League of Legends aims to curb toxic behavior with player “reform cards”

League of Legends
League of Legends‘ status as one of the most widely-played games in the world shows that there is plenty of fun to be had in the world of online gaming, but there is also a major problem with all games of this type: toxic players. League of Legends developer Riot Games is constantly trying to keep up with its player base’s behavior, and now it’s using a new tactic straight out of grade school: report cards.

Specifically, players can report other players for bad behavior during a match. The system then validates the report to confirm its assertions, and the offending player receives an email with a “reform card” attached, sharing a chat log of the behavior in question, as well as a notice of what the “punishment” will be.

Riot announced the new reform system yesterday in an update on the League of Legends website. The system is currently in testing, and assuming it works as intended, will be used for the game on servers worldwide.

The reform system is intended to punish the verbal harassment often rampant in online games. Specifically, Riot notes that “homophobia, racism, sexism, death threats, and other forms of excessive abuse” are the main target here. Players exhibiting this type of behavior will be punished with anywhere from two-week suspensions to permanent bans, within 15 minutes of the game’s end.

Riot mentions in the announcement that this is just the beginning of instant feedback. While the system is automated, Riot employees will review the “first few thousand” cases by hand to make sure that the system is working correctly. If it is, the company has plans in the works to introduce more reform and punishment for negative behavior, and even rewards for positive behavior.

In the future Riot plans to offer in-client reform cards as opposed to emails, follow-up notifications for the players who reported the offending players, better recognition of negative in-game behavior like feeding (intentionally dying to help the other team) and “recognition of honors and rewards for positive behaviors and communication.”

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