There's no denying that eSports is a big business and with League of Legends being one of the most popular games in the sector, not only has it given thousands a new career path, it has also made some people famous, made some rich beyond their wildest dreams and a fair few have even gotten League of Legends college scholarships too. But there's something that's rarely publicized when high profile League of Legends tournaments are being broadcast on ESPN or are filling out arenas and that's the toxic and abusive side. While not every player takes part in the racist, homophobic abuse, death threats or the intentional feeding it's hardly a rarity either.
In order to curb this bad behaviour in their massively popular free to play title, League of Legends developer and publisher Riot Games has been trying out several different methods and the latest of these is to dole out freebies to good players. Following the IP Boost (IP is the currency earned from playing games and can be used to buy new champions) it gave out in 2014, Riot will now be doling out a "classic Mystery Gift".
"Over the next few days, we'll be rewarding positive League of Legends players with a classic Mystery Gift as thanks for being such an awesome part of our community. If you haven’t received a chat restriction, ranked restriction, 14-day ban or permanent ban in 2014, and you meet the requirements to receive a Mystery Gift (you’re Level 5 or higher and there are at least 10 skins you don’t own), you’re on our list!"
In a further post on reddit, Riot's Lead Designer of Social Systems, Jeffrey Lin told players that:
"This current design is something we're trying out in 2015 and will surprise players once in awhile for their positive behavior. Because players aren't sure what the next reward is (or when it is), players will strive to be sportsmanlike in a larger range of games to try to get all the surprises. For positive players in the game, this won't really affect them and they'll just get surprises every so often for being awesome.
For neutral players, this effort might convince some of them to put in that extra effort in a few more games to get the next surprise. For toxic players, this effort might also encourage a few to change their ways though we expect the biggest impact to be with the neutral players. It's important to note that we did 2 tests of this design before (with Santa Baron icon and IP Boosts), but in future roll-outs it will be possible for players to earn the next surprise if they've been positive since the last surprise was awarded. So, if you were chat restricted and missed a surprise, you will still be eligible for the next surprise if you were positive in the time range between the 2 surprises and are not blacklisted for life."
He also stated that these rewards will be a "surprise" and not "deterministic", i.e players won't be able to work up to them with 10 games of good behaviour and will have to exhibit good behaviour all of the time if they don't want to miss out. This is inline with Riot's existing "punishment, reform, and positive reinforcement" method and it follows on from the instant and permanent bans it introduced back in July and the rolling suspensions for competitive League players that they introduced back in November.
But will some League of Legends disregard the rules anyway? With the latest mystery gift each player will have saved around $10 each but exactly how effective this and the rest of the 2015 freebies prove to be will have to be seen.
Source: Riot Games