While Riot might be coming right off the back of its banning of a pro League of Legends player, it's still hot at work on figuring out the best way to combat one of the game's big problems: the persistence of negative and trolling players.
MOBA titles have a reputation for having aggressive player bases, whether it's the other team or your own, often someone is bashing someone else. However Riot has made big efforts to try and curb this behaviour, since it can often lead to people simply not playing the game because the experience wasn't acceptable. To help combat it, Riot introduced reporting and player tribunals, as well as honour points that are accrued when you're a nice player.
The latest step on this ladder to a troll free society, has been hiring a neuroscientist and psychologist to try and understand what it is that triggers trolling behaviour and what can be done to combat it. Speaking with Gamasutra, lead producer for LoL, Travis George said: “We actually have built a team around this. We call it, lovingly, the Player Behaviour and Justice Team. There are a lot of really talented folks on that team, including two PhDs. One's a cognitive neuroscientist and one's a behavioural psychologist.”
“We've actually developed specific trends, and our own set of metrics that we look at for measuring what percentage of times we think that players will encounter a negative experience in a game, and how severe that negative experience is,” he added.
Riot does accept that in a competitive environment, as with any game or sport, trash talking is a part of the experience. However it draws a line at people being nasty just for the sake of it, “telling you what to do, telling you how bad you are.”
KitGuru Says: Some of the responses to Riot's crackdown on player trolling has been negative, saying that if you're good at the game you won't get trolled. This is often a problem with very competitive team games, in that often times the people playing them forget that it's supposed to be fun – for everyone, not just them.