Earlier this year, Riot Games announced a promising-but-still-kinda-vague "report card" system they'd developed to better address toxic in-game behaviour by League of Legends players. Now they have finally given a sneak peek at how this new type of instant feedback will work.
The new reform cards went live on League of Legends' public beta environment last night, and the popular League blogger Moobeat was there to report on it for Surrender at 20. By the looks of it, this instant feedback system will work by issuing offending players the reform cards immediately after the relevant match ends with a large message popping up in the League client. The cards will look something like this:
As you can see, the card includes a statement of the specific punishment at the very top, then an explanation for the punishment immediately below, and finally a passage of the in-game chat logs as evidence of the infraction. Riot says that they provide all of this information to players already, just in email form, so the idea here is to cut out the middle man and tell a person about their penalty directly and immediately in the actual League game itself.
I've never received any kind of ban or restriction in League of Legends (knock on wood!), so I can't speak from personal experience when it comes to getting hit with the Riot banhammer. But everything I've heard from other League of Legends players tells me this reform card system is a good idea. Many different League players have told me they have felt frustrated by not receiving a satisfactory explanation for being penalised by Riot, and a lot of that confusion stems from the fact that first see the consequences of their actions in an indirect way in the League client — i.e., just getting a message saying they have been punished, with little explanation as to what they did to deserve it.
More to the point, toxic interactions in League of Legends often erupt in the heat of the moment during a match — if a teammate dies, or stumbles when trying perform some manoeuvre. It's easy for people to overlook or forget (however conveniently) the crappy things they have said or done by the time they quit out of League of Legends and open up their email. Receiving these report cards in the client seems like a smart way to prevent that from happening.
When the instant feedback system first began to be teased out to North American players earlier this year, Riot said that it was only going to be applied to "negative behaviours" that are "both overwhelmingly rejected by the community and hard to mistake" — i.e., things like "homophobia, racism, sexism, death threats, and excessive verbal abuse." They now said that they have crunched "several million games worth of data" since then and will start applying the automated system to "more mild, but persistent negative behaviours with chat restrictions."
Riot also said the system is able to successfully differentiate between a player who is intentionally dying to the enemy team to harass his allies (a process known as "feeding" in League parlance) and someone who's just getting stomped on by an opponent who's just playing better. I definitely hope that last part is true, because otherwise I'm in for a world of report cards once the instant feedback system goes live!