Tuesday, March 11, 2014

XMG League of Legends 2014 - "A sit down with Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere


Cultural differences in gaming regions?

I have always thought of gaming as one of those activities that brings people together with common interests, much the same as poker.  A place where people who can barely speak the same language, are able to play and have fun, with something like League of Legends, a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) type of game.  This has been my "go to" game for some time now, other than SolForge and HearthStone, which are Trading Card Games (TCG).  It is a 5 player vs 5 player team game, where you have to cooperate with your teammates to outperform and win against the other team.  Although you can play with friends, for most people, this means playing with 9 complete strangers.

So I'm playing on the North American (NA) servers, and having an unusually fun day.  Everyone getting along, 8 wins in a row, not much to complain about.  Riot takes the NA servers down for maintenance, so I go over to my EUW account to continue playing.  And promptly have 3 very annoying games in a row.  Even the games we won, there was still someone complaining, a lot!  Everyone was generally rude and insulting, and this is a more typical result in playing a bunch of League of Legends matches.

I started out testing on the NA servers because of a job at a software company that worked with Riot, now defunct, and ended up testing a little on EUW servers, where I happened to have more friends from hanging out with Athene (Twitch) for years.  Eventually, I started playing more on the NA servers again, and seem to be noticing a difference in players between the two regions.

Here are the differences I am seeing, in general.  Players on NA servers are typically more friendly and want to have fun, for the most part.  But when a player is toxic, or a troll, or having a bad day, they are REALLY bad.  If it's a bad game, it's usually a HORRIBLE game.  Not much middle ground.  You might be winning by far, but this is the type of game where the action of one player can take down the whole team, sometimes.  I have been on a 4 vs 5 win many a time, but it's easier if one player drops, than having one player intentionally feeding a team, or just playing really badly.  You are more likely to find a Troll on the NA servers, a player who is there just to have fun ruining everyone's day for the laughs.  Although Riot has a penalty system for trolls, these players just don't care.

Players on EUW servers are typically more serious, and expect things done a certain way.  On NA servers you say "MIA", or use the ping function, to signal your opponent is missing from your lane.  On EUW servers, you say "SS" (I forget what is stands for, but it means MIA), AND some players seems to think you should also ping.  You are more likely to get complainers or the usual "why (champion)?" as if explaining your mistake will make any difference, and you are more likely to be berated for bad play, and called a "noob" anytime you don't have a good game.  On the plus side, you are less likely to find a pure Troll out to ruin everyone's game.

Riot has a Tribunal, a system by where the players report toxic behavior, and the reports are then submitted to a group of your peers, other players that play the game.  There is a code of conduct you agree to when playing the game, and players are expected to adhere to these rules.  However, on the EUW server, ANYTHING that anyone does not agree with, often results in "reporting you!", even non-reportable offenses.

It's so refreshing when you get a game or two with friendly players, that it stands out from the typical negative attitudes and bickering, that often starts while still in the queue before you even enter the arena!

This has always been one of my problems with League of Legends, and indeed, was a reason it was quite a while before I enjoyed playing it, because who wants to play a game with more bickering and name calling, than fun??