As a league player, I frequent r/league of legends. Like most /r’s it has it’s own posts that show up once a week, with around the same discussion round and round. Like, writers block in /r/writing. This is mostly because of how similar and boring we all are as people. Nothing is lost or gained from these post, simply because they usually don’t have clean answers and are more natural issues that are inherent to the subject.
Anyone that plays league will have rough days and losing streaks. Then it’s off to /r/leagueoflegends and an all new thread of people talking about the ‘toxicity’ in league and how it’s the worst ever. Eventually the conversation will switch to best ways to control this ever growing problem.
Everyone talks about the failure that is the honor banners, or whatever the crap they are called. Tribunal doesn’t work, in as many ways as that is possible and if only there was a better way to ban out those trolls. Maybe even send them to a special place where they can only play with each other. Logistics are talked about and every one smugly puts in their bit on why this or that wouldn’t work. Then we all get home from work/school and play till it starts again the next week.
I have been on that bandwagon many times, pointing out the frequency of the posts and how they tread the same ground. It’s only a matter of time before I get back on again, in fact it might happen again sooner then I thought…
Toxicity is inherent to the game and although rage can never be eliminated, both can and should be better handled. I present this idea for everyone’s scrutiny.
There is inherent animosity in a competitive environment, like league, but the game promotes this behavior in ways that are not inherent. Yes, yes losing will always get people mad and I am not at all trying to turn league into the abomination that is Teeball now. Where there are no losers, which to me means there are no winners.
In baseball what do you call the other team? The opponents or visitors? What do we call them in league? Purple, top, maybe enemies? There is a difference between opponents and enemies, your mind knows it. When you catch a player you don’t score you get a ‘Kill’. Sometimes it’s ‘First Blood’ or something amazing like a “Penta-Kill”.
These word choices have effect on how the players view the game, which translates to how they behave while playing. Again, I don’t want it to be Disney-ef-id, but ignoring it won’t help either. In other sports no one gets kills. They get points.
Everything about the visuals foster aggression and anger. It’s possible to get out played and see it as a matter of skill, but you have to look past the visuals of Veigar nuking you. Riot, most developers, and all of gamers, seem to be blind to the effect the representations can have on the players mindset. Instead tell their player base to fix themselves.
There is nothing in the game to foster a feeling of sportsmanship and without that, you end up with the whole ‘Rekked’ and ‘Trash jungle’.
No, no I am not against trash talking. There is a right way to do it. When friends trash talk each other, there is a little dance with each person trying to be funny and clever on top of ribbing a little. Nothing out of hand, it’s all in good fun. The language and topics can be brutal when viewed out of context, but with all the smiles and honest laughter, it’s clear everyone is just being silly.
In league there is virtually no social context. Players don’t know each other, they don’t know their relative skill level or game knowledge. Text doesn’t translate tone and god knows we aren’t all writers. So, if your having a bad game and someone you don’t know comments and it’s not obviously positive, it’s despicably negative.
For further proof that the game itself pushes the negative and toxic. No need to look any further than the emotes. What do we get, laughing, dancing, jokes, and taunts. Dancing and jokes are neutral. Taunts and most laughs are not. In games where everyone is just having fun and it’s all good, these gestures are no big deal. The way things are now, they just fuel the disrespect and push us away from maintaining any sportsmanship.
The LCS plays into this problem by letting their players use taunts, laughs and TPs as a way of showing disrespect. They have gotten better, especially since they have gotten off trying to bait Xpecial for drama, but continuing to allow disrespect in their games isn’t helping anyone.
The only way to combat toxicity and rage, is to promote sportsmanship.
The problem is very clear but the discussed fixes are always focused on how to punish bad behavior and almost nothing for how to reward and encourage the good. It doesn’t have to be IP, there are tons of ways of clearly rewarding a player for positive behavior. The dumb little banner is useless. There is someone in your last game that appreciated your play style or personality but it doesn’t tell you who. So you can’t team up.
The worst part about the banner has to be the fact that you don’t get it till after the game is over. There is nothing built in for when things are turning sour and something can actually be done before the plunge into full rage. After a full 30 to 40 mins of poison and hate, a little +Teamwork isn’t much.
That moment before the plunge is the crucial one. Something small can trigger it either way. Yet the game offers nothing, but a weak chat client. Why isn’t there a way to thank a person on your team or honor a play that the enemy just did. There could even be an emote to show how unbelievable it is that you were able to survive that. They could have something to say, “I believe in you” or “Don’t give up.” In tf2 you can buy an item that gives random items to everyone on your team. I think it’s possible for a game to be salvaged if someone randomly gives everyone some IP or something and says something like, “We still have a chance.” I just made those up off the top of my head, the focus should be to provide a way to show positive and good sportsmanship behavior.
Reading through one of the more recent threads, people talk about their own bad experience. Things like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm-9Nd9W7SA#t=194 Here it is again, an inherent problem, namely the vast amount of auxiliary knowledge attached to league, causing rage.
Both sides clearly have grounds for being upset, the new guy doesn’t know what’s going on and they are just trying to learn. The old hat is unsure if this dude is trolling or not, but either way this is going to be 30 to 40 mins of less than fun. I know we all want the old hat to be a good person and try to help and be understanding. But, he didn’t get in the game to teach, he got in to play. Both players are going to be unhappy with the situation.
League doesn’t offer much of anything to these new players. Just limited champion pull, the weakness of no ruins or masteries and the restriction of the most common summoner in the game. While they are not learning to help, play as, or deal with junglers, they are left with no way to find people that are interested in helping newbies out. There is no safe place, where it’s ok to not understand what CS is and to be helped by someone that wants to teach.
Of course if everyone just controlled themselves and focused on their own play more then everyone elses, things would be fixed immediately. Since that will not ever happen, I would love to see Riot focus more on curbing the visuals and context of the game towards being positive and sportsmen.