You know those times where you are playing an online game and someone on your team whines that you aren’t playing the game how they want? Well, apparently that is an actual thing that Riot Games is taking seriously with League of Legends.
A player going by the name “Take the Draw” was given a 14-day ban from the developer because the champion they played was used “incorrectly.” Usually, before a match begins, you and your team decide on roles and placements. Some of the champions are effective in certain roles and positions but weak in others.
In this case, “Take the Draw” picked Nunu and went as a support role. Usually, that would mean biding your time and protecting your marksman who builds strength to take out the enemy team. However, Draw abandons their post and heads out to steal enemy jungle camps leaving the marksman in a 2 vs 1 situation. That obviously isn’t good for the marksman in their weakened state. Draw’s technique leaves one lane open to the enemy team while preventing them from gaining a foothold and pressuring in another.
When Take the Draw confronted Riot about the ban, they were told it was for “stealing other people’s roles” and “failing to communicate.”
Riot commented via their player support lead WookieeCookie
Q: Can I get banned for choosing a champion or strategy that is outside the current meta?
A: 100% no. Choosing a champion or strategy outside of the current meta is not a factor we take into account when reviewing accounts. On any given day tens of thousands of players are making unusual picks in the game and they’ll never receive penalties in any form.
Q: So why does this issue keep coming up? What makes it different?
A: Riot Gromp said it best in the previous post when they stated: “…common sense and good sportsmanship say that experimenting players need to clearly communicate intent and win conditions to their teammates.” League of Legends is a team game and sometimes the biggest challenge can be coordinating with 4 other strangers who share a common goal; victory. If a player is going to rewrite the rules for the rest of their team then there is more pressure to properly communicate to everyone what they want the plan to be, and what they think everyone should do to achieve it.
But wait! Communication doesn’t stop after you press the Enter button on your keyboard; and that’s where we saw a problem in this particular case. All of us need to be aware of the difference of communicating “with” someone vs. communicating “at” someone. Telling your team what you’re going to do and then ignoring them isn’t really working with them it’s holding them hostage. Telling your team what you want to do and actually working towards a common plan is a central part to playing any team based game.
In this case what we observed was an expert Nunu counter-jungler throwing the meta on it’s head with a respectable win rate of 53%. While pretty impressive on it’s own, we also found that nearly 50% of their games were reported by teammates as frustrating and unfun. Keep in mind, this isn’t just teammates in losing games, this is teammates across all of his games; victories included.
The message was pretty clear to us, this player is serious about Making Nunu Great Again but they are leaving a trail of dissatisfaction, frustration, and anger in their wake.
Winning is not the end all be all of League. We want players to have fun but not at the expense of teammates. Ideally this means players will coordinate among themselves in a given match and react to the unique circumstances they end up in. If a player is consistently forcing “their vision” on the rest of the team and refusing to adapt to their needs we reserve the right to intervene. That’s what happened here (and before with the Singed case); players cried out how terrible the experience was for them and we intervened.
Moving forward we’re going to keep updating our processes for these edge cases. We will still be on the lookout for situations where a player is creating a really negative experience for everyone else and we will intervene when necessary. In this case it’s undeniable that TakeTheDraw wants to win even if their approach leaves a lot to be desired. The effects on others in his games were enough for us to lock the account and we stand by that. But our agents were not properly prepared with a process to handle this edge case when they wrote in and that is on me. I will be working with the team to clarify an escalation process that emphasizes clearer feedback and opens the door for ban reductions if we believe that someone can make changes to their play style allowing them to continue crushing the meta but not at the expense of their teammates.
Basically saying, you can’t get banned for picking a champion or strategy outside of the current meta but you can be banned if you don’t play your role with the team who will obviously want to play the meta.
Confused? We are. What we do know is that Riot seems to take the idea of PTFO strongly and won’t stand for any of that going solo nonsense.
League of Legends is available now for Mac and PC.