If the Tribunal worked...

Pick order

Monday, April 29, 2013 | 01:22 AM | by

I feel like I've reached the point where I enjoy watching competitive League of Legends more than I enjoy actually playing the game. Riot has really stepped up their competitive scene with Season Three, and the introduction of the League Championship Series (LCS) which sees eight teams compete on a weekly basis over the course of the season, leading up to Spring Championships (this past weekend) and eventually the World Championships.

So rather than having to wait a few months for big LAN events, you can actually tune in and follow your favorite teams each week, with a "Monday Night Football" regularity.

I do still like playing the game, but do so far less often than I used to. The hit or miss nature of the people you get matched with makes playing more than one or two games in a sitting an exercise in building rage.

Now, there's an issue of ettiquette in lobby chat: Typically people attempt to call what lane they want as soon as they join the lobby. That's all well and good, and it's important for team communication.

However there's a serious divide between people who see it as calling a preference (which it is) and people see it as claiming irrefutable ownership over said role. Now, a lot of the time players will defer to people's preferences or requests for lane, especially if the words "please" are involved. But it's important to remember that if you're last pick, you're relying on people's deference. You aren't entitled to it.

Pick order is king, and the only true tangible element to determine who gets what lane. If you're first pick, you get to choose whatever role you want. If you're last pick, you take what's left. "I called it" didn't guarantee you the swings at recess, and it's not going to work in LoL either.

So then you get the people who both know this, and believe they're still entitled to the role they want, and so they demand it with an associated threat. "Mid or I feed", for example. Or "Fine, guess we're duo mid then" in an attempt to troll the lane into their possession; an annoying version of chicken trying to get their rival to flinch first in the face of an obnoxious 20min waste of time.

The other night a friend of mine queued up for a game, and landed first and second pick in draft mode.  Fourth and fifth pick (another duo queue, apparently) did this very thing. They called Mid and Top. Now, we probably could have avoided an issue by picking different lanes (frankly, we'll play whatever role), but my friend is the biggest troll I know and as far as I'm concerned people who call lanes this way can go fuck themselves. So we picked a Mid and a Top.

The two players immediately lost their shit in chat. They went on and on about how calling a lane secures it, and those are the rules, and they're going to report us. Knowing very well for a fact that there is no such rule in League of Legends that you have to give a lower pick the role they demand, and that it is not a reportable defense, we ignored them. Sure enough they picked another Mid and Top lane champion, and proceeded to double up those lanes with us. We muted them as soon as we got into the game, and as you might imagine, it was a fairly short defeat. I know from all chat they raged to the other team all game about how we "stole" their lanes after they called them, and I know for certain they must have attempted to report us for it afterwards.

I am not the least bit concerned about their reports. It's likely all they'll accomplish in the Tribunal system is to waste some people's time. I do, however, find it unfortunate that nothing about the system is designed to correct the behavior of people issuing reports like these. The threat of report is something I see so many players leap to over absolutely anything.

Didn't pick a champion they approve of? "I'm gonna report you."

Didn't build the items they approve of? "I'm gonna report you."

Had a bad game? "I'm gonna report you."

The reporting and Tribunal system has become a stick that players think gives them power over other players, as if their sole report carries the power to guarantee a ban on another player for whatever displeases them. It's not the case, and while most of these reports go nowhere because they're obviously frivolous and petty, I feel like their should also be a consequence of some sort for being the kind of person that uses the system as a weapon. A player can't necessarily report another player for making a stupid/petty/spiteful report, so nothing currently corrects the behavior of these people.

The Tribunal, in theory, is a good thing. And it should work. But not if half the players use it as a threat to get their way. Perhaps LoL's community is just too far toxic to help.