How to Fix Toxicity in League of Legends

Author: MMOsite Writer Alexander Hinkley

Riot Games recently announced a new initiative in which they will be rewarding non-toxic players with a Mystery Gift if they haven’t been chat restricted or suspended/banned within the last year. This effort is the latest in a long line of attempts to reduce toxicity in the League of Legends online community.

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League of Legends is infamous in the gaming community for being infested with trolls and so-called “toxic” players. Riot has literally spent years trying to combat it through various methods. Many players probably remember the Tribunal which allowed other players to vote on whether to punish or pardon other players’ reported behavior. The Tribunal was riddled with flaws which I helped to point out and was eventually torn down and replaced with a new chat restriction system.

The new system is automated which means other players no longer vote to punish you. That’s a step in the right direction at least. Instead, the system apparently applies a chat restriction to you if you get reported a certain number of times, or if you get reported in a certain percentage of your games. This system, while better than the Tribunal, is also plagued with serious flaws such as the fact it doesn’t have the ability to judge behavior improvements. This has ultimately caused lots of players to be chat restricted pretty much permanently. The chat restriction system hurts the game overall for reasons I wrote about in a previous article. In short, when a player is chat restricted it is not only punishing him/her but also punishing all of his/her allies in subsequent games which they can no longer effectively communicate with. Obviously these people did nothing so why should they be punished?

As previously mentioned, Riot is now trying something else by focusing on rewarding good players instead of simply punishing the bad ones. Will this help cut back on toxicity? The answer is probably not.

The reason this won’t help things is because toxic players and trolls don’t care about mystery rewards. If you’re trolling in a game that by definition means you don’t care about it so why would some in-game gift be any incentive to stop? Not to mention how nobody knew about this reward until after the fact.

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So how can Riot actually cut back on toxicity in the game? The solution is actually quite simple. First off, they need to completely remove All Chat from the game. There is absolutely no reason to have this feature in League of Legends. You don’t need to converse with the other team during or even before/after the game. You don’t need to say “Good Game.” You don’t need to discuss what’s happening in the game with your enemies. All Chat is nothing more than a breeding ground for toxic behavior like taunting and insults. It unnecessarily provides an opportunity for players to act like jerks to their opponents. If you look at a game like Hearthstone, you can’t chat with your opponent at all in that game. What point would there be? So step one of “curing” toxicity in League of Legends is to remove All Chat completely.

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The next step in fixing toxic behavior is to change chat restrictions so that if you do get chat restricted, it simply means you’re auto-muted for a certain number of games and that teammates and proactively choose to unmute you. Other games online such as Halo and Call of Duty use a system like this where if you have been disruptive in past games, you will be automatically muted in future games. Teammates can then choose to unmute you so that you can communicate during the game. This system would be far superior to the current one which doesn’t even allow you to talk with your friends that you have queued with if you have a chat restriction. That’s dumb.

The third and final step is for Riot Games to stop focusing on chat behavior and start focusing on actual in-game behavior. People who AFK at the fountain or rage-quit matches ruin entire games for people and should be dealt with accordingly. There are legitimate trolls like people who sell all their items and feeders. These are the players Riot needs to be dealing with.

Riot also needs to crack down on those who falsely report other players because they’re mad at them. As mentioned previously, the current chat restriction system kicks in automatically once you reach a certain threshold of reports. This means it still hurts you to get reported even if that report is not true. For example, if someone is queued with a full party it is likely they will get all of their friends to report you as well. Receiving five reports in one game is gonna hurt you.

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This actually happened to me personally in a Dominion game. Despite the fact I didn’t say anything at all or do anything objectionable in-game, a player and his two friends reported me because they didn’t like me. Luckily for me, these false reports were caught on video because the user was livestreaming at the time. He readily admitted on his stream “we’re trying to get this guy banned by reporting him every chance we get.” Fortunately I wasn’t punished for their reports, likely because I sent the URL of the video to Riot via a support ticket. But there’s obviously not always going to be video evidence to exonerate you which is why false reports should be taken seriously.

The report system is perhaps one of the most abused features in League of Legends because angry players will often report you for doing well as a means of “getting back” at you. Thus far Riot has done nothing to quell false reports as far as I’m aware. Perhaps they should implement a system where if you report someone and they don’t get punished within a certain timeframe, your report counts against you instead. People who file a false police report in real life get charges brought up against them. The same threat of rebounding punishment should hold true for falsely reporting people in League of Legends. This would discourage players from reporting others unless absolutely necessary instead of just hitting the report button willy-nilly as so many players seem to do.

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