I’ll just come out and say it, League of Legends has, by far, the single worst community in any game I’ve ever played. Yes, I’ve played Call of Duty, I’ve played every game in that series from 4, all the way up to Black Ops 2. I can easily say that all of the abuse I’ve ever received while playing that series pales in comparison to what I’ve had said to me in any single match of League of Legends. The League of Legends community needs to step up in a big way.
I like to imagine that I’m a somewhat competent League of Legends player, I’m not saying that I’m worthy of Diamond or Platinum, I make plenty of mistakes, but I can at least say that I have a good base knowledge of the game mechanics, and can play a wide variety of champions of all roles to at least a moderate standard. I am a calm player as long as I’m not provoked, of course I get annoyed if I see the solo top giving kill after kill to the enemy Nasus, but I never call them out on it, I remain silent, and try to play my best and help my teammates out in any way I can.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of players do not think that way, I was actually planning to write this article another day, but after having played only a single match of League of Legends earlier today, I have already hung up my hat, wondering why I even bother playing this game in the first place. Why? Well, it all started after my teammates, a premade of three, discovered that I was also in a premade. Once the game began, our Thresh asked whether he could play Thresh as an AD bruiser, I politely replied that it may well be possible, though I can’t be sure.
The game proceeded to go along normally, myself and my premade partner were doing well, keeping the enemy at bay and beating them in CS. Unfortunately, their support did eventually manage to catch me, and although we ultimately took out their carry while attempting to escape, the both of us died along with them, giving away a double kill. It was a stupid mistake, but an honest one, partly due to the fact both of us hadn’t played the game for a few days and we were just getting warmed up again. Our mid decided to make a snide remark, essentially telling us that we’re a bad premade, but I chose to shrug it off in order to avoid confrontation, as we would try and make up for it later.
A little later in the game, around the 15 minute mark, our mid and jungler managed to get themselves killed in the enemy jungle. After discovering this, myself and my support attempted to assist, but it was too late, they were about to die, so we held back so as not to give away any more kills. This was immediately met with much criticism from, yet again, our mid, but this time the jungler joined in, telling us that we were blind, calling us terrible players and every other insult they could come up with because we were a little late in noticing that they had decided to go waltzing around the enemy jungle, before getting themselves into a spot of bother. I try to avoid confrontation, but this was too much, I was tired of getting abuse hurled at me by people like this seemingly every time I played league, so I retaliated.
The game just got worse from there, I lost all motivation to do well and we eventually lost. Along the way, the solo top Thresh eventually joined his teammates in abusing us, he didn’t appear to know much English but that didn’t stop him from hurling abuse at my support because she didn’t buy an item that he felt she absolutely had to have. On the same note I also got abuse for my build, from our mid, naturally, because I decided to build a Black Cleaver and Ghostblade after my BF Sword as opposed to rush Trinity Force like everyone else seems to do. So yes, my first time playing League of Legends today pretty much ended like that, oh, and at one point our teammates attempted to pin the blame on me and get me reported, making themselves out to be the victims, until Thresh decided to throw some more abuse the support’s way in all chat, which pretty much proved my point.
I apologise for the long summary, but hopefully it gets the point across. League of Legends is a fun game, an incredibly fun game, so why does it have to have a community like this? It tears all of the fun out of what could otherwise be a great experience. I shouldn’t be expected to bring along four friends every time I want to play, just so I can avoid getting bullied by my teammates. I’m not the best player in the world, not by a longshot, I’m human, I make mistakes, we all are, so why are things this way? Everyone has a bad game or a bad day, yet the thing we fear most is not loss, but our own teammates. You know a game has a problem when you worry more about who you’re going to be teamed up with than who you’re going to be up against.
League of Legends needs to find a better way to remove toxic behaviour from the game. Riot tried a while ago with the honour system, which rewarded those who received good feedback from their teammates with ribbons to show everyone what a respectful and helpful player they are. When honour was released, it felt like a completely different game, there was far less toxicity, people were outright trying their hardest to look nice in order to receive honour from their teammates. Although the kindness teammates showed was clearly faked in order to receive honour, it was still a far more pleasant experience, and the amount of experiences I had similar to today’s drastically declined. This improvement in behaviour didn’t last long, however, whether it was the lack of incentive the honour system provided, or the fact that most people plain forgot about it, everyone soon slipped back into their toxic ways, and League of Legends is now no better than it was before the honour system was introduced.
Riot’s existing methods clearly do not work, the tribunal is great in theory, but is open to abuse, and even if it wasn’t, banning people from a free-to-play game will not stop them coming back. While I would like to imagine that behaviour can improve in the way that the honour system demonstrated, I feel that harsher punishments are also needed. Not everyone can be helped, some people, like the premade I went up against earlier, don’t care because they have the numbers advantage, they feel on top of the world so long as they have a posse to back them up. I believe that adding some real rewards to the honour system, like skins or even free IP or RP, would do a lot to get people to behave better, while banning not just accounts, but entire IP addresses of repeat offenders may help drive home the point that poor behaviour will not be tolerated.
Team builder’s eventual release will hopefully eliminate a lot of arguments in champion select, but there will still be bad eggs that are never happy until they’re winning every game and their teammates don’t make so much as a single mistake. Those kinds of people need to be sorted out. League of Legends has the potential to be an incredibly enjoyable experience, I’ve been playing for going on three years now, but my desire to return dwindles every time I try to play. If these issues are not sorted, I, along with many others, may be forced to leave the fields of justice for good.