Sports around the world, whether they be based in the real world or online, have trash talking as part of their culture. It’s an accepted practice and is annoying when you’re on the receiving end, but we don’t expect people to be 100 per cent gentlemanly 100 per cent of the time. What it is becoming clear though, is that we expect people not to be abusive, repeatedly and unnecessarily – especially so in Esports.
Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends is leading the way in clamping down on verbal abuse and negative attitudes in professional gaming. It recently banned one pro player, describing him as the most “toxic in North America,” and now it’s followed up with two further bans. This makes both Ilyas ‘mouz enVision’ Harsema and Damien ‘aAa Linak’ Lorthios ineligible to play in the entirety of Season 3 of the League, as well as having all of their accounts permanently banned, invalidating all in-game progress and unlocks.
Often times gamers stand up against such bans, suggesting that if people don’t like the trash talking they shouldn’t be playing in a competitive game. However when you look at some of the statistics published by Riot, you begin to understand why the ban is being upheld. Harsema for example, was reported in nearly a third of all matches – reporting occurs when other players complain about the behaviour of a certain player – which according to Riot is six times the average. He has also been punished 18 times in the past for his behaviour across multiple accounts, five of such instances having occurred in the past two months.
This apparently puts him in the top 0.06 per cent of punished accounts.
Lorthios wasn’t much better, being reported in 20 per cent of his games and having one of his alternate accounts permanently banned for offensive language and verbal abuse of other players. Riot also reports that he has behaved similarly outside of the game – whether that is at official events or simply online incidents like on forums, it doesn’t say.
KitGuru Says: While you can argue all you like that trash talking is part of a game, Riot, the creator and owner of the whole League of Legends property, repeatedly told these individuals to stop and they defied it. What did they think was going to happen?