League of Legends has been waging a war on player toxicity — that is, widespread misbehavior, not dangerously high levels of secreted poison — for years, and Riot's latest attempt to rein in meanness has players talking. In short, poor sports can now be restricted not only from chat, but also from ranked play entirely.
Ranked restrictions, which Riot put through their paces on LoL's PBE test servers, are rolling out to live servers in NA and EU regions. Some caveats: both restrictions — on play and chat — are temporary. In order to dive back into ranked, you must complete a certain number of Normal Draft games while conducting yourself like a perfect gentleman/lady (or, you know, without being a complete jerk).
During the ranked play restriction period, players will also be chat restricted (that is, only able to say a small number of things) in non-ranked queues, and Riot encourages others to report them if they continue to throw temper tantrums and fling metaphorical plates. As with pre-existing chat restrictions, ranked restrictions will also have a final evaluation component at the end. If you don't seem to have turned over a new leaf, then those chat/ranked play shackles are staying on.
It doesn't stop there, though. Ranked restrictions will also extend out to end-of-season ranked rewards. In other words, there are long-term consequences on top of more easily dodged short-term ones. Riot explained in a forum post:
"Related to Ranked Restrictions, we've determined that Ranked Rewards should reward positive sportsmanship just as much as they reward great play, so the most negative players who are Ranked Restricted at the end of the season will be ineligible to earn ranked end of season rewards such as the loading screen borders or Victorious Morgana champion skin."
"While the majority of players will not be affected by this ruling, we wanted to message it well in advance so that players concerned about their behaviour have more than enough time to adjust and reform before the end of the season."
So basically, watch your behaviour. You can still laugh and joke and even trash talk, but don't be an arsehole about it. And if you find yourself about ready to erupt like a volcano full of pop rocks, maybe get up and take a walk. It's easy to get upset at games — believe me: I know. But you can beat that feeling without involving other people or making things tougher on yourself. And then people will give you cupcakes! And money!
OK, no they won't, but they will be substantially more likely to do that, you know, ever. In the long run. So there you go: all the reasons you could ever need to be nice.
Players did, however, raise some interesting points about the idea of essentially turning draft play into a "prison island" for folks with mile-long mean streaks. That seems like it could hurt non-offenders over time, fill their matches with bad eggs. Meanwhile, reporting tools can be abused, and innocent players could find themselves in the clink because somebody — somewhat ironically — got mad at the game and threw a temper tantrum. Case in point:
They might be exaggerating some, but it's food for thought. I applaud all of Riot's attempts to clean up their community, but sometimes these sorts of things can have unintended consequences. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. Here's hoping that, overall, it ends up being good (or at least, better than before) for everyone.