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For a while now, the player behavior team has recognized that bans are not the complete solution for dealing with toxic behavior in League of Legends. Although some players were deterred by bans, a non-trivial number would simply create new accounts, shift their toxicity and create negative experiences for low level players instead.
TL;DR: An experiment we have been testing on the PBE is “Restricted Chat Mode.” This is an account restriction that disables [All] Chat, and limits the number of chat messages that the player can send to team chat—the number of chat messages available slowly increases over the course of a game. We have decided to run a larger-scale test of this experiment on Live server. Initially, Restricted Chat Mode will be applied in addition to Tribunal bans. Restricted players will have to play matchmade games to remove Restricted Chat Mode and the number of matchmade games required to lift Restricted Chat Mode will depend on the severity of the ban.
On the player behavior team, one of our core philosophies is to create features that can help players reform their toxic behavior. In the past year, we've continued to use bans while we conducted a large research effort to explore the psychology of behavioral learning. We focused on a short-list of goals; for example, we wanted to develop features that would force players to be more accountable for their actions. To address this goal, the majority of our experiments on alternative punishments will be tied to games played, and not a set duration of time. Secondly, the majority of our experiments will allow players to remain on their main account but with specific restrictions on the account. Restricted players will no longer be able to jump onto a smurf account for a few days, and then jump back on their main—they will have to play matchmade games to unlock account privileges.
We also wanted to identify features that could accomplish two goals:
1. The feature had to be reasonably valuable to the punished player to encourage them to stay on their main account
2. The feature had to shield the community from the player's toxic behavior if they refused to reform
An experiment we have been testing on the PBE is “Restricted Chat Mode.” This is an account restriction that disables [All] Chat, and limits the number of chat messages that the player can send to team chat—the number of chat messages available slowly increases over the course of a game. This feature forces toxic players to think carefully about their chat messages and what they use them for. If these players still choose to rage, they will immediately hit their message cap and be muted. This message cap mechanic shields players in the game from further toxicity, and also acts as a reminder that verbal abuse or harassment is unacceptable.
We have decided to run a larger-scale test of this experiment on Live servers. Initially, Restricted Chat Mode will be applied in addition to Tribunal bans—the number of matchmade games required to lift Restricted Chat Mode will depend on the severity of the ban. Depending on the data and success of this experiment, we will begin completely replacing some types of bans with Restricted Chat Mode.
We acknowledge that Restricted Chat Mode isn't suitable for all toxic behaviors; however, there's no silver bullet here. This is just the beginning and we will keep experimenting with new account restrictions to add. Throughout this process, we're going to need the help of all of our positive players in League. Use the player behavior systems like Tribunal and Honor, because both will be vital for some of our future experiments.
Let's work towards a future where a majority of bans are a thing of the past and the Tribunal is handing out account restrictions instead.
I also want to thank RiotAaronMike, RiotTantram, RiotRayanami, Drevarius, RiotSeb, ItzMattu, and issfire for their help creating this feature. Some of them will be available today to answer questions.
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