As a League of Legends player, especially if you've been playing since the beta, meeting toxic people on the Rift is nothing new. Whether they are inting and shifting the balance of the game to the point you can't win anymore, flaming you after each of your actions, or even trolling you, toxic players are a known plague.
The issue is all the more worrying given that this kind of behavior has seemingly become more and more common, as if we have just accepted it..
However, well-known streamer and former professional player Joedat "Voyboy" Esfahani has come spoken out to raise awareness of the issue, as he feels that's "something that has been progressively getting worse and worse every year."
"Every season, I see more people talking about it, more players affected by it, and Riot, unfortunately, hasn't done anything substantial to address the problem," states the former Dignitas and Team Curse player.
Voyboy thinks the League player base has become more and more toxic over the years — and while toxicity is nothing new, the increase of such behavior is nonetheless alarming.
"As someone who's been basically streaming and playing League full-time at Challenger level, thinking about this game all the time, I've had the worst experience of my life in the last five months of Season 10."
A lack of punishment
One could posit that such a phenomenon is isolated, but Voyboy is raising the alarm about the consistency of toxicity and the fact that toxic players fear no punishment.
"No one is scared of getting in trouble, no one is scared of getting banned, no one is scared of being barred from solo queue because Riot has really made it clear through their actions, through their lack of vocalization on these points [...] that they don't really care."
"If they did care, they would have done something by now, they would have addressed these problems as they've been building up over the last few years."
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Back in my day...
"Back in my day, people had respect for League, people never trolled games at this rate, people got into trouble when they did it, and people actually cared and loved the game and showed it in the way they played and behaved."
The real issue comes from the fact that some people are playing to win and climb the ladder, while others just want to casually enjoy their games. That's precisely why there are several queues available — to make sure that everyone can find the mode they want to play.
Committing to the ranked solo queue means you're acknowledging the fact that people playing with you are here to win, and they're expecting a certain standard from you. While that doesn't mean you have to, or even can, perform at your best all the time, it signifies you should show fair-play and (e)sportsmanship, especially towards your team.
That being said, humans aren't perfect — and that's precisely why Riot Games allows us to report players for behavior that has ruined our experience. However, it's not rare at all to cross the path of a player you've reported before, and notice that they've not been punished for their actions.
"Unless you type something and the automatic chat filter catches you, you're not getting in trouble," Voyboy concludes.
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What are the solutions?
"There has to be a solution."
Voyboy doesn't only come out with complaints, but also with proposals. It seems arrogant to suggest that there is one miracle solution that could 'fix' the problem of toxicity, but several avenues can be considered.
Reworking the punishment system seems to be the more obvious, as it certainly feels like reporting people doesn't lead to punishment. Some people suggest that Riot could ban some players from playing in ranked solo queue, while some even propose hiding this mode behind a paywall to give external value to the games people play.
Riot Games quickly responded to Voyboy's video, stating that they were aware of the growth of toxicity within the community, and that they were actually working to try and solve the issue.
The developer announced that it is preparing "a longer conversation" to address this issue. It remains to be seen if that means the Tribunal will rise from the ashes...
Travis Gafford, well-known journalist from the League of Legends scene, revealed via his YouTube channel that 2/3 of the LCS pros players had voted for an outright cancellation of Spring Split following a vote led by The Players Association.