League Of Legends Has Too Many Robot Friends

RFF - Rift Friends Forever

Riot is revamping its Refer-a-Friend reward program for League Of Legends. That’s almost entirely because the “Friends” being referred are often bot accounts and the whole thing is being used to load up accounts with currency and skins before selling them on.

What’s supposed to happen is newcomers to League of Legends enter the details of the friend who wouldn’t shut up about LoL until they agreed to give it a go introduced them to the game. Once the new player reaches level 5 the referrer earns 250 Influence Points and when they reach level 10 there are other prizes on offer. Basically, the idea is that if your friend sticks with the game you’ll be rewarded.

That goes for bot accounts too, unfortunately. In order to reap the referral rewards the bot accounts need to be levelled up. According to Riot the majority of this used to take place in custom private games so its effect on the genuine LoL-loving populace was negligible. It’s now started to spill over into new player games and the Dominion mode. Instead of sticking with the current punishments (removing content acquired through nefarious means, banning players from the program, and sometimes suspending or banning the entire account) Riot decided to re-evaluate the whole scheme.

“Ultimately, the best way to attack RAF abuse is to address the underlying symptoms that make it attractive to abuse in the first place. Specifically, the key cause of most misuse is actually the nature of the program itself. Basically, abusers could make a ton of RP and real money by conducting large-scale botting for the purpose of selling accounts. Worse still, the average player faces a dilemma where attractive rewards like Grey Warwick and Medieval Twitch are prohibitively difficult to obtain honestly.”

The Grey Warwick skin is available to anyone who refers 25 friends to LoL who EACH then go on to reach a summoner level of 10. The Medieval Twitch skin is similar but needs 50 of these successful referrals. Riot admit that of the accounts with 10 or more friend referrals 70 percent are attempting to abuse the system. Of the accounts with 100 or more referrals it’s 99 percent.

Apparently most players refer between 1-5 people which makes sense because you’re often looking for regular playmates in order not to get matched with randoms. As such the program is being scaled accordingly. 1000 IP will be your reward for a referral hitting level 10, Grey Warwick is unlocked on the third referral and Medieval Twitch comes with the fifth. You can only refer a total of five friends. It won’t suit everyone but the new approach seems more reflective of real human behaviour and healthier for the community.

Riot is still looking at ways to reward people with high numbers of genuine referrals like those YouTube ‘slebs we’ve heard so much about. They don’t say what happens if you, JUST TO PLUCK AN EXAMPLE OUT OF THIN AIR, didn’t have any real friends to refer and ended up setting up hundreds of bot accounts in case League of Legends turned out to be a literal popularity contest and not an eSport after all.

21 Comments

  1. vai90 says:

    That embedded MLP video is extremely unnecessary…
    I appreciate a bit of personality in RPS’ articles, but that just….

    link to twitter.com

    Oh.

    That explains everything…
    Nevermind, I’ll just try my best to ignore this stuff in the future.

    • Polifemo says:

      I for one apreciate fun and happy elements bolted on RPS articles. God knows Im sick of seriousface all the time, especially since most of these are “my opinions on this thing”. Even if MLP makes me gag, Im not bothered by it.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      You are correct, sir! Such things as My Little Pony are far, far too manly and macho for the typical milquetoast RPS reader! Such complicated, controversial, and politically charged topics as what makes someone a true friend might be too much for those who are insecure in their manliness/womanliness.

      As for me, I always watch a MLP episode or two to psych myself up for wrestling bears, sharks, and other animals which are twice my weight and want to murder me. When I feel the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP COURSING THROUGH MY VEINS, I know I can do ANYTHING.

      Also, if I watch too many MLP episodes without TKOing at least one angry carnivore/omnivore, my mustache will grow too long from the machismo overdose. MLP is serious business, and should be taken in small doses.

      • Graves says:

        Before starting any Friendship Enhancement regimen using MLP, consult your physician to determine if such program is right for your needs. Do not start a Friendship Enhancement program using MLP if your physician or healthcare provider advises against it. This is particularly true if you have a history of being no fun, taking things too seriously, and otherwise being a stick in the mud. Do not start this program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience annoyance, anger, or extreme grumpiness while while viewing MLP or reading articles containing links to MLP, please consult a physician immediately, or maybe just relax.

