League of Legends Is Mean, Science and Bans Will Change That

Riot Games wants to create a more welcoming community

By Andrei Dumitrescu on December 6th, 2012 23:11 GMT

Riot Games, the development team working on League of Legends, says that it plans to use both science and the threat of bans in order to improve the civility of the community behind the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena titles.

Travis George, the lead producer working on the title, tells Gamasutra that he understands the appeal of trash talking, but that “There's a line, and that line generally is people being mean for the sake of being mean - telling you what to do, telling you how bad you are. And I think we can actually fix a lot of that.”

Riot Games has created a special team of developers, called Player Behavior and Justice Team, to address the civility problem, staffing it with a cognitive neuroscientist and a behavioral psychologist in order to gain insight into the way the players behave.

The team is actively tracking trends within the community and measures how many time a player thinks will encounter a negative experience and how it affects his enjoyment of League of Legends.

George believes that the threat of lifetime game bans, which are handled out by a Tribunal, is not enough to make players behave and needs to be backed by incentives to change behavior.

He adds, “You can apply really good research and science techniques to almost anything. The trick is just finding what you want to actually spend the time on, and that's where the sentiment for players comes in as a huge guiding factor to that.”

The developer also says that the overall quality of the community playing League of Legends is high but that only one bad experience can drive a player away forever.

Riot Games recently announced that it banned a professional player because of the fact that he harassed other gamers.

League of Legends is free-to-play and relies on shifting heroes in order to gain revenue.
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