Everybody has bad days. Some like to blow off steam with a round of golf or a drink with friends. Others like to direct that steam into the eyes and ears of inferior MOBA players. What they really need is a friend to take them aside and say: “This isn’t like you. Go and have a bath.”
Through the Behavioural Alerts system destined for a future patch, Riot aim to be that friend.
The in-game Behavioural Alerts feature will detect spikes in negative behaviour and trigger a warning message. We don’t know precisely how missives will read, but Riot believe that they’ll be enough to prevent the vast majority of players from continuing down a path that ends at the tribunal.
“In the past few months, a few key insights have shifted our approach to tackling player behavior in online communities,” explained Jeffrey Lin, Riot’s lead designer of social systems. “It turns out that only 1% of the active playerbase is considered toxic – these are the players who are abusive to other players in a large number of their games.”
Lin acknowledged that the percentage of abusive players in an average LoL match is typically quite a bit higher than 1% – but Riot believe that the vast majority of behavioural problems are reactionary, and can be kept in check with an occasional ticking off.
“What we’re learning in the data is that context inside and outside a game can twist behaviors – it can even create toxic behaviors in good people,” continued Lin. “A player might have a bad day at work and get yelled at by their boss, then go home to play some League of Legends.
“At this point, the player already has high frustration levels or has a low tolerance for mistakes, and might end up raging at his teammates for several games; this pattern of behavior can create ripples in the community, and cause other players to have a bad day – this behavioral effect is like a toxin that can percolate and spread across hundreds and thousands of games.
“Given 10 players in a game, and the randomness that comes from every player having a unique circumstance, tolerance level and context, it’s now easy to see why a high number of games seem toxic-in each game, 1-2 players might be having bad days in real life, or in-game.”
Behavioural Alerts will be intelligent – they’ll take into account individual reputations and will apparently be able to distinguish false reports from the real deal. They’re currently in testing on the PBE, and once translations to various languages are complete they’ll be added in an upcoming patch.
What’s your take on Lin’s assessment? Does your experience of LoL’s playerbase match up?