League Of Legends Rewards Clean Chat Records

Sunshine lollipops and rainbows everything that's wonderful is how I feel when we're together...

League of Legends players with a clean record when it comes to chat behaviour in the 2014 season will be rewarded with a boost that increases the influence points they earn from the next four games they win. In case you’re not a LoL player, influence points can be spent to unlock new champions, runes and runebook pages in the game.

The reward is part of Riot’s broader work when it comes to the thorny subject of player behaviour. The company actually have a team dedicated to exploring how people play together online led by Jeffrey Lin, whose background is in cognitive neuroscience. They’re currently focused on dealing with cases of extreme verbal toxicity in the game.

Lin says in his forum post about the reward, “it’s important to keep in mind that players engaging in these behaviors really are not welcome in our community. Fewer than 1% of players have been escalated to a 14-day ban or permanent ban or even received a chat restriction.”

There’s an additional stat from 13 November included in the post which states that at that date 95% of active players in 2014 had never received a punishment of any kind.

The boost is obviously intended as a piece of positive reinforcement but I’m more interested in Lin’s request that positive members of the community get in touch if they’re okay with him sharing some of their recent chat logs with the wider community. There seems to be a reward attached to that too but what I’m enjoying while reading through it is Lin picking out particular things to champion and explaining why.

Here’s one example directed at forum member FatMansRevenge:

What’s neat here is that you do use profanities in some of your games like “fuck” and “holy shit” but they aren’t targeted at others. We’ve always said that we–as a community–aren’t out to get rid of offensive language, and the key is that you aren’t directing these phrases at others. You also thanked your team members for doing well when you weren’t doing so great in your lane–that’s cool.

And another to Jubbinaut:

What’s really cool is that even though your team may have lost the first game, you still kept positive and kept hope for a better next game :) You also do a great job giving players compliments when they make a good play in the game.

Leavers, AFKs and intentional feeders are also on Lin’s to-do list for minimising gameplay toxicity in League of Legends.

23 Comments

  1. Jockie says:

    Hrmm, apparently I’ll be receiving this in terms of the way it applies and honestly I don’t deserve it.

    I swear quite profusely during LoL as a reactionary thing, if someone is being a dick I will usually politely ask them to stop. When they refuse to stop and step up their verbal abuse or harassment of another player I tend to respond with a pretty foul torrent of abuse myself, like some kind of massively hypocritical politeness policeman.

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      Harlander says:

      Submit a chatlog for review and find out how it’s received?

      • Jockie says:

        I daren’t to be quite honest, I almost certainly called someone the ‘C’ word last night (they were being a ‘c’ word mind). I suspect that’s not exactly in line with the summoner’s code.

        • Sarigs says:

          I can always spend the next couple of weeks reporting you for flaming Jockie and hopefully edge you out of the criteria :-)

          • Jockie says:

            Cheers buddy!

            I think my point doesn’t come across too well, it sounds like I’m bragging about swearing or something. What I’m saying this is a pretty positive spin for Riot, they get to say “Look our game isn’t toxic as it’s made out to be be! Only 5% of people are dicks!”. But in reality, in the context of League of Legends, someone who ONLY goes around swearing at other players and using foul language is rewarded as a good member of the community. That’s because in the context of LoL, that’s pretty mild behaviour.

    • Philippa Warr says:

      Out of interest, does any of this make you consciously alter how you behave or respond in-game? I mean, you say you suspect you don’t deserve it and explain why, but I’m wondering where that sensation ultimately leads for a player.

      • Jockie says:

        Honestly, I’d rather continue to call a spade a spade, If someone is being an asshole to other players, I can A. press the report button and get zero feedback about whether they were punished, or B. give them a taste of their own medicine. If the result of B was me not getting a 4 game ip boost, I would care very litte, because I play most days and have IP pouring out of my ears. But apparently the result of B is still me being rewarded right now, so I have even less incentive to act in a different way

        • Josh W says:

          You make an excellent point there, in bigger situations like criminal justice, we don’t act as vigilantes because we have confidence that justice is being done, partially because sentences are public.

