League of Legends tribunal research

LoL Tribunal research, their FAQ:

http://na.leagueoflegends.com/tribunal/en/faq/

  • Why doesn’t Riot post a list of rules for what you can be banned for?

    We believe in giving the community what it needs to define itself and that includes what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Any rules provided by Riot Games could unnecessarily influence the community.

    • I find this very interesting because Dota 2 provides 4 categories when one is reported that the report should fall under.  However, it does not cover all cases and it is sometimes tough to put a report down that doesn’t match exactly with the category.  I think leaving it open has its benefits as well as its drawbacks.
  • Can I be banned for not playing the meta?

    Players are not banned by the Tribunal for not playing the meta; they are banned for consistently creating negative experiences for others.

    We have data suggesting that reviewers of Tribunal cases are very thoughtful and accurate in their verdicts, so if you were reported for not playing the meta but were being a positive player, you can expect to be judged fairly.

    In general, players should feel empowered to play what they want and to try new strategies; however, this does not give you a license to be disrespectful or rude to your fellow gamers.

  • Can I be banned for playing an unpopular champion?

    No, the Tribunal does not ban players for playing unpopular champions. You should feel empowered to play any champion you like, any way you like as long as you’re creating a positive experience for everyone in the game.

    • These two points are interesting as it addresses the fact that players will flame one another frequently if they are not “playing” a popular or “strong” hero.  It is important to remember that players should be able to play whichever champion or hero they want to regardless of how underpowered it is.  It is also important to note that players will also get flamed for playing overpowered heroes and hey are considered “cheap” if they do. (need to get screen-caps of this happening)
  • Why is verbal abuse punishable if there is a mute button/language filter?

    Players shouldn’t need to rely on features like the mute button or language filter to engage with other players in positive ways. When a player verbally abuses another player and forces him to use the mute button, they have already created a negative experience for that player.

    • This is an excellent point as players are already affected by the toxic person if they have to mute them.  Their experience of playing the game is already negative.
  • What is the Justice Rating?

    The Justice Rating is the relative skill level of Tribunal contributors based on how often and how accurately they vote. Players get bonus rating for getting streaks of correct cases.

    • Interesting that there are designed rewards for players who participate in this in order to encourage the community to upkeep itself.  Definitely a good motivator.
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Resource links

Just dumping some research

Great article on communication and interaction:

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WesleyRockholz/20140425/216251/Focused_Communication_and_Communities_in_Games.php

Interesting article on free to play games:

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/BalazsJuhasz/20140530/218719/Are_your_nonpaying_players_valuable.php

Research done in a thesis on online gaming affecting social interaction:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070915110957.htm

“Online multiplayer communities are susceptible to changes. Old communities perish and new ones are born constantly, and gamers frequently shift between communities. However, the social networks and personal relationships that form the base of these communities may survive even though the disbandment of a community. It is possible that a new multiplayer community rises out of the old one’s ashes.”

Article on games impacting players:

http://www.gamesforchange.org/2013/07/from-interaction-to-impact-3-games-that-engage-players-in-3-different-ways/

LoL Tribunal research, their FAQ:

http://na.leagueoflegends.com/tribunal/en/faq/

  • Why doesn’t Riot post a list of rules for what you can be banned for?

    We believe in giving the community what it needs to define itself and that includes what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. Any rules provided by Riot Games could unnecessarily influence the community.

    • I find this very interesting because Dota 2 provides 4 categories when one is reported that the report should fall under.  However, it does not cover all cases and it is sometimes tough to put a report down that doesn’t match exactly with the category.  I think leaving it open has its benefits as well as its drawbacks.
  • Can I be banned for not playing the meta?

    Players are not banned by the Tribunal for not playing the meta; they are banned for consistently creating negative experiences for others.

    We have data suggesting that reviewers of Tribunal cases are very thoughtful and accurate in their verdicts, so if you were reported for not playing the meta but were being a positive player, you can expect to be judged fairly.

    In general, players should feel empowered to play what they want and to try new strategies; however, this does not give you a license to be disrespectful or rude to your fellow gamers.

  • Can I be banned for playing an unpopular champion?

    No, the Tribunal does not ban players for playing unpopular champions. You should feel empowered to play any champion you like, any way you like as long as you’re creating a positive experience for everyone in the game.

