Jan. 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM ET
Riot Games — the development company behind the enormously popular and extremely competitive online game "League of Legends" — is serious when it says it wants its players to play nicely with one another. In fact,the developers are so serious about making the fantasy battle game a more pleasant place to play that they have banned three players bound for the game's championships for ongoing "toxic behavior."
The three players who are members of Team Solo Mebdi were scheduled to play in the League of Legends Championship Series (“LCS”) European Qualifier this weekend in Poland.
"Unfortunately, facts have come to light regarding the toxic behavior of these players which requires us to ban their accounts and eliminate them from the EU Qualifier," Riot's senior eSports manager wrote in the announcement posted to the game's forums. "This will also have the effect of disqualifying Team Solo Mebdi from the tournament."
How toxic is toxic?
Among other things, the game's tribunal found that Khaled Abusagr (aka StunnedandSlayed) used four different accounts through which he reportedly "threatened to physically injure players, including a Riot employee" and was found to have used "a very large number of racist and anti-Semitic insults."
Nicolaj Jensen (aka Veigodx) was found to have" publicly and unapologetically admitted to engaging in a series of DDOS attacks" against other players. (Here's a picture Riot posted as proof.)
Meanwhile, Riot found that Simon Näslund (aka) Rayt3ch had shown a "consistent pattern of in-game verbal abuse, offensive behavior and negative attitude," so much so that, "Rayt3ch’s current harassment score is among the worst 0.01percent of all European accounts. Only one player in 10,000 sinks to this level of harassment."
Riot has suspended Näslund for 12 months and has permanently banned Absugar and Jensen from the game. And these suspensions come after, earlier this week, Riot suspended two other prominent players.
"League of Legends" has become one of the world's most popular eSports (electronic sports) and has some 32 million active players who log 1 billion hours of playtime a month. Last year's "League of Legends" World Championship Finals found players competing for $1 million in prize money in a massive live event that took over the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
"League of Legends" players must follow the game's Summoner's Code, which establishes the standards of behavior for players and outlines these basic principles for the game:
Support your Team
Drive Constructive Feedback
Facilitate Civil Discussion
Enjoy Yourself, but not at Anyone Else’s Expense
Show Humility in Victory, and Grace in Defeat
Be Resolute, not Indignant
Leave No Newbie Behind!
Lead by Example
Riot also recently implemented an Honor System in an effort to build a positive gaming environment by giving players a chance to reward each other for good and helpful behavior.
InGame editor Todd Kenreck spoke to Jeffrey Line — Riot's in-house neuroscientist and lead designer of social systems — who has been using his science background to develop ways to encourage good player behavior. Check out the full interview below.
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.