I played a lot of League of Legends during season two. It is a game that fulfilled my PVP spirit and as my first (and only) MOBA had a lot going for it in the way the games played out. It is kind of like baseball – your individual effort really has an impact on the team as a whole, but you can win (and lose) regardless of how you do. The team and it’s ability to work together at the end of the day is how winners are determined. One amazing player on the team can tip the scales, and LoL has a pretty neat sweet spot of group vs solo play.
Add in a ranking system, roles you can’t auto-join as (but must be filled to win the most effective way) and internet anonymity and you get the expected ass-shattery. So much so that I decided to quit. While Riot has a team of PhD’s and behavioral studs doing some interesting work in the space, the truth is, the results weren’t there.
I started tracking how my games were ending up to personally judge my experience in the game. I focused on removing my emotions from it (in the name of SCIENCE!) and to be as accurate as possible. The goal, for me, was to see what it took to have fun games in LoL – I didn’t have the aggregate data to play with that team PB&J (Player Behavior and Justice – for Riot – fun name!) had, but I had my hours. I tracked 167 games – which average around 45 minutes each. That’s over 125 hours of gaming for me. Here is what I found.
9.64% of all games were decided because of a troll pick or intentional feeding. (someone purposely meant to lose)
15.66% of all games were decided because of an AFK (one team missing 20% or more of their team)
56.63% were lopsided (20 minute surrender or should have been. Only one team had a legit chance of winning)
All of that means, only 18.07% were ‘close’ or ‘good’ games. That’s around 1 in 5, and if that is what it takes to make a good MOBA, then you can count me out.
I am only bringing this up because I recently read/watched this article at Gamasutra that talks about player behaviour and the things that Riot are working on in that arena.
I am going to try and replicate my own experiment and see if it has gotten any better. I loved the game – but the investment of only getting 20% ‘good’ time while playing it wasn’t worth the headaches of the other 80%.