League of Legends players who play Ranked matches typically receive a set of awards at the end of each season. For Season 5, however, many misbehaving players won't be getting any of these rewards.
Riot Games' Jeffrey Lin outlined the company's new policies on his Ask.fm page. At first, he said that "players who have been Chat Restricted, Ranked Restricted or Game Banned during the 2015 Season will not receive Season Rewards in Ranked." Furthermore, players with 20 minute Low Priority Queues - due to repeatedly disconnecting from or leaving games before they're done - would also miss out on Season 5 swag. This shocked a lot of players because this would mean anyone with just one offense would be deprived of rewards that took hours upon hours of Ranked matches to earn.
However, as Lin later clarified, the policies are a bit less rigid than that. For starters, you can earn S5 rewards if you were restricted from chat or Ranked matches. As long as you don't have an active restriction at the end of the season, you'll be okay. Riot hopes this will encourage toxic players to change their ways.
Furthermore, you can earn rewards if you've received Low Priority Queues. Riot realizes that there are some players who are legitimately getting disconnected from games due to Internet issues. "Extremely chronic" leavers who have ditched many games over the season won't get Season 5 bonuses, though. As Lin notes, these kinds of players have ruined "hundreds of thousands" of games through this behavior.
There's one group that won't get any kind of mercy from Riot: players that have received 7-day or 14-day bans for excessive toxicity. None of them will receive Ranked Rewards for 2015:
Players that have received these types of bans have shown some of the most egregious behaviors in the game, and we have a zero tolerance policy against things like racism, sexism, homophobia and other kinds of hate speech. These players WILL be eligible for Ranked Rewards in future seasons if they reform and are not flagged for excessive behaviors in future seasons.
These new policies build on Riot's rules from last season. During Season 4, players who were "excessively toxic" likewise missed out on rewards.
Season rewards are admittedly small items. At the lower tiers, they include summoner icons, a banner trim for your profile and a border for your champion on the loading screen for each match. Players who reach Gold divisions and above will also get a Victorious skin for one champion.
The exclusivity of the rewards and the time investment required give these rewards extra value to players, though. Withholding them from toxic players seems like a really strong punishment. I wish Riot had announced these policies months ago, though, to make them a more effective deterrent. If a player already lost out on rewards due to a week-long ban earlier in the season, what incentive do they have to clean up their act now?