Are You Having a Bad Day?

While I am always trying to figure out ideas for new posts, I can never resist writing about new developments in my favorite League of Legends topic – player behavior. LoL can be a nasty, brutish affair. So I hope you understand why I like to keep up to date on what Riot is doing to try and make us act better.

Riot’s latest effort at improving player behavior just hit the beta environment. If you want to read the post from Riot Lyte, and you should because the man writes a nice post, you can do so here. The basic gist of the change is that Riot is working on developing an automated system of “Behavioral Alerts” that will notify you when you are misbehaving. The logic behind this feature is that letting players know they are being bad apparently increases the chances of them changing their ways by about 7.8%. Riot figures that if they provide feedback faster, in the form of automated notifications, that rate will hopefully increase.

I do not believe this is the worst idea. My general expectation of people has always been that they know what it means to behave badly, and so if they continue to do wrong, they must be doing it intentionally. LoL has taught me that this view is only somewhat correct. There are certainly people who misbehave for the fun of it, but there are also a lot of people (young and old alike) who actually have no idea that their behavior is less than acceptable. Viewed in this light, I think being quicker to let people know that they are being bad will probably make a difference, to the tune of similar numbers to what Riot has been seeing from the Report Cards.

My problem with the report cards has always been that some people, despite seeing a report card full of evidence, still do not appreciate why they were reported and punished. The brief notification that you can see above provides even less supporting evidence to convince a player that they were actually in the wrong. If a report card can’t convince them to behave, a message that is roughly the size of two tweets probably won’t encourage them to change their ways either.

The cynic in me is also convinced that this message will be used by those who are negative just for the sake of being negative to help avoid punishment. If, after a delightful game of verbally abusing my teammates, I received a notification telling me that I am being bad and might be close to getting in trouble I would probably tone it down for a game or two. Then, I would be right back to my old ways or, perhaps, I would even return with an added vengeance to make up for the previous games where I actually had to pretend to be a decent human being.

This system will never actually change the behavior of the truly negative or toxic players. Instead, it is a band aid designed to help turn a few players, who truly do not understand common decency, away from the dark side. Honestly, if Riot wants to focus on those players who don’t know that being negative is bad, I would rather that they try and tackle this problem preemptively and not wait for the player to rack up reports first.

If the LCS (professional League of Legends) has taught us anything it’s that Riot can put together some pretty awesome videos and written materials when they want to. Could you imagine if they invested that same effort into creating a campaign to encourage players to be nicer gamers?  There are so many cool things they could do to encourage people to be good, and I bet the returns would be at least equal to what they’re getting from the Report Cards and Behavioral Alerts – with the added bonus that the player wouldn’t need to be reported a bunch first. Think of it as kind of being like Yoda and Obi Wan teaching Luke why the Light Side of the Force was the way to go long before Luke even thought about heading to the Dark Side. Awkward Star Wars analogy: Check.

It does kind of make you wonder if pro players would agree to take part in such a campaign or if a lot of them are actually textbook offenders who can’t be bothered to promote anything other than winning and pwning noobs. Maybe the problem is that no one ever told them they could be like Yoda or Obi Wan.

I do love that Riot is willing to try new things to make this game better, and I do believe that Behavioral Alerts will have some positive impact. What I am tired of is Riot giving us the standard line that most players are good and neutral and a lot of the negativity we get is from people who are just having a bad day. I understand that in a game with millions of players you are much more likely to run into someone who is having a bad day, but I am not entirely convinced that is the only reason why I feel like I am constantly being exposed to negativity.

So what I want to do is run my own little social experiment, and I would appreciate it if all of you would help me. The next time someone rages at you in game, I want you to ask them if they are having a bad day. Here, let me even provide you with a line you can use:

“Hey, Riot says that most negativity in LoL comes from people who are having a bad day. (Insert player name), are you having a bad day?”

Optional additional question only to be used if you want to add troll value and ruin the validity of the whole experiment:

“Do you want to talk about it?”

