Many gamers (note that I say “many” in an arbitrary/estimate/guess-stimate/supportive way and I have no data on this at all) are adverse to online multi-player. They don’t like it, and I have a hard time blaming them as – at times – it can take some pretty thick skin. Anonymity, coupled with what is likely an inability to stand up for oneself in real life (again, a non-data supported opinion) compels so many players to be jerks to opponents and teammates in online MP. Community is one thing that no amount of engineering or design parties can fix. You can “recommend” on as many splash screens as you wish that people be nice to one another, but without a lot of funding pumped into moderation, as well as an investor base who doesn’t mind you potentially losing subscriptions when you ban someone for being a turd, you’re not going to get rid of jerks.
Or so I thought.
When you have a free-to-play model that works (fun, well-designed game, make money off of player impatience and desire to decorate their heroes while not breaking the balance of your game) you have a unique option available to you that I’m glad they thought of: players are going to be able to judge other players on their being jerks in what Riot is calling the Tribunal.
The article I linked above is shorter than most of mine, but – very briefly – players will be able to review random player reports, along with chat logs and game statistics, so you can decide whether someone was falsely accused or in fact a huge jerk. There’s an incentive, which has me a touch worried, where a player will receive in-game points as a reward if their vote is cast on the “winning side”, whatever that is. Provided the votes are not displayed until the final count, that’s fine. I just worry about greed-driven landslides skewing results.
That little gripe aside, is this not amazing? I play LoL pretty frequently, which is maybe the only reason I’m privy to this…but it’s an idea I hope other companies take and run with. We all know WoW doesn’t have the gumption. (This IS supported by data. ZING.) RIFT, I’m looking at you.