Generally I feel like this is a topic which is discussed quite often but is never really in the spotlight except when a big streamer is caught flaming. It's a very one sided topic with probably 99% of all players supporting the system of (perma) banning people from the game for toxicity.
I would like to explain why banning people for toxicity is wrong and how Riot is further supporting the rage and mental issues that are plaguing more and more players nowadays. I also want to talk a bit about myself, ingame I am a very toxic player as well and I have some big mental issues going on, but it wasn't always like this.
This is a cry for help, not only to help me, but to help (almost) all toxic players in the community, those that are mostly misunderstood and those who suffer from serious health issues, issues that Riot Games needs to solve.
I will start with an introduction of myself. I am a 23 year old male student currently attending university, trying to get my bachelor in economics.
I started playing video games when I was 5 years old, my father introduced me to the Sega Mega Drive. I was playing a lot of Sonic back then as well as some other Jump 'n Run games. He also bought me the first Playstation, I started to play a hell lot of Tekken and FIFA with my father. Very early on I played competitive games and very early on I developed a strong drive to win and to be better. I also started playing football (not handegg) early on, I just loved chasing the ball for hours, practice shooting and just generally try to be better than others.
I was always a very shy person, had to go into therapy with 8 because I couldn't talk to strangers, but my parents always taught me to be kind and respectful to everyone. Even though I was and still am shy to strangers and just generally someone who doesn't stand out, making it seem like I don't have emotions whatsoever, I am a hypersensitive person and always feel emotions stronger than normal people do, things like happiness, sadness, anger etc. are generally felt a lot stronger by a hypersensitive person. At times it's advantageous, but most of the time it's really disadvantageous and leads to problems in many situations, especially in a competitive enviroment, which can often be driven by emotional reactions. Anyway, I will talk some more about that later.
Although I developed and addiction to football and video games, I never ignored school, I had almost perfect grades and the teachers were happy with my perfomances. Obviously they got a little worse with age because I still played a ton of video games and football, but in 13 years of school in total I never once struggled or thought about quitting because it is getting too hard.
I still had my ups and downs, I started to have a depression at the age of 15, or rather, it was the first time I actually accepted it, and since then it grew stronger. I never had suicidal thoughts or something like that, but very often I was debating with myself, what the point of living was and if I had any goals at all in life. Due to my hypersensitivity I always felt a lot sadder at those times, everything was going good in my life but that didn't stop my depression from making me still feel bad about my life and my hypersensitivity made it even worse.
Ok back to the games. After playing console for years, I bought my own PC 8 years ago, I liked having more versatility and basically everything in one machine. Until 5 years ago, I was basically playing FIFA all year every year, I just loved football and never seemed to get enough of it. Besides FIFA I also played a MMO casually and some story games to relax, I bought Witcher 3 some years back and it was probably the best game I've ever played and it is still the one game today that I pull out sometimes when I just need to relax and dive into another world.
But still, story games were never my number one priority. It was around season 4 in LoL when my friends introduced me to the game. I never even heard of MOBAs before and the genre was completely new for me. Up until season 5 I only liked playing ARAM and got level 30. SR seemed to be too serious for me and my friends were already playing for some years, so they had superior skill and weren't too easy on me even though I was new.
Season 5 I started playing ranked and managed to climb from Bronze 5 to Silver 1, barely failing to make Gold 5, I was proud of myself nonetheless. When I was Bronze 3 around 100 games into the season I met a girl from Britain online, we had a little chat and decided to duoQ a lot. She was Bronze as well and we decided to just climb together, and both of us managed to climb and improve, we also started chatting through Facebook and just became online friends, from time to time we discussed very personal topics and we both respected and liked each other.
LoL became my number 1 game and I loved the competitiveness of it as well as they style of the game, I just couldn't get enough. Very early on my friends used words like "ez", "ggez" and some other BM words, at the time I didn't understand why, as the game was still very casual for me, so I didn't bother too much, even when enemies did it.
At the end of Season 5 I also started watching Worlds and I immediately became hooked to esports, I never heard of it before and seeing a full stadium and so much passion for a video game was just awesome. After that I watched both EU and NA LCS regularly and I loved everything about the scene, from players to analysts to casters, everything was awesome.
Season 6 I started in Bronze again but this time I wanted to make it to Gold, it didn't take long and I reached Gold without problems, the game got so much easier for me, I still played a lot of duoQ with my online friend. At the end of the season I reached Gold 1 and failed plat promos 3 times in the last two days of the season, it was sad but I was still happy. It was at this time that I reached the skill level of my friends who were playing probably since the start of Season 1, so I was obviously happy with the progress that I made in such a short time.
Season 7 was the first season in which I decided to have one main role. The seasons before I was roleswapping between everything but support, I was an allrounder but not really good at something specific. I decided for toplane since I love fighters and bruisers. Camille came out at the start of the season and it was the first time I fell in love with a champion, everything about her was representing my playstyle and I could play her all day everything, something I never had with any other champion.