    • Down Rodeo says:

      I think the worst part was where we were all forced to watch it. All the way through, too!

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Being forced to watch MLP episodes, A Clockwork Orange-style, I’m sure someone somewhere has actually used that as a means of torture. I’ve heard policemen using loud boyband music to get occupants to leave a house and stuff like that.

        • Graves says:

          I was once forced to watch an episode of MLP. It wasn’t quite clockwork orange style, but my pathfinder GM told me he wouldn’t run the game until we watched an episode (He is an unabashed brony, and the rest of the group were either fans or at least interested but for me, so it wasn’t as dictatorial as it might seem.) I watched the whole thing, and it… wasn’t even a little bit painful. It’s just not that bad a show, and even if you have a hatred of all things bright and happy you can do what I did and just make fun of it, MST3K style. There is so much out there that is worse, either because it’s hateful or boring or just plain dumb.I’d take MLP over boy band music any day of the week.

  2. Polifemo says:

    Im not suprised to hear LoL has bot problems. Im suprised to see Riot admiting them.
    I do wonder how many of the viewers watching LoL streams on Twitch are bots though as it puzzles me how it manages to stay at the top so often.

    • Xocrates says:

      League of Legends is one of the most popular games in the world right now, and hands down the most popular esport, and you’re surprised it’s consistently the most popular game on twitch?

    • paterah says:

      LoL is extremely popular, of course it’s going to stay on top unless there is a big tournament for another game and nothing for it.

  3. Darth Gangrel says:

    It seems like Riot didn’t think it was suspicious when there were people referring many more than the average amount. They only mention percentages, not how many practiced this, but referring 50 or 100 friends isn’t a little odd? Sure, we live in a social network era where you can have hundreds of “friends” on each of the popular networks, but still it looks quite naive to just let it pass like this for so long.

    • ersetzen says:

      The article mentioned that they removed rewards and sometimes banned accounts of obvious botters. I could imagine that they made really sure not to have any false positives, though. Might kinda suck to accidentally ban a youtuber.

  4. Hex says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what people will do to abuse a system. I wonder if this is primarily inspired by a profit motive, or if it’s simply a form of psycopathy, and making a few bucks on the side is an added bonus.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Some people, whether actual gold-farmers or not, are in the gold-farmer mentality of exploiting systems as much as can be done for as long as possible, as often as possible, as automated as possible. They see the other players as potential customers, and the fact that the system in question is a game as entirely beside the point. Any opportunity to exploit for gain, they will take. If they are stopped in one endeavor, to them that simply means they’ve exhausted the opportunity, not that they’ve done anything wrong.

      In a sense, they are playing a meta-game on a different level than the games are supposed to be played, with no regard for the community that does try to play as intended. Pros play to win (or speedrun or whatever) by exploiting the intended systems, but, unlike the pros, these guys don’t see a difference between playing to win and playing to cheat and steal.

    • fooga44 says:

      F2P is a scam anyway, buying skins for a game you never own is pure fucking stupid. The whole model is fraudulent at its base. Only cretins like the gaming masses would ever pay money to riot.

      Riot deserves to get scammed, they are a scammy company that encouraged everyone to go F2P.

  5. gruia says:

    developers are making money, smart boys are making money. and dumb ass marketers pay them for these “numbers”. Technically pro gaming loses. and this money could get into your pocket as a casual streamer / gamer and make your experience more rewarding.
    anyway, fuck LoL. dumbass game

  6. Gog Magog says:

    My little pony (not the show; the tiny horse I own) makes me realise that for all my rage I’m still just an Ellen Page Raige Gaige in a Cage.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      Capitalization could have solved your ambiguity, and you spat on its face!

  7. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    The bots are a genuine problem, I can’t get a good game of Dominion these days, as two to three players on each team just wander mutely across the battlefield.