Despite slightly more than a decade-long tradition of banter among opposing teams, League of Legends is temporarily disabling the all-chat function. All in a bid to reduce toxicity in the community and maintain a good level of harmony among the entire player base.
League of Legends is a longstanding MOBA title, which launched back in 2009. Borrowing the tried-and-tested formula of DoTA, the game easily found success in the market, particularly among competitive gamers. Each player of which eventually finding their own playstyle, heroes, and strategy that complement that of their team mates.
For a game that is partly social, communication plays key in League of Legends’ design. Although ideally employed as a tool for boosting team morale, the game’s all-chat function can also be a conduit for malice. So much so that it has become the outlet of choice for venting frustrations and inciting discord against an opposing team.
It’s common behavior for some people to act aggressively under duress of a competition. But the pressure only seems to build up more when stakes become higher, which only seems to fuel the negativity. Riot Games is not just passive about the situation, however, with measures in place meant to curb the situation. But even with their restrictions, human nature appears to prevail and renders the toxic culture equally as enduring.
Yet, what if cross-team communication is altogether removed in the game? Similar to how Pokemon Unite is able to call itself of being in a similar genre without the same functionality. It might have taken Riot Games a long time to finally realize, but it seems willing to do just that.
An idea of playing a highly-competitive MOBA title, like LoL, without the insults may seem awkward, or even lacking, for some. Or, at least, missing on the stimulating discussion among players during play would not feel the same. However, that is indeed what is going to happen in the coming patch, with the developer intending to test out the change.
For research purpose
As a caveat, though, it seems that the prospective modification is indeed just an experiment for Riot. Yet one that may last for a few more patches following the up-and-coming update that will kickstart the event. The idea behind the research is, of course, obvious—to assess whether the absence of the all-chat feature will affect player’s behavior. Ideally, in an attempt to find a working solution against a community trend that appears distasteful or boorish to most people.
Image used courtesy of League of Legends/YouTube Screenshot