Everyone is missing the point of League of Legends

The LoL community is fighting, and Riot doesn't know what to do.

I love League of Legends. I love the way the map is set up; I love the champions; I love the items; I love everything about the game itself. But what I do not love is the community.

The League of Legends community is often referred to if someone needs an example of how unreasonable and angry gamers can be. Now, I wouldn't necessarily say that everyone who plays the game is unreasonable and angry. I'm sure every single person who plays the game is a kind-hearted and amazing person when they step away from the screen. But there is something to be said about the community as an entity. The community is god awful - at least as far as the public sees.

Anyone who talks about the League of Legends community has that one story where someone came into a game and just decided that they wanted to ruin everyone's fun one way or another. Anyone who plays League knows at least one person who rages so hard that they threaten other players' lives and families. And that nasty behavior is all that gets attention with the community. All anyone complains about is how toxic the community is, how hateful players like to spoil it for everyone.

It's hard to play a team game when some people aren't interested in being part of a team.

Over the years, Riot has tried to encourage cooperation in League of Legends. They gave every team member an equal amount of responsibility, making each member worth about 20%, no matter how hard they play. While the intent was good, there are huge drawbacks to this. The game has become so team-dependent that it's almost impossible to carry a game without a member. So if someone isn't cooperating, it's extremely hard for that team to win the game. If a teammate leaves, the game is almost unwinnable.

When someone on a team leaves the game and never comes back, the team is only left with 80% to work with. If the other team is working at 100% capacity, and your team is only working at 80%, it's clear who's going to win. I'm not saying it's impossible to win if a teammate leaves, but it's definitely a lot harder. 

This is what causes anger and overall toxicity in the League of Legends' community. Everyone has experienced this at some point or another, and it causes an exponential chain reaction that never ends. If someone does leave a team, there are four individual people who are affected. Three of those people will probably brush it off and play another game, but that fourth person will sometimes take it more seriously. Perhaps they'll immediately leave in their next game or start lashing out in chat - because if they can't have fun, no one can have fun. This effect is what I like to call the Last Game Effect, where players complain about what happened last game, then repeat it in the current game to ruin the experience for the other four players they are playing with. (Or even ruin it just by being sour.)

In Riot's Defense

Riot is really, really trying. It has a system that punishes these "leavers" via the Leaver Buster, which basically makes players who have left a game wait a certain amount of time in queue before they can play another. The more that person leaves, the longer and longer they have to wait, until eventually they get banned.

While this does slow down one aspect of the Last Game Effect and bad behavior, there are other things that need to be taken into consideration. What if someone intentionally feeds or AKFs, or assists the enemy team? Riot has that covered, too, with their report system. This is a player-submitted review system that lets Riot manage all the people who are ruining other player's experience in their game.

Counter Arguments

The report system isn't perfect. There are a lot of players who complain that it doesn't work, and the community's current state supports this argument. There are people who sometimes get banned for no good reason, because the report system is mostly automated. Mean-spirited players and their friends can just report a random person four times and that person gets banned.

There is no replay system currently in place, so people cannot really see what goes on in game chat, and sometimes the wrong person gets banned. The person who is feeding or AFKing may not ever say anything hurtful, but the one person who is calling them out for ruining the experience for everyone else, might say just one aggressive thing to trolling player and end up suspended for two weeks.

I have to be honest, that is just lazy. I know that Riot cannot watch every single game that is played in League of Legends, but there has to be a better system so this can finally be dealt with. Ill-mannered players are breaking the game, and serious players are getting punished for playing the game correctly and trying to control the trolls.

Possible Solutions

There should be a replay system so that Riot, and other people, can see what is really going on in games and ban the right people. If someone was assisting the enemy team, Riot would see that. If someone was intentionally feeding, Riot would see that. If someone AFKed but is still typing in chat because they just do not wanna play anymore, Riot would see that, too.

There should also be a system where if someone leaves, a bot is put in that player's place, with a skill level based on the player's MMR and the player's wasted experience. IP and LP should be divided and rewarded evenly to the other teammates that had to deal with the leaver.

The Point of League of Legends

The point of League of Legends is to play the game as a team and develop team skills. I am sure that is what Riot had in mind when they developed this game. The game is meant to be fun, whether the outcome is a win or a loss. The game should not be a luck-of-the-draw on whether or not your teammates are going to leave, feed intentionally, etc. That's not why this game was developed. But it's not entirely Riot's fault.

We can do better

At the end of the day, it is up to the players how they choose to handle themselves in-game. We look at Riot for guidance, but they can only do so much by punishing certain kinds of people. It's like the players are law-abiding citizens, the leavers and toxic people are the killers, and Riot is the police. Once the killers are sent to jail, they do their time, and when they get out it is up to them on whether or not they want to kill again. It is not up to the police to choose whether they are going to kill again, they can only protect the law-abiding citizens.

But with this report system and the fact that League of Legends is a free-to-play game so the leavers and toxic people can just make new accounts, there is no real punishment for fun-killers.

League of Legends' team experience is makes the game so amazing, enjoyable, and fun. But once a team is broken and there are four people who have no hope after losing a teammate, they need to know that the person who left will suffer the consequences and that the good players will be compensated for having to deal with it. There needs to be some effort on both ends.

The community is a joint-connection between Riot and the playerbase. Right now, Riot is trying. But the community isn't. And we cannot win if we don't try.

Published Oct. 23rd 2015
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