Internet jerks have ruined many games for me, and likely all of you. In fact, I rarely play Xbox Live outside my circle of friends and mature groups specifically for this reason. Toxic communities are but one scourge to competitive gaming. The other, and the one that really gets my goat, AFKers and leavers. There’s nothing more soul crushing than seeing a teammate leave during the heat of battle (RRRAGEQUIT!) or AFK because she’s thirsty ten minutes in to a match.
In first-person shooters it is annoying to lose a teammate during a balanced match, but not devastating. In RTS titles like StarCraft II or DotA contests like League of Legends, it’s routinely insurmountable.
Riot Games hopes to change all this by taking a page out of Survivor’s book. In the upcoming months, a Tribunal system will be instituted that allows select gamers to be the judge of infractions. The judges will be handed the bulk of community complaints, which tally “10s of thousands of complaints a day,” according to Steve ‘Pendragon’ Mescon. The player-judges, soon to be known as “pludges” (Copyright LoreHound.com), will receive cases ranging from harassment to ragequitting (leaving out of disgust over one’s team, persona, or opposition’s play). Chat logs and game information, but no game replay (still), will be made available as part of the report.
By following a set of (undisclosed) rules created by Riot Games, the tribunal members can punish or pardon the alleged players. These judges will themselves be ranked via a points system, likely giving more weight to their decisions the higher they themselves are heralded.
Being bad at the game is not a punishable offense (so sign up today!).
Hit the jump to read the specifics of the system, including combat of possible abuses, how it can be applied to other communities and a requested filtering feature.
The Tribunal system that Riot Games is working to put in place appears to be quite good. The company has seemingly thought of, and designed for, numerous abuses and flaws during its creation (which has this gamer hoping it can be tailored for other communities). For starters, requiring max level, level 30, demands a pludge be familiar with the game and somewhat tolerant to the day-to-day douchebaggery.
Judges aren’t relegated to a double-blind system. They know the names of the reported player and player that reported, but they are unaware of other judges, and which way the vote currently leans. If they vote in the eventual minority, say because a friend was reported or they hate a player, then they won’t be rewarded Influence Points (one of the in-game currencies to purchase Champions or runes). If they consistently fail to vote the “right” way, the player will be removed from the Tribunal system. Favorable votes award IP, essentially a way for Riot to pay players for their time. In addition, the company is going to require judges to spend a set amount of time reviewing before making a decision. Botting the service for a quick boost in IP will be combated by a reCAPTCHA-type system.
Those judged will not be sentenced by players. Instead, the reports will be entered in to a further review system, this one managed by Riot’s current team. First-time offenders will likely be given a slap on the wrist, a warning, while repeat offenders will have harsher punishments, all the way to a permanent ban. Overall, the system uses the power of Cloud Computing, the cloud being the community, to reduce the complaints into a manageable number for the small company.
That’s right Internet A-holes, your own community will be rubbing their index fingers at you as they whistle “Tsk, Tsk” through the intertubes. Here’s to hoping that this system launches to wild success and changes all of gaming, from Xbox Live to WoW’s Dungeon Finder, as we know it.
The one suggestion I would love to see implemented: sequestering gamers to tiered-queue systems. If you’re a player with a lot of infractions point, then you can only play with players with a lot of infraction points. Say your please and thank yous? Then you can rumble with the more level-headed crowd.
That would be bliss.