I am not entirely sure what to expect from actually asking ragers if they are having a bad day. My guess is that most people will say something along the lines of “I was having a good day until I had to play with you, you ####,” but maybe that’s just me. My plan is to actually keep track of the number and composition of responses. I doubt that either Riot or myself will be able to use the results to prove, conclusively, that we are right, but at the very least, I expect to get a few hilarious responses that will be worth sharing.

It is  reassuring that Riot is continuing to work on developing better player behavior in League of Legends. While I do believe that the new Behavioral Alerts system will have some impact, I would really like to see Riot do more than simply find another way of letting negative players know they are negative. Whether they know they are negative or not, we are still the ones that have to play this game with them. Until Riot comes up with a way to get negative players out of OUR games, or reward us for being in THEIR games, nothing Riot puts out to deal with negative players will truly satisfy me. At least now I have a question to ask my fellow LoL’ers while I wait for change to come.



Incredible LoL Raps

I cannot say that I am always, or even frequently, a fan of rap, but the League of Legends raps put out by Badministrator are just awe inspiring. Regardless of how you feel about the rhythm and beat, the lyrics are incredibly relevant and awesome.  Check out the song below, and you will see exactly what I mean. Before you know it, you will have Badministrator’s whole channel on repeat. Check him out on youtube or on twitter @VisixOnYoutube

Kind of makes you wonder why we don’t see some more content from Riot like the song above. This game isn’t all about penta kills and new champs. A lot of it SHOULD be about having fun and treating each other with some respect. Songs like this one promote that in a way we can all nod our heads to.

Protatomonster’s Top 5 Plays of the Week – Featuring Thresh and Karma

Happy Friday to everyone. If you’re getting yourself psyched to play or watch some League of Legends this weekend, check out this week’s awesome Top 5 Plays from Protatomonster. I am a huge fan of Thresh and Karma, so I could not resist sharing this.

What to Expect from the Next Patch

A new map? A new champ? Yes, it could all very well be true. The next League of Legends patch has the potential to be full of a lot of interesting goodies. While there is no guarantee that all of this content will make it into the patch, all of it is has been on the PBE for some time. So take a read if you don’t want to be too surprised by the sudden appearance of patch notes.

Did I say a new map? I sure did. The Howling Abyss promises to make sure that, win or lose, you’re playing all of your ARAMS on the nicest looking map in the game. It is said to come with a new shopkeeper, unique champion interactions with the shopkeepers, some fluffy looking sort of creature, a unique item and some cool sounding music. If all that does not convince you to try it out, check out this video tour.

Personally, I have always been a much bigger fan of the Twisted Treeline, and 3’s games in general. I admit I am a little bit disappointed to see them pumping so much effort into ARAMS and the Howling Abyss while the Twisted Treeline remains in flux. I mean, when you select the Twisted Treeline you are still clicking on an icon with the word “BETA” printed in big bold letters. I’m sure Howling Abyss will be great, but let’s hope that Riot hasn’t forgotten about good ole TT.

Speaking of work being put into ARAMs, Riot is hard at work putting together an ARAM que. I guess this makes sense. ARAM has become one of the quickest and most popular forms of this game. Personally, I won’t rest until there is a “protect the Teemo” que, but that’s just me. This ARAM que will likely function the same as any other que, except with one unique feature – the ability to reselect your champ. That’s right, if you are given a champ that you absolutely do not want to play, you can spend some reroll points and get a new champion. Points will be earned by playing games and, I believe, you get more for wins. If someone on your team dodges you will be refunded any points you have spent. It’s a neat little idea. It keeps it random, and hopefully, it keeps people a little bit happier.

With an official que now in existence, it makes you wonder if Riot is considering making ARAMs into something more competitive. I doubt that anything like that will happen in the short term, or else we would be playing ranked Dominion by now, but it might be something interesting to watch for down the road.

If you’re not a fan of new maps or ARAMs, how about a new champion? All signs indicate that Lissandra will be coming out with this patch. I must admit I haven’t had a chance to do my usual PBE scouting of her. It has been a lot harder to get on to the PBE lately, and as someone pointed out to me, they usually make a fair bit of changes to the end product anyways. Below is a review of her abilities, so you can take a look for yourself and start figuring out ways to play with and against her.