She was my main champion ever since then, I played some meta champs inbetween her games, but other than that I just spammed her all day, even when she got gutted after the first patches I still successfully player her and made my way from Silver 5 all the way to Diamond 3 with a 65% WR in around 280 games. It was insane how much I've improved in such a short time, I never had this feeling before. I felt like whatever new champion I was trying to learn now, it didn't take much until I managed to play good with it. My game knowledge was also getting better and better, I played with higher elos and occasionally even pros randomly in soloQ.
I was seriously considering trying to get into Masters/Challenger and maybe even dreaming of going pro if I'm able to reach that level, I just loved every aspect of this job and was willing to do so much for it.
This is where it all started, the toxicity, the bad manners and my huge ego, my depression getting worse, and my hypersensitivity making it all really bad. Up until this point everything was fine and I was always humble, but as soon as I stayed a few weeks in Diamond, I met so many insane people, and I started to become kinda insane and arrogant as well. First, I started flaming back to people who start flaming me, I couln't live with just muting them or ignoring them, most of the time it wasn't even just them flaming, what tilted me the most at that level of play was people starting to int, running down a lane, coming to your lane just to ruin whole waves of minions, afking because they gave first blood, afking/trolling because they didn't get blue buff etc etc. It was an awful experience and after a while I just snapped and those people drove me so crazy that I just had to write something.
I tried to report all the trolls I ever experienced playing with, 99% of the time I was checking their op.gg and they were still playing for weeks after they inted not only my game, but several games, I just felt like this system was so unfair and with each time that I experienced it, I just got angrier and angrier. Sometimes it was so bad I just had the urge to punch through my screen in hopes of my fist teleporting through the screen and hitting one of those idiots straight to the face so they wake up. I started smashing things in my room because I had so much anger in me, I even started punching into my wall which lead to some injuries in my fingers and hands.
It was at that time that I also got my first chat restriction, but I didn't care too much. I was just hoping the words that I wrote did something to the people that ruined not only my games, but the games of other people who were seriously trying to climb. At the end of the season I finished Diamond 3, I managed to hold this level even though I couldn't play more than around 20 games in 3 months due to school.
Season 8 I was ready to climb again and this time I was hoping for more than Diamond 3, hopefully something around Masters. I made my way pretty fast to Diamond 3 again but got stuck there for a while. I had a lot of tilting games, people ruining my games again and I just started flaming more and more. Whenever I had a seriously toxic person in my game, I was able to either ignore it completely, or just mute this person, as long as they played their game and didn't troll or int, I was completely ok with it, whatever it was that they wrote. In the end, all I want is a win, whatever it take, I'd rather have 4 toxic players in my team who are still willing to make good plays and decisions for a win, than one player who is absolutely silent but is straight up running it down and trolling or making obvious bad decisions just to piss off the rest of the team.
I hated the thought of someone at this level of play being an absolute asshole and trying to ruin a game on purpose just because they didn't get their blue buff or just because they gave first blood. I hated this so much and because I've rarely seen someone being punished because of it, I was hoping my words would somehow affect this persons mind. I became more toxic and started saying really bad stuff, I felt like I was snapping everytime now and I could do nothing to stop it, /mute didn't help because I could still type and it didn't stop idiots from inting.
LoL was by far the game I played the most, but I couldn't enjoy it as much anymore. Normals with friends were still pretty funny, but other than that I mostly liked to play ranked since I want to be better and I want to climb, but meeting all these people who ruin games on purpose just made me sick, I started having so much anger in me, everytime I got another chat restriction it just made me feel so much worse and even angrier, because I was the one who got punished, to the inter, not the troller, especially soft inters are probably one of the most tilting being to have in your teams, they will always go unpunished.
I will never forget last summer, around September, I had the most toxic and bad games I have ever witnessed, after returning to the game because I took a break to catch up with university I started playing again, I played my heart out but each game was a loss, each game I had someone being mad at someone else and instead of playing they just int/softint and ruin the whole game. It was enough. All I wanted is too climb, after this break I felt like I was ready to climb again and to just get better at the game. But after a 15 game loss streak it just all snapped. I flamed like I never flamed before, my head was feeling like it's exploding and I had rage I never felt before, and all because some idiots think it's funny to ruin games at a serious level of play.
I wasn't the only one who flamed obviously, throughout the years and game I met so many players who were starting to get toxic because of reasons like this, I saw not only teammates but also whole enemy teams flaming that one person in my team that is just running it down, I seriously had enemies FF'ing because they thought it was unfair to play a 4v6. But that was all we could do. In such a competitive enviroment all we were able to do is look at these idiots continuing to play even though they were ruining games for probably hundreds of players.
The reason why I also never forget this, is because my main account got permabanned. After all these shitshows, all these games that got ruined, the rage that built up, the rage that I coulnd't stop myself from letting out, I got permabanned for toxicity, permabanned because I told someone who is running it down on purpose that he is braindead and %%%%%%ed. But instead of feeling guilt because I wrote bad things, I felt even more anger. Permabanning is not only punishment for a flamer, it's moreso a reward for inters and trollers, they got rewarded for being successful in tilting their teammates, the teammates that only intended to play a fair and competitive game.
