How Efficient Was the League of Legends Tribunal?
If you’ve been playing League of Legends for long enough, then you probably remember the Tribunal. This creation by Riot was meant to reduce the number of toxic players in game and give everyone a fair chance at a trial, but did the system work out?
Although the Tribunal itself is no longer active since early 2014, it’s legacy and effects still live on. Having banned thousands of players for their crimes again the rift, we ask the question: was the League of Legends tribunal effective or a rigged system to punish innocent players?
Before we look at the tribunal and its problems, it’s best we go back to when it first started. Back when nobody really understood what it was about or how it would affect so many players.
The Tribunal History
The League of Legends tribunal was introduced in May 2011 to help discipline players and help the community come together. The real reason it was introduced was primarily due to the large influx of reports. As you can imagine, trying to review millions of individual reports with just a handful of staff was not ideal. Instead, Riot needed a way to speed up the process and get through their vast backlog of reports.
By introducing the tribunal and giving players an incentive to participate and vote, this allowed Riot to get through their never-ending log of reports. On paper it all seemed like a good idea, but little did they know what problems would arise.
How the Tribunal Worked
The Tribunal all started with an initial report. During a game, if a player broke the Summoner’s Code and committed one of the following offences, then they would be placed on the naughty list.
- Explicit use of racial slurs and hate terms
- Deliberate and vicious insults to other players
- Repeat negative and non-constructive attitudes
- Players teasing each other on the same and opposite team
- Deliberate disruptive gameplay such as intentional feeding and griefing
- Offensive summoner names
- Honor trading
On average it took around 11 players to report someone before there was a case brought against them in the tribunal. This case would consist of different games where the player had broke the Summoner’s Code on multiple occasions. Once there was enough evidence to open a case, it would then go to trial. This meant having other players from the community vote on a particular case whether they should be punished or pardoned.
Any summoner who was level 20 or above could participate in reviewing tribunal cases with a limit of 20 per day. Summoners would then receive a Justice Rating based on how often their votes coincided with the majority vote on cases. If a summoner consistently voted against the majority, then they would lose access to the tribunal. Their reward for participating in the Tribunal was 5 IP per vote with the majority. In 2011, the Tribunal system had awarded over 16 million IP.
Once enough votes were in for a case, a decision would be made. This decision would be anything from a pardon to a permanent ban depending on the votes.
Now you understand how the Tribunal worked, exactly how effective was it?
Was the Tribunal Effective?
Although the Tribunal sounded like a good system on paper, in reality, it was far from it. The system itself put too much emphasis on other players votes meaning some very toxic players managed to get let off for free. Take a look at the screenshot below.
As you can see from the chat logs in the screenshot, Akali was undoubtedly a toxic player after losing the game. Not only did they insult their team using homophobic and racial slurs, but they persistently abused their teammates and enemies. From looking at the top of the screenshot with the case ID, this clearly wasn’t their first time. With 14 reports over 5 games, it doesn’t seem like this was just a one-off.
So how did the Tribunal rule this case? Not guilty! That’s right, even though the player was toxic in 5 different games and had 14 different reports, the player was let off without punishment. We’re not sure about you guys, but we think that’s some serious injustice.
What Riot failed to realize is that sometimes players get it wrong, or purposely vote to troll the system. When you think about it, there’s nothing to stop that player from making 10+ new accounts and voting on his own case. With a fundamental flaw like this in the system, how do you know the votes are genuine and not rigged?
There’s a good chance Riot released this late in 2012 when they finally decided to shut down the Tribunal. Since then, there have been a range of new methods implemented into the game to review and punish players, while the tribunal system has been left inactive. This brings up the question: will the Tribunal ever return?
When Will the Tribunal Be Back?
Currently, there is no indication from Riot that they have plans to revive the Tribunal. This would most likely answer the question as to why the tribunal is always down. The page might say it’s under maintenance, but we think it’s actually never coming back. With Riot exploring new ways to review and punish players, the Tribunal has become unnecessary and unreliable.
It’s with this information that we think there is a very good chance the Tribunal will never be back.
Funny Tribunal Cases
To give you an idea of some of the Tribunal cases players had to vote on, here are a few funny ones we’ve managed to find in the archives.
League of Legends Tribunal Infographic
Back when the tribunal was in it’s prime around 2012, Riot, the creators of League of Legends released this interesting infographic containing lots of stats about the tribunal.
As you can see, there are plenty of interesting stats which shows how many people participated in the tribunal and ultimately how many were punished. Some of the most important numbers are:
- More than 47 million players voted in the Tribunal up to 2012
- 51% of Tribunal cases resulted in a guilty verdict with less than 5.7% of players earning a permanent ban
- 74% of players warned by the Tribunal once never ended up there again.
- Over 700 cases were individually reviewed by the director of community relations Steve ‘Pendragon’ Mescon and the lead designer of social systems Jeffrey ‘Lyte’ Lin
- Over 80 million influence points were awarded to voters
- Over 50% of all punished players never re-offend.
- Average player reports for the average one-time offender: 11
Although the League of Legends Tribunal might have left us, it’s legacy still lives on. We just hope Riot find a reliable way to punish toxic players and stop them from re-offending.