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ALookBack

Today, it’s back to Champions for A Look Back. This next champion may be an angel to some, but for others she’s fallen out of favor. That’s right, today we’re looking at Morgana, the Fallen Angel.

Morgana

These days, Morgana’s a somewhat bursty mage, whose Dark Bindings can make for some shrunken sphincter moments when trying to avoid getting caught out. What you may not know about Dark Binding, however, is that it was originally a damage over time ability. In many of her first iterations, Morgana’s core ability was a rather unappealing DoT.

Of course, in her early days, Morgana’s passive was also much different. She used to have some bonus HP Regen, because she “empathized with the pain of those around her” — rather than being the sinister dark angel that siphoned the souls of those she tormented.

Shortly before I joined beta, Morgana’s Black Shield received a remake to become a Magic absorbing shield (I’m unfortunately not sure of the specifics from before this point. Please forgive me!). This iteration of Black Shield was, for me, the most rage-inducing ability in the game.

BlackShield

Black Shield used to make the target immune to ALL magical effects (not just crowd control) until the shield was popped through magic damage. The shield would last up to 12 seconds at rank 5. Throughout Beta, when the Shield was cast on a target, it would dispel any debuff or crowd control effect already on a target. Not only was it a shield that made a target unable to be CCed, it was also able to be cast reactively onto a target that had already been stunned to save them from certain doom.

Black Shield’s unparalleled utility was a large part of what made Morgana a must pick/must ban for the Pre-Release tournament hosted by CouchAthletics. Former PMS team member and former Riot employee Rinoa helped We Carry Roku to the finals on the back of her Morgana play.

It wasn’t until after release that the ability got the nerf it so rightly deserved, removing its ability to dispel debuffs. A few weeks later, Morgana received another nerf through a sort of bug fix which made it so that cleansing the tether of Soul Shackles no longer forced an instant stun onto the cleanser. These nerfs forced Morgana to go MIA from games for quite some time. In the following April, she got some buffs to help bring her back into favor.

Her auto-attack range was brought up to 400 from 350 to make it safer to last-hit with her in lane (for comparison, today it is 425). She was given a slight attack speed buff, though she still remained at the absolute bottom of the barrel for base attack speed, and her mana costs were brought more in line. Her damages were nerfed slightly, but her Tormented Soil was given its current functionality of shredding magic resist for every second a target stood on the AoE.

In the following patches, Morgana’s passive was finally changed to its current state of granting Spell Vamp, and her Dark Binding gained all of its damage up front, rather than over the duration of the snare. Additionally, around this time, Riot introduced one of the first community Skins to make it into the game — Exiled Morgana.

ExiledMorgana

As Morgana rose back to fairly powerful status, Riot hit her with the nerf bat once again. They attacked the hitbox size of Dark Binding, the AP ratios of her Shield and her ult, and then turned to attack Black Shield’s utility once more. This time around, they removed the ability for Black Shield to block any and all debuffs, which included armor/MR reduction, vision-granting abilities, and even Akali’s Marks of the Assassin. Black Shield became the much more tame beast it is today — a pre-emptive CC blocking shield.

Since then, Morgana has mostly only seen much smaller scale buffs and nerfs, with nudges up or down to her AP Ratios and mana costs. She isn’t unheard of in the professional scene; Curse Gaming’s Nyjacky made a name for himself on the back of his Morgana play, and still will bring her out from time to time.

It’s uncertain what the future holds for the Fallen Angel, but one thing is for certain, compared to her old self with the overwhelmingly powerful Black Shield, it’s safe to say her current form is more or less caught in Soul Shackles, hoping to have her true power released once more.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s A Look Back at Morgana, the Fallen Angel. Follow me on Twitter @TiberiusAudley for random puns during LCS or OGN matches.

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Whats your Saturday night like? Somewhat like Leblanc’s?

4-2

Artist: Kaleta

 

Writer: Digiwombat

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Warwick
It’s okay you’re still my favorite champion

 

Always blame the jungler, especially if he’s Warwick.

Artist:

Ketherly twitter/tumblr

Welcome to Tribunal Cases of the Weak. Every week you’ll get the best/weirdest/worst Tribunal cases. As always, purple text is the accused, green text is the team-mates, and red is the opponents. The title of each case is a link to the full Tribunal case, but don’t click through unless you’re ready for NSFW language. Unsure of what the Tribunal is or how it works? Read Riot’s FAQ.

