Riot Teams Up With MIT To Investigate.. Uh.. Teams

Look, I'm not used to drawing things when they have clothes on

Riot are teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as part of their research into player behaviour and teamwork. This time they’re looking to explore “the ability of a team to perform a wide range of collaborative tasks” and want your help.

Posting on the League of Legends forums, Jeffrey Lin (lead designer of social systems) explained a little more about what will be involved in the online study and to seek out participants.

To be eligible to take part you’ll need to be part of a ranked 5s team (3s aren’t being considered at this point but there’s scope for that to change in the future) and have played 20 games or more together on the North American server. The post says the games should be from this season but Lin has since clarified that they can span multiple seasons as long as the five has played them as a unit.

Participants will need to complete a 20 minute-ish online screening survey before going on to the main study. The exact details are being kept deliberately vague – you don’t want to let teams research the tasks or prepare beforehand – but the tasks will be a series of puzzles and exercises, all in English at the moment, that take about an hour.

On completion the team will get a scorecard showing its collective ability in terms of decision-making, execution, sensing and memory, and a reward on each member’s main summoner account.

As for what actually happens with the data, MIT will be working on a paper so the data (in summary form, so not personally identifiable) and results will eventually be made public. Presumably Riot will incorporate any useful findings into their own systems or potentially use them as part of their anti-toxic community drives.

If you’re curious there’s a signup sheet where you can register your interest.


  1. Xocrates says:

    Welp, I want a scientist Kalista skin now.

    Anyway, honestly curious to know what results they’ll get out of this.

  2. RaoulDuke says:

    From your postings it seems you have little love for LoL, did you have a bad experience playing?

    Honestly curious, you don’t seem to write about LoL news with the gusto of your DotA 2 coverage.

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      Philippa Warr says:

      I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. I have a Dota column which is a different style of writing and which started before I joined the site full time and started doing news articles too. I’m interested in League, enjoy it when I do play and keep an eye on the competitive scene. I’m particularly fascinated by their player behaviour unit which is why I keep a close eye on it and post about what they’re working on when I can.

      In this instance the really interesting thing will be the results of the study which won’t be available until the paper gets published but I wanted to highlight that it was happening so it’s more of a functional post.

      • DrGonzo says:

        I understand that it’s not your favourite, you prefer dota, that’s fine really! But it’s my most played game, it’s one of if not the most popular pc game out there at the moment, and RPS clearly don’t have any writers that play it. I find that quite disappointing, hopefully you can get someone who does.

        EDIT: Not meant to sound quite so dickish sorry!

        • hennedo says:

          IIRC, they started the Dota posts after being accused of not having enough Dota and too much LoL coverage. I like where they went with the Dota columns (go Philippa!), and I agree that similar LoL experiential/community tuned/editorial pieces would be fun. I wonder if it wouldn’t start seeming a bit much on the mobrawler coverage, though.

        • airmikee says:

          Being that I don’t play either game and just read the article because of a curiosity about player behavior as well, and including the fact that one can easily find LoL and DOTA articles on RPS with tags for easy searching in moments like this, I can objectively, and completely neutrally say, “You have a serious persecution complex when it comes to LoL.”

          Step 1: Go ahead and click on the tag at the bottom of the article, read through the average of one LoL article per month going back 5 years.

          Step 2. Go ahead and click on a DOTA 2 tag at the bottom of some of the LoL articles, read through the average of one DOTA 2 article per month going back 4 years.

          Step 3. Now pull all of the quotes from the many writers at RPS that have covered both games, and then accuse Philippa and RPS of being biased again.

          What’s it called when people ignore the facts to support their own predetermined conclusion?

  3. MrFinnishDude says:

    I always knew that video games could be used to advance humanity. Huge amount of simulating technologies have probably also been developed originally for video games and then used for scientific purposes.
    Well… I think at least.