Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, a former professional League of Legends player, recorded an honest evaluation of the North American ranked League experience. The video was posted to both Twitter and Reddit, reaching nearly 500 thousand views in the first 24 hours. Voyboy started the video by saying, “League of Legends has basically been my life for the last decade.” For him and many other personalities, this rings true. League of Legends is a world-renowned title, creating not just entertaining gameplay, but even jobs and lifestyles. Professional players and content creators live and breathe League of Legends.
Toxicity at its Best
Much like with traditional sports, esports requires a solid foundational environment for creating and training talent. For League of Legends, that environment is the online ladder. Voyboy testified that the North American server is rampant with toxicity. Over several months, he has been consistently targeted by online trolls, ruining any chances of experiencing the game in a normal capacity. Voyboy ranks among the top 0.034% of players in North America, but even at his rank, he still feels the brunt of the server’s sickness.
However, the issue doesn’t stem from the existence of online trolls. Voyboy argues that the lack of policing is what emboldens them to such a painful degree. Riot Games’ punishment system is incredibly lacking. There can be video proof of players that ruin games but they will still get away unscathed. A few years back, Riot implemented a report feedback system that lets players know when their report gets someone punished. This system is still in place but hardly ever seen. The best way to get someone punished is by reporting them for offensive language in the post-game screen. Riot’s automatic system will detect certain blacklisted words, dealing out the appropriate bans. But players will rarely receive a ban by the system for other transgressions.
The Sad State of League Solo Q pic.twitter.com/KtRdWZOL2E
— Joedat (@Voyboy) May 4, 2020
One longtime suggestion from the community is to implement a system similar to Counter Strike’s Overwatch. With this, qualified players are approved to watch flagged games, determining for themselves whether or not the reported players are deserving of punishment. If enough of the game reviewers agree that the player is guilty, punishment comes by. Similar to an automated system, Riot would not have to add many resources towards policing the players if they were to police themselves.
Risks for League of Legends
High-level players all seem to agree with Voyboy. If this trend of unpoliced toxicity continues, League of Legends’ sustainability will be at risk. There is a massive ecosystem for professional play, but the roots of that ecosystem are still the ladder. Players make themselves known by climbing the ladder. Since League of Legends doesn’t have a reliable secondary league, regular online play is the game’s main source of talent. But as it stands, there is little incentive for players to grind and improve while their training environment is on fire. These issues have been around for years, but Riot has yet to address them.
North American fans also wished they received the same treatment as what some other countries get. To make it up for the loss of live events, the LCK and LPL are organizing an exceptional event for Korean and Chinese fans. Once again, NA fans can only watch others have fun from afar within their esports networks.
Voyboy concluded his video saying, “Riot, we’re asking you. We’re all waiting.” And indeed, fans are waiting.
Written by Devon Huge