There is a conversation that needs to happen. Parts of it are out there. They are spoken between friends or hidden in posts deep within the bowels of the forums. Rarely do they unite. Rarely have the fragments been brought together to form something tangible that can bring change. I want THAT to change. I want to talk about how to make League of Legends a more positive place to play.
For a topic that seems so important to so many people, it is interesting that you can find very few lengthy discussions on it. We all have heard and shared ideas. They come out after bad games and get mentioned in posts that often end with us discussing ways to deal with the inevitable solo que depression and stress, but that is all you usually hear. A single idea or so that you float around with your friends and then forget until the next bad game.
Riot wants to have a conversation on this. They brought in Riot Lyte and his team to break down the game and find out why people treat each other the way they do. They have brought in the honor system, tinkered with bans and are experimenting with chat restrictions. Lyte is probably one of the busiest Riot’ers on twitter, but he and his team have a lot of work to do and don’t always have the best platform (cough, the forums, cough) to start a real conversation. Riot has brought in some changes, and occasionally addressed some player’s ideas, but no solid conversation has emerged.
The way I see it, this is our game. We have all invested a significant amount of time and often even money into it and likely wish to continue to do so. If this game is ours, then i firmly believe that some of the responsibility for making it better rests with us. Not just in how we play the game, but in how we try and bring change to the game. In this case, what we can do is help give Riot the support, direction and sounding board they need by starting a strong, unified and determined conversation on how we can encourage positive behavior in game.
This won’t just be fragments discussed between friends. I want this to be something that is talked about by as many of us as possible for as long as possible. Hopefully, we can even start a dialogue that will be noticed by Riot themselves that will lead to positive change in the future.
I have thought about this particular topic a lot lately and find myself almost with too many ideas to put down. This post will be lengthy, and it will ramble at times, but I think it needs to be this way in order to get things started properly and present a lot of different things that can be discussed and thought about. Please bare with me till the end.
Will all of my ideas be possible or even logical? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want them read and reflected upon. That has always been my problem with the forums – where it seems like even the best ideas get shot down and buried without any kind of discussion. I don’t care if you think my ideas are silly, and that I am crazy, as long as you put some thought into telling me why that is the case! Just please, talk about it. So without further adieu…
A great deal of the talk that goes on regarding how to make this game “nicer” is regarding how negative players should be dealt with. In my mind, this is important but it is a secondary concern. People will always bring negativity to this game. No matter how many times you restrict their chat or ban them, they will find a way to keep on being bad. It is also hard to remove negativity when it is not just the negative players who behaving poorly. Even generally positive players can be tempted to behave negatively when they have little incentive to remain positive and see very few reasons not to be negative.
What I feel Riot should be focusing on are the positive people. The people who follow the rules, don’t harass other players, and even go as far as to make the game better for those around them. This is a very loose definition, I know, but I am confident that something similar to Riot’s secret formula that they used to distribute Santa Baron could be applied here. These are the people we need in the game and these are the people who are much more likely to quit or stop being nice than the ragers and jerks who will never stop being ragers and jerks.
I want to see more protection and rewards for positive players. Riot started down this road with the awarding of the Santa Baron summoner icon to positive players over the Christmas season. They have talked about taking this further, but are apparently still looking at how to do this. One of the possible benefits I would like to see positive players receive is the ability to have some losses forgiven in a manner similar to having bad purchases refunded (you get to choose when to use it, it is done through an automated system, and you can save it for later).
Think about it. A lot of the time when you are tempted to rage it is because some negative person or just plain old crazy teammate is treating you poorly and is about to ruin your match. This makes you unhappy and maybe even tempts you to lash out at them. But let’s say you are a positive player. You have been deemed by Riot’s (secret?) criteria to have brought a good attitude to the game and you have been rewarded with the ability to have a loss or two forgiven. Now, instead of raging at your support who can’t do anything right, maybe you give him a tip or two. Why not? He’s no longer costing you a loss of LP and, speaking for myself, that would give me a lot more patience.
Does having the ability to have a loss forgiven mean you won’t try as hard or you might troll? Well you could, but then you would have to use your loss forgiven on that game and probably wouldn’t be able to earn another one as you would be ruining your own positive player credentials. Would forgiving losses inflate player’s elos? It might, but I am confident there is a balanced way to distribute them. The fact remains that you would still need to eventually win games to keep climbing the ladder.
I see this idea as good because it is both a very tangible benefit to encourage people to behave, while also being a way to offer already positive players some protection against negative players who ruin their game. Yes, I think positive players could also be given skins, champs, or RP, but negative players can (at a price) get these same things, and having a nice skin doesn’t always soften the pang of losing a miserable game in which you were constantly harassed. We are told to forget and move on from those kinds of games, and I think being able to write off the loss entirely would help that process.