An article containing the video, a look at her champ art and the stats on her abilities can be found here. Apparently there will also be new in game quests involving Lissandra, Ashe and Sejuani. It sounds like these quests will work along similar lines to Kha Zix and Rengar’s duel for supremacy – kill the other one and some kind of victory is yours.

For those of you who do not have the IP or RP to try out Lissandra, you can always check out a couple of long awaited reworks of old champs. Trundle and Sejuani are the ones benefiting from this round of reworks. Sej’s abilities have been tinkered with quite a bit, and even Trundle’s have been changed to some extent. The videos and the ability descriptions can be found here.

I am all for making champions look better and have cleaner animations. I also like that Riot is continuing to give out a free “classic” skin for those people who owned the champion before the reworks.

I cannot say that I have played these champions a lot, and I’m not really sure if ANYONE has been brave enough to play Sejuani a bunch except Nhan haha, so I will leave the comments on the changes to the abilities to people who have played the champions before and intend to play them after. I feel like if someone who had never played Karma tried to tell me how to feel about new Karma I would not have been overly impressed, so I will try and avoid doing the same thing with these champs. The only thing I will say is that Sej’s win rate is currently 10% higher than Olafs….so consider this the first of many shameless calls for Olaf buffs!

Sejuani and Trundle may be getting the largest overhaul, but a few other champions will also be receiving new looks. Anivia, Volibear, and Shyvana will be receiving new skins, and Nunu will be getting new splash art. You can take a look at all of the new artwork here.The rest of the champions will not be getting new looks, but some of them will be receiving the usual changes to their game play. Below are some of the bigger and or more interesting changes.

Zed: Living Shadow (W) ‘s cooldown has been reduced slightly at all ranks, but its cooldown will now only be reduced when Zed attacks other champions, not minions. This will limit some of Zed’s juke potential in the laning phase, but should actually improve his mobility in teamfights. I see this change as being only a minor play style change, and I do not believe it will prevent Zed from blowing up at least one squishy in any given teamfight. It will take a few more substantial nerfs to slow this ninja down.

Karma: Wait, you mean that despite all of the changes, Karma still has the lowest win rate of all champions? Yup, it’s so low that even Olaf wins 3% more games. It looks like Riot is going to follow the Syndra protocol and buff almost all of Karma’s abilities in the hopes that some pro player will take her on and bring her to popularity. If you are an individual who has or had the patience to learn Karma you are going to be rewarded for it now or in a patch or two. Her early game damage on her Q is going up and her cooldowns on her mantra, W, and E are going down.

They have not tinkered with her ratios, or what the abilities do, which tells me that they either think Karma is close to being in a good spot or do not want to admit defeat and rework her again. It’s hard to say if Karma is actually that unplayable or the changes have not been great enough to overcome the stigma left behind by the old Karma. Either way, I firmly believe that Mid Lane Karma will quickly become very dangerous, in the right hands.

Quinn: The move speed bonuses on her Ult will now level up, instead of simply being a flat rate. I’m not sure if this, and any other minor changes they make, will be enough to overcome her short range. We will have to see.

Malzahar: The mana costs on his Call of the Void and Null Zone are being decreased. It seems unlikely that this will lead to Malz being seen on a more regular basis, but lowering mana costs tend to be a precursor to a champ becoming popular. Eventually, they will lower them again, tweak something else, or a pro player will realize that the costs are low enough to make up for any other weaknesses that Malz has, and we will see more of him. For now, this will just be a nice treat for people who still play him. Cheers, mrbeatyourass, hope this helps you to wreck even more opponents.

Lulu: The early level costs of Glitterlance are being increased to 60/65/70/75/80 from 40/50/60/70/80 mana. I actually listed the numbers for this one because I want to make the point that, while the numbers might not seem all that impressive, this has the potential to really hurt early game Lulu. A lot of her pre level 6 power comes from her ability to wear her opponents down with auto attacks and Glitterlance. She will still be able to do this, but not quite at the same OP pace she used to be able to poke at. Lulu’s utility remains some of the best on any support character, but this weakening of her sustain might open the door for the strongest support label to be claimed by none other than…

Thresh: The damage on his E is being reduced at at all levels, the damage on his Q is being increased at later levels and his former Q passive is being switched over to his E.

