Yesterday was a mixed bag, I am not going to get into the awkwardness that was Christmas with my family. I should have taken a picture of the gallon jug of holy water that my grandmother for some reason seems to think she needs, however I did not as it would have been too obvious. Suffice to say it was fine while it was just my parents and grandmother, but once people started showing up the fight or flight instinct kicked in and I had to get out of there. We stayed long enough to be socially acceptable, or at least long enough to see everyone and then got back on the road. I really don’t deal with large groups of people in confined spaces very well.
When I finally got home that night I went back to my LFR madness. I really would have thought that the holidays would have made people better natured, but instead it seemed like only the worst people were running dungeons. I guess it makes sense, as most of the “good” people probably have families and such that they would rather be spending time with. The highlight of the evening, as far as horrible goes came when my Downfall group finally got to Garrosh. We had a few people drop like usual, and one of the warriors that joined in immediately started moaning that he had waited in queue for an hour and missed the entire dungeon.
Instead of doing the right thing, and just dropping group and taking the deserter debuff… he proceeded to pull Garrosh while we were still getting prepared screaming “For Mother Russia”. Obviously his ploy was to get us to kick him which doesn’t cause the debuff to happen. He was running across the screen just about to aggro him again when the kick happened saving the day. The problem is… there needs to be a better way of managing this. The systems in place don’t give us a way to flag this guy letting other people know that he will likely screw their group over if things don’t go his way.
League of Legends has had in the past the most notoriously toxic community in online gaming. As a result they knew that this was ultimately hurting their product and keeping players from participating on a deep level with it. Instead of sitting back and saying “pugs will be pugs” they took matters into their own hands and tried to devise a way of dealing with this. As a result they created two systems that work hand in hand. The honor system allows players to provide “endorsements” that are positive, such as Teamwork, Friendly, Knowledgeable, and at the same time provide a venue for reporting bad behavior. When a player has received enough negative reports they go into another system called the Tribunal.
One of the problems with social reporting is that there is a sea of false positives and downright minor infractions that clog the customer support staff. As a result the Tribunal system is innovative in that it brings each case before a jury of “peers” aka other players who have signed up to be willing to sit on these peer based juries. You can view all of the results on the public Tribunal page if you are logged into your league account. The image on the right side is an example of a tribunal ruling. Of course warnings for language should apply as it states exactly what the player said during the match to warrant being reported.
Be Proactive Blizzard
These systems really do seem to work out in the wild, in fact with the big 2.1 patch in Final Fantasy XIV Squaresoft introduced a very similar endorsement system with some big rewards that can be gained through this positive behavior. In the past there were unofficial systems on the servers that permanently labeled disruptive players as pariahs from the social circles. There was a time where you could look at the guild a player was in and have a fair shot at gauging whether or not the player would be a positive influence on your group. Additionally just talking to a player for a moment before inviting them to fill a group gave you a good idea of their future behavior. When Blizzard introduced systems to automate these processes it completely removed the element of social ramifications, and such the “greater internet fuckwad theory” came true.
When it is perceived that there are no consequences for bad actions… players tend to behave worse. Sure there are awesome people out there that are awesome all the time regardless of who is looking… but that is quite simply not the majority of people. These systems work to bring a tally of someone’s misdeeds to bear each time they step into a group. The guy who wiped the LFR because he didn’t want to be there… would bring with him a black mark from each and every player that flagged him for doing what he did. I feel like blizzard does an excellent job of policing and banning players who are actively exploiting the game.
However it is quite literally against their best interest to ban players who are paying them a monthly subscription. Each time they ban one of these players they lose his money, and over time it adds up. What systems like the tribunal do is introduce a neutral third party, the player. The tribunal works because no only does it hold players accountable for their actions, but it also holds the players who are making these decisions accountable. Every decision that is made, and the players who participated in making it is posted publicly for the world to see. Since this relies on the players justice is usually far more swift than waiting for customer service to sift through their backlog of cases and deal with it. It is my hopes that with the rollout of Warlords of Draenor, they will investigate a system like this, and hopefully make it applicable to ALL battle.net games..