I also firmly believe that most of the negativity in this game comes from players who are unhappy because they are being faced with a loss they feel is undeserved. If these players see a way to negate these losses, I believe they will strive to obtain this ability (so they will play nice). Once they have it, they will be less likely to rage because they know that they can either a) have their undeserved loss forgiven or b) put at risk their chances of having a future loss forgiven. And you know what? Even if this doesn’t encourage some players to become more positive, I bet the already positive players won’t complain about having a loss forgiven card in their back pocket.
One other thing I would like to have is the continued improvement of the ability of players to identify and avoid negative players. When a game begins, I can find out all kinds of stats about players on my team. I can see approximately what their elo from last season was, I can see if they are an honorable opponent or good teammate and many other stats.
What I would like to be able to see is how many times they have they been reported and if they are considered a negative player. Dodge penalties aren’t huge or maybe, as positive player, I’ve earned some loss forgiven’s or free dodges (another option of something that could be given to positive players), and now that I know I have a negative player on my team, I can choose whether or not I want to risk playing with that player, or just leave.
Hey, you know what, maybe Riot could not only identify negative players in champ select but actually remove the dodge penalty from leaving a game, while still in champ select, with an identified negative player in it. Could you imagine how undesirable it would be to be a negative player if you couldn’t get a game because everyone was always dodging on you?
But TwoHp, what if I’m accidentally put into this category and don’t deserve to be there? Well, I believe that you wouldn’t just “accidentally” become a negative player. I believe that you would be assigned that label based on a review of your game history. I’m not suggesting you be labeled a negative player because you went off once because you were having a bad day. If you are negative enough to earn the label, I believe there will be nothing accidental about it and you deserve what you get.
I also would not mind the implementation of a Dota style low-priority que. Essentially, what this does is take the negative players, the dodgers, afk’ers etc and forces them to que with each other. The que times are long and, apparently, the only thing that ragers don’t like are even bigger ragers. If playing with their fellow negative players convinced even one of them to change their ways, I would consider it a success. Actually, just knowing that I would not have to worry about que’ing with those people would make my day anyways.
Riot Lyte has stated that the trouble with the above idea is that the players who end up in the low priority que tend to believe that they do not belong there and will simply make another account and not actually learn anything. This could likely be true, but should that really be an excuse not to take some kind of action? I am happy making negative players take the time to create multiple accounts, and you know what, maybe by the time they have visited the low priority que (or prisoners island as Riot calls it) for the tenth time on their tenth account they will figure out that it is probably something they are doing that is getting them put there.
Another problem I could see with anything that attempts to punish “negative” players is that there are actually not a lot of officially labelled “negative” players in this game. Under Riot’s current standards of play, only about 5% of players are actually considered negative. I guess what this means is that our gaming is currently being made miserable by people who are considered to be neutral or even positive.
If the majority of players aren’t actually considered to be “negative” this likely means that going after “negative” players alone won’t make our games better. I’m all for crushing that negative 5%, but unless Riot is willing to change their standards, or really crack down, they probably won’t want to go after the other 95% who are still hurting our game.
Again, this whole issue of trying to rehabilitate negative players and treat or ignore the rest of the players who aren’t quite bad enough to be called negative players is nice but the results are uncertain. Riot can spend all of their time and money trying to treat negative players and catch other bad players and what will change? Some of those players might clean up their acts, but a lot of them will keep being jerks and keep finding their way back into our game.
If Riot wants a sure thing, why not focus their time and money on making the positive players happy. These players are already helping to create a good playing experience, and I bet you anything that they will use the rewards as incentives to keep contributing positively to the game.
To summarize my thoughts, I believe that the most effective way to improve player behavior is to focus on rewarding and protecting positive players. Reward and protect them well enough and the positive players will keep on being positive, and keep on playing. Make being positive attractive enough and other players might even be encouraged to change their ways and become positive.
I believe that an excellent reward for positive players would be something like a loss forgiven. Even earning just one or two loss forgivens a week could make it more than worth it to change from being negative or neutral to good, or in the case of a player who is already positive, make them feel that they are being protected. Will it solve the problem of negative behavior? Not even close. But hopefully it could make it just a little bit easier to swallow some of the abuse that can be handed out in a LoL match.
I apologize for how long and sometimes wandering this post has been. This is a subject I’ve been putting a lot of thought into and I wanted to try and make sure that I actually put down enough specific material to generate some thought and discussion. One of the things I have enjoyed most about the time I have spent blogging is getting to read and think about a lot of amazing stuff that other people come up with. All of you are smart and talented writers, and I want to challenge you with something.
I want to challenge all of you to make your own posts about how we can make this a more positive game. I’m not talking about how we can make ourselves into positive players, I have read plenty of good posts on that. I want to hear what you think Riot could change, who you think they could punish or reward, or even if you think this is as good as this game could possibly get. I don’t want this to be a one off rant that is quickly forgotten until the next bad game. I want this discussion to turn into a conversation that actually has the power to make people take note, take thought, and eventually, bring change to the game.
So bring out new ideas, point out where my ideas are good or where they need work. Most importantly, let’s see if we can build this into something that we can look back on later with some pride. This is our League of Legends, let’s make it better.