I think most of us have been there: we join an online multiplayer game and suddenly someone is screaming all kinds of nasty things at us, telling us to die in a fire, or spamming us with some hateful string of letters or another. This sort of toxic behavior is particularly bad in some parts of the gaming scene, and it has always struck me as weird. Why are we so willing to bully, harass, and jeer at people in ways that we would never consider in real life?
And perhaps a more interesting question: what can game developers do about it?
My guest for this episode of the podcast is Dr. Jeffrey Lin, who heads up the Player Behavior Team at Riot Games. That’s the company that makes and manages League of Legends, one of the 800 pound gorillas in the MOBA genre. MOBAs, along with some first person shooters and fighting games, are sometimes infamous for the toxic behavior of their players. And regardless of the extent to which that reputation is deserved or not, Lin and his colleagues are improving sportsmanship in the League of Legends community.
What’s cool is that the approaches and methods used by the Player Behavior Team are firmly rooted in some very basic (and some not so basic) theories of human psychology. In this episode we’ll hear all about them and how they can benefit not just League players, but all the denizens of the Internet.
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Info on this week’s guest:
- Music: Robot Motivation by The Polish Ambassador, licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
- TF2 muisic & clips from TF2Sounds.com