Riot Games Seeks Reform for League of Legends Trolls

Riot Games Seeks Reform for League of Legends Trolls

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The developer behind League of Legends believes science can create a friendlier in-game experience.

League of Legends may be the most played videogame known to man, but that doesn't mean it's without drawbacks. Outside of its solid MOBA gameplay, LoL is also known for aggressive players that verbally abuse their peers, even at the professional level. It's the sort of thing that discourages new players from joining, and developer Riot Games wants to do something about it. Instead of simply banning offenders however, Riot Games wants to reform them, and is conducting various experiments to see what works. As crazy as the idea sounds, Riot is already getting results, leading it to wonder if toxic players were really the problem in the first place.

"98 percent of our players are actually very good," Riot's Jeffrey Lin explains. "What we're seeing is they all have bad days. That's where your toxicity comes from. When you have a bad day at work, when you go home you have a higher frustration level before you even play a game. You also have lower tolerance levels for what happens in the game. As soon as something happens in the game, you snap. That person might not do it in a hundred games, but we just have so many players that those mental instances keep happening throughout many games."

Riot has implemented various in-game tweaks to curb this aggressive behavior, most noticeably in the Tribunal. As a self-regulated system, the Tribunal allows anyone to report infractions that can be democratically reviewed by fellow players. Repeat offenders before the Tribunal are flagged, allowing them to be better identified and penalized. Beyond the Tribunal however, Riot is subtly conducting experiments on player behavior, including priming techniques to avoid hostile language. "We did an experiment with 217 unique conditions, where every single game we had a different in-game tip, and we also did stuff like changing the colors or varying the locations," Lin said. "What we found is that one sentence can have massive effects on behavior; it can reduce verbal abuse by 10 percent."

Perhaps the most encouraging result of Riot's experiments wasn't the decrease in aggression, but the increase of self-awareness. "A lot of these players wrote letters in to us," Lin noted. "One player wrote, 'I just didn't realize how offensive the f-word was.' He wrote in just to apologize; he didn't realize how bad it was. He's been using it in all these other games. There was another player, we showed him his logs, and this player said 'I'm really disgusted by my own behavior. Can you guys give me a little guidance?'" That's a far cry from the racist and sexist diatribes that most of us recognize as standard internet protocol. If all it takes to change is a few gentle reminders, maybe a world of friendly online games is easier to achieve than we thought.

Source: Games Industry International

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No matter how polite, cool or self controlled you think you are, there's always gonna be a game with a dude(s) that will rustle your jimmies hard and you'll go full Kratos.

This is something that will never change, there's always gonna be hostility, toxicity and name calling in online games. At least they're trying to do something about it. Their work is improving and shaping the community. But what they want is an utopia.

"Riot Games Seeks Reform for League of Legends Trolls" - and then the whole news is about ragers...
Bit misleading title, if you ask me.

I like what Riot has done recently, but as long as where people are ranked are tied to the performance of your teammates, there will be ragers.

I never see ragers in ARAM, because the wins and losses don't matter. Same for Co-op Vs. AI.

Bindal:
"Riot Games Seeks Reform for League of Legends Trolls" - and then the whole news is about ragers...
Bit misleading title, if you ask me.

For League, they're the same thing. People who rage lose their shit, then intentionally ruin the game for others.

It's nice to see Riot being proactive about player experience but I'm not sure how much it will help. I've been asked a few times already to play LoL but I havent tried it (or Dota) because of the horror stories I've read about the overly serious hostile player base. I play games to relax and unwind. Not to be berated and yelled at for making a simple mistake.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Bindal:
"Riot Games Seeks Reform for League of Legends Trolls" - and then the whole news is about ragers...
Bit misleading title, if you ask me.

For League, they're the same thing. People who rage lose their shit, then intentionally ruin the game for others.

That would be a griefer, then.

Sure, Riot claims that only 2% of their population is toxic, but anyone that has witnessed or played ranked matches knows this is false. One mistake, one disconnect, one missed ward and a team can crumble instantly. Chimes of "Uninstall and Kill Yourself", or chatting in /all to report your fellow player for feeding are commonplace; even when the incident could have been no ones fault but just a result of good play.

Now it can be said that online competitive games (especially ones with anonymity) bring out the worst in people. But why does it seem when we hear of these incidents on the web they almost always center around LoL? I'd say its the individualistic attitude brought to the table by most players (In solo/duo primarily)One of the more common lines from my friends when they come out of a loss was "a teammate built stupidly and lost it for us, but I won my lane." Players will see a teammate making a poor build decision against their match-up and say nothing until the teammate makes a poor-play or merely dies. Only THEN does criticism come, and rarely in a supportive manor. And while Honor may curb players to try and help, most of the times honor comes from carrying the team rather than being generally helpful, and thus individualistic play returns.

