The destructive legacy of Riot Lyte: How to kill your game community

NOTE: These are not my words, though I highly agree with the guy who wrote this. If you've visited the League subreddit recently you've probably noticed the latest outrage on Riot Lyte's, also known as "Mr.Phd" decision regarding so called end of season rewards. This is but one of several decisions made by Riot Lyte that has the community upset and outraged. I've noticed that a lot of fellow DOTA players have some idea of who Riot Lyte is and what he has been responsible for. What I want to do with this post is to try to give you a better idea of just how destructive Riot Lyte has been to LoL and how devestating it can be to have the wrong person at the wrong position in a company. This is going to be a very long post and if thats not really your thing, I totally understand that. So where to begin. Lets start by who Riot Lyte actually is. Jeffrey "Riot Lyte" Lin is the Lead Designer of Social Systems in League of legends. He has a Phd in Cognitive neuroscience and a masters degree in cognitive psychology. So what does that mean in practise? It is Lyte's job to investigate how League players interact with each other, improve their experience and basically to get them to play nice with one another. In itself theres nothing wrong with this. It is no secret that the genre and league of legends especially has an issue with agressiveness and toxicity and it is understandable that certain steps should be taken to combat and reduce this. League of Legends is significantly more toxic and hostile than other games and especially those of other genres. Thats not to say that those issues don't exist in other games: Its just very obvious that they dont have those issues to nearly the same extend. Any sane person would conclude from this that the problem League of Legends has with toxicity is caused by League of Legends itself. Lyte doesn't think so and is convinced that the problem lies not with League of Legends itself, but with the community. Because of this, every single decision Riot Lyte has made has been the wrong one at best and utterly counterproductive at worst. If you go over League of Legends attempts to combat toxicity, you wil find a trail of half finished and abandoned player behavior projects and systems that increase the amount of toxicity rather than decrease it. Lets begin with Riot Lyte's largest project: The Tribunal system. The Tribunal system was Riots attempt to reduce the amount of staff required to manage player behavior. Or in other words: The amount of staff it took to suspend toxic players. That is, ofcourse, not the reasoning Riot used to announced the Tribunal. The tribunal was announced as this great system intended to "Lets the League of Legends community decide what is appropriate and acceptable behavior". Players who participated in the Tribunal would be shown reported cases along with the ingame chat. They were the option to vote either yes or no on placing game restrictions on the player in question. Despite Lyte initially saying how fantastic this system was, it was actually working about as well as you'd expect a player judgement system run by a community of predominately 15 - 16 year olds. It didn't work and the Tribunal was eventually taken down entirely. The tribunal gave out IP (League Currency) based on voting accuracy which was based on a majority vote as a thank you for participating. If your voting accuracy was high, you would be assigned more cases per session. The community quickly found out that by overwhelmingly just voting yes, they would quickly get a decent amount of free ip. To this day, the Tribunal has not been put back. Lyte was already working on his next system: The so called Honor system. The idea was that rather than punishing players, the honor system would encourage good behavior by rewarding it. This is probably Lyte's best idea yet and it probably would have been something that worked very well if it wasn't made by Riot games. players would be allowed to reward a fellow player after each game with Honor based on 4 categories. The amount of honor you would give was limited to give more meaning to each honor. Depending on what kind of Honor was given, players were able to earn a small ribbon. Initially the system held a lot of a promise: There was a significant reduction in terms of toxicity. The system held a lot of potential: Ribbons would obviously soon lose their uniqueness but the system could have been expanded to offer more enticing rewards: Recolour for champions or skins, IP/RP rewards, summoner icons which the league community is surprisingly obsessed with, profile borders. But no, the small, meaningless ribbons was all Riot was willing to offer its community and the honor system became abandoned. Nowadays you won't find any players having any ribbon as players have stopped using the system entirely and toxicity returned back to what it used to be. So the Tribunal is down and the honor system had been abandoned. Whats next? Riot games was not going to hire the amount of people required to manage its playerbase, so lyte was going to work on a new system: A system that wouldn't need staff members to manage the playerbase