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Jan 31 2013

Hags of Lag – League of Legends and Bans

If you haven’t been following the drama on League of Legends then there is a little ray of hope about gaming.

You see, a company that plays games finally took a stand on it’s players. It named and shamed people responsible for making the game experience worse for others.

Now you may wonder, why this matters as such.

For those who are unaware League of Legends is a Free To Play game. I used to play it a fair bit and was relatively okay at it. Nothing to write home about but sufficiently good enough to not be a “total liability” and to occasionally be in the lofty seat of “win it for the team”.

It occupies a niche game market. Unlike the standard of Call of Duty or Halo this is a game of high skill, high team play and high difficulty. The difficulty ramps up depending on who you are playing of course. While bots may be nice and easy to fight the real threat comes from the human opponents who are less accurate than the high level bots but far far more capable of thinking outside the box making them a lot lot deadlier.

And it is a competitive game a very competitive game. It’s very easy to be bad at it and cause your entire team to lose just due to bad decisions. It’s also a game that sadly rewarded terrible people as long as they played well. It was in your interest to ignore someone who swore badly if they played well. You literally had to take the abuse or lose and no one really likes losing. Not when you are in a ranked queue where the points matter. You would overlook the rants of absolute horror just because you knew that the person who was sprouting them was the one making you win.

So the guys behind the League had a little idea. What If We Had A System to Punish Bad Behaviour and Reward Good Behaviour. It was a little gamefication of stats. After a match you could vote for people you thought were nice and those that you didn’t. And people voted for these individuals in their hundreds.

Now there are a bunch of games in the Genre (Defence of the Ancients is the founding game) and all of them have the same problem. Competitiveness doesn’t reward politeness. But League has a different problem and that’s of game play. See the other games have one issue (and many people like it but I personally don’t) which is if a team gets even slightly ahead on kills it snowballs and wins. In League you can turn games around. You can go from even being 30 kills down to winning (A massive swing around). It happens a lot…

And this causes rage… Imagine being at the cusp of victory only to be defeated by luck, skill or one awesome play. If you already are in a game that doesn’t reward friendly play imagine your response.

It’s infuriating and while on a game like Halo that lucky grenade will make you smirk and go “Fine that was awesome” in this it’s less awesome and more “Unfair” because you were winning all this time and then someone basically “tricked you”. Very few people are genuinely pleased by amazing plays.

The new system encouraged a bit better behaviour but it also brought stellar individuals like these to light. Cleaning up your own house is good for gaming especially if we are to take video games competitively as a sport.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    glodson

    I am not a player of League of Legends, but I read the thread you posted earlier today.

    I like that stance. There’s a level of trash talk, and that’s fine. But some people cross over into harassment. It sounds like the three banned where not only crossing that line, but then peeing the the faces of those who complained.

    The guys at Extra Credits did a piece on the harassment in games before. The message was clear there too, there is a need to clean up this mess. I know I am less likely to play online at times because I really don’t want to hear this crap. I play games to escape and have fun. Not to deal with some guy who uses bully tactics to work off his own frustrations.

    The racism and sexism and homophobia are why I often just mute everyone when I play online.

  2. 2
    Loqi

    I was happy to see Riot ban Team Solo Mebdi. I just wish they were quicker with the banhammer. IWillDominate, jungler for one of the top American teams, got something like 8 temp bans before getting banned from the Season 3 LCS.

    For those unfamiliar with the LoL competitive scene, the third season of competition is getting started. There is an 8-team championship league that play weekly matches, similar to traditional sports. The players on the championship teams are paid a regular salary by Riot Games and are, for all intents and purposes, Riot employees. The easylesson to take away from this: if you want to become a salaried employee for a company, don’t openly harass the other potential applicants during the job interview (while filming and broadcasting it, no less).

  3. 3
    Avicenna

    Which was the major problem because Riot are amusingly a lot more progressive when it comes to gamers and hiring practices than other MOBA.

    The notion was that these people are representing the company and the last thing you want is someone who is a complete wanker representing you. It gives of a terrible image.

  4. 4
    julian

    The racism and sexism and homophobia are why I often just mute everyone when I play online.

    I wsh you could do this on League. Pinging helps but already playing without a headset and relying on the in game chat is bad enough. If you can’t talk to the team you’re pretty much hoping they’re smart enough to realize what plays you’re going for (same applies to you. sometimes that awesome knock up you were grateful for moves the enemy out of position for the kill shot you didn’t see your teammate going for).

    It’s competitive and like everything competitive people dogpile on the player who’s stats aren’t quiet as good as everyone else or who’s given up a few kills or messed up a big play. Unlike with real teams there isn’t that sense of camaraderie since it’s only for 1 game.

  5. 5
    biili

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