In all the online games I've played over the years when I got my PC, LoL is the only game that I've epxerienced, that punishes people far more for simply texting rather than for griefing and intentionally ruining the game, something that is strictly forbidden but is still so common. LoL is also the only game I know, that permabans for texting and that has such a weak chat filter, people have words like "%%%" "kms" "die" "moron" or whatever in their names, but once you write it down in chat, youre most likely going to get banned and it will not be filtered or censored. The only solution Riot Games thinks is correct, is permabanning people for flaming, people that were still trying to win a game but couldn't control themselves.
This ban only fueled my anger and frustration, it was like the first time that I really experienced how unfair this system is. While I was punished for writing a few bad words but still trying to play my heart out and win this game, the players that ruined those game never got punished and are still playing today.
In all these years I've played thousands of hours, I spent around 300€ on skins and chests and whatnot, I always played to win and tried to help every teammate as much as possible, but in the end, the trollers, inters and afkers got rewarded, they made it, they managed to get someone with mental/anger/health issues banned.
This is not where it stops, it doesn't stop with one banned account. Up until today I have currently 9 permabanned accounts, I have 3 active accounts with a 2 week ban, 1 active account with a chat restriction and 2 accounts that I'm still leveling but I'm sure I will snap anyway.
All the experience, the bad games, people intentionally trying to lose games, Riot banning accounts for toxicity far more than for intentionally ruining games, all this is especially bad for a person that has depression and is hypersensitive.
In my experience, I would say at least 80% of all the toxic player in LoL have some kind of mental issue, either depression or just problems in their daily life, a struggle that is affecting their sanity and makes them snap at times. I started contacting toxic players ingame after I had multiple accounts banned, I tried to talk to people who felt the same and tried to find reason in all of this.
Usually people just see toxic players as assholes, you see them, you think what the hell is wrong with them and you report them, you feel relief when you get the report feedback and think, one asshole less the community has to worry about. But in reality, this is just making things worse, you feed the flames, Riots system of punishing people with mental instability is reinforcing the persons depression and mental issue.
Bare in mind, I'm not talking about every toxic person in the game. As I've said, I think the percentage of people with actual mental issues should be around 80% of all toxic players. There are exceptions, there are those that just attack a normal player who is trying to win, someone who maybe did a mistake once, but is still playing to win, there are those who start to flame in champ select, those who ban your prelocked champion and are being racist because your name suggests you're from a specific country or whatever. I am not talking about those players.
There is probably no way to ever find a system that specifies which toxic person has mental issues, and which one doesn't. But there is another way or rather, mulitple ways to punish everyone who is toxic without fueling mental issues. I'd like to propose changes, I don't ask Riot to never punish anyone because they might have some kind of mental issue, but there are ways that both respect the mental issues as well as punish every kind of toxic chat behaviour.
First off, please give us an option or a single button which makes us unable to type at all. I know there are ways, programs and YouTube videos about it, you can unbind your enter key or whatever, but why make it so complicated, let us be able to uncheck an option in the client so texting in the chat ingame is always deactivated or something like that.
Second, enhance your list of censored words, why even give someone the option to write "%%%" or "kms" or whatever, any kind of insult or bad word that has nothing to do with LoL ("ez" can still be meant as Ezreal so that one is kinda tricky, but it's one of the lesser problems), either censor them completely, or make it so when you try to type and send the word, it changes to "gg" or "good play".
Third, if you still allow words like that to be written, punish the players but not by permabanning. Chat restriction is still fine, bring back the chat restriction for 50+ games, or ban those players completely from the chat for a specific number of games or time, just make us able to still see pings in chat or what other players write. You can still drop our honor levels, make us unable to aquire loot from missions or games, block emotes for a specific time, there are still so many ways of punishing toxic players, ways that do not fuel mental issues.
Just a couple of last words before I send in this essay, for people suggesting that a person with mental issues should either take a break from this game or just quit it completely: While I can support the argument of taking a break every now and then, maybe play something else or just find a hobby inbetween, quitting is not a solution, especially not for a game with hundreds of millions of players, a competitive esports game, and especially not a solution you should recommend someone who has mental issues or depression, this would be the equivalent of just telling us to give up on hopes and dreams, give up on a big hobby. Try to tell the kid who lives for football and finds joy in it more than in anything else that he needs to quit just because other kids or players might anger him at times.
There will always be the ones that ruin your game, that piss off an entire team and passionate players, and there will always be those that snap because of this and try to let some steam off, most of the times deservedly, but the solution is not permabanning, at least not the ones who are still very passionate about the game, those who are willing to do everything to win the game, to fight off that one idiot in the game that is trying to ruin everything. There are better solutions than the one Riot Games is currently offering and I want to bring this topic to the spotlight so everyone can see that toxicity most of the times has a far deeper meaning and needs to be seen from both angles.
For the good of everyone who has depression, hypersensitivity or some kind of other mental issue, and for the good of everyone else who is passionate about this game, please Riot Games, do something about this very serious topic, help those who are in need of a better solution, don't just blindly permaban for negative chat behaviour.
This is a cry for help, a cry by thousands if not millions who are continuing to suffer.
I'm sorry for any misspelled words or bad grammar, English is not my first language, so please have mercy on me.