League of Legends Honor System proving successful so far

Riot Games has revealed the initial results of the Honor System which was implemented in League of Legends about a week ago. Considered "one of the largest experiments ever conducted at Riot", the Honor System is a new initiative that rewards players who compete, well, honorably. Basically, it's used to "acknowledge summoners who helped make your game awesome."

"We’ve historically reacted only to toxic behavior through systems like the Tribunal, and the Honor Initiative was our first attempt at positive reinforcement in League of Legends," said Jeffrey 'Lyte' Lin, Lead Designer of Social Systems. And so far, it's proving to be quite successful. 

"Already, we’ve seen some dramatic, global results in normal and ranked solo queue reports the past week," added Lin. Below are some of the stats reported.

  • Negative Attitude reports: -29% in normals and -11% in ranked
  • Offensive Language reports: -35% in normals and -20% in ranked
  • Verbal Abuse reports: -41% in normals and -17% in ranked

Pretty good, I'd say. From a player standpoint, I've definitely noticed a decrease in the amount of a**holes I encounter now when playing. Normally frustrated after a loss from the tremendous amount of trash talking post-game, this week has been the first time I actually enjoyed post-game chat with the opposite team. People were nice for a change. And it doesn't even matter that I'm not sure if it was really genuine because it was such a relief from the showboating and trash talking.

Anyone who has played League of Legends already knows it's a great game, but that the experience can sometimes be ruined by a few bad apples. It finally looks like Riot has found a way to solve the problem. Though I'm sure a outliers still exist in this massively popular game, it's nice to see the majority of players follow the Honor System.

Of course, you do have those that take advantage of the system and Riot is taking the necessary steps to prevent Honor abuse. 

"Riot has spent a lot of extra time implementing anti-abuse features into the Honor Initiative. We tasked nearly half a dozen PhDs and statisticians to this problem and let them tinker with models for weeks," Lin explained. Some of the results have been pattern recognition (players who have been reported 100% of his games after Honor, but got Honor nearly every game, social interactions, and honor values. The results prove that the abuse-prevention measures built in have been "highly effective".

  • Only 0.21% of players reported for consistent trading
  • 0.63% of players actively trying to trade Honor
  • 0.01% spamming Honor for dishonorable reasons
  • These players have all had their Honor reset to zero

So what's next for Honor? According to Lin, Riot is "deep" into the planning for the next phase of Honor.

"We feel that this is just the beginning of the Honor Initiative. Even now, there’s more content to discover for the truly Honorable player!" Lin concluded. "I hope players have been enjoying Honor so far, and together, let’s inspire others to be more Honorable. Let’s not only make a difference in League of Legends, let’s make a difference in online gaming."

While it may be too early to call the Honor System a complete success, it's definitely a step in the right direction. As I said, I've already noticed a difference in the way the player base behaves and I hope it continues. Somewhere down the line, Riot might have to implement some type of reward system, but for now players seem content with just racking up as many Honor points as possible. Remember, gamers LOVE numbers.