Restrictions on rankeds for AFK, inters and toxic players in LoL

One of Riot’s employees has spoken at length about the effects of measures to reduce inappropriate behavior in the game.

The League of Legends community is considered to be highly toxic. Unfortunately, this manifests itself in various ways, and name-calling or vulgarity in chat during a match is just one of them. Players complain about trolling, feeding, rage quit, i.e. abruptly leaving a match under negative emotions or walking away from the keyboard, known in the community as being AFK.

Riot has decided to combat this in various ways. The developers are improving their systems all the time. Only do their actions even accomplish anything? One of the employees told the story. Here are the conclusions that were drawn.

Fighting toxicity in League of Legends

Hana “TimTamMonster” Dinh, head of product for behavioral systems, spoke on the topic. The Rioter admitted that players regularly complained about inappropriate behavior in the game, which destroyed the enjoyment of gameplay. For this reason, the developers tried to improve their systems and increase penalties. Did it help anything?

Riot collected information and gathered statistics to see what actions have the best effect. Here are the conclusions reached.

You’ve been telling us that our recent changes have made significant positive differences to how players are acting in your games. We know there’s still so much more to do, but these changes are giving us a lot more confidence that we’re moving in the right direction, and we’re looking forward to making even more impact on preventing disruptive behavior from ruining your experience in games.

Some of the big changes we’ve introduced that you may have noticed are:

  • Automatic muting feature which automatically detects zero tolerance chat in-game, prevention of the message being sent, system muting the player, and making the action visible to all players.
  • Full integration with our upgraded game agnostic text evaluation service (GATES) machine learning models allowing us to take action on over 15x the amount of disruptive text than previously. We were thrilled to release this as it is something we’ve been working on for many months.

As a result of the above changes we made in late 2022, we heard that this improved your experience of disruptive behavior significantly.

We’ve seen increases in the following areas:

  • Player behavior systems successfully protect the game experience: Increase of 7%.
  • Riot Games implements effective programs for discouraging negative behavior: Increase of 9%.
  • Riot Games implements effective programs for encouraging positive behavior: Increase of 6%.

The developers felt that the conclusions based on the above results were that the time elapsed between the occurrence of an infraction and the punishment of a player has been reduced and that Riot’s tools support the maximum number of players and actively provide them with protection, preventing them from experiencing harmful behavior.

We’ve released some other features this year including a party chat, which allows you to only chat with your premade teammates. We know that it can often be a safer and more protected environment to communicate in your premade team rather than the entire lobby. We created new commands for muting yourself and deafening all players so other players know you are disengaging with chat. And most recently, we’ve finally released in-game reporting, allowing you to report disruptive behavior right when it happens! This unlocks us to take additional action in real time as we help improve behavior in your games.

Riot acknowledged that employees are also continuing to improve our existing ways of dealing with harmful in-game behavior. Recently, the models for assessing authoritativeness (using probability calculus to detect harmful behavior based on the number of reports) were expanded in a number of report categories. Penalties have also been added for players whenever they walk away from the computer (AFK).

Riot’s further plans

In the next few months we will be restricting Ranked play for players who have been punished by our systems. This means that if you are punished for disruptive behavior including intentional feeding, multiple AFKs, and severe chat abuse, you will be restricted from accessing the Ranked queue and will need to play in other queues to re-unlock the Ranked queue.

While there may be concerns around disruptive players moving to other queues, we recognize that the environment of the Ranked queue results in considerably more disruptive behavior. These restrictions will also be in addition to all existing punishments, so for players who are consistently disruptive, they will receive account bans where they will be unable to play any games no matter what queue for a specific period of time. We will be monitoring disruptive behavior in other queues to ensure it doesn’t measurably increase after the release.

Finally, as you know, we have two splits for this year’s Ranked season. There won’t be a separate reward for Honor at the end of the first split, and instead it will still be calculated on an annual basis. That means End of Season rewards will be awarded near the end of the calendar year.