anymore. A new, fully automatic player behavior system. This new system would automatically detect and restrict toxic players and was supposed to be highly accurate. Yes, the company that is unable to develop a replay feature or develop a basic, stable working client was now going to developed an advanced detection program that would automatically filter abuse cases and accurately deal with ragers and leavers and will soon also be able to detect intentional feeders (LOL!) To accompany this system, Lyte came up with 2 new restrictions: A chat restriction and a ranked restriction. Now before we go on and talk about what a failure the automatic system is, lets talk about these new restrictions. Both ranked restrictions and chat restrictions are terrible ideas. There is only one right way to deal with overly toxic or agressive players and thats with a suspension from the game. If you're being verbally abusive to people in a public place, they are not going to "restrict" you, they are going to remove you as they should. Riot doesn't want to do that because if you ban players, they can't spend money on your game. So Lyte designed two new systems that made the playerbase deal with the issue instead. Ranked Restriction is a crappy alternative to player suspension. What it does is it requires players who have been considered toxic to play and win a certin amount of normal, unranked games. The whole reason why people play unranked games instead of ranked is because they DONT want to play with very competitive players and now Riot is forcing these competitive players who HAVE to win to gain access to ranked back into that same playerpool. Player groups who were intentionally looking to avoid each other were now forced to play with each other. Chat restriction is another crappy system. If I go into a ranked game and I get matched up with another player on my team that is chat restricted, my chances of winning that game are reduced even though I have done nothing wrong. A player who is chat restricted can't tell me where enemy wards are, can't tell me when his ultimate is going to be up, how much more gold he needs for his next item and before the latest UI upgrade was unable to tell me whether his summoner spell would be up. Can you imagine getting ready for a teamfight and not knowing whether your toplaner can teleport into the fight or not because he didnt manage his very limited amount of permited chats right and is unable to inform you whether his teleport is up or not? Both of these crappy systems have the same thing in common: You, the playerbase, will deal with these toxic players so that we don't have to ban them and can continue collecting their money. All of this is disguised as a system to "Reform" players. So then why is there such an uproar over this latest decision to keep the end of season rewards from toxic players? Because the automated system doesn't work. At all. In fact, the entire report system is a mess. You can get reported for anything in League of Legends. The list for reports is massive. Verbal abuse, leaving the game, feeding enemy team, assisting enemy team are just a few of them. Those don't seem too unreasonable but look at some other ones: "Unskilled" Really? Unskilled is an offense now? Apparently reporting for unskilled doesn't actually do anything but thats besides the point. The fact that the option is there encourages the notion that not playing well is report worthy offense. "Negative attitude" Yes, negative attitude is a report option. A game that has a surrender feature that allows your team to instantly forfeit a match and give up has a "Negative attitude" report option. "Refusing to communicate" I am not making this up, this is a report feature. A game that CHAT RESTRICTS players and offers players the ability to mute other players has a "Refuse to communicate" report option. The result of all these ridiculous report options is that League has a report culture. Report him for taking my cs, report him for pushing to far, report him for not following my orders, report him for picking that champion, report report report. This is a problem because the system is automated. Lyte likes to pretend that it has an advanced system in place that accurately filters false reports from accurate ones but in actuallity it is primarily based on number of reports received with a foul language detector to back it up a bit. The community is well aware of this and is abusing the fuck out of it. They know that if you report people you don't like, chances are that they will eventually be hit by an automated restriction. You wil also lose your end of season rewards if you get hit by leaverbuster. Riot has a rich history of server issues, Ddos attacks and until recently was running the entire US playerbase from one serverbase far into the west coast. I hope I have given you an idea of what kind of person Riot Lyte is and how destructive a man at the wrong position can be within a game. Lyte is not an honnest person, hes been found to be dishonnest on more than one occassion. If he ever leaves Riot Games, take note of his name because he might end up at a company of a game you're playing.
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