In case you were wondering whether or not Riot’s League of Legends Tribunal was actually capable of enforcing its own rules, yesterday Riot’s VP of eSports, Redbeard, announced a one year ban for Christian Rivera or IWillDominate, a professional LoL player from Team Dignitas. In a post on LoL’s forums, Redbeard explained why the popular jungler was banned and reminded everyone just how much Riot takes sportsmanship seriously. While they are aware of the implications of banning someone who plays the game for a living, after eight prior punishments for “toxic behavior” they feel they were left with little choice. Back in March when I first wrote about the Tribunal only 1.4% of the community had been punished, with 50% never reoffending. That means that IWillDominate was toxic enough to make it into that same 1.4% eight times. According to Riot, despite being punished and warned repeatedly to be more sportsmanlike, IWillDominate remained at the top of their naughty list for all pro-players in North America. Essentially, he was the worst of the worst.
The video above shows IWillDominate smashing his headset while the rest of his teammates look on in laughter, obviously used to the behavior. Keep in mind this was a game they won, yet he still decided that his headset needed to be destroyed. If it was an isolated incident it wouldn’t really matter, but by the time this video was made he had already created quite a reputation for himself.
It’s important to note that this technically wasn’t a ban by Riot themselves; the Tribunal uses a peer system where players decide which behavior is worthy of punishment. Only after repeated punishments by his peers was IWillDominate banned by Riot for one year. Still, that’s a long time for someone who plays the game professionally.
IWillDominate responded to the ban via Reddit where he admits that sportsmanship is important and that he hopes to rejoin the competitive LoL scene as soon as his ban is over. It’s good that he responded professionally and with an apology especially considering he plans on continuing his career once the ban has been lifted. It probably won’t be enough to get a reduced sentence, but it’s a start.
It’s impressive to see Riot take on the problem of unsportsmanlike conduct in online games. It’s been an unfortunate byproduct of online competition and anonymity, and no developer has truly been able to keep it under control. I wouldn’t say that Riot has handled the problem entirely, but the Tribunal is definitely a good start.