It looks like Riot Games has decided to take action against its most offensive players in the hit MOBA League of Legends. They announced a plan to restrict problematic users from ranked play.
This announcement immediately received some backlash from the community, who see the move as a way of punishing non-ranked players, too, as they will now be more likely to find themselves squaring off against Pirate-mouth Pete, Homophobic Henry and Racist Rachelle.
League of Legends pits two teams against one another in combat that requires loads of strategy and cooperation. Players control a hero of their choice, boasting their own set of special abilities. In the quest to control the most zones, these heroes allow for infinite customization, allowing teams to design a roster that's perfectly suited to their techniques and goals.
Like in many online games, however, mics are open for chatting in League of Legends and, as you might guess, some people who play the game are just about the worst type of person you could hope to run into. Abusive and offensive language isn't new to gaming, but Riot is at least trying to correct that behavior by coming up with some sort of punishment for the game's most toxic players. Rather than ban them from the game, however, they're being relegated to the kiddie table at the family dinner. As you might guess, that's proven to be an upsetting revelation for the folks who were already sitting at that table.
In today's announcement, “Riot Socrates” laid down the groundwork, explaining that the new feature's purpose is to enhance the quality of ranked play. League of Legends is one of the closest things gaming has to a professional support, after all, so it makes sense that the powers that be would want to put their best foot forward within the game's most contested matches.
The new system is known as Ranked Restrictions, which keeps “negative players” from joining in-game chat and restricts prevents them from even logging into the ranked queues. The system will be tested out now in North America and Europe and, depending on the results of the trial phase, may become standard practice. For the time being, the restriction requires the unsavory players to compete in a certain number of un-ranked matches before they can once again join the ranked crowd. Think of it as a virtual timeout.
Mercifully, the announcement goes on to explain that Legends Ranked Restricted players will be “Chat Restricted” as well, which means they shouldn't be able to speak to their teammates and, therefore, spread their filth and hate to the more casual players. That's a nice idea and all but, in a game that relies so heavily on teamwork, it seems like it might also hamstring players on regular servers by sticking them with a player who they can't even communicate with.
Player reaction has been mixed in the comments, ranging from cheers from those who feel like it's a step in the right direction, to those who feel like this is turning a more relaxed, friendly server into a “prisoner's island.” For those who are curious, it only took a page of comments before Hitler was brought up. Go, internet! At least things haven't gotten too out of hand, just yet.