 

Case #5: Chemical Imbalance submitted by That One Six

The latest submission from That One Six brings us the story of an unhinged Singed.  “This Singed started raging at 3 minutes in because someone went Karthus top, and once the ball started rolling, there was no stop.  He made racist comments, used every swear in the book, and couldn’t find the caps lock key.”

singed1

There some of the fun early raging.  Here is the racism:

singed2

And here is when he really loses the caps-lock key:

singed3

This is one Mad Chemist.

PunishWarning

 

 

Case #4: Not So Radiant Dawn submitted by HDDragon

HDDragon sent this along with a short note: “Someone left their caps on!!!!”.  Four exclamation points seemed promising, but how much all-caps shouting can there be?  Well, in this case, three whole games of it.  Like this:

caps1

And here is some in all-chat:

caps2

Three whole games of non-stop shouting.  Needless to say, no one appreciated all the flaming.

PunishWarning

 

Case #3: “Nid”ing a Ban submitted by Geonice

This Nidalee is guilty of basically ever violation possible.  According to Geonice, her inappropriate name was “HomoBut”.  Then there’s the intentional feeding:

nid2

There’s also the verbal abuse:

nid4

She got seven reports out of a possible nine.  This Nidalee was a real beast.

PunishWarning

 

 

Case #2: Worst Troll of the Week

This player defines spamming.  In the second game, he is unhappy with how the game is going and keys in on a phrase:

spam1

Irony, thy name is LoL spammer.  In game 1, this player got ahead early and decided to rub it in:

spam2

The above are just samples, he does this for 20 solid minutes in both games.  But don’t worry, he ends each game with:

spam3

The Tribunal isn’t sorry either.

PunishTime Ban

 

Case #1: Permaban of the Week submitted by lxlslay3rlxl

This permaban is a nice example of people eventually getting what they deserve.  Permabans are only given after a number of warnings and time bans have been applied.  Even then, Riot reviews each permaban.  While you will often see Warnings and simple Time Bans shown in the column, trolls eventually get the permaban they justly deserve.  Does this behavior seem familiar?

deserved1

The obvious feeding and troll builds.  What about some 1v1 me noob?

deserved2

And some racism and strangely sexual chat?  Or perhaps trolling Soraka top in a ranked game?

deserved3

It adds up, eventually.  Players earn their Permabans through repeatedly behaving badly and refusing to change.  Hope it was worth it.

Punishpermaban

 

That’s all for this week! We’ll be back next week with another round of Tribunal Cases of the Weak.

Have a case you think should be included? Send your submissions to tribunalcasesoftheweak@gmail.com. Be sure to include the case number and region, your summoner name, and explain what makes it interesting.

It’s been a while since I’ve done A Look Back. As I mentioned in the last entry, this time I will not be covering a champion. This time around, we’re going to look at Riot eSports Shoutcaster David “Phreak” Turley.

ALookBack

Phreak has been around competitive gaming since before League of Legends existed. He was once a professional WarCraft 3 player (my Googling tells me he played Night Elf, but I am not 100% certain of this). He finished fifth place in the 2006 Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, and played in two WC3L seasons, among other things.

Near the end of the League of Legends beta Phreak began climbing the ranks, barely squeaking into the top 500 and acquiring the Master Beta Tester (no snickering, please) title. He continued his climb all the way up until he reached the top spot on the Normal ladder. He usually referred to Fiddlesticks as his favorite or best champion.

PhreakFace

Shortly after rising to the top of the ladder, Phreak was hired by Riot as an intern for their Community team. He was a very active voice on the forums and before becoming a full time Riot employee, began making videos for new champions, called Champion Spotlights. In each Spotlight, Phreak would go over the basics of a new champion to quickly introduce players to it and reduce the learning curve in-game. He would  often play non-conventional champions as Junglers. Fans of the Spotlights ribbed Phreak over his tendency to recommend Trinity Force in order to deal “tons of damage” sparking a meme that he has lovingly embraced.

After the success of the Champion Spotlights, Phreak and fellow Riot Community Manager Andrew “Tamat” Beegle began working on a series of videos to preview the upcoming major changes in patches, prior to the patch being released. These Patch Previews featured the two Community leaders interviewing one of the Riot design team (usually Morello) in a sort of Question and Answer format which would highlight why upcoming changes were being made from the designer’s point of view.

