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Making the switch: DOTA 2 vs. Leauge of Legends

By Zach Lederman
On January 21, 2014

I've been playing games online probably since I was about six or seven, with games like Counter-Strike. In the span of nearly fifteen years since then, I've probably been called all manner of names and slurs that you could think of, and I won't deny having vented my frustrations in a similar manner whenever I became frustrated. Really, it's become a given that when you play video games online, you're going to be subject to various taunts and insults, thanks to the anonymity of the online universe. There's a reason that whenever we gamers talk about online games, discussions about what the community is like will invariably come up at some point or another.
All communities have their nasty players, but some are just infinitely worse than others. No matter how many idiots I've dealt with playing "WoW" and "Team Fortress 2," those types of players seem to multiply tenfold when playing "Call of Duty" or "Halo." But there's a level further than I didn't actually think possible. It's a level that I didn't even discover until earlier this year when I started playing Valve's newest release, "DOTA 2."
I honestly did not think that this combination of vile ineptitude existed. Admittedly, in most of the games I participated in, I was a noob and didn't preform so hotly, but I experienced rage on a new level. No matter what I did or said, it seemed I only became more hated in each game I played. The things that were said about myself, parents, and other loved ones are not suitable for the printing press. For the first time in fifteen years, I found myself so turned off by the community that I actually decided to stop playing what was otherwise a reasonably fun game. For the first time, instead of feeling like I was just participating in an otherwise standard online setting, I felt bullied and legitimately hated.
So I quit. I uninstalled the game and haven't looked back. I talked to a friend of mine about it, who confirmed that he too had become sick of the DOTA community, and decided to leave. It was at that time that he encouraged me to try a new game: "League of Legends." The games played effectively the same, but a different company developed League. The difference was immediately noticeable. Upon entering my first game, and letting my teammates know I was a new player, I was treated to a series of encouraging messages, helpful tips, and useful websites for learning the game. One player in particular offered to stay in my lane with me and help me learn the role of the champion I had selected. It should come as no surprise that I still play "LoL" today, and that I encourage all of you to do so as well.
So, what's League's secret? It's actually a pretty simple reputation system. At the end of each match, you are treated to a list of all players, each with a few buttons next to their name; one green and one red. If your experience with that player was an exceptionally positive one, hit the green button. If not, press the red one. If you hit the green button, you grant them an honor point, and the game asks you what about that player was positive. Hit the red button and the player both loses an honor point, and the game will avoid matching the two of you in the future. If you have a higher level of honor, you will be matched up with similarly friendly and skilled players. If not, you will have a more difficult time finding matches, and the other players will be less than desirable. It's the simplest system in the world, and it works. League has figured out a way to reward people for being friendly and helpful, and it has made an absolute world of difference.
Hopefully game developers in the future can utilize systems like this in order to create more positive online environments and, maybe one day, the hostility of the online gaming environment won't have to be a given anymore.

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