    • These two points are interesting as it addresses the fact that players will flame one another frequently if they are not “playing” a popular or “strong” hero.  It is important to remember that players should be able to play whichever champion or hero they want to regardless of how underpowered it is.  It is also important to note that players will also get flamed for playing overpowered heroes and hey are considered “cheap” if they do. (need to get screen-caps of this happening)
  • Why is verbal abuse punishable if there is a mute button/language filter?

    Players shouldn’t need to rely on features like the mute button or language filter to engage with other players in positive ways. When a player verbally abuses another player and forces him to use the mute button, they have already created a negative experience for that player.

    • This is an excellent point as players are already affected by the toxic person if they have to mute them.  Their experience of playing the game is already negative.
  • What is the Justice Rating?

    The Justice Rating is the relative skill level of Tribunal contributors based on how often and how accurately they vote. Players get bonus rating for getting streaks of correct cases.

    • Interesting that there are designed rewards for players who participate in this in order to encourage the community to upkeep itself.  Definitely a good motivator.
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Player interaction shaping gameplay

We have barely scratched the surface of how game design shapes player interaction but it is also important to remember that the players themselves shape gameplay to a certain extent.  As in Dota 2, the player’s personality as well as their experience with the game influence the types of interaction they will partake in.  But with other games I find this reverse effect where players shape the gameplay to be more prevalent.  A game series that I have a lot of experience interacting with other people is Super Smash Bros.  This interaction is typically done in real life in the setting of a living room.  So naturally the interaction will be vary from Dota 2.  I find that my friends and I put “rules” into the game that we make up ourselves that we follow as we play.  These rules are not programmed into the game, but they are typically ones that we follow out of respect and we expect each other to follow them.

An example of one that we set is to allow players who are off of the map a chance to recover and to not block them from recovering.  It is a common courtesy that we give to each other while playing the game.  This is very interesting as competitive players obviously do not follow this rule as it would impact how well a player can perform.  Other casual players believe the opposite of how my friends and I play and they will punish the player for being off of the ledge.  I have also talked to people who play the game across the country and they too have similar rules that they set up while playing the series of Smash games.

I think it is worth mentioning that in the latest game in the series, Nintendo has actually made it where players cannot grab the ledge in order for a player to not recover.  Whether or not this comes from the community typically wanting a system like that cannot be confirmed, but it is interesting to see how player made rules and interactions in a game can become what is actually put into the game.

The following forum post by a player of Super Smash Bros. shows that different players of the game will come up with their own rules as they play.  These rules can then influence the way players interact with the game.

10 commandments of C-Falc

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/928518-super-smash-bros-brawl/63208358

This post is supposed to be comedic, but it does exhibit that “silly” rules such as these can be enforced by players of the game.  I think that these types of community made rules are more prevalent in games that stress the importance of a friendly community or it requires some type of system where players have to govern themselves.  Creative games such as Minecraft where the actual game design is simplistic can fuel this governmental and creative interaction.  Dota 2 does not necessarily support this kind of interaction with its main design.  I will be making a post about the custom game modes in Dota 2 in which I discuss how design that gives the player more freedom encourages the players to govern themselves.

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Typical competitive interaction in Dota 2

Common interaction in Dota 2 revolves around the gameplay, as this is true for a large amount of interactions that occur in games.  However, the competitive interaction that occurs in Dota 2 primarily revolves around how well a player is performing in a match.  There are plenty of other situations that arise where the interaction varies, but the most common interactions are seen during actual matches with players.  I call this competitive interaction because the player to player discussion that occurs revolves around the fundamentals of the Dota 2 match and how each player is performing in this competition.  The examples I will provide show the interaction of players being centered on the competition, as well as the gameplay of teammates and opponents.

A common interaction that is seen in online games is the typical “glhf” (good luck have fun) that is said at the beginning of the game and the “gg wp” (good game well played)  which is said at the end of a game.  These are common courtesy in professional matches of Dota 2, but in my experience the glhf is actually rare to see in a regular game while a gg is usually said by all players.  I think this is driven by the way the game starts in that players are having to be active at the very start of a Dota 2 match and they do not have much time for a common courtesy interaction.  Conversely, players are typically done with playing the game at the end and can extend the courtesy of a “good game.”  Below are a couple pictures of players I experienced performing both interactions.

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As can be seen, a player on my opposing team wished us good luck and I responded with wishing his team good luck as well.  What can also be seen in this screenshot is a new type of interaction that Valve recently added after the 2014 International championship.  This is an item to predict if your team will win the match. You can see this on the left side of the photo. If you predict correctly, a counter on the item will go up and the more successful predictions you have in a row, players will be able to see this.  If you lose, the counter resets.  Even this small addition into the game fuels a very competitive atmosphere as players will gamble long streaks on games and want to win to keep their streak going.

