League of Legends dev creates enforcement unit: “we don’t like players being jerks in games”

Thursday, 6 December 2012 11:51 GMT By Dave Cook

League of Legends developer Riot Games has established a new anti-griefer task force it calls the Player Behaviour and Justice Team. It’s job is to stop being being “jerks” online. Learn more about why the studio felt the team was necessary below.

In an interview with Gamasutra, League of Legends lead producer Travis George explained that the task force was set up to monitor foul play and griefing as a means of better understanding it, and to devise more effective ways of putting a stop to unscrupulous actions.

He said, “Nobody wants to play a game with somebody who’s mean. There’s a line, and that line generally is people being mean for the sake of being mean – telling you what to do, telling you how bad you are. And I think we can actually fix a lot of that.

“We actually have built a team around this. We call it, lovingly, the Player Behaviour and Justice Team. There are a lot of really talented folks on that team, including two PhDs. One’s a cognitive neuroscientist and one’s a behavioural psychologist.

“We’ve actually developed specific trends, and our own set of metrics that we look at for measuring what percentage of times we think that players will encounter a negative experience in a game, and how severe that negative experience is,” says George. “And then we have to build things or be responsive or message the community in a particular way to address those things.”

Policing games to this degree is often seen as a negative approach in some MMO titles – chiefly the rather savage EvE Online. But while it may look brutal from the outside, such freedom to act as you please is why games like EvE have flourished. But how can Riot Games properly penalise offenders fairly?

“We don’t like players being jerks in games. We’ve experienced it all ourselves,” he explained. “But we actually sat down and said, ‘How do we actually more tangibly understand how bad the impact is, or what the impact is, or understand the problem more?’

“And that’s where you’ve got guys who are PhD researchers who can help develop those models, and we have, actually, those models for how we track and trend what we call ‘player behavior,’

“You can apply really good research and science techniques to almost anything. The trick is just finding what you want to actually spend the time on, and that’s where the sentiment for players comes in as a huge guiding factor to that.”

Ah, good old science.

Do you feel that griefing is a real issue in League of Legends? How would you see it dealt with? Let us know below.

Thanks CVG.