Something that is apparently easy for D&D players to say is that “there is no wrong way to play” the game. Further that so long as people are having fun, the game is being played right. It’s right for them. Some of my players casually say this.
They are wrong. There are several wrong ways to play D&D. I’m not going to say that one system or another is wrong, they are all wrong about something. I am going to focus on wrong ways to play. It’s the method of playing that is important.
An open system is the best system to play in. It gives the players the most freedom to do what they want. Freedom is best. That said, freedom is also cursed. It allows people to fully engage and embrace the worst part of themselves. Terrorists thrive in countries that have the most freedoms. Similarly, Trolls thrive in games where they can behave in any way they want.
Do you tolerate an abusive player in your game? Do you tolerate “competitive” players in your game, where players are playing against each other more than they are against the adversaries in the game? How about players that hog all the action, and then only criticize the ideas of other players? These players are probably the easiest for a healthy game to get rid of; there is no question that their behavior is wrong. Usually it falls to the DM to say this ‘far and no farther’, but this should be, and is, the power of every player at the table. If a proper boundary is set, and then crossed without consequence, the game should end.
An abusive player is not the only player that is playing wrong. A player that hardly plays is also playing wrong. I can understand young players coming to the game for the first time, taking a back seat and staying quiet most of the night. However, as time goes on, the quiet player, content only to roll dice when asked, needs to speak up. The most important part in a role-playing game is the role-playing. If people insist on remaining quiet, forcing other players to pick up their slack (with ideas and story progression), then they should be playing board games instead of RPGs. You don’t need to talk much when playing board games, and those games usually have that wonderful die rolling.
There are more types of players playing wrong, but this is enough for now.