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Cleaning Up Online Games with Positive Enforcement

Anyone who has played online multiplayer games, especially those focused on combat, can attest to how caustic other players can be. League of Legends creators are fighting that, rather successfully, with a positive-reinforcement honor system.

The Mary Sue reports:

Here’s the background: Six months ago, Riot established Team Player Behavior — affectionately called Team PB&J — a group of experts in psychology, neuroscience, and statistics (already, I am impressed). At the helm is Jeffrey Lin, better known as Dr. Lyte, Riot’s lead designer of social systems. As quoted in a recent article at Polygon:

We want to show other companies and other games that it is possible to tackle player behavior, and with certain systems and game design tools, we can shape players to be more positive.

Which brings us to the Honor system. Honor is a way for players to reward each other for good behavior. This is divvied up into four categories: Friendly, Helpful, Teamwork, and Honorable Opponent. At the end of a match, players can hand out points to those they deem worthy. These points are reflected on players’ profiles, but do not result in any in-game bonuses or rewards (though this may change in the future). All Honor does is show that you played nicely.

The most fascinating thing is that it’s working. Reports of abusive behavior have gone down and player satisfaction has gone up, all in response to a system that essentially awards valueless you’re-a-nice-player points. Hit up the link below for the full article and further analysis of League of Legends’ success with the program.

So Far So Good: League of Legends Takes an Honorable Approach to Improving Player Behavior [The Mary Sue]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/7/12

Comments (5)

  1. BAoxymoron

    I really like it so far… you strive to help others, be friendly and be a good opponent… yeah you know you’ll never really get anything out of it but doesn’t mean you don’t smile when you get +4 friendly after a game :)

  2. ninjamast3r

    Yeah, that program has done wonders for the LoL community. Riot really did a great job with that one.

  3. Bill

    MUCH better to do it through rewards than censorship. I saw one company going to ban players for offensive speech, and we all know the slippery slope that becomes. Who decides what speech is offensive and to whom. So, glad to see this and glad to see it working!!

  4. Kevin

    Hmmm, I quit playing LOL almost a year ago mostly due to the community and general nastiness of a few harasser players. If this is a legit system it might be worth it to start playing again.

  5. Robert

    I quit WoW because I got tired of all the nasty children playing.for no reason except being as rotten as possible.

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