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When Bad Outweighs Good

June 5, 2013

Dear Reader,

Perhaps it’s just having to put up with my parents for a weekend, but I had a short fuse moment the other day with League of Legends.  I recanted my statement about not running into the jerks of the game a while ago, and since then I’ve simply harbored myself in the safer haven of intermediate (safer in that there’s only half as many people to be jerks).  One of the final straws for me I wrote about before, the game where two people absolutely refused to compromise on who got to play what spot, and as a result, our team was wrecked by the other team, which was working together.

Through all this, I’ve stayed in the games.  It’s Riot’s prerogative to keep players in games, because leaving would unfairly benefit one side or the other.  For that reason, if you’re teamed with someone who’s a terrible person, harassing you, and tearing you down, you can be punished if you just walk away.  There was a bit of a hullabaloo at PAX about this, in fact, when at the “How do we improve the community?” forum that Riot ran, the first audience speaker went on a tirade about that very policy.  The gentleman stood at the mic far longer than was comfortable for anyone in the room, and in fact began getting booed at one point, though I and a few others shut that down.

You see, even when I was unhappy with this dude’s behavior (which quite literally prevented me from getting to ask my question, as I was next when time ran out and that guy had talked for like 10 minutes), I tried to keep order, keep things polite, keep things working.

It’s with that in mind that I dropped a LoL match today.  I’ve never done it before, as I’ve said.  I always stuck it through regardless of the jerks or terrible situations that might have occurred.  At first, perhaps I saw it through out of a sense of fair play.  That was replaced by a sense of duty, as I had made a social agreement to play with these people even if I ended up hating them.  Then that was replaced by a sense of fear; I didn’t want to be punished by Riot for a bad behavior.  In the end, though, the negativity became greater than any positive or negative force tying me to the game.

And today was really no big deal.  My wife and I were playing, we called top, no one argued, so after we waited a bit we locked in.  The other players locked in as mid and bottom.  Then the last person picked a jungler and locked in.  A jungle with a solo bot; it doesn’t work, not even in AI games – especially in AI games, since the solo ranged bottom will be up against at least 2 ranged characters, most likely.  I grumbled a bit when we loaded in but moved to bottom to support them – I was still willing to work it out and be a team player.  I pointed that out in chat, and rather than getting any kind of thanks, which I didn’t expect – or even silence, which I would have been fine with, I was given shit about it.  It wasn’t even the jungler, whose opinion I couldn’t have cared less about, since he was clearly a selfish jerk anyway; it was one of the other players, the mid (the bottom was more than happy to have me, since I arrived right as the first reaming took place and quite literally saved his life with a shield).

So I dropped.  I don’t really care about the consequences; my fatigue with social problems in games has become that great.  I doubt there’ll be any, anyway, since it’s my first “offense,” but even if there are, quite frankly, fuck it.  I’m tired of having jerks determine whether or not I can have a pleasant experience in games.  LoL was brought into my gaming rotation with the idea of getting a 5 person team with which to play.  I apparently can’t, so whatever happens, happens.

This is very reminiscent of the time in WoW I got kicked from a ZF run because I stopped pulling due to a mage who was needing on everything.  I tried to kick him, which failed, and in return I was kicked.  When the inmates run the asylum, no one’s safe, ever, and while I’m sure I’ll play more LoL in the future, I just don’t think I have it in me any more to fight.  Jerks will be jerks, and they can be so without me.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and tired)

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2013 7:43 am

    Sorry about that but this is why I spend very little engaging in social contact in an MMO. I’ve never believed the happy-happy talk that Riot and it’s supporters spewed about how good a job they do in keeping the community clean. I’ve had that responsibility, on a much smaller scale, and the only way that I found to make it work was to just ban people after a warning. Not something any for-profit company will consider.

    Have you looked at Hex? Half TCG, Half RPG with a discrete set of PvP cards to permit wild stuff in quests, dungeons, and raids that will not contaminate tournaments. It’s not going to be nearly the same as a traditional isomorphic MMO but if you like the deck-building game style and continuing characters it may be interesting.

    • June 5, 2013 11:40 am

      I think Riot’s doing more than anyone else for their community. It’s just that there’s far more adolescent or immature jerks out there than they can possibly stem the tide of. I can’t think of another company that does more, actually. In fact, there’s an interesting Extra Credits episode on the topic of toxicity (accessible through the Penny Arcade page) that I found pretty good; instead of talking about jerks, it talks about how all of us succumb to jerkiness from time to time. Check it out (:

      Thanks for the comment!

    • Samus permalink
      June 5, 2013 1:49 pm

      I think it is more of a sad statement of gaming culture. In the example you described, my guess is that mid would not be punished by the tribunal. Unless they are overtly racist/offensive, or spamming in all caps, I feel like the community expects that negativity on its own is acceptable. Think how shocked people would be if a game really banned players for telling other players “you suck, you are the reason we are losing/failing.” Maybe they ARE the reason that team is losing. You can’t know that by chat.

