A few years ago I was fed up with Yasuo players. There seemed to be one in every single game against me, and every one of them seemed to turn into an unstoppable killing machine unless my entire team jumped on them. Often, I felt cheated out of a victory, so I would regularly report Yasuo players for cheating.
The report system would eventually adapt to this and internally label me as someone whose reports could not be trusted as valid and discard every report I made.
This all culminated in the events of one year ago when I had a really toxic teammate during one game. Rather than doing the mature thing and staying quiet, I talked back to him, and the argument ingame escalated. Now for a bit of context, I never swear at people or use derogatory slurs, so I was surprised when the pinnacle of my insults were something along the lines of the word "stupid" and telling everyone to report him got me chat restricted. My first restriction in the 5 years I had been playing so far. The system gave me one game log that they identified bad behavior in. After browsing the boards and finding out that most players usually get two or more, I could do the immature thing and argue that this was an out of character error of the system or something like that. Instead I realized that I let myself get sucked into another player's hostility and ate my punishment, vowing internally to change.
However, I was the one chat restricted, while the other player faced no visible repercussions from my report. This led me to doing research into the report system, where I found old posts about the system I had previously glossed over, and found out that all of the reports I had made for cheating in the last couple of years had turned me into Peter and the Wolf. After crying wolf for so many years, when the real wolf of a player appeared, I was the one eaten.
After my short restriction had ended, I stopped reporting Yasuo players for cheating, I stopped asking people to report others. I still encountered very rude players, but didn't react to them anymore. I became more careful about saying things in chat and decided to compliment my teammates more on minor victories, so at least the nice players in the game would have a little silver lining in each game.
Over one year passed.
I continue to play this game and try to stay positive, but I occasionally wonder what the system thinks of me. Am I teetering on the edge of honor? Have my less than frequent reports fallen on deaf ears when they should matter?
Very recently, I decided to play ranked, because my brother was doing so too. For over five years I barely even touched ranked, but I decided to give it a try because Riot seems to be pushing harder for more and more people to play ranked, offering more and more rewards as the years go by. In my second most recent ranked game, our team's adc was a Draven who constantly harassed the jungler and midlaner. Most of the insults amounted to simply calling everyone stupid and useless, nothing terribly harsh, but the insults were constant and disruptive, alongside a lot of ping spamming. I responded with only a few words of apology in the moments I responded. I did reply to the other team that Draven was indeed being toxic. Draven did end up carrying the match, and we won thanks to him being fed, but I decided to report him because his constant insults made for an overall negative experience, and then I went on to the next game.
The next game began, and our adc this time was a Jhin. Jhin was worse than Draven. In both ways. I ganked for him multiple times, yet he constantly complained how I never ganked, how every single person on the team was terrible, and for a lack of a better term; he would not shut up. I tried my best to continue to communicate to our entire team while not stirring the flames more. I said the word "liar" at one point to Jhin in response to me not ganking and that was about it for my negative feedback. Our team was doing terribly overall. The midlaner somehow repentantly sniped the dragon away, our team wouldn't stay together properly, and the usual disaster dominoes happened. At one point, our midlaner; a counterpicking Maokai, told Jhin to stop flaming both our team, and the enemy team, and to actually stay with the team, and stop trying to initiate team fights by running directly into the enemy team. Overall, Maokai had been quiet for the entire game and only spoke up now. He was a good player overall, just having the misfortune of being on our team, and generally seemed to be unfazed by our increasingly lackluster performances. One of the final things I recall saying in this match was something along the lines of "Maokai is un-tiltable, 10/10 would play with him again".
When the match ended, I reported Jhin for his behavior, and decided that that was enough ranked for the day. After a game of ARAM to unwind, I received a player feedback notice telling me that a player I recently reported was banned. This got me thinking about my honor status. I worried what happened from everyone else's perspectives. Did Jhin report me out of spite for my poor performance? Maokai probably also reported Jhin, so did the system react to his report while discarding mine? I thought back to my previous game. Would using the word "toxic" trigger a keyword and put an invisible strike on my account? Was honor accumulation always this slow? Will I ever truly recover after the events of a year ago?
I think that it's been over six years by now, and I'm close to acquiring every single champion in the game without paying a cent for champs. I don't want to let everything I've accumulated on this account go to waste just like that. I want to continue to be positive to the good people playing this game like that Maokai.
I realize that it's rather late at night on a Thursday, and I have been typing for some time now, so this post will probably be buried under a lot of things and go unread thanks to the odd time at the moment, but to those people who took time out of their lives to read my story, I thank you. I'm not really asking for anyone to answer my rhetorical questions, I just wanted an ear to listen, so to speak, and I hope to play with all of you relaxed and chill players in the future. Together we can make this game a fun place.