If there’s one problem I always have with competitive games, it’s that I feel like there aren’t enough ways to show your appreciation. Fighting games always have taunts, but they rarely have a way to dole out props and show a little goodwill. And if there is one thing games could use a little more of, it’s definitely goodwill. So then, when I heard about MultiVersus’ toast mechanic, I couldn’t have been more into it.
For those unfamiliar, in MultiVersus you can ‘toast’ your opponent after a match, granting them 20 gold. It's essentially a material way of showing your gratitude and appreciation while also giving them the chance to throw it right back. Finally, we have a way to congratulate our opponents on a hard-fought match or acknowledge an impressive performance. We have officially entered fighting game utopia then, right? Well, not quite.
The early days of MultiVersus toast exchanges were grand. Fried bread was flying around with reckless abandon. But at some point, something changed. Not in the game, mind you, but in the hearts of the people—suddenly, toast wasn’t being given out so freely. Fewer and fewer pieces of toast would be returned. If you are like me, you probably brushed it off at first; “They probably just ran out of toast,” I would tell myself, hugging my knees and rocking back and forth. But as the days passed, this troubling trend only worsened. It had become clear that something else was going on here. Why was it that I always had toast on hand, but seemingly no one else did?
What started as a joyous expression of gratitude was becoming a bitter reminder of mankind’s nature. I started asking around, and my friends who played MultiVersus were experiencing the same phenomenon. And worse yet, everyone had independently come to the same conclusion. They would only return toast and were no longer willing to initiate the exchange. I won’t lie, I had been doing the same. How many times can you put in a quality performance, save your teammate, and then toast them as a display of camaraderie, only to be left longing for a piece of toast that would never come? I am blood and bone. There is only so much I can take.
But that isn’t any way to live! So, I set out to conduct an experiment. I would toast everyone. EVERYONE. No matter how well they performed, or even if they decided to take their win and run, not giving me the opportunity to run it back (the bastards). I gave ‘em all toast. Maybe my theory was wrong, and my guarded behavior was the root of the problem. Or hell, maybe my freewheeling, toast-chucking ways would catch on and I would start a movement.
That didn’t happen. When initiating the exchange of toast, I saw toast return just around 20 percent of the time. And the mass majority of that toast came from my partners in a winning effort. Opposing players rarely toasted back. But I didn’t just find confirmation with this little test, I also found serenity. You see, since I was focused on the result of the experiment, I no longer had my feelings tied up in this ritual exchange like I once had. And you know what? Giving toast to someone who had put forward a great effort felt right. Even if they didn’t return the gesture. Suddenly, I realized that it wasn’t about the exchange, it was about telling someone else how I felt. Their feelings are theirs, they can do what they want with them. Thank god the toast mechanic lets me share mine.
And then something truly miraculous happened. Just after I conducted my little test, I decided to unwind with a few 1v1 matches. After a particularly hard-fought back-and-forth with one player, I barely eked out a victory, despite them having had the advantage throughout. I thought, “Surely they’ll be salty”. I had no expectation of a toast exchange. Yet, they were the ones to send me toast. I felt a certain lightness, and like suddenly everything was going to be alright.
Unfortunately, I’d run out of toast myself.
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