have a simple discussion without insults being flung around at each other - and it’s really starting to harm the entire Battlefield community, and each of us that are part of it.”/r/Battlefield2042 didn’t shut down, but the site is still a hellhole of negative memes and complaints. As of this writing, the top posts are a 14 minute video of one person trying to find a multiplayer match and a post titled “Bf2042 died 1500% faster than Battlefield 1.” Each post has more than a thousand upvotes. Over on /r/LowSodium2042, today’s top posts are a person excited he got 61 kills in one game, a discussion of how to best utilize one the game’s specialists.
According to the mods of /r/LowSodium2042, the subreddit started a few months before the game launched. It was mostly inactive then but started to grow after the game launched. “The majority of the popular posts were only negative,” /r/LowSodium2042 moderator Scrupule told Motherboard in an email. “We couldn't see cool clips, nice tips or funny situations, but only the bad aspects of the game. Then, it became even worse with toxicity on top of the negativity, and that's when the LowSodium2042 subreddit started growing.”Scrupule said they were glad the Halo subreddit shut down and that the Battlefield subreddit might. “Those toxic behaviors online have an impact in real life on real people (like Dice's dev or the subreddit mod getting harassed), and it shouldn't be tolerated,” they said. They also pointed out that one of /r/Battlefield’s mods stepped down from managing the subreddit after users started a harassment campaign accusing him of being a pedophile. “This is beyond crazy, and the growing toxicity in those subreddit in the last month directly lead to that.”There are low sodium alternatives for dozens of gaming’s biggest communities. /r/LowSodiumHalo is a 9 thousand member strong community sharing kill screens, fun stories about multiplayer experiences, and condensed info about the game’s weapons. /r/LowSodiumDestiny has 60 thousand members, all sharing tips and tricks and anticipating the new expansion. If you’re tired of the toxic nature of your favorite game’s subreddit, there’s usually a low salt alternative.There’s also hope for the future. Not all subreddits remain toxic forever. More than a year after Cyberpunk’s initial release, /r/Cyberpunkthegame has gone through a redemption arc. When I left to discuss the game at /r/LowsodiumCyberpunk, it was a vile place of constant hate and spleen venting. Now, tempers have cooled and people are discussing the game in a normal way. Fans stuck around, started sharing fun mods and funny stories. Every day it looks like its low sodium alternative.“Toxicity is a real problem online and on gaming communities, and I hope people will understand that it can have some consequences, both on players' enjoyment of the game (which isn't that important), but more importantly on the personal life of some players that suffer from it, trough harassment or other shitty behavior (which is definitely important),” Scrupule said.Maybe one day /r/Battlefield2042 and /r/Halo will be the same. Until then, there’s always the low sodium alternative.