One of the most popular features of League of Legends (LoL) may surprise you, it isn’t a weapon or skill stat, it’s the ability to report player misbehavior. While player behavior is a problem in many multi-player gaming universes, the sheer size of LoL would make you think they would bow out of reporting system by claiming it would be too complicated; instead they have developed a system that works, and is working. Managing player behavior online isn’t just about making sure there is no bullying going on; it can prevent players from cheating. That can be very important when you are in a tournament or engaged in championship play.
Why Player Reporting?
Online bullying is a huge problem, and bullying isn’t just a problem between kids. Player reporting is designed to handle people who communicate inappropriately during game play, in messaging and on forums. It is also designed to handle “newbie smashing.” This is when players will deliberately keep creating champions and playing as newbies; however since they know the game they can engage other newbies into actions that will destroy both characters. That doesn’t seem like a winning situation for anyone, but for some people it is something they like to do – it also tends to ruin the experience for the real newbie.
Another name for this behavior is “sandbagging.” Player reporting is also used when there is championship or tournament play going on and a player may be cheating or using a hack that is disallowed in the context of the competition, and that is all about playing fair.
Does it Work?
Surprisingly, the LoL player reporting system works very well. It is based in a kind of familiar flagging structure in which a player is flagged and reported for behavior. The responding team then investigates the incident and makes a decision whether to warn or ban the player. Some first offenses may only result in the player’s champion having their stats reset to the beginning, or their losing whatever recent gains they have had. Players who are doing the reporting can write a verbal description, they can also opt to forward recorded histories of forum exchanges and message exchanges.
Is it Ever Unfair?
It is rare that anyone complains that they have been unfairly reported. There is a unique code of ethics among LoL players that uses reporting only as a last resort. Many players will opt to blacklist a player instead, disallowing them from joining tournaments or league teams and turning down invitations for scheduled combat. They will also avoid them in game time. Some players aren’t really doing anything wrong, they are just being annoying.
For beginners who are wondering whether a behavior is allowed in the game or if it should be reported, there are good threads available on the main site dealing with the topic. Players can also query the help techs for answers about how to handle incidents as well before defaulting to the reporting system.