I'd say the ranking system is also at fault.
Penalizing a player who has disconnected individually while sparring the rest of the team (at least to a certain extent)would be a huge plus. I witnessed my friend grind from Silver 3 to his rating matches in Silver 2 just to face 3 straight disconnects and drop straight to near the bottom of 2 again. And with that went his day of positive progress and his positive attitude as well. Players will be more on edge to make their games without these issues count, and be less interested in teamwork/helping.

My point; change these colors all you will, but it's simple fixes to the placement system and the weighting of losses that could really make the game focus on solid teamwork rather than just waiting to pounce on a teammates mistake. Because as it stands, this is no place for anyone to learn how to play. It's just a hateful and stressed place.

Bindal:

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Bindal:
"Riot Games Seeks Reform for League of Legends Trolls" - and then the whole news is about ragers...
Bit misleading title, if you ask me.

For League, they're the same thing. People who rage lose their shit, then intentionally ruin the game for others.

That would be a griefer, then.

This is correct. The correct term is a greifer. A troll goes into the battle knowing that he is going to cause trouble while a griefer of a "rager" goes in wanting a good game but, for one reason or another, decides to cause harm to the team because they did something he did not like (the phrase "I GO MID OR I FEED" comes to mind...). I came into this tread fully prepared to make a speech on playing for fun and not for e-peen, but this is about people that can't play in a team not people having fun in a game.

I don't like at all how Riot manages it's community. But this is some interesting stuff, hope to see the results published on a peer reviewed journal, would be really interesting and they have the ideal position to execute the experiments.

Yeah, I doubt this will change much. My problem with LoL is more the dev team rather than the playerbase (the playerbase is also an issue). But I have a small folder of screenshots of all of these silly things the dev team say and do. Just wow...and 2% of their community? They're kidding, the have to be.

Two percent? Seriously? I'm more inclined to believe that LoL does something to its players in the most tense matches. There's a crossroads where a player's personality and the game's overall atmosphere meet, and League of Legends' version of that crossroads is a purulent cesspool. I've watched friends play and I've been pretty shocked to see them casually brush off calls to either fuck off and die or (as has been said above) uninstall the game and kill themselves.

LoL seems to have fostered this mentality of it being absolutely and uniquely destined for those chomping at the Pro circuit's bit. You can't fail in a LoL match, not if you want your post-game lobby to not be filled with slurs. You can't claim to be a newcomer, everyone will simply disconnect outright and leave you hanging. You can't be the newcomer friend of a more experienced player, as then this *other* player's going to take flak for having dared to bring you in!

Whichever you slice it, LoL is just plain horrid. Riot's honestly telling us that some guys flat-out didn't notice how offensive they were? That boggles the mind. How can you go about spewing this much vitriol in the face of complete strangers and not notice? More to the point, what does this mean about how you'll deal with obstacles or stress outside of the game?

Yeah, sure, you'll tell me most of them are perfectly adjusted and they just slip - but that's slipping pretty fucking hard. It's fairly troubling.

DOTA 2 is *slightly* better. The worst I've seen there is inconsiderate "landslide win or QQ" types, and there's still plenty instances of genuine sportsmanship.

Maerx:
No matter how polite, cool or self controlled you think you are, there's always gonna be a game with a dude(s) that will rustle your jimmies hard and you'll go full Kratos.

No, then you(and I don't mean YOU personally by that) are really just very lacking in the self-control department, because raging at everything will sadly not solve any problems at all when it comes to social interactions, I'm afraid. Not to mention that aimless destruction and griefing WILL come back to bite you, one way or another.

I am surprised to see such a thing happen in LoL, considering how disappointing even the best of players are at times.
figured they'd do something much sooner or leave it for good O_o

All these reasons in the comments here are why I loathe e sports and the mentality surrounding it so much.

As an avid League of Legends player, I can confirm that this is pretty much a joke. Toxicity decreased 'temporarily' with the release of the new honor system. After people started realizing that you didn't get any benefits whatsoever (except some silly emblem), griefing came back in full force. I haven't at all noticed a decrease in griefers in the game;

although, maybe it depends on which elo we're talking about, i dunno. Though as far as I see, most people laugh at you when you say you're going to report them, because they're pretty sure nothing will really happen to them

antipunt:
As an avid League of Legends player, I can confirm that this is pretty much a joke. Toxicity decreased 'temporarily' with the release of the new honor system. After people started realizing that you didn't get any benefits whatsoever (except some silly emblem), griefing came back in full force. I haven't at all noticed a decrease in griefers in the game;

although, maybe it depends on which elo we're talking about, i dunno. Though as far as I see, most people laugh at you when you say you're going to report them, because they're pretty sure nothing will really happen to them

See, they think that, and then they get banned. Threats of reporting someone are kind of in bad taste anyway. I mean, I think I've told people that before, but extremely rarely. When you retort to a troll/rager/whatever they tend to simply rage/troll/bananas harder then before. The best thing to do is A: ignore them and try to have a good time yourself, or B: calmly address them when they're going all noscope420esports on everyone. Granted, I'm usually part of the crowd that does stupid shit all game, so I guess I can't really talk.

