‘League Of Legends’ developers share a new punishment for AFK players

AFK players are being put on the naughty step

Riot Games has shared a development blog discussing how the Behavioral Systems Team is approaching the problem of AFK (away from keyboard) players in League Of Legends.

Posted yesterday (September 17), a new blog titled ‘Tackling AFKs‘ explains how – and why – Riot is reworking and improving punishments for AFK players.

An AFK player is someone who – either voluntarily or otherwise – leaves an ongoing League Of Legends match, leaving their team mates to fight at a 4v5 disadvantage. As this is is a competitive multiplayer game, someone leaving a League Of Legends match will often ruin the game for four other players.

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Currently, AFK players who consistently leave games are hit with a queue delay, which means waiting for fifteen minutes before being able to queue for a game, with this punishment applicable for up to 5 games. The goal of this punishment is that “if someone who goes AFK gets to experience what having their time wasted is like, they are less likely to perpetrate it in the future”.

However, while this works for “most folks”, the dev blog identifies “about nine per cent of our players worldwide engage in consistent AFK behaviour and don’t seem to be deterred by a few delays between their games”.

To address this, Riot Games is introducing queue lockouts, which will lock repeat offenders out of MOBA queues entirely.

Pentakill Viego league of legends
League Of Legends. Credit: Riot Games

While the maximum AFK punishment was previously just five games where players had to wait 15 minutes before queuing, three new tiers of this queue lockout means that players will be entirely prevented from queuing up for one, three, seven and 14 days respectively.

The dev blog explains the difference between the two systems below:

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“When we issue a queue lockout, we’re not saying “hey, doesn’t it suck to have your time wasted?” We’re removing the player from the population for a while so they can’t continue to AFK in games.”

Behind the scenes, the Behavioural Systems Team has also created a “more sophisticated model” that will allow genuinely reformed players to better reduce their punishment tiers, as the current model is apparently failing to properly recognising “repeated demonstrations of good behaviour”.

Finally, the blog identifies future work aiming to address other player-centric issues plaguing League Of Legends. Upcoming work will seek to tackle players not having enough ability to come back from being behind, an “inability to deal with other disruptive behaviour in game” and general connectivity challenges.

In other news, Battlestate Games has shared a first look at Lighthouse, the next map to join Escape From Tarkov later this year.

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