Riot Will No Longer Ban Players for “Unusual Play Styles”

After widespread backlash regarding Levi “Take the Draw” Moreno’s 14-day ban, Riot Games has taken the move to update their policies regarding banning players for unique play styles that don’t conform to the meta.

Take the Draw was initially banned on February 22nd after his League of Legends account was reported for failing to communicate and role-stealing, regardless of whether or not his team won, due to his penchant for choosing Nunu as counter-jungling support. While it’s an innovative strategy, it’s one that leaves the team’s squishy ADC on their own as he runs off to support the jungler.

When he posted about the issue to the League of Legends forums it quickly gained traction in the community, who were fast to criticize Riot for stunting creativity in strategies when Riot’s WookieeCookie’s response was, essentially, “You can’t be banned for playing offmeta, but you can be banned for screwing over teammates.”

“In this case what we observed was an expert Nunu counter-jungler throwing the meta on it’s head with a respectable win rate of 53%. While pretty impressive on it’s own, we also found that nearly 50% of their games were reported by teammates as frustrating and unfun. Keep in mind, this isn’t just teammates in losing games, this is teammates across all of his games; victories included.

The message was pretty clear to us, this player is serious about Making Nunu Great Again but they are leaving a trail of dissatisfaction, frustration, and anger in their wake.

Winning is not the end all be all of League. We want players to have fun but not at the expense of teammates. Ideally this means players will coordinate among themselves in a given match and react to the unique circumstances they end up in. If a player is consistently forcing “their vision” on the rest of the team and refusing to adapt to their needs we reserve the right to intervene.”

The situation sparked a much-needed debate between whether or not that kind of in-game behavior was acceptable, which Riot responded to by revoking Take the Draw’s 14-day ban and later issuing a statement acknowledging that such a punishment was “too harsh.” The policy has since been changed so that players who are repeatedly reported will first have their account locked so that they are encouraged to contact Riot’s support system so Riot can then explain what part of their in-game behavior is causing trouble. Any further problems following the feedback will result in an unspecified penalty.

“Doing crazy stuff and challenging the meta is something we want to enshrine in League of Legends. And although this may cause a higher burden on teammates and communication; after review we feel a 14 day ban for imperfect communication (when there is a clear intent to win matches) is too harsh.

Even with the update in policy, it was stressed that these kinds of occurrences are extremely rare and should only apply to a handful of players every year.

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A certified weeb that passionately live-Tweets his reactions from esports events, Sian is one of those people that hasn’t seen the sun in weeks. You can find him on Twitter @FriendlySenpai