These changes might be some of the most highly anticipated of the entire patch. Thresh has become one of the best, if not the strongest, supports. Interestingly, these changes will not slow him down, too much. Riot stated that they wanted to eliminate his ability to absolutely dominate the lane at level one, which he could do quite easily, and this should help that. Thresh players will now have to choose between controlling the lane with his hook (Q) or his poke damage. I believe most Thresh players will simply be content to change their skill order and max his E first and his Q second. Yes, he will not be able to use his hook as often, but when he does land a hook, his damage should actually be higher than before (assuming he lands his Flay (E)).

My belief is that Thresh’s power rests as much in his ability to trade damage with ADC’s as his ability to catch someone with a hook. Fewer hooks will not equate to a total loss of lane control, as long as he can continue to poke and tank damage from ADCs and supports alike. And, of course, any champion with a ranged position modifier (awesome way of talking about his hook) will always have pretty decent value. If you play support and still have not picked this guy up, do not let these changes stop you.

Item changes:

The costs of Ionian Boots of Lucidity and Boots of Swiftness are being decreased by 50 and 100 gold respectively. Both boots have solid situational uses, and this will make it easier to purchase them earlier in a game.

Health and Mana Pots will now be restricted to 5 per champ. This will have a significant impact on the early games of certain champs who need a ton of potions to survive their matchups. Riot is also tinkering with the idea of increasing the cost of Red Elixers to 350 gold. Riot is clearly looking for a more aggressive, and less sustain based, style of game. My belief is that these changes could bring cloth armor and 5 pots back in as one of the more popular starting item combinations. We may also see more summoners using the Utility Tree of masteries in the hopes of getting either increased starting gold or sustain.

Riot has always said that they would like to see a variety of starting builds, but sometimes it really seems like they will not be happy until we are all back to starting with a single Doran’s item. You never know, this might actually be Riot’s way to get people to go back to building Philosophers Stones. If you have stumbled upon the next great set of starting items you should definitely let us know what they are in the comments.

With that, I believe I have covered a lot of the major/interesting changes that could be coming out in the next patch. Again, there is no guarantee that all or any of these changes will be implemented in this patch, or that they will be exactly as I have described above. My experience with the PBE has taught me that most of the changes made there are the same as what we eventually see in the live version of the game. My hope is that a preview such as this will help prepare everyone for what is coming, and allow you to get those last few games in on champions who are about to get reworked.

Let me know what you think of any of these potential changes, or if you have any thoughts on Lissandra, new Sej or new Trundle. Otherwise, with all of the changes coming out in this patch, I am sure we will have plenty to discuss in the coming days, assuming we can actually get logged in to the game.


For those of you who are looking for them, the official patch notes and preview are here

It looks like most of what I wrote about above is pretty accurate. I think Nasus will be weaker than I predicted. It would not surprise me if we do not see all of the new skins released at once, but their release probably won’t be too far off.

Dear Riot

Dear Riot. I am writing you today because I am curious what the correct response is to the following end to a League of Legends match. Our team fell behind quite hard and the other team snowballed to victory. As our team called out the first round of gg’s, a gentleman on the other team responded with “GG? don’t gg them, they don’t deserve it. They’re ####ing awful.” How do I respond to that?

My first thought was to turn the other cheek, send my report and move on, but where is my incentive to do that? I have spent a year playing this game, living by the Summoner’s Code, treating others with respect, saying my gg’s no matter what I might think of the other team, and what has that gotten me? I’m still just as exposed to abuse and negativity as I ever was.

On good days, I often end up forgetting about this abuse, but even then the threat is always lingering. Is this how you envisioned it? Players crossing their fingers before each game, praying that this won’t be “one of those games.” Then, if you’re lucky and the game goes well, you keep on praying because it could be the next one, or the game after that, where you will be insulted, trolled or otherwise abused. Left with nothing but the expectation of more abuse to come, no clear indicator that my abuser has or will be punished, and no compensation for trying to be the honorable opponent, can I really be expected to keep turning the other cheek?

