The Tribunal: A Dead System?
League of Legends is currently one of the biggest PC games out there, with plenty of players and new content every month to keep everyone entertained. It’s also got the reputation of having one of the most negative communities of any online game, including the Call of Duty franchise. The fact of the matter is that the community isn’t really full of players like this; it’s simply got no proper punishment system in place to deal with them. Without any incentives to be a good person over the internet, how many people do you know would bite their tongue when they got upset at someone?
There was a system in place from basically the beginning, a system that allowed the positive players to take control of the fate of any offending/negative player. That system was called the Tribunal, and it’s since been taken down. So what happens to the reports you send in without the system active?
The Old Tribunal
It used to be that you would send in your reports and a jury of your peers would decide if action need be taken or not. As you sent in reports a "case" was built on a player (be it from negativity, AFK'ing or any other of the myriad of reasons), after a case grew then the players would vote Pardon or Punish to decide the fate of the accused. It was a very simple structure that gave more of a sense of community to the players that wanted to make the community a good one and not a haven for those out to ruin our day.
The Tribunal wasn't perfect, but it's all we had; now we've got shoddy substitutes for a decently effective system while we await the new one
Under the old Tribunal many players saw bans and restrictions of all types, but the players were the ones to decide it. This is honestly the reason I started getting big into the League of Legends community in the first place, and I know I'm not the only one. When they announced a new Tribunal with all these bells and whistles we grew excited; a new way to more effectively deal with the trolls? Yes please. That's why it was such a shock when we stopped hearing about it.
The Close of the System
In early 2014 the system was closed for a massive overhaul to how the players would be able to deal with these trolls and the negativity. During this time there's been a spike in negativity throughout the League and we're done with it. The Tribunal wasn't perfect, but it's all we had; now we've got shoddy substitutes for a decently effective system while we await the new one. Waiting wouldn’t even be a big deal if the substitutes were a deterrent to these types of behaviors at all, but unfortunately for the positive players it doesn’t seem to even put a dent in it.
Current Actions against Trolling
In place are chat restrictions, ranked restrictions, feeder bans and escalated bans. Sounds like all you would need right? Well honestly it would be, if it worked. Without the system in place we've seen an influx of all different types of trolls - be it in ranked or normals. That being said; chat restrictions for negativity that go away after a while unless you continue to be negative (which is still a constant), I can understand. Ranked restrictions that keep you out of ranked for being negative and pushing you into normal games to torture those helpless souls, possibly - but wouldn't a suspension serve better? Finally the feeder bans for intentional feeding and bans for those who continue to be negative towards other players, good idea; but how many reports need to be sent in before something like that happens?
Leaver buster was initiated for those that AFK or dodge one too many times - and here is one of the biggest problems I've seen. When people refuse to communicate and double pick mid or top, what can you do? That was a reportable offense that now ends up biting you in the ass for dodging. Not only do ranked players lose LP, they also get hit by the leaver buster for dodging a troll's game. That doesn’t sound very fair to the players trying to do well competitively.
This brings us back to our original question - what happens to the reports we currently send in? Does Riot take a look at all of our reports and do something about it? The answer is both yes and no. They do not look through all of our reports; they look through the most reported and leave the rest up to the other systems in place.
The New System's Confirmed Features
We intend to have more news about the Tribunal in 2015, and are planning some initial tests of the new system. For example, we're seeing how current reports affect the new system, and we'll be looking for some players to help us test the system on the PBE in 2015.
So for the past year while we the players have been dealing with the fallout of not having a proper punishment system in place, the Riot team has been hard at work developing a new system to replace the old. There's a few new features confirmed by Riot employee RiotLyte via Reddit (you can see the full post here) that sound like it could be the answer to all of our problems; which - after a year - it better be, because the League of Legends community is now known to be one of the most toxic of any game.
Let’s take a look at the new features:
- The ability to review and reward positive players. This is one of the better ideas they’ve had, and for good reason. When the honor system was originally put in place with actual rewards (for the what, two weeks it was active?) the community saw a boost in positivity and overall teamwork. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but it worked. I’m glad to see the return of something like it to the community.
- A visual update. It’s taken a year, and this is one of the staple items on the list? We want a better community, not a bow on a pile of pig shit. I get that with new things comes new looks, but get the system fixed and running first before focusing on appearances, please.
- A tiered structure for punishment. Instead of instant bans Riot has decided to give the players a chance to correct their ways. They're now going to give a single warning and two chances before an account ban sets in place – and I could not agree more. Simply banning can be highly ineffective, both in a business sense and realistically. There’s no telling how many unnecessary bans this will help avoid.
- Algorithm optimization for swift rewards/punishment to the deserving player that’s still in the works. This is what we desperately needed, because after a week you’re not going to remember the game you acted a fool in, let alone a month. Hopefully, they get this one up and running for the release (which is supposedly sometime this year).
- The ability to earn in-game rewards for participating in the tribunal. Thank you Riot for paying attention to human nature! Incentive to be a good person is generally much more effective than only punishing the wrongdoers, so personally I’m very excited for this addition.
According to RiotLyte these are just the major additions to the system that he’s excited for and there will be more than just those listed here and there. With the coming of these new additions – hopefully ready to be set into motion – the only remaining questions I have for Riot are, “will it work, and when will we see it?”