OT: Eh, the playerbase is really nothing to write home about but it's not the horror story everyone seems to be referencing it to be. Out of MOBA crowd, from personal experience anyhow, LoL has relatively nice populace. The crappy part is that it's a team game that focuses on individuals, which means that it's oftentimes "everyone's fault". It's why SC2 isn't a rage-fest, because when you lose your 1v1 you know it's because YOU fucked up, or got outplayed, not because someone down in the bot lane fed the enemy Draven, and since you didn't do so hot top lane you can reassure yourself by blaming them so the loss doesn't hurt quite as bad.

Just a bad case of needing to put everyone on the sinking ship with you.

Kudos to Riot for trying though. I know if I got a reminder of what I act like in games sometimes I would probably calm down a bit at my worst games.

"We stand here in front of the Riot Troll Rehabilitation Centre, which is now finaly open for the public to come visit their little troll friends.
Standing next to me is SHADOP0WNZOR360, a patient already in treatment at this centre,
-...hello.
Tell us, SHADO, how did you end up here?
-Well, I got into this game, and my team was getting ganked all the time and we were starting to lose, so I started calling them fa... ehm, bad names, because I thought it was all their fault and it couldn't be me because I died the least times and made the most kills, so they reported me and the next morning Riot showed up at my front door.
Wow, amazing story ,SHADO.
-T-They beat me up with nightsticks every...
so do you think you've made any progress?
-W-W-Well, yes, I came to realise the game is a team effort, my k/d doesn't matter, and I shouldn't be this serious if I'm not playing professional leagues.

That's great news, this is Melany Lin pader at the RTRC, back to you, steve."

Hats off to you, Riot, good thinking.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

I never see ragers in ARAM, because the wins and losses don't matter. Same for Co-op Vs. AI.

Funny that. The only time I ragequit LoL was in Co-op vs AI, because it was a third game in a row where there was a SUPAH SERIOUZ L33T SKILLZ PLAYA!!!1! insulting everyone for playing the way they wanted against dumb bots. I consider myself a patient man, but that was too much even for me. At least it happens rarely in co-op and in the few ARAMs I played, there is rarely time to rage so no-one does.

I wonder what it is about LoL that brings out the worst in people?

DVS BSTrD:
I wonder what it is about LoL that brings out the worst in people?

It's the acronym, a constant voice in the back of their mind telling them to laugh out loud. They rebel against this voice by being miserbale all the time.

10% isn't that great a reuction. It still means that there's 90% of insults still there.

kailus13:
10% isn't that great a reuction. It still means that there's 90% of insults still there.

A potential 10% drop caused by changing a single sentence seems pretty significant to me.

DVS BSTrD:
I wonder what it is about LoL that brings out the worst in people?

Anonymity comes with great responsibility.

...Except that a lot of people forget this, and as a result you get people like ragers, griefers, trolls, flamers and flamebaiters. Making them aware of what they're doing might actually surprise themselves, and even more so if you can get someone who personally knows them to reveal this. Otherwise, if they do know and don't care about the consequences, and it's possible to take away your anonymity on the Internet no matter where you are, will they still want to do those things once their anonymity gets taken away?

...Yeah. Someone being able to take away your anonymity on the Internet would be quite the consequence, perhaps even worse than jail if made the wrong people mad. It's why we should remember that anonymity comes with great responsibility, and also share that responsibility to remind others of the same.

Fanghawk:

Perhaps the most encouraging result of Riot's experiments wasn't the decrease in aggression, but the increase of self-awareness. "A lot of these players wrote letters in to us," Lin noted. "One player wrote, 'I just didn't realize how offensive the f-word was.' He wrote in just to apologize; he didn't realize how bad it was. He's been using it in all these other games. There was another player, we showed him his logs, and this player said 'I'm really disgusted by my own behavior. Can you guys give me a little guidance?'" That's a far cry from the racist and sexist diatribes that most of us recognize as standard internet protocol. If all it takes to change is a few gentle reminders, maybe a world of friendly online games is easier to achieve than we thought.

This right here is what I see as the basic issue with the Internet, in general. The rude, crude, racist, and sexist language are so pervasive on the Internet that people think it's just a normal way of talking and communicating when online, and they don't realize the true effect their words have on others. It just never enters their conscious thinking. It's like trolling. Everyone does it because they think that's just normal Internet. They don't realize that it's not normal human; it's just being an asshole.