So maybe I should rage back. Maybe I should call this player all kinds of names, question the legitimacy of his parentage, threaten to kill him, etc. What’s the worst that could happen? His team might report me. It might make it to Tribunal, and I might get a few weeks off to think about what I’ve done. If pro players are an example to be followed, *cough* Iwilldominate *cough*, I’ll change my behavior just enough to avoid the Tribunal and keep on playing. Yes, some of the pro level players have been perma banned, but it seems like pretty much everyone who streams League of Legends claims to have been perma banned at least once or twice, so what does that say? I guess it says that if I am really good at the game, and make another account, I can pretty much do what I want.

Wow, when I think of it like that, continuing the cycle of rage actually seems a lot easier and more fun, for myself, than internalizing all the harassment and feeling miserable. I guess it might negatively impact a future teammate or enemy who I go off on…but then they can just go ahead and report me, right?

Oh, and here’s a follow up. What do I tell the friends I was playing with who are still fairly new to the game? Do I tell them that this kind of act is rare, that the majority of players are statistically considered to be neutral or good, and that my friend’s playing experience will hopefully be positive, most of the time? Do I tell them that you’re not safe unless you win, and even that will often be a painful experience? Should I discuss the fact that everything awesome in this game, and I’ve had quite a few great moments, can easily be erased by the abuse they take in one game from their opponents and or teammates?

If I told my friends the honest truth about this game, I feel like their only logical response would be to question why the heck I’m still playing it. That actually does happen, a lot. Usually, I come with all kinds of reasons to convince them why it is still worth it. After games like this one, I don’t have it in me.

I’m sorry Riot. Clearly I’ve had a rough game, I’m upset and a lot of my accusations are a little over the top. I’m sure you can understand that it happens. After all, that’s what you blame a lot of player’s bad behavior on, a bad day. I have taken some time to calm myself down and to consider if this is worth posting. As ever, when writing about video games, I find myself wondering if I have the right to expect better.

This is a video game. It is something that you do for fun, and there will  always be an expectation of some abuse any time you play something that features a great deal of anonymity and very little risk of real world consequences. Perhaps it is on me, if I’m really not enjoying myself or don’t want to deal with the harassment, to step away and stop playing the game. When I view it that way, I feel very silly about voicing my complaints, and I almost don’t bother.

Then, I remember why I expected better in the first place. You, Riot, told me that I COULD expect better. You have stated that you want to be different from other games and that you are going to try and reduce negativity in this game. You brought in the Tribunal and the Honor System and you hinted that more great things were on the way. You told us that you were going to change how people approach Moba’s, and I want to hold you to that.

I know that it will take time. I know that you are busy trying to make sure you come up with things that will actually make a difference, and I have nothing but respect for the work you have done. Riot Lyte is a great representative of the game, and what he and his team are undertaking to do is something that has never really been attempted before. I appreciate all of that, I really do.

I hope you don’t mind that I have chosen to vent my frustrations through harmless words on an out of the way blog instead of at my opponents or teammates. Now that I am calmer, I did wait a day to post this, I have decided that I simply want this, at times, melodramatic post to serve as a reminder that you told us positive change was coming.  A lot of us are waiting, Riot, for you to deliver on even just some of the ideas you put in our heads about a game that was going to be friendlier than others.

I’m sorry, but sometimes it’s hard not to get a little bit more anxious than I should be. I just really, really want some answers to my questions, Riot, and I would like to get them before I’ve become too jaded to care.

“Advice” From a Pro

If you like sarcasm, and you like League of Legends, you are going to want to click on the link below. This is one of the best things I have read in a while. Also, if you read through it and realize that you are actually doing a lot of what the author is saying you should consider changing your ways, please and thank you 😛

The Absolute Basics of League of Legends Video

There have definitely been a few times when I have tried to explain League of Legends to a friend and simply ended up talking in useless circles for 20 minutes – at which point I (without my friend understanding why because I am a bad teacher) surrendered. Here is a great video that I will, henceforth, be using to explain the basics of LoL. It is a very easy watch and will not have you surrendering too much of your time.