The League of Legends community is a tricky thing to sum up. On the one hand, we have amazing works being created in the fields of fanart, cosplay and youtube. But on the other, you’ll be hard pushed to ask 10 people “Did someone in your last 10 games flame you?” and get an all round “No.” Seemingly, there is no easy way to answer someone when they ask “Does League of Legends have a good community?”, because really the answer isn’t a simple one. In my opinion, the League of Legends community is both one of the worst and one of the best we have in gaming, and I don’t say that with any exaggeration. It’s a community that teeters on both extremes simultaneously, and if you don’t believe me, keep reading, because I intend to show you why.
Lets start off easy. Riot Games have made huge strides to make sure they encourage not only in game sportsmanship, but also out of game creativity and a sense of community. This has manifested itself through countless mediums, be it fanart being shared on the official League of Legends social medias, fan creations being made into official skins for the game ala Pool Party Ziggs and Astronautilus, or through Riot’s own Youtube content, Summoner Showcase and /All Chat. Whatever you want to do to show off not only your love for the game but also your genuine talent, Riot will back you, be it drawing a piece of art or creating a real life weapon based on your favorite champion. Not to mention, in the last few years Riot has started doing all cosplayers a service and adding cosplay repair stations to their areas just in case your epic, completely to scale Vi gloves are coming apart on convention day. This is a company that really takes its fanbase to heart and tries to do everything they can to show it, despite the many cries of “Rito never listens! EUW Servers are broken!” How many companies can say they have this level of engagement with their audience?
What’s more, if you take a quick look at the League of Legends Cosplayers group on Facebook, you’ll find not only a community of incredibly talented people, but also one that is incredibly friendly and welcoming to anyone who wants to join. I’ve literally never seen a bad comment in this community, all I’ve seen are people who are more than happy to help new cosplayers find their way amidst a sea of worbla and EVA foam. Not bad considering the only thing everyone has in common is a love of the game, right?
Here’s where it gets messy. As anyone who’s played League of Legends for an extended period of time will tell you, this game isn’t all fun and friendship the majority of the time. Tensions can get pretty high when the risk of losing a game and a chunk of LP come into play, leading to an awful lot of toxicity in the small confines of a 5v5 match. The worst part is that unlike a game in real life, where you can decide to walk away should one of the other players start spouting out expletives, that really isn’t an option in League, as there are systems in place to stop people dodging games in an attempt to troll players. Sure, you can skip out on one or two lobbies per day without much consequence, but what happens when you get those days that literally everyone you encounter is doing something to make your life a living hell? The only option is to grin and bear it, and thank your lucky stars for the mute function.
Now, to their credit, Riot have been stepping in to make toxicity less of an issue. The problem lies in the sheer size of the League of Legends player base, since the more people you have, the more likely it is that a few will be toxic. Riot knows this, and has not only taken action to prevent toxicity, but also taken steps to promote teamwork via in game rewards and videos like the one below that show a real correlation between toxicity and your win rate. The Tribunal, a system wherein player reports were compiled into a case that could be judged by fellow players, managed to reduce the number of repeat offenders by over 50% based on statistics from 2011 when it was first enacted. There’s even proof that whether you’re playing League completely for free, buying skins monthly or even a pro player, everyone gets the same treatment as several pro players in the League Esports community have been restricted from play based on their behaviour in solo queue.
So the system works, we’re just looking at a situation where we’re trying to cut down a massive bean stalk with a butter knife. It’ll take time, and patience and effort from every player to try any make our community a better place. We’re already halfway there, we’ve already got one of the most creative communities in gaming, we just need to use that creativity for good, rather than using it to come up with new insults for that son of a motherless goat who decided to play Teemo ADC.
Not saying it’ll be easy, but hey, neither is climbing to challenger!