Hey all, and welcome to (what I thought was) my last post. Here's hoping this helps someone somewhere along the road, or maybe even convinces Riot to smarten up, in all likelihood it'll just get taken down or thread necro'd, so those of you who read this before then, BE WARNED! League is not a game for the feint of heart, nor is Riot games a company you should hold your breath for.
Now on to the why of the article: I'm essentially fed up with both the company, and the toxic element of an otherwise superb community. Never before in my life have I seen a place where so many people put so much effort into trying to ruin something for others, than here, in the League of Legends community. Similarly, I've never seen such outright incompetence from a company, as from Riot. The saddest part of it all? The only part of that company that even bothers replying instead of ignoring or stonewalling when you try to contact them (and even then is usually unable to answer any questions that don't pertain to something already covered by a dev blog), is the Support Team, who tried their best to help me several times, only to not have the tools at their disposal to answer my questions. Worse yet, that toxic element of the community is actually a minority.
Some background to explain this opinion: Ever since February of this year I've been experiencing an increasingly unacceptable climbing experience in ranked, as well as a spike in the sheer ridiculousness of games in normal mode, these games have been rife with mismatches where despite the lack of data players can see about each other, it's usually a pretty obvious one-sided game in both modes. After 3 games in a row of ranked plagued by a problem of literally every player on the opposing team outplaying my own across the board (yes, that includes myself, I'm not flaming teammates, we all got stomped, period), I asked if the support team could provide me with a rough breakdown of how many players exist in each tier in ranked, and any data they had that would tell me how often the system actually succeeds in finding a "fair match". This was in hopes of establishing for myself just where as an average joe, I could hope to climb. Both questions were either ignored or stonewalled outright wherever I asked, with the exception of the Support Team, who apparently didn't have access to said information, nor any means to obtain it.
So I took a break, stayed off for a day, and when I came back, I tried two games of normal queue. The first was a 4v5 in which our Akali rushed the enemy zed in mid lane, died twice early on, then went afk and never even tried to come back, resulting in a brutal stomp where the now incredibly snobbish Zed proclaimed "I'm smurfing (when an experienced/high ranking player makes a new account to cheat matchmaking and get paired up against significantly lower skilled opponents), so I don't really blame her lol." and was bugging us with annoying provocations like; "so, ff 15? =3" for the rest of the match and between him being fed and us being short a player, there was nothing we could do to stop it.
The second game saw me placed on a team with two toxic ragers who started flaming each other hard (no holds barred, outright racism at some points), all at the drop of a hat, and while the enemy top laner had afk'd, we were still destroyed as the two twits argued so much as to frequently run into the entire enemy team while typing. We lost a 4v5 because only 3 people on our team had any measure of self-control.
So, after all I've put up with over the years, including (but most certainly not limited to) the examples above; I've uninstalled League (too much effort, little to no enjoyment/reward), and will not be returning. League was fun for me once, but nowadays I literally have to convince myself a match would be worth playing just to log in, usually only to be greeted with a borefest where either I can beat my opponents in my sleep (no fun), stepping off my fountain results in near-instant death by the 15-minute mark (also no fun), or some prick decides they're intentionally going to try and ruin the game for everyone else in the match (extremely aggravating, as I'm not here to watch sub-par people act out because of their own insecurities/addictions/conditions/ etc, nor do I come here to babysit someone who doesn't know better yet, that's their parent/guardian figure's job for good reason). Mute buttons can mitigate a lot of damage, but when some scumbag attacks you, and you mute them for it, you've still been attacked at the end of the day and that's kind of a turn-off.
As a result of all this, I'm leaving for better places. Farewell League, it was a good run until this season. As for anyone considering getting into this game, I hope you know what you're getting into, and if you still choose to play, you're a kinder soul than me.
*UPDATE* Yeah, I came back. I did some thinking and decided to try again when a friend asked me to at least give league a shot with all the changes it's had since OP, and I regret it. Lots has changed, most of the old problems are still there (if not worse), and RIOT seems to be offering even less "support" these days. I gave it over two weeks of active play, and it's been a real drag to be honest.
Some context for those interested; I loved some of the champion changes, but frankly they don't negate the sheer... (What's another word for stupidity?) I've constantly been encountering. Nearly every match since coming back has had things like a support who tells our top to "play safer", then runs down lane with no vision, seemingly charging straight at the already incredibly fed enemy jungler (for the third time in ten minutes) to die, or a jungler who dies to a mob/enemy player ONCE, then disconnects and never comes back. I could put up with these sorts of things, not everybody's a pro after all, but it's a bit galling to see all the same, especially given how RIOT makes this big show of all the things they try for matchmaking, that aren't usually anything outside your standard pvp matchmaking features (seriously RIOT, way too much fanfare for way too little effort).
More than ever before, It's the behavior of other players outside of game mechanics that turns me away. There's always at least one player in a match that just needs to be muted/ignored, if not right away, then as the match drags on and they "tilt". Somewhat amusing was RIOT's tilt-type quiz and the information they provided with it, though purely for ironic reasons. The tilt-types were presented in a way that makes it almost seem acceptable to be a "barbarian" or "lord DGAF", when really these two particular types of players are among the few who ever actually get dealt with at some point by RIOT. I took the test for laughs, and while they missed on a few points (I refuse to stay up into the wee hours of the morning hoping for "one good game" to end my session on, like my tilt-type page for the "scarred veteran says"), they did point out a few things accurately enough (maybe "point out" is the wrong expression here, I was already aware of them, but meh); A bad game DOES stay with me for awhile after the victory/defeat screen, as I'm often left wondering things like; Was that guy seriously some archaic "gay-hater" from the 60's? Or does he just think for whatever reason that crap like that is still considered "okay" in this day and age? More often than not I'm just stuck wondering what makes them think the crap they do is... well, anything other than unacceptable.
