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.

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10 thoughts on “Dear Riot

  1. It’s an uphill battle of fighting internet culture, male bravado, anonymity, and the human predisposition toward competitive assholism. Riot is trying, but it’s still up to nice, honest, yet still competitive sorts like us to maintain our cool.

    It’s a bitch though and I hate those assholes.

  2. I’ve had to take this last month off from LOL because schooling come first. I’m dreading to know how much my reflexes have slowed down and what kinds of comments people are gonna make when I have that dreaded first pvp match in a long time. Just like you I’ll be crossing my fingers and praying to the MOBA gods, ” please not one of THOSE games”.

    • Well I will send off a few prayers on your behalf as well. I know it is small consolation when you are actually in the game, but a little LoL rust as a result of some real world success is, in my mind, totally worth it. Sadly, your teammates might not think the same way and it’s not cool to point out to the ragers that you actually are even modestly successful in the real world. Hope your exams went well!

  3. This is all too true. For anyone who pays attention to the Challenger series, LCS, etc., I’m sure you can name a few people who have been perma banned and are supposed to be our “role models” in the game. And yet, they just get another account to level 30, and nothing has happened. The most detrimental thing to happen to them is maybe having to grind their rune pages once again. But that’s about it, and for someone who plays professionally, that’s not too hard. On the other hand, however, this also comes down to what Tyler said. The general populace of people playing this game just happen to think that they’re the gods’ gifts to the world, and they’re far from it.

    • Very well put. Meanwhile the streamers like Guardsman Bob, who have built their reputations on being helpful and good summoners, rarely feature in anything Riot promotes. Honestly, even if Riot through together a 3 minute video getting Voyboy to tell everyone to be nicer to each other, it would probably make a difference. But like you guys said, instead the pros just promote the idea that you have to think you’re the best, and if you are not, just blame your team!

  4. Whenever I have games like this I just wish those guys would learn a lil abjection.
    I mean, if u dunno dc’s, if u dunno technical problems, if u dunno u’re playin bad sometimes,
    if u simply feel like the most awesome fuck in the world, all others are minor, it’s ok if you just know how to stay cool doing so.
    I mean, idc wether these idiots are narcistic like hack, but they don’t have to blame us for not beeing them.
    And – far worse – leave us alone. How can I complain bout my team feedin, not sayin ss cause someone forgot it, or steal my carries kill only because he isn’t as good as you want him to be?
    I suppose, nowadays it would be way better to put in another q without visual names, making ragers play against upper elos from time to time. Would love to see bronce & silverplayers rage bout their team feedin when they have to face players that are simply way better than them theirselves.

    • That would be pretty cool. There is nothing I like watching more than ragers getting their butts kicked. Sadly, Riot will probably never do anything like that. Until then I guess we just need to keep getting better so we can be the ones doing the butt kicking

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