    • June 5, 2013 4:22 pm

      I don’t doubt that they are trying to do something, and given what other companies are doing it wouldn’t be hard to be best of a horrid batch. What I always questioned were the statements I read on how nice and professional the LoL community was, how you almost never ran into a jerk and if you did punishment was on the way. I am far too bitter and cynical to believe that any company is going to drop the ultimate sanction in any but the most egregious cases.

  2. June 5, 2013 8:09 am

    I don’t blame you at all. I just quit LoL all together. I can enjoy myself more in other ways.

    • June 5, 2013 11:15 am

      I’ve been asking my wife a similar question recently: what does LoL provide that other games don’t, and what other games might provide it w/o the LoL community?

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. June 5, 2013 10:23 am

    Sorry that happened to you, Stubborn.

    Out of curiosity, are you sure the person in middle wasn’t simply stupid and didn’t understand what was happening? I wasn’t there, obviously, and I know little about LoL, but what exactly was the person saying? Is it possible he thought *you* were being a jerk/complete idiot by what you were doing (even though he was wrong)?

    • June 5, 2013 11:14 am

      Misunderstandings can certainly happen, but I suspect this wasn’t one of them. There is a deeply ingrained “meta” game to LoL, which is largely ignorable when playing against computer AI, but even so, you don’t want to have 1 person – probably a ranged character (as was the case here) on bottom against 2 characters who are either both ranged (so the solo ranged person will get double teamed) or a ranged person and a support character, so no matter how well the 1 person plays, the other 2 will dominate them.

      It’s different with solo top, because the concept there is that you build a tanky character who does basically nothing but stand under their defensive structure and let the other team futilely push against them until they make a mistake. You could theoretically turn that whole thing on its head, but then you’ll still have 2 ranged being able to take potshots at the solo tanky character. There’s no reason that you have to follow the meta, but if you don’t, often the meta will win, and the “intermediate” AI does not screw around; it makes moves requiring coordination that would be impossible for a human team, so care needs to be taken.

      So while I was probably being a jerk by leaving the game, I don’t think I was being a complete idiot, but then, who ever does?

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Krel permalink
    June 5, 2013 12:41 pm

    This is IMHO by far the biggest problem in online gaming – there is zero accountability and people just act like assholes because of it, and it drives other people to either join the assholes themselves or eventually get sick of it and quit. It’s not the same thing as trash-talking, taunting your opponent is definitely part of the game. It’s the aspect of going after people on your team that’s the problem.

    I’ve started to notice an increase in this in WoT which makes me sad.

    On a separate note, you’re backing Star Citizen, right? 🙂 I’ve been waiting for that game for the last twenty years or so…

  5. Samus permalink
    June 5, 2013 1:28 pm

    My friends and I actually abandoned Intermediate bot games after a string of very toxic teammates. The game mode seems to attract personality types that refuse to acknowledge any of their own failings, and instead are very quick to cast blame on others. I’m not saying PvP doesn’t have plenty of toxicity, obviously, but if you’re playing Intermediate bots to avoid negativity, I think you’re in the wrong place.

    I think you should try ARAM. It winds up having far fewer arguments and less toxicity. You can’t decide what champions you get, so there’s no argument about that. Everyone goes mid, so there’s no argument about where people are supposed to be. You can’t recall/heal at the summoner’s platform, so everyone dies lots of times (I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone accused of “feeding” in ARAM). Because you can’t choose your champion, it is expected that sometimes you will get champions you aren’t good at (mentioning that at champion select really helps here). I can’t say there is never any toxicity, but I think it is substantially less.

    Also, it is kind of a fun change of pace to play lots of different champions that you normally wouldn’t have tried.

  6. June 10, 2013 7:38 pm

    I think the reason you get SO MUCH vitriol is because SOME vitriol is acceptable. As Samus said in the their first comment, it is acceptable to NOT ban a player using abusive speech at all. The only thing Riot and the tribunal do is judge to what extent the abuse was acceptable. The problem is that it’s acceptable at all.

    In other words, if in ANY chat log comments like “you suck” were uttered, that person should get a temp ban no questions asked — including anyone else in that game who used it — on principle. You can’t have a sliding Scale of Acceptable Negativity. Either it’s not welcome, or it is. In the case of LoL, Riot has a policy that some negativity is entirely legit. This is the wrong stance to take.

    it’s also why they will continue to waste their time and efforts on systems designed to accept some negative. I agree they have done most, but they’ve almost done as much damage to their community with this policy than they would otherwise have done.

    • June 10, 2013 7:38 pm

      Correction: I didn’t mean “you” personally, Stubborn. I mean to say “we” in the opening sentence.

Trackbacks

  1. An Open Letter to Riot | Sheep The Diamond

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