League of Legends continues to grow and develop into a juggernaut of a video game, and a big part of that growth is due to e-Sports. With that growth however, comes more attention. Certain things won't fly anymore and Riot made that extremely clear when they announced IWillDominate's accounts were permanently banned and that he was suspended from competitive LoL for 1 year. Doublelift recently caught flak from the community for derogatory comments he made about Fnatic's AD Carry Rekkles during an interview at IPL 5.
Doublelift has been known to playfully trash talk his peers on a number of occasions, but the community pitchforked around him thinking he was serious this time. Trash talk isn't always a bad thing, in fact the hype and rivalries it creates are the types of things that make games more interesting across any sport. Let's face it, games between teams that flat don't like each other (or at least act like it) are more fun to watch because there seems to be more at stake. It's true in any sport from Football to Basketball, to yes even League of Legends. Let's take a look at just where the line is.
Dominate left Riot with no choice, and he was clearly over the line
First off, Riot had every right to suspend Dominate because he was a representative of their company and they are trying to project a certain image. His trash talking was happening in game and was offensive enough to land him in the Tribunal 9 times. In the NBA, during games if a player crosses the line with his trash talking, he will be given a technical foul which eventually results in suspension. The same thing happened here, and more so the use of racial, homophobic, and other slurs result in immediate fines in other sports. There's no place for that kind of talk anywhere and no one should be exposed to that kind of harassment.
Dominate was warned, and not only did not heed the warnings, he got worse and so they punished him harshly to dissuade anyone else to take the same kind of line. His 1 year suspension from competitive LoL was extremely severe, and likely ends his competitive gaming career, but he shouldn't have let himself be the example to the rest of the community that no one is immune from punishment. For the record, I believe that his penalties were too harsh, but I understand why Riot did what they did. The community has to know that no one is above the law, even the competitive players we so often put up on a pedestal.
People will argue the old Jack Sparrow argument of sticks and stones love, and that people shouldn't care what someone anonymously says over the internet to them. To a degree that is true, but it doesn't give anyone carte blanche to say whatever they want to them. They could have simply ignored him sure, but he would have already committed the offenses and his team would also be unable to communicate with him for the rest of the game. We are all guilty of raging and trash talk at some point or another I'm sure, but if it becomes a pattern of behavior and you become toxic to the community at large you should be punished. Make no mistake, Riot has every right to suspend players who abuse the in game chat with racial, homophobic, or whatever other crazy curse-filled insults normally reserved for only Xbox live.
So what's "good" trash talk?
Trash talking your teammates will never do you any good and should always be avoided at all costs, but your opponents should be fair game. Trash talk and mind games can be a powerful motivator and can get into someone's head very easily. In Sun Tzu's The Art of War one of his famous lines in describing how to defeat opponents is, "If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him." In my opinion, as long as you don't curse or use slurs, calling someone bad is fair game. If you are a tank, or someone who isn't worth anything it can be extremely advantageous to get someone to attack you and not your Kog'Maw for example.
Looking at trash talk as it pertains to e-Sports is another story. Everyone in the community doesn't have to be best friends, and people don't always have to do or say the PR friendly thing. When Doublelift comes out and playfully jabs at his opponents or calls someone bad or not as good as him, it isn't hurting anyone and it's outside the game. He has to live with consequences if he doesn't live up to the talk and catch the heat from the community, but it's refreshing to not always hear the same answers. Some people like stirring the pot and it shouldn't be discouraged because it makes for more exciting games.
Again, this doesn't mean everyone should come out and start pounding their chests and saying they are going to dumpster on everyone else because they are trash. It means that when players are asked what they think of their opponents, they don't always to have to say, "he's a great player and I have a lot of respect for him."Players have personalities outside of the game and should try to stay true to those. If they don't, we will end up in a world where every interview is the same and we are essentially watching faceless drones play and talk about the games. It's fun to hear what people really think from time to time and it's not something we should outlaw.
Calling someone bad, or saying they have poor decision making, or whatever isn't NEARLY the same thing as saying something terrible someone's mother or calling them something racist. If a player is excessively and continuously making terrible comments to others that needs to be looked at, but the community has seemingly developed some very thin-skin and is reporting for the most minor of offenses lately. Does it really hurt you that much if someone says you are bad, or you can't hit skill shots during a game?
There is little doubt the community has a lot of growth to do to be a more enjoyable place for everyone to play. We need to eliminate the Xbox live stuff, and just make more fun playful banter if we want. If someone is playing Sona tell them they are so bad they couldn't even write songs for Nickelback. If someone is playing Jarvan, Darius, or Yi and can't manage to get any kills, tell them they have less dunks than the WNBA.
But in all seriousness, the game needs to cut down on the trash talking, but it does have its place just like it does in any other sport or competition across the globe. It shouldn't be something that is necessarily applauded or something everyone should do particularly towards their own team, but it's not the end of the world and can be plenty useful in the right hands. What do you think RoG'ers? Where is the line when it comes to trash talk and does it have a place in League of Legends competitively and in solo queue?
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