          If you were given feedback via the game’s usual front page/news functions about annoying players getting disciplined when you reported them, that’d probably help.

    • BooleanBob says:

      This kind of reminds me of Shamus Young’s essay on toxic behaviour in his blog’s comment section. Basically he hypothesises that it only takes one jerk to bring out the shit-slinger in otherwise well-behaved e-people, and that, sadly, the ratio of jerks to everyone else online is sufficiently high that outbreaks of shit-slingery are more than infrequently inevitable.

  2. SpacemanSpliff says:

    This is a cool and original idea. Never thought I would have a reason to say that about LoL.

  3. montorsi says:

    Four game reward for the -entire season-?

    I mean, I rarely curse (and never directed at other players) and I do my best to encourage my team every game and make sure people stay focused instead of flaming each other, so this isn’t a case of envy or anything. Rather, this is basically the most trivial reward they can offer players, which is a little disappointing considering how much they’d have us believe they’re committed to a positive community.

    • Philippa Warr says:

      From reading the rest of Lin’s posts on that thread I think at one point he adds that there are still 2 months left of the year and that there might be further incentivisation/reward on that front

  4. Occa says:

    I was actually affected by their crusade against toxic people in a pretty sad way. I applied for a job there but despite them liking my CV and experience, I ended up being turned down due to being negative influence in the game, even though I never received a single warning or chat restriction up to that point.

    When I logged into the game after receiving the rejection email I found a 14 games chat restriction waiting for me. I kind of question their metrics a bit as they only recognized me as a toxic player after they had a reason to look at my account.

    That’s not saying I’m an angel mind you, I usually only told someone off after they flamed me for a bit. I rarely (if ever) started the flame though.

    As for the effect it had on me, I pretty much ignore and avoid using the ingame chat now. I just resort to pings just to be sure they don’t have anything on me should I choose to apply for a job with them again.

    • wearedevo says:

      Pure schadenfreude of course, but I must say I’m pretty delighted at the idea of someone losing out on a job because they were acting like an asshole in game.

      • Occa says:

        To some extent, perhaps. I find it a bit silly though. I play games to relax and sometimes vent a bit. I obviously am not like that when I work. I’ve worked at a different studio for a few years in PR and I’m obviously 100% polite with users when I have the company tag by my name, even if they’re shouting abuse at me.

        That’s like getting being refused by a company with a strict dress code because they snapped a few pictures of you walking around your house wearing underwear and flip flops, haha.

  5. Eamo says:

    While their 95% of players never get in trouble is quite probably true, the sad reality is that with 10 players per game thats about a 50% chance that any individual game will include a player who is going to be flaming, trolling or otherwise causing a bad time for everyone else.

    I accept that Riot are doing their best to improve this situation but saying 95% of players are positive sure spins it in a much nicer way than saying 50% of games are free of negative players. And of course even at that it is only counting the players who get caught.

    • Horg says:

      What they said was that 95% of people had never been punished, not that 95% of people had never sworn / disrupted a game. Quite a major difference there.

  6. Thrippy says:

    There’s so much gamer debate over MOBA toxicity when in actuality a developer only has to lift the slightest of fingers to implement surprisingly effective deterrents. So little goes such a long way. Paying attention Blizzard?

  7. Monggerel says:

    I’m basically a one man Cannibal Holocaust in MOBAs so this is just ideal. People like me should not be allowed to interact with others online.

  8. sendmark says:

    Glad to hear they’re at least doing something, I don’t play LoL but you can spot the ex or current LoL players very easily in other games like GW2. Toxic behaviour in one game invariably spreads to others.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Yeah, that’s not at all stereotyping all of the many players who like LoL.

      But I do agree it’s good they’re trying to improve player behaviour.

  9. Xzi says:

    Way too little, way too late. The community is a cesspool of trolls and jackasses and Riot includes no real moderation of their own. It’s truly a wonder how they’ve made so much money off of people who spend all of their time in-game getting harassed and bitched at.