One particularly creative community member saw an opportunity for comedy in the videos and decided to turn random pause spots into a large exploitable comic. Community member Whist took the joke even further, expanding on the second Comic with a video of “Phreak” dancing to his favorite song, Britney Spears’ “Hold it Against Me.”

PhreaksJam

As League of Legends’ eSport side began to grow, Phreak, who had some experience commentating in WarCraft 3, began to work as a commentator for Riot. He began shoutcasting the high profile tournaments as the Spectator Mode client began to grow more and more robust. During this time the Patch Previews shifted from showing the developers to displaying the upcoming changes in-game, and Phreak has continued to put out a new Champion Spotlight for each new champion.

Phreak commentated at multiple MLG, IPL and IEM events, as well as the League of Legends Season 2 World Championships. Now he works full time as a Shoutcaster (Play-by-Play focus, though he does have some spillover into color commentary) covering Riot’s Season 3 League Championship Series. He is often paired with other NA casters such as Rivington the Third, Jatt, and Kobe24, though most recently he traded regions with Deman for two weeks.

So, if you’ve been seeing Phreak’s face a lot in LoL eSports and wondering, “How did this pun-spamming loony man make it to where he is today?” now you know a little more of the history of David “Phreak” Turley, Riot Games Shoutcaster. Again, I apologize for the long gap between my last Look Back and this one.  But hopefully it was worth the wait for you.  The next shall be a return to champions.  Stay tuned!

Garen-BannerThere is a scene at the end of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, where Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef (no relation to Edwin Van Cleef, notorious Deadmines end-boss) are stood in a cemetery and have what many regard as the greatest Mexican-stand-off of all time. While the graphical style of the characters leads us to Graves being the closest we get to this in League of Legends, this analogy best lends itself towards the top lane; just you, your opponent and the Jungler(s) in a battle of wits, with everything to lose. The top lane is arguably the most important in the early game; getting a head start on your opponent here will allow you to roam and gank mid and bot lanes, and if you lose your lane then you best pray to your god that your carries can win the game for you.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the top lane, and a handful of champions I feel anyone who is learning this role for the first time should get to grips with. The champions I’m about to talk about aren’t the best top lane champions in the game, but by no means are they bad; they are just simple yet effective champions that will help you learn how to handle the lane without worrying about mechanics. For anyone who is experienced in the top lane, this guide isn’t for you. However, if you are new to ranked games or are simply levelling up and wish to explore the top lane, read on.

Singed

SingedSquareSinged is by far one of the simplest top lane champions you can play. When played correctly, he can be very effective as a tank or a bruiser/tank. Singed’s kit consists of:

  • A poison trail
  • A slow on the enemy
  • A flip
  • A self buff

All of these abilities work in perfect harmony with each other. The simplest tactic for Singed is to activate your Poison Trail (Q), charge the enemy, use Mega Adhesive (W) when they run, then Fling (E) them backwards towards your poison trail. The best part? If they attack and continue to chase you, they’ll run right into your poison trail. Standard builds on Singed also make him a great safe pick, as you can build him as tanky or as damage-focused as you wish. Usual core items include Rod of Ages and Rylai’s Crystal Scepter, both of which offer nice AP damage for his Poison Trail and Fling, as well as a solid amount of health and mana. If things get a little hairy, or you’re just looking to secure a kill, activating his Insanity Potion (R) will give you improved movement speed, armour, magic resist, ability power, health AND mana regen. This means there should be no reason for you to die in a one-on-one situation.

Singed offers a simple yet very effective build for the top lane that allows for mistakes. He is a champion that will remain in your repertoire throughout your ranked and casual play, and is a must for anyone learning the Top Lane. For a full in depth guide to Singed, check out InvertedComposer’s build.

Garen

LikGarenSquaree Singed, Garen is one of the simplest champions in the game, so simple in fact that he has his own little phrase: “spin to win”. Garen offers the player a few simple tools that can be devastating in the early game, when used correctly. Decisive strike (Q) offers not only a solid amount of damage, but a gap closer that also silences the enemy, all in one attack. This means that it’s very easy for you to get close to the enemy, stop them attacking you and then activate your Judgement (E) to deal a second round of damage on the silenced enemy. If things get too much for you, Courage (W) is a handy little shield, and once you are out of combat for seven seconds your passive will give you 0.4% of your maximum health back every second.

Where Garen really comes in to his own, especially in the early game, is Demacian Justice (R). This ability, a clear predecessor to Darius’ Noxian Guillotine, offers a scaling amount of damage depending on how little health the enemy has; the less health they have, the more damage it will deal. Once the enemy reaches anything below 50% health, a quick Q>E>R combo will almost certainly secure a kill. Garen is designed around being powerful in the early game and winning his lane, leading to a swift victory before you reach the late game. The high base-damage stats from his Q and R mean that you can build him tanky and still offer your team a solid amount of damage in team fights. Garen’s kit is very simple and he works well as a top lane champion, with a respectable amount of damage, good sustain, great tankiness (and in the early game) frankly amazing lane presence. For a more in-depth guide on Garen, check out King Kroanin’s full guide, or WingsofDeathX’s build.

 

Malphite

MalphiteMalphite is my third and final choice for beginner Top Lane champions. He’s tanky, he’s got great poke, good overall damage and has one of the best, if not the best, initiates or fight-resets in the game. He’s regarded by many as being overpowered; this leads to him being banned in most games at low to mid skilled levels. So although he is very effective and is a champion you should definitely have perfected, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get to play him right away. Like Singed and Garen, Malphite is very simple to pick up. His kit consists of Granite Shield (Passive) which gives him a shield equal to 10% of his health, making him tanky from the start, allowing you to trade very effectively. Seismic Shard (Q) is his primary method of poking the enemy as well as slowing them down and speeding him up. This helps you engage, chase down enemies or even escape- all of which are crucial to your survival. Brutal Strikes (W) is not a great laning ability, but offers some aid in farming and also some armour. When stacked with his passive, this offers you an even greater level of tankiness in the laning phase. Ground Slam (E) is an AoE attack that scales with armour, slowing enemy attack speed. This works very nicely in the late game, slowing ADC attack speed is a huge debuff to the enemy team.

Finally, the pièce de résistance, Unstoppable Force (R); it is the primary reason to play Malphite and the main reason why he’s banned. It is a charge with 1000 range which knocks up the enemies it hits for two seconds at rank 3. A truly unstoppable ability (Sona’s ult won’t stop it) and it deals a solid amount of damage in the early-to-mid game. This ability can be used to initiate, reset the fight, steal baron, escape, secure a kill or anything you wish. It is one of the most overpowered abilities in the game, and is a great final ability for Malphite. He is simple, with two tanking abilities (passive + W), three damage abilities (Q, E and R), two crowd control abilities (Q and R) and an ultimate that makes anyone ganking you think twice. Malphite’s kit works amazingly well, and the fact he gets banned in so many games is testament to just how powerful he is! LEARN HIM! For a full Malphite guide, check out MakNoon’s winning build, Dolphin Trainer’s Guide!

There are many top lane champions I haven’t talked about to today; like Jax, who is the next champion I suggest you play but didn’t make this list due to serious mana issues if you don’t know what you’re doing. Or Renekton who is very powerful right now. Also champions like Pantheon who will help you stomp soloqueue and Yorick who simply has no direct counter. I haven’t talked about these because they are more difficult to learn. They have more skillshots and modified abilities which require a higher skill level to be able to play successfully. Once you have used the three champions I have outlined, I suggest you move on to the other champions in this list and truly master the top lane.

Welcome to Tribunal Cases of the Weak. Every week you’ll get the best/weirdest/worst Tribunal cases. As always, purple text is the accused, green text is the team-mates, and red is the opponents. The title of each case is a link to the full Tribunal case, but don’t click through unless you’re ready for NSFW language. Unsure of what the Tribunal is or how it works? Read Riot’s FAQ.

 

Case #5: The Boobie Prize submitted by mhykah

This tribunal case was submitted not just because of intentional feeding but because “in Case #2 the reported seems to have found an alternative to surrendering by re-purposing wards”.  Here’s the feeding:

rivenfeed1

And here is the unusual use for wards:

rivenfeed2

And here is the Tribunal’s judgement:

PunishTime Ban

 

Case #4: The Enigma

Here is some straightforward feeding, the score speaks for itself:

why2

And here is this player’s retort when he’s threatened with reports:

why3

And he’s right, the Tribunal is relatively powerless over this kind of player.  But you have to wonder, like this reporter said:

why1

It is confusing, but some people just want to watch the world burn.

PunishWarning

 

Case #3: The Serial Flamer

Speaking of burns, this case showcases how not respond to being flamed.  This Ashe has to go solo-bot in a low-level game.  He’s not getting the support he wants from his team and decides he just wants the game to be over:

ashe1

His team responds negatively to his negativity, and the flame war is on from there:

ashe2

He’s then threatened with reports for the language above, to which he responds:

ashe3

Clearly he knows how this process works and what’s coming if he keeps behaving badly.

ashe4

Unfortunately, he has the common misconceptions of players who hear about the Tribunal but don’t use it.  Sweaty nerds or not, the consistent flaming got him a very familiar:

PunishTime Ban

 

 

Case #2: Worst Troll of the Week

This player doesn’t even have the excuse of being “provoked”.  He views bad play as “trolling” and he just starts ripping into his teammates:

cho1

His all-caps yelling didn’t seem to improve the situation, so he moved on to:

cho2

Complaining to the other team for sympathy.  That also didn’t seem to help, so then:

cho3

Some very direct (and racist) insults; also not very effective at making his team play better.  So then:

cho4

At the end of the game he gives up.  Riven’s sentiment is probably correct.  No one is perfect, but bad play wasn’t trolling, it was just someone playing badly.  Either way, yelling at them wasn’t going to help anything.  But something tells me this player knows that already and doesn’t care.

PunishTime Ban

 

Case #1: Permaban of the Week submitted by Joux

Joux sums up this permaban succinctly: “Apparently, everyone is a failed abortion”.  But in addition to that “friendly” sentiment, this player had this to add:

swaggin1

He’s swaggin’, but he’s also insultin':

swaggin2

And all that swag couldn’t save him from a deserved permaban:

Punishpermaban

 

That’s all for this week! We’ll be back next week with another round of Tribunal Cases of the Weak.

Have a case you think should be included? Send your submissions to tribunalcasesoftheweak@gmail.com. Be sure to include the case number and region, your summoner name, and explain what makes it interesting.

A Subtle Dagger

April 7th, 2013

Udder

Often times a few small words or a comment on a situation can drastically change the mood of the game. While there can be frustration when something bad happens, the easiest way to ruin the game is by pushing that enter key. Most summoners understand that blatant harassment and trolling are unacceptable, however the subtle dagger is much harder to pinpoint. How much does the in-game chat actually impact your team and can you avoid tilting your own team?

To What End

The first question you have to ask before you hit the enter key is “To what end?” What are you looking to get out of this exchange of words? If the answer is “I want to feel better about this situation by letting someone know I’m disappointed” then congratulations, you’ve seen through a variety of ways to say this information without those exact words! Clearly nobody opens up all-chat and says the statement above, however many comments point in that direction.

Say your support dies wandering into river and facechecking a bush with mid MIA. At that point telling them “dude wtf mid was mia” doesn’t resolve anything. What are you looking to say with that comment? Clearly the support is now aware that mid was both in bottom lane and waiting in that bush, so the informative part of your statement is gone. This leaves us with “dude wtf.” Well that’s not helping anyone but you.

Not pictured: Helping

So let’s just say you left it with “mid was mia.” Well thanks to the power of perception, when someone reads the text in game it’s put into their frame of mind. This is a problem with email and text communication as the communicator cannot indicate tone. You might be saying it in the nicest and most polite way, like “hey, next time can you just go the safe way?” but as long as you’re referencing that scenario they will probably read it negatively. This makes the last statement equivalent to saying something along the lines of “didn’t you look at the map, you idiot?” Whether you meant that or not; saying anything directly after the incident is like walking on eggshells.

Paper Tigers

The next consideration is a paper tiger or “living in a glass house” concept. Your words being said to them is all it takes to set them into flames. Now think about a scenario where you’re not doing well and your team is blaming the loss on you. This makes you even more angry and then you start raging about how the jungler never came to gank and bottom lane has 12 CS at 20 minutes. The very next game you queue up, you sling some “are you serious, stop feeding and just play safe” at your failing top lane because “not this shit again, solo queue players suck!” And once you start that flame, it’s only a matter of time before the whole team is raging at eachother.

Fierce and fragile

 

Here are the outcomes of starting the fire off of this one comment on a failing lane or jungle:

  1. Your team thinks that you’re an asshat
  2. Your team thinks your teammate is bad
  3. Both of these

Having a team that thinks you’re a jerk combined with “oh, another game with a baddie” gives a poor mindset to all of your allies. By starting that fire, you’re putting everyone in the game on tilt. Picture being in the post office and someone starts screaming abuse at the teller over a misplaced stamp. Nobody in the office thinks you’re fighting the good fight, they just think you’re an ass, the teller is bad at their job or both and now waiting in line is that much worse.

Like Moths to Flame

Once that flame is started, everyone else will be drawn to it. You start it off with “omg dude, mid was mia” and then the support snaps back “well if MID could call mia’s and follow his lane, we wouldn’t have this problem!” Now mid lane is upset because they were doing well in lane and bottom didn’t see the mia. Or perhaps they are struggling because they’ve been chain ganked by top and jungler.

Once that fire is lit it becomes infinitely easier to start throwing crap at everyone. They can now blame the entire game on that one person. Bickering and fighting over silly points also demoralizes your team as nobody is willing to give it their all if the team as a whole is acting like a bunch of children with scraped knees.

In Your Hands

So what can you do about this? Disable your chat? Mute everyone on your team? Be overly enthusiastic about the game and a cheerleader? While the last option is a step in the right direction, that won’t work most times either. The best way to approach the chat is to just let it go. Yes, they died. Sure, they’re feeding. If you were trying to lane and the opponent was better or you were camped or whatever else, how would you like getting grilled for poor performance? If you weren’t thinking and just facechecked a bush and died, do you really want to hear about it? Of course you don’t! Most of the time people are aware that they’ve messed something up.

I got grabbed? You don’t say…

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean talk to others as you’d like to be talked to. The lack of tone and expression on the internet doesn’t really allow this. You have to assume everyone on the internet you don’t know is a sensitive little flower that causes nuclear destruction when the breeze blows. You can offer words of encouragement, tell someone they did a good job, assure people that you can still win the game, offer advice later on in the match or simply be silent. Lashing out against someone else for poor performance does nothing but make you feel better and them feel worse. That is straightforward, however you have to remember their performance is directly related to whether you win or lose this game.

A torch to end all torches

A subtle dagger can be just as deadly as full on bashing. Be careful with the expressions you choose to use, if any, and when you use them. Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish by saying anything at all, and if there is a better way to approach it. Defending yourself is the natural response to criticism and the lack of tone makes any comment come across how the reader is feeling at that point in time. I know I’ve personally been enraged at something as simple as “…” at the wrong time. Have you seen any sideways comments in chat before and how did they impact the game?

 

Hello Summoners! This is the first of two articles taking a look at some of the legal issues surrounding League of Legends and video games in general. I love feedback, so feel free to comment below! Disclaimer: I am a law student. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. (I know, such a mood-killer)

Today I want to go over Trolls. Most of the time trolling doesn’t amount to much more than a painful 20 minutes. But sometimes, people just seem to snap. To be clear, I’m not interested in your everyday 0-39-2 Pantheon, or the bad-sport who simply says “bg noobs.” I’m interested in the individuals who take trolling to the “next level” and bring some real verification to this (somewhat crude) Penny Arcade Comic.

I’ve found myself wondering if there is a limit to what a troll can say, and not just in terms of the Summoner’s Code. That forms the basis of this article’s question:

trollingQuestion

While there are dozens of ways to evaluate the legality of trolling, I will focus on two causes of action:

Part 1 (this article) will look at a civil claimIntentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED). 

Part 2 (a future article) will look at a criminal charge: Threatening/Intimidating Behavior.

 

I. IIED – Player v. Troll

IIED is a tort – a wrongful act that harms someone else. This is a civil lawsuit, and not a criminal one, which means it is easier for the plaintiff (in this case, the player suing the troll) to win. Tort law, and especially IIED, differs greatly from state to state. Some states don’t recognize IIED as its own legitimate claim at all. This is because emotional distress, unlike a physical injury, is intangible – there’s always the worry of the little boy who cried “troll.”

Some examples of IIED claims involve pretty traumatic stuff – the victim often ends up suffering from an objectively measured psychological disorder, such as depression or PTSD. Often the victims sue for compensation for expenses in treating said conditions.

CLAIM: Player claims that a Troll’s verbal harassment inflicted a severe degree of emotional distress. 

So what do they have to show? IIED has a four-step test:

IIED2Each criteria of this test must be met in order for the Player to succeed. If the Troll can show by at least some evidence that they are not guilty of a single part, then the whole thing crumbles. Let’s quickly go through and see where the Player’s claim is strongest, and where the Troll might push back.

1. Intention. This is the easiest one for the Player; Trolls intentions, when verbal at least, tend to be pretty obvious. Just browse through some of the Tribunal Cases of the Weak.

2. Extreme or Outrageous. The courts interpret this as whether the act was “beyond all bounds of human decency,” to be “regarded as intolerable.” At first, the Player might be thinking this part is a slam-dunk. Just imagine what a judge’s reaction would be if showed one of the chat logs linked above.

Unfortunately it’s not that simple – the conduct is measured by a “reasonable person” given the context.

The Troll may be able to argue that, given the context, the behavior was neither “intolerable” nor “beyond all bounds” – in fact, the behavior is quite frequently exhibited in the game. While frowned upon, the Player may be hard pressed to show that, given the context, the trolling in question was “extreme or outrageous.” This prong is a toss-up, and will depend on how the Jury rules.

3. Causation. Was it the troll that caused the “emotional distress” involved? The Troll’s defense grows stronger, because they can sit behind the “burden of proof” curtain – it’s the Player’s job to prove that but for the Troll they would not have suffered emotional distress. The Troll can simply bring up some doubts – was the Player upset because of something that happened in the “real world?” Or from losing the game, or making a bad play?

It’s extremely difficult, given the limited availability of scientific measurements of emotional causes and effects, for the Player to show that this emotional distress was the result of the Troll’s conduct – but again, it’s probably up to a jury.

4. Severe Distress. The final prong of IIED doesn’t get any easier. The Player must show that their emotional distress was severe. This means at least two things: firstly, the Troll had to have a profound effect on the Player’s long-term mental state. Being temporarily insulted or upset doesn’t cut it. Secondly, the effect should be quantifiable – whether documented through counseling, medication, work-performance, etc.

This is wheremost of the cookies are going to crumble. How likely is it that an anonymous player, through a game used for entertainment, will have a severe, medically-documentable effect on another player’s long-term emotional stability? The courts are old fashioned, and unless there is some pretty clear and convincing evidence, it’s likely that the judge won’t even let this one get to the jury – at the end of the day, “it’s only a game.”

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

In case the Troll’s defense wasn’t already strong enough, they could argue an affirmative defense. Given the “innocent until proven guilty” nature of lawsuits, defendants don’t even need to present anything at all. All they need is to show how the plaintiff can’t meet one of the four parts of the test. However, sometimes defendants also have the strategy of saying “even if I am guilty, I had a good reason…”

Here, the Troll could allege an assumption of risk defense. Essentially the defendant claims that the Player, fully knowing there was a risk of being trolled, chose to join the game (they also enabled “all-chat” and chose not to mute individual players). This defense was successfully used when a plaintiff jumped through a bonfire, and sued because he got burned – the court found that jumping through a bonfire carries an “assumption of risk” that you may incur fire-like burns. I like to call this the “herp derp” defense.

 

II. QUESTIONS FOR YOU, THE JURY:

A couple of quick notes/questions before wrapping this article up:

  • “Outrageous conduct” changes over time with the standards of society. I remember when your order in ranked draft pick was used instead of role-calling, but now that’s starting to change. The more we tolerate or are desensitized to trolls, the less likely trolling might be considered “extreme or outrageous” – is this a desirable direction to be headed?
  • Do you think it’s even possible for a Troll to say something so horrendous that your average Player would find it “outrageous”? Even if it is, do you think someone could be so affected by it as to require clinical treatment? Or is it really “just a game?”
  • Finally, by queuing for a game, do you think a player could reasonably believe there is no risk of getting a troll on their team? Does the “degree of trolling” factor in?

 

Bottom Line:

Because players voluntarily assume the risk of getting trolled, and because trolling, even in its worst forms, is unlikely to be “extreme or outrageous” enough to cause severe emotional distress, Players would probably not be able to succeed in an IIED case against a Troll.

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