Bit by bit, League of Legends developer Riot Games is making it clear that they don’t trust their players to communicate without toxicity.
Riot has long been motivated to combat toxic interactions between players in its long-running and popular MOBA. It has gone about this through a variety of means, and in more recent years this has included reducing the ways in which players are able to communicate with each other.
Not every player likes this or appreciates it, but Riot’s latest moves show that it’s more committed to reducing communication than ever before, which begs the question: Are we headed for a future with no in-game communication at all?
Riot disables ally pings in League of Legends
The latest example of Riot removing communications features came in the form of ally pings being removed from League of Legends. This means that you’ll no longer be able to ping your allied teammates in a way that broadcasts to everyone else on your team. You can still ping them, but no one else will see it.
Riot’s reasoning for disabling ally pings is that they were being used in an overly toxic way. Riot contends that sharing hostility was actually the mean reason for pinging teammates. If your mid laner dived too deep, or your support missed an important ability, some players would relentlessly ping the offending player to point out that they were at fault.
This behavior isn’t anything new, however. So why change it now?
Some players have suggested that decisions such as this one are less about Riot’s broad views on the game, and more about the experiences of individual staffers at Riot Games. Rumors have swirled of development team members encountering toxic individuals in-game and deciding to make sweeping changes based on those encounters.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the change is inherently wrong. But it’s still an odd standard to use, if there’s truth to the charge that Riot employees are basing broad game changes at least partially on their anecdotal experience, rather than large data samples or any long-term plan for the game.
Is Riot removing communication from League of Legends?
Riot has been removing means of communication from League of Legends for multiple years now, though it still hasn’t removed communication from the game entirely. Players can still chat with their teammates and discuss strategy, and some pings do still display to allied players.
Even these options are limited, however. Players can disable all chat in the game, and many do. What’s more, players can even disable pings from their allies, turning off communication entirely. So while Riot hasn’t yet officially removed communication from League of Legends, it has made sure that players have the option of removing communication entirely for themselves, if they so desire.
There are concerns that these reductions in communication could negatively impact a team’s ability to coordinate. But given the concerns about toxic behavior, Riot clearly believes the trade is worthwhile.