Online gaming is not always the pleasant experience. Fellow gamers can be offensive, elitist or just plain annoying. League of Legends creators Riot Games are hoping to stem that behavior in their game by rewarding well-behaved players.
Riot has been very proactive about policing player behavior. Their Leaver Buster system automatically suspends or bans players that leave in the middle of matches. LoL's Tribunal feature, meanwhile, allows players to vote for or against disciplining reported players. They've never taken time to acknowledge the players that have a positive influence in the game, though.
"Today, we’d like to introduce Honor, our positive feedback initiative," said LoL designer Jeffrey Lin on the game's forums. "We’re well versed in research done on concepts in psychology such as positive reinforcement and how it can improve behaviors, and we’ve also found that some of the most meaningful, memorable moments in League come from the positive interactions players have with each other."
Lin then gave an example of one player reassuring another player when the match takes a turn for the worst. It's not a big gesture but it's something that could have a positive impact on you. Those are the sorts of gestures they hope will be rewarded.
The exact mechanics of the Honor system weren't mentioned. For example, it's not clear whether gaining Honor will give you any sort of in-game reward. Participating in the Tribunal earns you bonus Influence Points that can be used in purchasing Champions and other items. I wouldn't be surprised if players with high Honor were slipped some extra IP as well.
Players will have some time to get used to the Honor System before it's eventually pushed to live servers. Riot will include the feature in the next Public Beta Environment update.
Update: The honor system is now live.