One of the biggest problems of running a MOBA title like League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth or DotA 2, is that the communities that play them can be extremely caustic. Most players are nice enough, passively playing away with the odd ping to give you a heads up, but due to the synergy needed between teammates to have a truly strong team, there’s often some negative interactions when one player’s weaknesses throw a spanner in the works. While ok in small doses, regular lashings of abuse from singular players, can push other gamers out of the game, not wishing to deal with nasty players. In essence, they take their ball and go home.
To help combat this, the developers of these games have been introducing different measures to try and stomp out the worst of the worst. LoL developer Riot Games often bans players for repeated offences and has a tribunal system. Valve on the other hand, has introduced game-wide, temporary chat bans for those that repeatedly abuse their fellow players; and it appears to be working.
According to a statement from the Half Life developer, there’s already been a 35 per cent drop in “negative interactions,” between players, with over 60 per cent of those given chat bans going on to reform their behaviour.
While some people haven’t been happy with the ban system, Valve justified it by saying that the worst thing that can happen, is people quit playing just because other people are nasty to them. Sure you can ignore and try and find other teammates, but if you have repeated games with horrible people, it starts to not become fun and then really, what’s the point in playing?
“That thinking led us to the current communication ban system,” reads the blog post (via PCGamesN). “Its goal is to reduce the toxicity that occurs verbally or via text chat, and as a result, to avoid causing players to quit the game solely due to negative communication experiences.”
“Our data shows this is working exactly as we hoped,”the statement continues. “Many players banned eventually reach a ban free communication style, and the percentage of players being reported for communication bans is dropping over time.”
KitGuru Says: Good to see a new way of cutting back on the a**holes has paid off. Unfortunately they’re one of the main reasons I don’t play LoL for more than a few months at a time. That and to get good requires taking it seriously and who wants to do that?