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In this photo, it can be seen that the game is drawing to a close and my team and the opposing team are exchanging a “good game” call with the other team.  The storm spirit on my team even extends a “well played” specifically directed to my team.  I typically see this happen when a team is interacting well with each other and the players are nice towards one another.

Game interaction is not always as friendly as it can be a toxic and mean environment where players are sour that they are losing or their teammates are not playing well.

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Here we see two of my team members arguing with each other and accusing one another of being a bad player.  Another player on my team even states that the other two need to stop complaining and just play the game.  A lot of times players will argue with one another and this arguing will affect the way the game is played.  Players will refuse to come to team fights or they will intentionally throw the game if they are mad enough at their team or the opposing team.  Throwing a game in Dota 2 typically means a player performs actions that intentionally make his/her team lose the game.

Players on the opposing teams will typically trash talk each other as the game defines them as opponents.  Dota 2 is designed to pit players against each other in a 5 v 5 fashion.  From this design it is not surprising to see players talking bad to one another.  However, this interaction can be taken too far.

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Here we can see a series of images where the Death Prophet on the other team is expressing her anger onto my team and is actually verbally abusing players on my team.  This kind of action is something that can get a player punished if that player is reported by the community.  But we can see players on my team and the other team both being frustrated with this person as well as egging on this type of behavior.  In the last few images we see a player on my team taunting the other player with a sarcastic “well played” as well as saying that his middle lane was easy.  The angered Death Prophet on the other team defends her gameplay saying that she won it rather than the Kunkka on my team.  This type of interaction where players are comparing who they are performing in the game is very typical, especially when the interaction is ill mannered.

In rare cases, matchmaking games in Dota 2 can become silly and support a creative interaction between the players.  I found that this typically occurs when I am playing with a full party of people that I know and the other team is also queuing up as a party of 5.  Other times I find this to happen is when the players on my team are nice and enjoy performing interactions that are not common to see in the game.  The following screenshots shows me and some friends all putting ourselves up a cliff in the game and then asking a person on the other team to come to the cliff as sacrifice.  This is definitely an atypical interaction and does not serve a purpose in the competitive aspect of the game.

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Screenshots of interactions encouraged in the design of the game

commendationsHere we see the commendation system where players can choose to commend one another. You can only commend another player when you are in game with them and you have to choose one of the categories available; friendly, forgiving, teaching, and leadership.

workshop

This image shows how Valve integrates the community workshop into their main game.  The workshop is a system Valve put in where players can submit their designs for in game item cosmetics.  If the community likes the designs enough, Valve can put in the item and the designers get a percentage of the profit the item makes.

workshop at international

Even at the International 2014 (the largest tournament for Dota 2) there were workshop creator sessions where members of the community were asked to come and teach lessons about 3D modeling and other techniques related to creating items in Dota 2.

teams

There is a team function in Dota that enables players to create their own competitive team and challenge other player made teams either in matchmaking or in tournaments.

steam workshop

Valve also integrated a feature that directly links to submitting your work to the workshop.  It explains how to use the workshop and how to submit your own material to it.

solo mmr

In terms of measurement of a player’s competitive skill, Valve put in an MMR(matchmaking rating) system.  There is a solo MMR and a party MMR.  You can only play in your solo MMR bracket when you search for a game by yourself.

recruiting

Dota also encourages bringing new players into the game.  There is both a coaching system as well as a recruitment system.  The recruitment system is pictured and it a way for new players to get a boost when playing with the person who recruited them.

item quiz

A little shopkeeper’s quiz can be taken when players are searching for a match.  This encourages players to learn the different items that build into larger items in the game, fueling the competitive interaction of the game.

fantasy2

One of the more interesting interactions is the fantasy league for Dota 2.  This is similar to fantasy football where players make their own team comprised of competitive Dota 2 players and fantasy points are scored by the players during competitive matches.  The player’s fantasy team is pitted up against other fantasy teams for weekly match ups.

fantasy

This is another photo of the fantasy league rankings.

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Dota 2 research Day 1

Interesting example of player interaction fueling a sarcastic game guide: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=308113005

Here we see a player putting his bad feelings about playing the game into a guide basically telling players to search for games in servers that speak their language.  The competitive nature of Dota 2 fuels this kind of player interaction where teammates need to communicate and are frustrated if they cannot.

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