League of Legends developer Riot Games launched an interesting experiment today. They're giving out rewards to LoL players who team up with friends.

"We all know playing with friends makes for a more friendly League, so we’re sweetening the pot for teaming up," Riot said in a post published today. "For the next two weeks, queue up with friends both new and old to rack up [Influence Points] with Party Rewards. The new system awards bonus multipliers based on the size of your premade party. In this trial period, we’ll look to see if features like this one can give you more opportunities to crack nexii with friends and make for positive games."

Party Rewards function like normal Influence Point Rewards in that you'll get a different amount depending on your queue. While there's some chance involved (you might not get any Party Reward or you may get a huge one), you'll generally get a bigger payout if you're grouped with more friends. Here's how the rewards will scale depending on your group size:
  • Party of one - N/A
  • Party of two - 4x IP
  • Party of three - 6x IP
  • Party of four - 8x IP
  • Full team - 16x IP
Influence Points are a currency players can spend on runes, runebook pages and new champions within the game. Veterans probably have more than they can spend at this point. Still, with Riot continually adding new champions, there's a good chance veterans find some use for these rewards.

"After the trial period, we’ll temporarily disable the feature and sort through the data and learn what the partying hath wrought. We’ll be back to talk more about the future of Party Rewards soon."

Riot Games attempts to clean up League of Legends have been an interesting subplot. They recently gave out an IP boosts to players who hadn't been reported for chat violations. Years ago, they instituted a Tribunal in which players can judge toxic members of their community and levy punishments. Punishments doled out to offenders include bans, suspensions and exclusion from ranked play. An Honor System lets players commend good behavior.

Fellow MOBA Heroes of the Storm gives players an experience points bonus if they group with friends. It's a smart incentive, in my opinion. There's less friction between teammates if they're friends (or so you'd hope) and that leads to a more enjoyable match. The more fun the game is, the more likely these players are to stick around. I suspect that Riot will be happy with the results of their experiment but we'll see.

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