A recently discovered US patent application submitted by Riot Games looks to take a leaf from DotA 2’s “Low Priority Queue”, also known as Prison Island, in a bit to combat in-game toxicity. However whereas DotA’s system works to quarantine toxic players with each other, Riot’s proposed patent would instead look to reward positive players with improved matchmaking.
An image sourced from Riot’s patent bid. (Picture: Riot Games)
The patent seems to detail a system that is configured to matchmake players based on a profile commendation database “...wherein the user matching system is configured to match the first user with another user based at least in part on the behavioural data in the first user's profile."
To put it more plainly: Riot is looking to patent a system that matches players, at least in part, on their in-game behaviour.
This comes in the wake of a company-wide focus on dealing with negative in-game behaviour, such as with the recent Code of Conduct for Valorant players.
Of course, this is only an application - Riot still needs to prove that it is worthy of a patent, and substantially different from what other developers are doing within their games. The application does at least provide evidence that Riot are taking their claims made earlier in the year of looking to improve toxicity and poor behaviour in-game seriously.
How the system will actually play out is still up for debate, but it is safe to assume LoL’s “Honour” system is core to the patent’s matchmaking pans. The honour system has often been considered somewhat toothless, with few especially tangible rewards. Riot’s changes here could well change that perception.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Rewarding players for good in-game behaviour seems purely positive in-premise, but there are still a number of questions and concerns that need to be answered. How will this affect players who don’t play as many games, and therefore get less honours? Will the system be percentage-based to compensate (i.e. this player received honours in 10% of games)?
Another concern is how and why players are being honoured. If a player is consistently honoured because they carry games, and yet they are toxic or inflammatory while doing so, how will the system handle this?
It is also likely to have less of an effect at Master elos and above, where the player pool is by its nature extremely small, and so matchmaking by honour-values becomes a harder task - just ask Hai, who fell afoul of chat filters and had his LPP status put on probation recently.
Concerns and speculations aside, Riot’s plans for an LoL Elysium of sorts have struck home more positively within the community than a prison island. Until it’s put into practice however, the player-base will have to wait before they can strive towards the isle of the blessed matchmaking.