This past two weeks I have been playing many ranked games in League of Legends and during that time I had the “pleasure” of experiencing the less-than-stellar player community.
I have had my League of Legends account for more than a year and while I had seen bits and pieces of the hostile in-game community in action it is nothing compared to how some of the players interact in the competitive, ranked games.
While I know that for the most part the LoL community is supportive of each other, there is a very vocal minority in the player-base whose comments are the ones people remember after the play session. Unfortunately these are the players that people end up associating with the game.
I think the problem with League’s community is how the entire game is built. An average game creates two teams of five players from a randomly selected pool of thousands or millions and unless you are friends of your teammates, or you specifically reached out and sent a friend an invite to play once you have competed together, after the match you are almost guaranteed to never see your teammates or opponents ever again.
Because of this structure, it allows players to judge other players based on first impressions and how well people have performed in an isolated game.
This type of player interaction only intensifies when you add progression into the mix. With progression, you do not get the chance to move up in the leader boards. The constant threat of failure and demotion motivates people to perform at their most competitive and that’s when the bad side of players comes out.
It is incredibly difficult to work as a team with other people if you do not know how invested they are in the match. They could be playing at their best or they could not care about the outcome of the match. When your progression through the player leader boards is on the line, it can be frustrating seeing one person sabotage the entire game.
The only comparison I could make to what Warcraft’s community is like is this, imagine Blizzard gave an option to enter a normal or heroic raid difficulty in the Raid Finder service and in that normal and heroic raids, it follows the same loot drop design and weekly lockouts as any other guild raid. Imagine the frustration that would come from that option, with League, it’s almost the same thing.
The question emerges, “how do you fix the problem?” and I have no idea how to solve the problem of abusive and unethical player interaction with anything less than a complete overhaul of game. A massive overhaul could be done by fracturing the servers into smaller groups to promote a sense of community, like how Warcraft’s fractured servers promoted server community. Or Riot could go with what Blizzard’s did and only allow proper endgame content (ranked matches) to be available to premade teams. By only allowing premade teams to play competitively Riot would put the responsibility of creating a team consisting of teammates with the same goals on the players (either have fun or progressing through the ranks) to be involved in the games.
What do you think? For League players, do you think that the community is bad enough to justify a change in the game, and if so what would you recommend?
Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays