Posts Tagged ‘toxic community’


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On Reddit, Scarizard is looking for input on how Patch Notes, Patch Rundowns, etc. are communicated to players. Moving to the forums, Meddler touched on Akali’s wonky balance state and gave context why Viktor and Rumble are currently disabled. We also have the first issue of the Live Gameplay’s Q&A session with 3 questions answered. Lastly, some lovely fan art of Star Guardian and a featured artist by the alias Lazuli.


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Rioters looking for feedback on design communication

Scarizard Final PortraitTL;DR – Looking for feedback on design COMMUNICATIONS – Patch Notes, Patch Rundowns, Q+A’s and Devblogs!

Hey y’all – for those of you that don’t know me, i’m a former Game Designer, currently Design Communications @ Riot Games. I’ve been working with /u/Pwyff and the Live Gameplay team since around October of 2014 on things like the Patch Notes, Rundowns, Devblogs, and most recently the Live Gameplay Q+A (Which just launched its first issue today! You can find the link on the boards here (!

The gist of this post is that we’re looking to be more iterative and experimental with the types of communication that you’ll see this year regarding Design (specifically Live Gameplay) – so i’m putting out feelers and looking for any feedback about what content you already like, what types of things you’d like to see, or how to improve any of the projects we’re currently doing!

This’ll be one piece of the feedback-puzzle that we consult when we’re looking for new things to explore, so i thought i’d extend a hand. I’ll stick around for a while to respond to and answer questions, so hit me!


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Let Rioters do their job on stream and answer questions

I was a huge fan of the MOBA Dawngate (Rest in peace), one of the things that company did really well is they had a day and time of the week where someone from the company would come on and basically do their job live on stream while fielding questions from the chat.

It would vary week to week who it was and what they did, but it was always awesome to watch them work and interact with the community. One week it was an artist showing off an upcoming champion, showing old artwork that didn’t make the cut for existing champs, etc. There was a guy who made 3D models of champions using a piece of software, that was fun to watch.

The next week it’d be the dev team talking about a recent patch, their plans for the future etc. Then there was a lore guy, etc. I realize the scope of what I’m talking about here is probably larger than what you’re looking for, but it was a fantastic experience and one I wish Riot would look into doing.

While All Chat is nice, it’s a scripted show, short, and I don’t feel any connection to it. If you stopped doing it next week, I probably wouldn’t miss it much at all. But I still miss those Waystone streams a year later and would love to watch some Rioters at work and be more intimate in a stream setting.

Again, I know this isn’t really what you’re looking for, so sorry for that, but I wanted to share.

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Scarizard Final PortraitThis is a really good idea – No promises, but i’ll make a point to have a conversation with Zwill about what his learnings were and what i could possibly apply for LGP.

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Follow Up

RiotZwill: I don’t want to step on Scarizards toes here:

Like /u/riotscarizard said, no promises at this point.

I’ve spent the last 3 months really learning how things work here and trying to define what the North American Player Relations team is all about. One area we’ve defined as something to focus on is more personal communications, which is something I’m particularly fond of :).

Scarizard and I have already had a chance to hang out (at a pretty nifty MTG Draft) and will certainly be syncing more in the future.

Also, I swear to Gromp, if I get spammed with Kpop emails I will find you /u/dresdenologist…and I will duo queue Brad with you non stop.

You have been warned.

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Whats the current state of Akali

Meddler Final PortraitI don’t have much to add at the moment, going to follow this thread with interest though. Akali’s a champ we’ve had trouble balancing over the years, so while we don’t currently have a rework for her underway, one’s certainly not out of the question at some point. Pretty interested in hearing people’s thoughts on her as a result.

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Why are Viktor and Rumble currently disabled

Meddler Final PortraitBingo. There are some bugs with the targeting type they use (vector targeting). We’ve got a fix being tested internally and on the PBE at the moment.

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Why doesnt anyone care about the awful community

Slumber Jack Final Portrait Part of the reason we call it ‘toxicity’ is because it spreads; one player starts saying bad things, another player gets agitated and contributes to the overall toxicity of the game. What we see time and time again is the players who see toxicity in more of their games often are being toxic in them as well.

I would ask the OP — and anyone else who feels they see toxic players in all of their games — to take a moment and consider that perhaps there’s something they can be doing differently to reduce the amount of toxicity in their games. In cases of verbal abuse, being quick to just mute someone who is verbally abusive fixes so many situations.

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Live Gameplay Q A Issue 1 Feat Feralpony SmashGizmo

Scarizard Final PortraitDon’t know what this thread is? Check out our introduction post for an explanation!

Greetings, summoners and welcome to the first issue of the LIVE GAMEPLAY Q+A!

We’ve collected thousands of questions from around the world and whittled ‘em on down until just a few were left, tossed ‘em in a bucket and went to task of providing you with answers (with some sweet context on the side).

BEFORE WE BEGIN – i’m going to call a couple of folks out (read: like 60%+) that submitted for just posting their opinions and then pretending like they were questions. We’re onto you.

Without further snark (FOR NOW), let’s jump right in!

Do you feel the game is best balanced towards the millions that play the game, or the small few that play on the professional level?

What a way to start. As one of our most commonly asked questions around the world, let’s dig in and start breaking it down. Deciding ‘who we balance for’ hasn’t been an easy task, but we quickly honed in on a few core values: competitive mindedness, mechanical aptitude, and strategic expertise. Mind you, these aren’t the only things that we think contribute to player skill (e.g. raw leadership and communication skills are important in any team game), but the above are ones we focus on when it comes to our broad-level balance. Players with these qualities are, on average, much more consistent as a baseline of what’s powerful in League. But what about pros? Certainly our professional community shatters these conditions (some more than others, as even professional players have their strengths and weaknesses), but we don’t necessarily believe that the Fakers and Bjergsens of the world should be the standard that every player is held to. If that’s the case, how can we represent this spectrum most effectively?

Let’s back up a step. Along the spiral path that is Mastery in League of Legends, you can divide it into two sections: foundational skills and optimization. To expand, foundational skills are the building blocks of strategy within League – knowing the why and how of objectives, understanding the nuances of proper itemization, manipulating the ever-important vision game, and executing against your team’s strategic composition are just a few examples. You can be stronger at some and weaker at others, but each is a crucial piece when it comes to putting together League’s sprawling strategic puzzle. By contrast, optimization is the fine-tuning and development of these skills – when to take an objective, what order to build your items, where to place or deny vision, the mechanical specifics of champion matchups, and so on. Optimization is necessary for players that have mastered the basics to gain subtle (but potent) edges against the opposition. Think of it like building muscle – foundational skills net you the strength, and optimization shows off your definition.

Where does that leave us? Foundational skills and degrees of optimization are different for every player (not to mention difficult to measure with a high degree of accuracy), so we lean on the MMR system to serve as our best proxy to represent a player’s individual skill. With that in mind, our philosophy leads us to balance towards players at the upper end of mastery, which we currently believe to be around platinum and above.

This doesn’t mean we devalue the feedback from players below platinum – only that we’re acknowledging that a high amount of variance occurs in those tiers. Many factors are at play – is Master Yi overpowered if you’re able to dominate a game with him? Alternatively, did the enemy team lack the understanding to focus-fire or apply crowd control? With a more strategic use of map movement, item builds and mechanical execution against Master Yi, more competitive players at a higher average skill help to paint a clearer picture of Master Yi’s power level, often revealing when the intended play against him is failing and needs us to intervene. Extreme outliers, be they pubstompers or pro-level pains will always be addressed, but more often than not our patch-to-patch changes are centered around this skill bracket.

Whew. For our next question, lets turn the spotlight onto some of Live Gameplay team’s finest to answer in their own words. First up, LGP’s Lead Designer and Actual Horse, FeralPony!

Have you ever done (or considered) performing small balance changes purely to affect player perception? For instance, giving a champion a small numbers buff to make players try them out, only to realise they were probably in a good place anyway.

FP: “Considered? Certainly. Times we’ve ever done it intentionally? None that I can think of. There’s a lot of power in doing changes like this, but the risk typically doesn’t outweigh the reward. You’d effectively be trying to leverage the placebo effect, but that risks burning player trust long-term, which is something we value immensely. For instance, we’d never want players sifting through our patch notes, wondering if we actually thought a certain buff or nerf would affect change or not.

There was one time when I was pretty new at Rito where I submitted a Vladimir nerf (removing the bonus speed from his pool) but forgot to actually submit the files into the patch. As a result, the patch notes went out and sentiment was that we had killed the champion. Vladimir’s play rate plummeted and his win rate decreased a bit, even though the changes never actually went out.

We had a similar instance when Riven was released where she was viewed as very weak. We hotfixed in some buffs and shortly after posting it to the forums, her play rate spiked and feedback was very positive. Players happily reported how great the buffs felt, even though the hotfix hadn’t actually gone live yet.”

Last up, Game Designer and Legendary Olaf enthusiast SmashGizmo takes us out.

I’ve noticed that almost no champion is commonly built as a true hybrid at this point – is there a balance issue with hybridization, or is this unintentional?

SG: “There isn’t really a direct balance reason why hybridization doesn’t work, but we’ve historically had a difficult time making it a legitimate option as the natural synergies in specialized AD or AP builds are really hard to compete with. With specialized multipliers like Void Staff, Last Whisper, Rabadon’s Deathcap and Infinity Edge, it’s just pretty much impossible to get a character to commit to a ‘hybrid build’ beyond a Trinity Force or Hextech Gunblade (which they build for early power-spike reasons). Multiplicative scaling is almost always better at that point in a build path.

I think the only way to really make hybrid builds work is to add a new keystone item or two for hybridization that somehow drives players to balance their AD/AP purchases, but that’s no small undertaking and it’s unclear what the benefits of that itemization path would be. While characters like Ezreal have a distinct feel when built heavy AD or AP, it’s possible that a combination of both makes them feel like worse mages or worse marksmen when it comes to damage rather than anything truly unique.”

Thanks for all your questions! Our next collection period begins on May 25th and ends on June 1st. Submit your questions to and we’ll see you for the next one!

-Live Gameplay

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Why have you answered only 3 questions

Scarizard Final PortraitOur goal is 3-5, but between the collection of the questions from each region, actually sifting through all of them by hand, cat-wrangling the designers to have Real Conversations about our thoughts and feelings (inbetween all the actual designing these guys do), then the writing of it, it gets to be a pretty hefty task for something we’ve only just started.

As the process improves i’m looking for us to get better and faster about pumping these out, but your feedback is noted!

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Follow Up

Scarizard Final PortraitSeeing as there were 1060~ questions just from North America alone (with about 800+ uniques) within a time-span of only a week of collection, answering every question from every region isn’t really feasible. For future issues we’ll work on pushing more of them out, but 3-5 is around what our current expectations are, every few weeks.

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So these live gameplay QAs are more aimed toward highlevel questions

Scarizard Final PortraitIt’s not a hard rule that all champion-styled questions are out (we have a couple in our bucket), but very pointed questions like ‘Why did you nerf X/Y’ usually are passed up for questions like ‘What are the issues with balancing champions with X or Y mechanic?’ The more durable knowledge an answer can provide, the higher we tend to value it internally. Things like ‘Who do you balance for’, for instance was the most popular non-champion related question across all regions, so we thought i’d be a meaty topic to dive into for #1

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Fan Artist Feature Lazuli

Jynx Final PortraitHey Summoners! A lot of you have suggested master-doodler Lazuli for the Fan Artist Feature, so this week we’re excited to share her adorable comics showing champions in a hilarious new light. Follow her on Tumblr and Facebook to see more of her work!

If you know someone that you’d like to recommend for a future Fan Artist Feature, please let us know here.

How did you get started creating League of Legends fan art?

Right before I started making League art, I was actually in a huge slump. I used to make fancomics and fanart before for other games, but after a while, I lost interest in them. I was itching to draw, but I just didn’t know what. At the same time, a friend of mine had been trying for 2 years to get me to play League. Since I was out of inspiration and tired of my friend bugging me all the time, I finally gave it a go, and the silly things that went on in-game inspired me to draw again!

What’s been your favorite piece to create, and why?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Each piece I draw was fun in its own way! I never make a piece if it’s not at least 50% fun. Probably my Oasis of the Dawn comic, just because my overall favorite thing to convey in my art is lame jokes.

I would say my DJ Sona gifs were also my favorite piece, but animation is a LOT of work! I almost didn’t do it, because it was pretty much 51% work and only 49% fun. But I suppose it’s rewarding to see how your animation looks in the end, even if it’s just a small gif like that.

Do you have a dream project you’d like to work on?

Yes! I would really love to make my own physical comic of the League champs just going about their life outside the rift! That’s my biggest dream project I got going on right now. I would also like to one day make a huge poster with ALL of the champs, but that can prove quite difficult when there’s new champs coming out about every other month!

Who’s your inspiration? Do you have any favorite League fan artists?

Actually, most of my inspiration falls on artists who draw things other than League. However, if I were to name a specific League fan artist, my inspiration when first starting out was Tumblr artist totemhead. They used to make comics of Draven and Darius and Ezreal and Talon that I really enjoyed! I was also inspired by their chibi artstyle.

Other than that, my main inspirations are Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, andMadeline Rupert, a comic artist I followed on DeviantArt since my adolescent days, who has now blossomed into a comic artist for Regular Show.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community?

I know that in the League community (and in life in general) you can get a lot of salt. People telling you what you can or can’t do, what’s the “meta” way to do things, how you’re wrong for doing or seeing things differently. I’d like to tell you all to never listen to people like that and to always be welcoming to fresh, new ideas! This goes for your playstyle, for starting artists out there, and for people who are trying to figure out a way to get to their dreams. If you have goals, work daily to try to accomplish them, and you’ll see results! It may take a week or maybe even a couple of years, but you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel eventually.

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Star Guardian Lux fan art

Jynx Final PortraitWith Star Guardian Lux now fighting evil on the rift, it’s time to share some of the magical community creations inspired by her release! Check out the gallery below, and click on the artists’ names to see more of their work.







Glory Lamothe

















Yuukiq Cosplay

Please share more of your Star Guardian creations and favorites in the comments below!

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at [email protected]



Is Thorin an Issue Banner

Recently you might have heard of pro-players abandoning social media, TSM abandoning OnGamers and Thorin from Summoning Insight abandoning decent human behavior. So let’s talk about all of it.


 Before I begin, a fair warning: this will be a lot of controversy wrapped together in one article. Different readers will agree with different parts here and I only request that you don’t follow Thorin’s example on how to criticize others. Let’s have some mutual respect so we can have a mutual discussion.

 Some backstory for those of you who stay off LoL’s subreddit (and you are wonderful people for it); Reginald stated in a vlog he was temporarily halting interviews with OnGamers because of Summoning Insight. As a response, Duncan “Thorin” Shields from OnGamers called out Reginald in the 12th episode of SI, where he compared him to Caesar, a character from Planet of the Apes. This prompted an apology from OnGamers and Thorin as a form of damage control. Also, Locodoco stepped in as a coach for TSM and afterwards an announcement was made that the roster would avoid social media for the time being. These events are now a major talking point and a lot of pro players have been advised (or chose themselves) to avoid involving themselves with the community.


