With great power… comes the need for great design

a league of their own
League of Legends is a fun, free to play DotA clone that I have been enjoying on and off for a couple of months. I like it cause I can jump in and play a round or two and get my fix in less than an hour. Recently the people at Riot games (maker’s of the League) put out an interesting post in their forums.

And so, in response to this request for leadership, we here at Riot Games have set down a few guidelines for becoming one of these great players. May I present, The Summoner’s Code! Henceforth, these nine patterns of behavior shall be the creed that governs all League of Legends players as you continue to fight the good fight out there on the Field of Justice:

* Support your Team
* Drive Constructive Feedback
* Facilitate Civil Discussion
* Enjoy Yourself, but not at Anyone Else’s Expense
* Build Relationships
* Show Humility in Victory, and Grace in Defeat
* Be Resolute, not Indignant
* Leave No Newbie Behind!
* Lead by Example

Essentially they are trying to make player’s responsible for other player’s experience online, which is a good intention to have – we all should act responsibly towards others, some people go with 10 commandments, others the 8 fold path, or the 4 noble truths… but these are games and there’s a reason why every game seems to be released with this caveat: “Online Interactions not rated by the ESRB”.

So while I feel the intention is right, I wonder what design features that Riot could implement to help their disciples along. Especially for myself, a player with only a couple IRL friends playing the game, a player who skews about a decade older than the high schoolers who flood the servers in the summer.

Currently there are a few ways to manage your multiplayer experience in LoL.
-A friends list that allows you to keep friendly players close at hand when you are setting up an arranged team match
-You can choose to ignore a player, but only after finishing a round playing against them
-You can also choose to report a player for their behaviour

Here are some small changes they could add which would greatly enhance the play experience.
-A site like Linkedin keeps track of your friends but also the friends of your friends, if this 2nd degree friend list were used to help with matchmaking in LoL you would likely see an increase in the amount of nice folks you get to play with.
-Allow you to ignore player’s (on either team) texts during the match.
-Allow you to rate players with a thumbs up/down model as seen on youtube. Reporting a player for just being a jerk seems like abuse of the system, the reporting feature is really there for the lowest of the low, the hateful folks who spring up online from time to time, this thumbs up/down system would encourage better play especially if it could be tied in with xp or ip gain. Being in the top 50% of thumbs up rated people would bring you a small xp bonus, being in the bottom 50% of the thumbs down people would limit your xp gain by a slight proportion.
This system would have to be tested against abuse by players wishing to game this xp gain, but it would be a way of encouraging players to follow this summoner’s code.

Can good behaviour be incentivized? Maybe, just maybe some of these democratic and anonymous mechanics we develop for the multiplayer world will one day translate into practical solutions for civic problem solving. But until the day we can eliminate trolls from the political system, let’s at least be able to mute them in game!

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3 Responses to “With great power… comes the need for great design”

  1. you actually CAN ignore people while playing, just type their /ignore [their name]

  2. George B Says:

    That’s good to know, I wonder if the in-game ignore just mutes them or will also remove them from future matchmaking cues?

  3. it is INTENDED to be like the real ignore, i believe, but in my experience it works about 50% of the time.

    i think you can also add people to your friends list while you’re playing by typing /flist [name]

    but, as you can imagine, i have yet to use that particular feature

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