So you’ve just spawned. You’ve got the champion you want, your team seems friendly and you hesitate to think it, but the characters you and your allies picked look like they should give you a pretty good chance to win. You make your way to your respective lane and get ready to do battle. Just as the creeps are about to spawn, you notice that something isn’t right. One of your laners is missing. Suddenly, all the hopes you had of a good game are dashed…by another AFK.
The 4 versus 5 that follows will almost always be a 15-20 minute lesson in futility. You try and fight the good fight but almost always sheer numbers will way you down, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes the missing individual will be an AFK, or someone who has left intentionally. I’ve heard of people leaving for all kinds of crazy reasons ranging from they felt like they weren’t getting enough kills as the AD carry to the jungler came and took one of their creeps. Then there are the disconnects or DC’s. These result from crummy internet connections, computer malfunctions, Riot having a conspiracy to ruin your day etc. These can be even more frustrating because you know it’s not the person’s fault but you still want to kill them. Whether it be an AFK or DC, a leave is very frustrating for the other people on that person’s team. So how does Riot currently deal with this problem?
Currently, players who leave straight out of que are penalized by not being able to re-que for a certain period of time. Players who do not move in game for more than 5 minutes are given a “leave.” Depending on how many leaves you get, and how frequently you get them, you can be put on suspension or banned. Personally, I think this is all fine and well but what does it do for the other players who lose elo or otherwise have to endure 20 minutes of futility because of the one leaver’s actions? Not a lot.
I’ve been having some conversations with people about how Riot could try and make things a bit better for the other players (a topic that, naturally, comes up right after one of your players leaves and you lose). One thought was that the opposing team (the team that has all 5 players active) could be given the ability (presumably if the game identifies that an AFK or DC has occurred after 5 minutes of inactivity or some other criteria) to vote for the handicapped team to not lose their elo or otherwise have the loss “forgiven.” DoTA 2 allows the players on the team with the AFK or DC to leave, once the leave has been officially noticed, without it counting against them. This could work in LOL to the extent that even if you were to lose elo, you could at least move on and start another game if you did not feel like being locked into a losing proposition for 20 minutes.
So if leaves are such a frustrating and common place phenomena, why hasn’t Riot implemented some kind of better system to help lessen the suffering of the other four players on the leavers team? Because, like anything that deals with forgiving loses and preventing elo loss, it would likely be heavily abused. Players could “leave” simply because they don’t like the people they are playing with or the role they were given. If they knew enough people on the other team, or were someone influential like Froggen, there is a pretty could chance they could convince the other team to vote to rule them as having “left” and get their elo loss forgiven. The problem with the DoTA system seems to be that it tends to rule players as leavers in situations where they have not always left the game. As you can imagine everyone then leaves the game and the poor person who may have temporarily dc’ed or had to take a phone call is left wondering where his or her team went.
There will never be a perfect solution to the problem presented by people leaving the game. Still, I can’t help but think that we should be able to think of some way to better deal with the frustration it causes so many of us. I would love to hear some thoughts on what could be done about it, and I always love a good vent about any AFK’ers or disconnects. In the meantime, all we can do is hope that if we end up one the wrong side of a 4 v 5 today, we’ll be the on the team with the extra man tomorrow.
Oh and take a look at this delightful AFK kill. It may be frustrating for you, but it isn’t frustrating for everyone…