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I Should be in Bed

June 11, 2015

Dear Reader,

I really should be in bed, but it’s the last school night, and I just can’t help staying up a little late.

Thought it’s been nearly two weeks, I finally heard back from a custserv rep from Riot who was actually addressing my leaving issue.  You may recall that after leaving a game, I was required to type in “I agree” in a box stating that i would not leave further matches.  While it’s completely unreasonable to care so much about such an unimportant topic… well, really, I don’t.  I’m enjoying Heroes of the Storm well enough; it’s not got the depth I’m used to – and it is real added depth, though I’ve read reviewers who’ve argued it’s not – but I enjoy it well enough.

Anyway, I won’t commit many more posts to this, if any (maybe one more), as I suspect the Riot team’s going to get tired of dealing with me, but I figured I’d let you know how it’s been playing out.

Greetings Summoner,

Sorry it took a while to get back to you.

After reading through your ticket I’m afraid there has been some confusion; let’s see what I can clear up for you.

Firstly I can verify that you were AFK in one game recently that did prompt this warning to occur. It is also true that I cannot remove this lock, I’ve even had to agree with it after the power in my area went out.

As you state, if you are going to continue leaving games in negative situations that I cannot condone that you agree to that prompt, and that it would bring this situation between us to a standstill. I say this because by queuing up for a game you are agreeing to follow the Summoner’s Code and play out each game to the best of your ability regardless of the situation. If you cannot bring yourself to do that then this game may not be for you.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

<Custserv rep>
Player Behavior and Game Support
“Standing defiant in the face of adversity must be tempered with reasoned judgement” (emphasis mine)

Well, that’s a fair enough response, but the rep’s quote got me thinking, so I responded as follows.

<Custserv rep>,

I certainly understand your stance from both a professional and personal view; leaving a game can negatively affect players who weren’t guilty of the harassment.

Your personal quote, though, speaks of reasoned judgment, and I wonder whether or not it’s reasonable to expect players like me, who refuse to deal with multiple negative players on their team, to honor a code that a majority of my other teammates are not honoring. It seems to me that reason would dictate that if a majority of other players in the match (2 of the other 3, since I’d be playing with my wife as well) were already breaking the summoner’s code by being jerks, that removing myself from the situation would be completely reasonable. Muting one person is bad enough, as it not only potentially affects gameplay but also is the equivalent of sticking one’s head in the sand, but muting two seems very dangerous simply from a gameplay standpoint; not knowing what 2/3rds of the rest of the team is doing – lacking that communication – seems suicidal in a game so heavily team based.

In fact, it seems that blindly following rules whether or not they make sense in a particular situation is the opposite of reasoned judgment; it’s mindless obedience, which I can understand a desire for from your players but don’t really think you expect from such a huge and diverse player base. If I had just done what I’m sure everyone else does and typed “I agree,” even when we both know I didn’t, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. I have no real faith that Riot truly believes that everyone who types that they agree to not leave matches will not do so; in fact, I suspect, and I think you’re well aware, that it’s simply a documentation tool so you can later go after habitual deserters with their own words. I understand.

I have no defense for my actions other than reasoned judgment. I would prefer to be honest with you about what to expect when I face a wave of negativity from multiple teammates. I don’t think forcing people to type in statements that any of them who intentionally left – not due to an electrical outage – don’t really mean is the right response, for while it does provide you with a paper trail later, it only drives a wedge into the player/custserv relationship that already suffers from a credibility gap that goes along with such a statement.

In fact, I wonder what you would reasonably suggest one do in a situation such as that. If I simply ignore it, it empowers the harasser to continue to do so; their behavior is for the audience of the rest of the team, not just to upset other people. If I mute them, then I put my team at a strategic disadvantage that the harasser doesn’t really care about; if they truly cared about winning, then they wouldn’t be attacking their teammates in a harassing fashion. Both of these benefit the jerk and disempower the victim either through having to tolerate being verbally attacked or through having a communications disadvantage. Neither of these is acceptable, so what do you suggest to solve the problem?

If you truly cannot lift it, then so be it. I’m sorry to leave the game, as I’m sure my wife will be. Perhaps sometime in the future when a new customer behavior initiative is tried out and this one may be retired, you can let us know and we can return, but I can’t help feeling that you’re driving away honest and thoughtful players while empowering the jerks that caused them to leave the match in the first place. That’s the environment this initiative is creating, even if it’s only a few players and a little bit at a time.

I hope to hear back from you or others on your team on these troubling topics.

Reasonably yours,

I feel pretty good about this response.  Of course, it mostly refers to a somewhat arbitrary message the rep happened to have in their signature, but he or she opened that door by having it there.  I’m curious to see how they respond.

On other notes, I’ve been playing Heroes of the Storm.  I saved up 10k gold and bought Nova first thing, mostly because I like sniper-like classes and she had a big sniper rifle.  I think I made a pretty good decision, as I’m raking in the kills – bot kills, yes, but that’s all my wife wants to play.  Who am I to argue?

I’ve also continued playing Grim Dawn, a Diablo-style ARPG.  It’s pretty solid, but my buddy and I both had a mid-game hardcore death due to hubris – the greatest killer of heroes.  Don’t be in areas 10 levels higher than you are, no matter how easy the areas 9 levels higher than you seem to be.  My buddy died first, as he always does in hardcore modes, but after a poutfest on his part we dusted ourselves off and jumped back in.

I’m moving through Valkyria Chronicles, which I’m really enjoying; each combat mission comes with a rating, though, and I’m obsessing over my poor scores.  It seems to me that if I finish a mission with no deaths no matter how many turns it takes I shouldn’t be given a D – a “below average” rating.  ZERO DEATHS!  FULL SUCCESS!  How can that be below average?

At any rate, that’s where I am.  Tomorrow’s the last day of this terrible school year!  More on that another time.


Stubborn (a teacher, not a babysitter)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2015 7:30 am

    I think you are in the right, and I loved reading this post because it was a nuance about Riot’s approach I hadn’t considered. I think their need for the game to be competitive will always be opposed, at least in some sense, to their ability to make it a friendlier game to play. They have gone after big named assholes, but here alone you make a good point why focusing on the leaver and not why they left is a big mistake.

    I too have been playing HOTS lately. I am never against new friends and I try to always play as friendly as possible. If the two of you need more to accompany you, I am game!

  2. June 12, 2015 8:30 am

    Heroes of the Storm! If you want someone to play in Quick Match with, I’d be happy to do so. I love this game much more than I ever did League or Dota 2, and I keep expanding my friends list just for it. I just don’t play against bots because…well, I tried it once for a friend, and it seems like a guaranteed win.

    I also love Hero League, but I’m way too much of a try-hard in there.

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