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Dunkan started the League talk show “Summoning Insight” back in March this year, where he and MonteCristo go into full detail on basically the entire pro-scene of League. Whether you like the show is largely inhibited by how long you can tolerate Thorin’s attitude. It’s his image of a rude, but honest trash-talker that makes him a notable personality.

 What the whole issue boils down to is that the hosts of Summoning Insight think their criticism is considered negative PR and that’s just not true. What is considered negative is Thorin’s inflammatory language, which you’d expect to be on a Tribunal case, not a recorded show for the community. Him being critical versus him being insulting is not an argument we should be having, because he doesn’t need to be aggressive to maintain objectivity.

 Witnessing Thorin discuss professionalism is, to put it lightly, hypocritical. Yes, he does interviews in a manner you’d expect a journalist to, but outside that he’s your stereotype for an overly arrogant commentator. He already has a history of being fired for his toxic behavior and the fact that he’s doing it again points to a complete lack of self-reflecting.


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 It speaks positive of the eSports community that Thorin was called out on his actions. His behavior was only condoned until now because his professional niche – eSports journalist – is still lacking an identity in the real world. League is moving closer and closer to being a world-recognized sport, but the media that covers it isn’t bound by the rules that make other media respected by its viewers. If Thorin was a journalist outside pro-gaming and he was this offensive, you’d have not just a PR disaster, but a full-blown media scandal. To give you an example: imagine that you’re watching football analysis and one of the commentators starts openly insulting a player or his team’s coach. What would happen is he’d be called off-screen and fired, and rightfully so, because one’s freedom of speech is not a universal permission to be unethical. Freedom of speech is talking without fear of government action against you. It has nothing to do with social skills.

  Censorship is a term we frown upon a lot these days. But censoring the way you talk about a topic is different from censoring what you talk about. If Thorin self-identifies as a journalist, if the public identifies him as a journalist, then he should act like one. Knowing when it’s inappropriate to say something is a required social skill, regardless of whether you think it’s impeaching on your right to say what you feel. I don’t want to be part of a community that embraces Thorin as some perverted embodiment of journalist qualities and I hope you don’t, either.


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 As much as we need to identify Thoorin’s attitude as an issue in his field, we also shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions. Particularly, him allegedly calling Reginald a “monkey”, which isn’t true. He did liken him to Caesar from “Planet of the Apes” , but only as a metaphor for a fatherly figure, not as a racist remark (you can find the exact quote here). Do I think it’s funny? No, it’s an absurdly insensitive comparison to make, but it isn’t racist and wasn’t aimed at how Reginald looks, but how he acts.

 This particular quote is infuriating, because Reginald’s been called “wukong” for a long time by the community, which can’t be excused for any reasons. Thorin has effectively become a scapegoat for awful behavior that many are guilty of . This hypocrisy of witchhunting a public figure who’s perpetrated an offense we commit on a regular basis – reckless insults – proves an obvious truth: that you have to be notorious to be held responsible for such language. The topic of how negative our community has become has been exhausted at this point, but look to yourself before you look to trashtalking someone mercilessly on Reddit and you might find the Thorin in you.


Summoning Insight

The point of debate is on Ep. 12. Click the image to be taken there.


Was Reginald right to blacklist OnGamers entirely?


 No, I don’t think he is. Thorin’s an issue, but he’s only one employee for OnGamers. Blacklisting them entirely means Travis also won’t get to do interviews with TSM’s roster and that just isn’t fair towards Travis or the rest of the people working for OnGamers.


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 What’s requested of Thorin to be a journalist the community respects isn’t censorship. He can remain honest with people without being unnecessarily cruel in his words and these are not inseparable characteristics of how you speak to your audience. He actually has an example of how to behave right there, on Summoning Insight. MonteCristo has shown to be just as critical of the NA and EU scenes, but he moderates himself while delivering an honest opinion. There’s a level of disparity between the two that makes Thorin seem desperately amateur in what he does. Trash-talking your subjects of discussion is the lowest you can sink to when trying to make a point. Resorting to personal emotion and simple language is limiting your circle of audience to people who, frankly, know no other way to make their point across. If Thorin understands that, it will help both his image and the quality of his content.

