The League of Legends Honor System
Online games are typically filled with negativity, causing many of us to defend ourselves, often with equally negative comments; thus perpetuating the abusive language and belittlement in games like World of WarCraft and League of Legends. I’ve recently spoke of in-game etiquette, and just days after that article was published Riot Games released their “Honor” system that encourages good behavior in their Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), League of Legends.
While there are still a few unknowns, allow me to share what I know about the League of Legends Honor System:
- All Summoners have a finite pool of Honor to distribute; although its size is not currently known or displayed
- Players continually accrue Honor to distribute by playing matchmade games*
- Honor is only capable of being given or received after a matchmade game*
- Honor comes in four (4) types: Helpful, Friendly, Teamwork, Honorable Opponent
- The Summoner Profile is where you can view any Honor earned by a player
- After receiving enough Honor, badges can be earned and displayed on the Summoner Profile for each of the four (4) types
- Trading Honor is discouraged and systems are in place to identify, and potentially punish, those attempting to game the Honor system
- Should you be punished by the Tribunal, any Honor earned is reset to zero
*Matchmade games exclude Custom games and games played in The Proving Grounds arena.
- Helpful – There are those summoners who have the know-how to help you step up your game and are always willing to share. If one of your teammates makes you feel like you’re attending a master class on League of Legends, be sure to recognize him for being a helpful teammate.
- Friendly – Ever meet one of those summoners who – win or lose – is just a pleasure to play with? This acknowledgement goes out to those unsung heroes of the Fields of Justice whose friendly demeanor keeps everyone having a good time even when the chips are down.
- Teamwork – Some players really put the needs of the team over their personal interests. These players lead the way on the Fields of Justice, support struggling teammates, and are always the first to step up and select a role the team needs. This acknowledgement is for all those players who understand that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
- Honorable Opponent – Sometimes you run into an opponent who is humble in victory and graceful in defeat. Be sure to acknowledge those adversaries who embody the spirit of sportsmanship as Honorable Opponents.
The League of Legends Honor System went live on October 1, 2012. So after only two weeks with the Honor system in place, has it accomplished what Riot set out to do? See this post by Lyte, Lead Designer for Social Systems, for reference, but basically it shows that the Honor system has been a huge success thus far – and several more iterations are slated for the future. Specifically, Lyte calls out that global reports for negative attitude, offensive language, and verbal abuse have decreased significanly across the board in both normal and ranked play.
As for Summoners attempting to abuse the Honor system, Riot’s initial results show a very small percentage are seeking to game the system; and those that have are identified and punished, reducing their Honor to zero. As for how Riot detects abusers, they had “several PhDs and statisticians tinker with models for weeks”, that resulted in pattern recognition, social interaction, and honor value systems to help identify abusers.
Having played several League of Legends matches since the release of the Honor patch, I can honestly say that I’ve noticed a difference in players’ attitudes and language. Champion select is more positive, with players often asking what champion their teammates suggest they play given the role that they’ve chosen or been left to fill. In-game coordination and cooperation is more prevalent with early ganks, team fights, and helping cover lanes. Opponents have even applauded me for a good juke, gank, or theft of their Golem, Lizard, or Dragon.
Will the Honor system solve all the negative attitudes, offensive language, and verbal abuse in the game? Absolutely not; and to think so would be naive. However, like Riot’s initial honor results, I have seen a positive change and only have hope that it will improve as they iterate upon what I would consider an already successful new system. Good Luck, Have Fun!