There were a surprising number of comments on this when I came back, and I feel there were some misunderstandings, some folks tore into here saying things like "well if you rage that hard maybe the problem is you", but that's just it, frustrating though it can be, I don't "rage" about it. More often than not, I'm actually kind of worried. I feel I have a good sense of right and wrong, and understand not everyone shares my views, but let me ask you; In what culture/area/circumstances is intentionally attacking someone or trying to ruin their fun just to be spiteful considered okay? A good friend actually had a splendid answer for me; the "fake online" one. He believes that you aren't interacting with "people" so much as "people's attempted personas" online. I agree with him that people do act VERY different behind the keyboard than what they would right next to you, but I don't feel that excuses being a douche, regardless of whether or not it's "funny/just a joke/not a big deal". It DOES bug me, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak, and makes me wonder sometimes what other horrible things these people do OFFLINE, if they're so willing to be toxic online to a random stranger (which in a way, is kind of like your first impression if you think about it).
I don't know what it is, maybe it's being "locked" (you can leave if you feel slighted, sure, but you'll be punished for it with either a timer before you can queue up again, or a ban if you do it too often) in a gameroom with 9 other people, 5 or more of whom are usually complete strangers, maybe it's the people attracted to the MOBA genre in general, but like I said in OP, running into people you'd normally rather avoid happens a LOT more in games like league than anywhere else I've ever been online, and even among MOBAs, League has the worst ratio of decent-to-crappy interactions with other players I've ever experienced, by quite a bit.
One final clarification; I've long since realized that ranked WAS never, WILL never, actually be meant to be a "fair" mode/system ina and of itself. That's what Riot tries to ensure (to an extent that avoids violating people's human rights) in their matchmaking in general. Ranked is designed a bit less to be fair, and more to see how far you can climb, against the odds. It's basically "bragging rights" mode, and that's fine. I do still feel they have too much pride in their work when they announce their changes to matchmaking, since it's usually not much different from any other pvp matchmaking system that keeps track of stats (Now, if SOMEHOW you managed to get League setup so that it monitored people to insure they're not queuing up while pre-tilted/exhausted/impared in any other way without needing a full suite of hospital-grade devices hooked up to folks recording their vitals and breathalyzing them for toxins, I'd be honestly impressed... also horrified), but even then they wouldn't catch everything, so it'd just be a Human Rights violation waiting to be addressed in some courtroom somewhere.
Bottom line though; I posted this here hoping that either the community or RIOT would read it and honestly take it to heart moving forward. It was a bit of a stretch, I know. It still is, but to be frank, League isn't a game worth playing when in addition to the 40/40/20 rule (whether or not you'll be able to really contribute/earn the "win" or just get a free stop/be stomped no matter what you do), there's at absolute, most generously rounded down going to be a 60% chance that someone goes into "tilt" or "douchemode", or even straight-up temporarily devolves into some shallow, overused insult-spamming flamelord. It ruins the game for everyone else, and that's messed up, especially when the person doing it seems to think there's some kind of reason/excuse that justifies it. True I rarely see anyone doing outright personal attacks mid-game, but more often than not people are willing to go just short of that, it's still only a step or two away from outright threatening murder or wishing cancer on someone because you think they "deserve" it.
After quitting and reflecting, I realized RIOT wasn't the only reason I'd stopped enjoying the game. Their approach didn't help, but they weren't the root of the problem. It was an issue with the community, most of whom either can't be bothered, or are part of the problem. The few who care, have no tools to fight back, or really even effectively defend themselves when they come under attack. It doesn't help that even here, on the boards where people are able to talk about these things, half of them seem to just skim over, read what they want to see, and fire some mean-spirited snipe at the OP like these;
"Why I’m quitting league post #5497"- Bunnymap
"Psh you been on the forums as long as me its more like #200001"- NocturnalSheild
"The whole part about toxicity is an invalid argument because of the fact that you had the choice to mute and yet you didn't. If someone is being annoying/toxic the mute button's only existence is to prevent that."- Last Tempest
You don't have to agree with me, you don't have to feel the same way, but frankly like I said in OP, whether you use the mute button or not, whether you rage/flame right back or not, you've still been attacked by some random stranger at the end of the day, usually for at BEST, little to no reason. Nobody plays a game hoping that'll happen to them, and the only real solutions (idealistic though they may sound) would be for the problem players to essentially smarten up, or RIOT to mass-IP-Ban all known offenders mercilessly (which kind of takes away any chance they have to improve). I'm hoping for the first option.
P.S. Shout out to those commenters who actually tried to contribute to the discussion, talking and raising awareness can only help us find a solution to these problems. I'm still likely to "re-leave", so to speak, but I'll give it a couple weeks to be thorough. Who knows? Maybe I'll stop getting matched with folks whose online interactions amount to a metaphorical dumpster-fire.