So, I've read some of the posts on the Player Behavior forum. And it seems to be the same pattern every time I read posts.
- Toxicity both among regular players and so-called pillars of the community seems rampant as general. And nothing is being done to address this. Blaming teammates, targeting poorly performing players for harassment, taunting the other team through emotes and "ggez" in all-chat are rampant as usual. You want to discuss toxicity on these forums? It seems there's a condescending undercurrent among some of those who reply to other posts on this board. Confirmation bias is really bad. You got banned for toxic in-game chat? Too bad, too sad, you deserve it 100%. Never mind that you try your utmost to uphold a higher standard of behavior most games. You slipped once? You're grouped with the rest of the toxic folks. Luckily, that problem isn't too rampant on this board. For those who are supportive of reformed behavior, I thank you personally, as for the most part, I've tried my best to go above and beyond as a true pillar of the community after my own 2-week ban. Unfortunately though, there's this small, but significant minority of anti-toxicity elitists that treats anyone trying to complain about the broken report system with contempt and disdain.
- Rito's answer to toxicity is intellectually lazy. LoL has earned its well-deserved reputation as one of the, if not the most, toxic gaming communities out there. Unfortunately, I disagree with Rito's answers to this problem, mainly the Instant Feedback system and the community outreach aspect. As a comparison, consider LoL with two other large communities, that of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) and Overwatch (OW). All three of these games feature highly competitive, team-based gameplay. However, CSGO and OW are not known to be as toxic as LoL is (although shamefully, OW seems to be catching up according to some of the videos I've seen). This is in disparity with the relatively less-moderated in-game text chat and voice chat options. Why is it that CSGO and OW are considered less toxic despite having *less* babysitting? I believe the answer has something to do with a deep-seated problem in LoL's community. Now, do I feel like I can answer this question adequately myself? No, I don't. That's why this board exists. However, perhaps voice chat and less moderation of the chat could help. Sure, snap at a teammate. But when you have voice chat to make up quickly and expediently and quickly plan the next move and the freedom to know that you can lash out temporarily, just this peace of mind helps to calm you down. Voice chat is much, much more personal as well. The need to lash out in the first place becomes inherently diminished when a teammate takes the reins and talks in the mic to gather the team round. "Hey, let's try this strat instead." Specific plans can be made. Anyone who tries to defuse a potential toxic situation has their potential magnified by voice chat; soothing talk in the text chat certainly helps in both LoL and CSGO and OW, but a soothing voice helps amplify the effect. Used a slur? That's not good to be honest, but if you didn't use it heavily or to specifically harass a particular player in particular (i.e. say hypothetically, LoL has voice chat and you call a man with an Asian accent a %%%%%; that would be *targeted* harassment), LoL has gotta let it slide in my opinion. If Rito truly cares about the player experience like they claim to, the best way isn't to automatically ban everyone for a bad word here and there. It's to tackle the bigger issues, like the casual, commonplace taunting and toxic attitudes towards other teammates that permeates the game at almost any rank and level. CSGO in particular seems to be coping quite well with toxicity despite its more lax rules. Perhaps there's something going on there.
- The community outreach is garbage in my opinion. I've recently seem a few ads for League of Legends. "Hai, is okei 2 be nub, pls play LoL, is gud community". However, older players already cynically know the community is in no way like that at all. They come to regard Rito with more and more cynicism. Newer players get set up for disappointment. They come expecting a good time, a smooth learning curve, ample time to learn, experiment, have fun. What they get instead is a grindy experience where buying champs frequently is difficult without insane amounts of grinding, toxic teammates, smurfs at lower levels, and a frankly boring-looking selection of 450 BE champions.
