A Finer Line
I had a unique experience in League of Legends this weekend. That’s right, the game I swore off months ago has again come into my play cycle, and while I’d like to say I’ve found a good balance for it (only one game a day, which helps me prevent getting too frustrated), history has shown that often my perception of “a good balance” and the reality of it are not the same.
My wife and I virtually always play a cooperative game vs. intermediate AI, and we virtually always win. I’m not sure whether the int. AI bots have been made easier or whether my wife and I have simply become better players (or both), but I used to only have a 50/50 or so win rate against int. AI bots, but now have won every game we’ve played – except one.
It’s this one loss that prompted this correspondence, that generated a truly unique situation for me. For it was this one that I was notified, after the fact, that I had been behaved “negatively.” It seems these “Behavior Alerts” were added in a recent patch and are prompted by “uncharacteristic spikes in negative behavior.”
Now, I’ve praised LoL for its community management ideas in the past, and I think this idea has some merit, but from what reading I’ve done on it, it seems to target good players who are having an “off day.” The fact that LoL itself identifies this program as targeting “uncharacteristic” bad behavior seems to support what I’ve read.
The game I was playing was making me irritated. During this game, it occurred to me that the only difference in my being a “good leader” (for which I have the banner) and having a “negative attitude” was whether or not the other players listened to me. In this game, we had some very bad players. Let me again point out that this is the only intermediate AI game I’ve lost in months. I knew there was going to be a problem when one of the players at the start of a game ran into a turret and committed suicide, then lol’d about it.
It was a bot game, so I didn’t really care, and they didn’t repeat the behavior, but it set a precedent for childishness and immaturity. I was jungling, so I wasn’t even having to deal with a lane partner, but the repeated incompetence of all the laners (my wife was supporting as best she could) was pretty staggering.
I suspect these were just people who needed to be in beginner Ai games, not “bad people” or even really “bad players,” but just inexperienced doofuses. We were all there once, so rather than follow the typical LoL behavior and berate them, I did my best to ping and strategize, to warn players when bots were leaving lanes, give them a heads up when I was heading in for a gank, and the like.
But they didn’t follow any of my suggestions or heed any of my warnings. At first, this meant that we were slowly but consistently losing turrets – an event in and of itself pretty unlikely in my recent bot games. Eventually the game moved to team fights, and I was in the thick of things, playing Rammus. With my wife’s support, I had no problem going 2 on 3 and winning, but I couldn’t handle 4 or 5 of them without some dps help, and that’s just it. They weren’t. They were never there. I’d ping for help, or go to their lanes to help them, or swoop out of jungle for a gank, and they’d just leave.
Luckily, with my wife’s support, I usually survived those situations, so I dusted myself off, explained my ping, asked that particular player to hang around when I was coming to help their lane, and moved on.
But after the 10th or 20th time it happened, I admit I started to lose my cool. The bots were pushing into our base, and I’d just been destroyed in a 5 v 5 teamfight that turned into a 2 v 5 when the 3 dps just ran away after I engaged, having pinged the kill target to let the other players know who to go after when I powerballed in. I pointed out it’d be a lot more efficient if we’d all stick together, and asked them to defend at base until my wife and I rezzed.
Instead, one at a time, the three of them went to fight the entire enemy team, and were, one at a time, killed.
So I triggered a surrender vote, watching the bots push into our inhibitor turret, and lost the vote 3 to 2. The idiots wanted to keep playing. I swear that staying in an obviously lost AI game is a form of harassment; there’s no victory “being robbed” from the other team, it’s just a waste of time.
Well, sorry, but I left. I had dinner to cook, Card Hunter to play, or any of a thousand better things to do than continue to waste my time with people who completely refuse to work together. I know based on the Summoner’s Code that it was wrong, and I’m admitting it because I want to be honest and open whether I’m right or wrong, but I was done. Done. I wasn’t dealing with those imbeciles any more.
When I came back to the game after dinner, I had the negative behavior alert. Yes, I’d earned it fair and square, but all it really showed was how I, a person with literally hundreds of helpfuls, friendlies, and teamwork honor points was the same person as the person now receiving a bad behavior warning. The only difference was whether people worked with me or against me. I apparently have no tolerance for the latter (though that’s not news by any stretch of the imagination). There is a fine, fine line between leader and villain, and League of Legends is just the type of environment to bring that out.
So that’s my unique experience. They want me to maintain my good behavior, but of course there’s no record of how hard I worked during that match to make things work out, just the record of me finally giving up. LoL has designed a system to chastise their good players when they’re at their most fed up, which I suspect is a stupid idea. It didn’t make me reflective at all; it made me shrug and say, “If they take away my banner, to hell with them. I’ll just play something else.”
Why not focus on a new, more aggressive system to deal with bad players instead of kicking your good players when they’re down? All that seems likely to do is reduce the good player population.
I guess we’ll see when the data comes in, but from my personal point of view, a short message to “be better” isn’t going to change my behavior at all; I’m an intelligent, reflective adult. I do what I do because I’ve thought about it and it’s what I want. A trite message won’t change me one bit, and that puts them straddling another fine, fine line between trying to promote good behavior and just being a jerk.
Stubborn (and deservedly named)