Competitive games like League of Legends tend not to have reputations for particularly nice or well-behaved communities. In short, players are often foul-mouthed jerks to each other. The environment can be daunting to new players and can begin to wear down even the more experienced folk, after a while.
Ignore and report functions, while vital, go only so far. League of Legends developer Riot Games is now going to be trying something new: actively rewarding players who are good to each other, and not just punishing players who are jerks. They’re calling it the honour system, and basing it on the good old, tried and true principles of positive reinforcement:
We’re well versed in research done on concepts in psychology such as positive reinforcement and how it can improve behaviours, and we’ve also found that some of the most meaningful, memorable moments in League come from the positive interactions players have with each other. Everyone’s had one of these days: You are struggling in a game and find yourself in a situation where a teammate could have easily trolled or flamed you, but instead goes out of his way to be a helpful, compassionate team-player. He says, “Hey, don’t worry about the first blood.” You may not friend this player or ever play with him again, but this small, kind gesture made a difference and is something you remembered.
Through honour you’ll be able to give something lasting back to those players who went out of their way to make your game experience better.
The more a game community does to encourage actual community and good behaviour in its players, the better off we all are. The system should be showing up to the public beta environment in its next update.
Introducing Honor! [League of Legends Forums]