- I can't even tell anymore if the community just lacks thick skin, or if Rito is just Big Brother-level heavy-handed with their Instant Feedback system. Slurs and bad words aren't nice, we get it. Toxicity is bad, we get it. But an automated system with the authority to *permaban* that takes no consideration of previous behavior and context is foolish and a lazy response to the community's toxicity. Some players might just be having a bad day. Failed a test, car broke down, rainy day, who knows? "I AM INSTANT FEEDBACK SYSTEM. SYSTEM RECORDS INDICATE YOU ARE TYPiCALLY NICE PLAYER WITH CONSISTENT HONORS RECEIVED. YOU SAID BAD WORD ONE GAME BECAUSE A TEAMMATE DID BAD, HERE IS HONOR LEVEL ZERO AND A TWO-WEEK BAN FOR YOU". Gee, thanks Rito. Really makes us feel like we mean something in comparison to the daily toxic, team blaming we see in a daily basis. Especially those of us who were unfortunate enough to get a two-week ban are walking on 1 millimeter tightropes. Doesn't matter how hard you've tried to reform since your ban. Again, I relate to this personally. But I don't take flaming too well. However, I actually did create a thread a while back specifically about the Instant Feedback system and its lack of consideration of the human aspect of the game, its players. But I digress. The positive replies in that thread convinced me to get my responses to toxic teammates and flaming under control. I truly appreciate the replies. Everyone except one person was a truly big help. These days, I can say honestly I've truly tried my best to be as positive as possible. I sternly reprimand toxic teammates by saying "Stop, that's not cool."; "chill tf out dude"; "calm tf down, <insert role here> is trying their best, stop being rude to them". The *most* I've ever done at this point that borders toxicity is rarely calling people "damned hypocrites", and in situations where someone is feeding quite heavily (especially when they then start to berate the team), I'll occasionally just say "you're not doing that good tbh"; "you're kinda bad ngl"; "dude you're literally feeding the worst out of all of us, why are you talking". I'd hope the community would agree that it's within acceptable to objectively note that a player is doing bad, especially when such observations are made rarely and only once to avoid ruining the poorly performing player's likely negative mood any further. The system also fosters an oppressive fear among those previously banned, despite any efforts to reform. Case in point, in my last game, I was hit by a hardware check that lagged my computer severely for a good 5-10 minutes. Given its unwanted nature, I was quite angry already, especially since I had a strong lead in mid lane at the time. However, as soon as I come back, I get flamed by an Udyr who berates me for not switching lanes with him and causing *him* to feed and accidentally "kill-stealing". Called me a monkey and whatnot. Anyhow, after the game, combined with the flaming *and* the unfortunate circumstances, the cool demeanor I'd managed to try to maintain for the most part crumbled. After the flamer and most of the other players left, I ranted in some toxic language about how bad of a person he was to the final remaining person in the lobby. No slurs used, but it wasn't nice content. I'm not trying to make excuses here, as I should have tried to keep my mouth shut, and I honestly am probably worrying too much, as the person I ranted to seemed more bemused than anything and probably wouldn't report me for something I said post game, but my behavior made me deeply worried. I don't want to be permabanned by an impersonal algorithm that doesn't care about how much my already fairly decent behavior improved post-ban. And it irks me to know that I can easily permabanned without *any* consideration given to context. Anyway, to conclude, the Instant Feedback system ignores the human component of the system, its players, fails to address anti-competitive behavior like toxic attitudes and blaming that are not easily caught by simple filters for bad words, and creates an environment of fear among those who have been previously banned.
Big thread, I know, but I hope this gathering of all my concerns with the state of the community. Everything from behavioral elitism from a broken Instant Feedback system.
Lastly, here are some possible conclusions.
- Allow players to more freely heat up and cool off. This prevents a consistent pattern of passive-aggressiveness, team blaming, and rage from being built up in the first place. The system needs to be more generous.
- Voice chat will be highly helpful to not only coordinate tactics, but allow potentially toxic players to make amends with their teammates more easily. Furthermore, any pillars of the community out there who strive to deescalate situations can have their potential maximized; a soothing voice helps deescalate any potential team conflict far more than a line of text in the chat.
- Riot needs to improve their community outreach. Older players of the game simply become more wary of the nonsense Riot peddles through its ads on YouTube ["noob-friendly game, sure"; "it's ok to be a noob"; "league has one of the best communities" (sure, it has one of the most creative in terms of original content like fanart, but it also has a notoriously toxic one)]. Newer players are misled by promises of diverse gameplay (the 450 BE selection of champions is stagnant, the weekly rotation somewhat helps but encourages unrefined gameplay without ever giving newer players a chance to truly master a champion they find fun) and a noob-friendly community (lower levels are filled with new smurf accounts smashing legitimately newer players, or they're filled with toxic teammates who haven't yet been taught a lesson by the long dick of the Instant Feedback system).
- The Instant Feedback system is incredibly problematic. It groups more explosive, but objectively good people, with actual toxic offenders and ignores the core human aspect of the very population it seeks to police--its players.
If anyone got through all of this or saw one point in particular that stood out to them, I thank you deeply. Although I have many issues with how toxicity is handled in this community, LoL in the end is incredibly fun, and I hope other people in here are willing to share constructive discourse (destroy my argument by all means as long as it helps the community). I, for one, look forward to similarly excellent answers like those of a previous thread I created. Thanks for reading.
EDIT (1/22/18): Wow, I feel honored to have gotten so many replies on this post. Here are a few clarifications:
- Of course voice chat shouldn't be mandatory. Wanna voice_enable 0 that nonsense? Go for it. Don't have a mic? You're cool. I'm just stating it could be a good method to mediate conflicts and encourage better teamwork.
- I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but permabans should *never* be automatic. All IFS cases that may result in a permaban should be reviewed by admins on an individual basis. Of course, if the admins are just as overly stringent as the IFS system, though, that'll save none but the most blatant false positives.