In the past, it was possible **(although very rare)** for players who caused an abnormal amount of pain to their teams with off-meta picks to receive a 14 day suspension from one of our manual audits. These audits were designed to compliment our PB systems by finding players who “fell through the cracks” of detection. We then feed the results of our audits back into our PB systems to improve detection so less and less bad experiences get missed in the future.
We stand by these audits; upon review **99% of players audited were correctly disciplined**. Intentional Feeders, Bots, cheaters, and rage quitters are all common offenses found through our audits. But in very rare instances players who chose extremely unusual picks could end up getting audited. When we dug deeper we found it was usually the result of poor communication with their team that caused extreme frustration and pain; players (and even the reviewing rioter) would interpret this poor teamwork as intentionally trolling.
To be honest, it’s pretty rare to see bans of these type; every day we see thousands of oddball/unusual picks that don’t result in any reports or bans and go through matches normally. So in these weird and unusual cases (4 or 5 a year) where players were banned for going off the reservation, we dove in to see if the player’s behavior deserved a penalty and if they did, what kind of penalty. **The thing that stands out about these edge cases are that their goal was to win; although their attempts were often muddled by unclear or inconsistent communication** with their team mates.** Doing crazy stuff and challenging the meta is something we want to enshrine in League of Legends.** And although this may cause a higher burden on teammates and communication; **after review we feel a 14 day ban for imperfect communication (when there is a clear intent to win matches) is too harsh.**
After a lot of talk internally we’ve developed a new policy that protects players who want to try new and unusual stuff while also ensuring that we shield all players from actual trolls and intentional feeders.
Here’s how that process will work:
- Players who cause an undue amount of frustration and pain because of a crazy pick but are dedicated to winning (not trolling) will not receive a ban instead we’ll temporarily lock their account. The player will get a message to reach out to Player Support so they can unlock their account. Before you guys get too scared, given our review of past audits, we feel this will only apply to a few players a year. Seriously, last year thousands of these audits were performed, and we saw only a tiny handful of these cases appear.
- When contacted; Player Support will let the player know they’re not banned, but temporarily locked out of their account because of an audit. We’ll share in-game examples and reports of the kind of behavior that’s causing them to pop up on our radar.
- The player gets feedback on how they can communicate what they’re trying to do and how their team can win without ruining the experience of people they play with. After that Player Support will unlock their account.
- With their account unlocked the player is free to return to games right away.
- Player Support will reach out again if they find any actual behavior problems. If they’re flagged with unsportsmanlike conduct, or outright trolling, they’ll receive a penalty. If it’s just their style to try to win with weird picks and unusual plays then they won’t get a penalty.
We want players who enjoy playing off-meta picks but massively disrupt their team to learn and adjust their communication on their own, without being banned. As long as a player is working towards their team’s chances of winning, we won’t punish them for non-standard play styles. That said, there are clear differences between meta breaking and straight up trolling. We stand firm that people who intentionally troll and disrupt games in League will end up banned.
All this talk on the topic made us want to dig deeper into how players understand the meta, so we’ll be rolling out a Dev Diary to get into how we view the meta and what that means for you with Lead Gameplay Designer, Meddler. You’ll hear more on that soon.