Really, there's only two basic principles one need follow, in my opinion: 1) realize and remember that there IS another human being on the other side of that screen that you are talking to, and 2) think how you would feel if someone said or did to you what you have said or done to someone else. Politeness and etiquette are still important, even in the anonymous realm of the Internet, because you are still communicating with human beings, who have feelings just the same as you or me.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
I like what Riot has done recently, but as long as where people are ranked are tied to the performance of your teammates, there will be ragers.

I never see ragers in ARAM, because the wins and losses don't matter. Same for Co-op Vs. AI.

I have seen a few ragers in co-op, it's hilarious as hell to be honest.

Good on em but I'll still call someone out on their bullshit if they're pretty much losing the game for us. I'm looking at your duo queue assholes that went Ryze/Karma bottom and lost before they even got to lvl 6. Normally I wouldn't care if it was a normal match or a bot match but when I'm playing Ranked you either play the fucking meta or get out. I got put into Bronze division because of disconnects, rage quitters or people who want to experiment and play champions in rolls they're not designed for.

It is just a game but I'M not having fun if others want to screw me over. I never go full on frothing at the mouth mad but if someone throws the game I'll be sure to let them know where they fucked up.

DVS BSTrD:
I wonder what it is about LoL that brings out the worst in people?

It's an inherit estigma of the Dota/MOBA community.

Ferisar:

antipunt:
As an avid League of Legends player, I can confirm that this is pretty much a joke. Toxicity decreased 'temporarily' with the release of the new honor system. After people started realizing that you didn't get any benefits whatsoever (except some silly emblem), griefing came back in full force. I haven't at all noticed a decrease in griefers in the game;

although, maybe it depends on which elo we're talking about, i dunno. Though as far as I see, most people laugh at you when you say you're going to report them, because they're pretty sure nothing will really happen to them

See, they think that, and then they get banned. Threats of reporting someone are kind of in bad taste anyway. I mean, I think I've told people that before, but extremely rarely. When you retort to a troll/rager/whatever they tend to simply rage/troll/bananas harder then before. The best thing to do is A: ignore them and try to have a good time yourself, or B: calmly address them when they're going all noscope420esports on everyone. Granted, I'm usually part of the crowd that does stupid shit all game, so I guess I can't really talk.

OT: Eh, the playerbase is really nothing to write home about but it's not the horror story everyone seems to be referencing it to be. Out of MOBA crowd, from personal experience anyhow, LoL has relatively nice populace. The crappy part is that it's a team game that focuses on individuals, which means that it's oftentimes "everyone's fault". It's why SC2 isn't a rage-fest, because when you lose your 1v1 you know it's because YOU fucked up, or got outplayed, not because someone down in the bot lane fed the enemy Draven, and since you didn't do so hot top lane you can reassure yourself by blaming them so the loss doesn't hurt quite as bad.

Just a bad case of needing to put everyone on the sinking ship with you.

Kudos to Riot for trying though. I know if I got a reminder of what I act like in games sometimes I would probably calm down a bit at my worst games.

Sorry had to respond because of my hate for Draven

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA85IsVR6Zo

edit: also, nice response. Seems pretty fair

Riot needs to understand a few key points, although others in the thread have already mentioned some of these. The different game modes, Co-op VS AI (Beginner / Intermediate), Summoner's Rift (Normal, Draft, Ranked), Twisted Treeline (Normal, Draft [Not 100% sure], Ranked) and the Capture and hold base map all attract different types of players.
I'm amased that they haven't compared the different demographics of 'toxic' players in each instance of each map, instead of making assumptions that the community is full of verbal players.

That is to say that in any ranked match, regardless of what map. Players are going to get verbally abusive. Especially in the lower ladders where players are stuck trying to get out of them, whilst being pooled in solo matchmaking with bad players. The level of abuse varies, but you can see usually the level of maturity involved when people start saying stupid things like 'Kill yourself'. These players usually 'call' a role without asking who can play what roles, ensuring bad team composition.

That being said. I tend to be a 'toxic' player because I simply point out bad plays, bad positions etc. People have reported me for trying to help them play better. Its a ridiculous concept. Players aren't going to improve unless someone tells them how to improve, and no, I'm not being a wank about it. Its simply the truth. But many players don't want to improve.

I've been playing LOL since season 1, back when mordekaiser was first released. I can honestly say that the community was different back then. Its also the case when players start getting past the gold ladders. Players tend to co-operate and co-ordinate so their team doesn't fail.

Riot needs another way to separate the 'good' (wanting to advance in ranked & can play more than 1 role) [Even if they are verbally abusive] and the 'bad' (feeders, don't know how to play roles or champs in general, state that they are 'good' etc) [The ones who get defensive and threaten to throw games]. It would be a hard process. But in my opinion it needs to happen to stop this from happening.

 

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