 I’ll propose a solution to the whole debate and note that this may never happen and you don’t have to agree with it: I think Thorin should quit working for OnGamers, at least for some time. When a public figure erodes a relationship between organization and media, the person responsible steps down, and if Thorin is the professional he claims to be he should have the dignity to acknowledge what he’s done wrong and take responsibility. I don’t see why OnGamers as a whole should suffer for his actions and him quitting may show Reginald and teams in general that they’re committed to producing non-toxic content. As for whether Thorin should simply change his attitude: he won’t.





 Thorin is, sadly, a reflection of League’s community right now. He’s taking flak for behavior that plagues a lot of people, but they aren’t public figures so we’re not scrutinizing over their actions. Obsessing over the drama that TSM is blacklisting OnGamers teaches us nothing about why this even happened; we should take this as an example of the obvious, that verbal abuse leads to consequences and it’s not your “right” to do it and expect the receiving party to “man up”.

 No one should honestly be surprised pro players are told to avoid social media and Reddit. Weekly trash-talk threads were a red sign that things have gone horribly wrong. We can blame the moderators with the same ease we blame the jungler, but they shouldn’t be the ones reforming the majority’s behavior.

 We don’t really want to criticize players after a bad match, we don’t want to tell them that they should step up their game and that fans demand more. No, what we really want is for other people to agree with us and we to agree with them; we don’t want to be the lonely defender of an opinion, so we cluster mindlessly around what’s popular, and what’s popular is usually what’s hateful, because it’s emotional and therefore attracts the most people. That’s the loudest voice pro-players hear, the voice of collective hatred. If you actually think trash-talking a player to the point where you want them benched is helping them in any way, you need to step away from the keyboard because you’re only contributing to the issue.


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 The nature of rude language on the Internet may seem obvious: we’re anonymous and therefore liberated of consequence. We say things online we’d never say in real life. But there’s more to it than that and I learned a lot about it from Nika Harper (Nikasaur from Summoner Showcase) in her GDC presentation on “How to become Fireproof”. Here’s a perspective on why we’re so hateful online that I’m sure most of you haven’t considered:

You don’t actually think about the other person reading your message.

 You may find it strange, but if you’re spewing hatred on the Internet, chances are you’re not perceiving the person you’re addressing it to as real. You don’t actually imagine him/her reading it and reacting to it. That’s why eye contact is so important in our communication. When we lose that, we have only a vague sense of what our words really cause in the minds of others. We become complacent with the opinion that since we’re not finding the language hurtful, others won’t as well.


GDC Nika Harper

You’re not a physical entity to the people throwing insults at you online.


 If we remove criticism from talks on Reddit all-together, we become nothing more than a horde of fanboys. But attacking someone personally and as loud as possible and calling it criticism is not only damaging the relationship between eSports stars and the community that should be supporting them, it’s degrading the level of discussion we can even have regarding a player or a team.


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 There is an obvious connection here, between what Thorin should be working to change about himself and what we, as a community, should seek to improve. eSports has grown to a level where the ethical boundaries of fans interacting with pro-players aren’t gimmicks anymore; and being a nobody on the Internet is not an excuse for us to behave as we please. Enough with defending toxic behavior – if you’re unhappy with how a player is performing, there are civil ways to  talk about it. Insults are an uneducated man’s tools for humor and we should stop labeling them as acceptable when they’re clearly not for the people they’re addressed to.

 Physical sports players don’t communicate at all with their fans and pro-players are heading down a similar road. Right now we don’t even realize how much closer we are as a community to the personalities we see compete than in other sports. And there is a real chance we can lose that.


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