Why do you play League of Legends? It’s a common question posed to nearly every fan of Riot’s hugely popular MOBA, a game notorious for what’s known as its “toxic” community. Before I began playing, I imagined it a joyless wasteland of trolls and serious players bickering mindlessly about the smallest things. Apparently I wasn’t too far off. Most of my losing games devolve into bitter arguments, as the lane champions and jungler chastise each other over a missed gank, or how one player “feeds” (accidentally or purposefully losing lane by a wide margin) and forks over victory.
It’s a rampant problem, but not an unexpected one due to the nature of game play. Essentially, unless grouping with four others, you won’t know some members of your team. Misunderstanding and the lack of communication can lead to vitriol, especially when your team loses a match in spectacular fashion. It can be tough. Most often, at least in my games, cooler heads prevail and we move on to our next battle.
There’s only so much Riot Games can do to combat the pervasive hatred in the community. The following is a list of some ways I thought of; for those reading, feel free to add your own in the comments or critique mine as necessary. All of mine won’t be perfect.
1. Make better use of the Honour system. Currently, League of Legends has a system based off post-match feedback. Teammates can honour others as friendly, helpful or communicative, and enemies can give an “Honourable Opponent” point. The problem is this system serves no other purpose than to give a shiny ribbon next to someone’s account. I rarely find myself even doing it because it has no consequence.
If Riot were to make the system accountable, as in rewarding players who continually get voted, it may actually be used. Possible rewards could be a skin or a currency bonus, and weekly sweepstakes would appreciate those who were most up-voted.
On this point, under the “Get Started” page on League of Legends website, Riot says “we’re going to experiment with some potential bonuses to being an honorable summoner in the future.” Though that has been listed since before I started playing back in April.
2. Enforce the meta. Most normal games and all ranked games operate by a meta. Placed roles put different champions in various lanes: a bruiser type top, usually a mage middle, a ranged carry and support bottom, and a “jungler” who roams between lanes. Riot has refused to enforce this because they want players to take champions wherever they wish. This creates problems though, because there’s an expectation that champs play certain roles.
It hurts the game too: one game early in my playing career, someone took Soraka, a support, top alone. She fared poorly and then cursed us out for not coming to her aid. The way Riot built the character, unless you play extremely passively, she’s meant to assist in team fights and not be a main damage dealer. Alternatively, Soraka can build heavy offense and be a major force, but her efficacy as a support suffers.
3. The “Mercy” vote. Reading through the forums one day, an idea caught my eye. A player had proposed a system called Mercy to combat an issue plaguing League: the dreaded 4 vs. 5 match. Being down a player is hardly a shortfall Riot can counter, but since the developer has mostly relied on the community itself, the Mercy route just may be the answer.
Basically, when a player leaves, the complete team has the option of Mercy. Both teams must agree, and the game ends immediately. The losing team would incur less of a penalty, and to revert back to the first method, a tally would appear beside the Honour count to signal how many times that player has been merciful.
If you’re a fan of League, give the link above a read. It makes some great points.
If I think of more in the future, I’ll make another list. This is just a first list–add your own in the comments.
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