League of Legends kicks universal chat to the curb to fight abuse within gaming

Los Angeles, California - Riot Games has decided to remove the universal chat in its game League of Legends. The move is not only doing away with back-and-forth banter with the other team, but hopefully abusive chatter as well.

Riot Games only recently earned its developer studio name; League of Legends was the only title Riot had until 2020.
Riot Games only recently earned its developer studio name; League of Legends was the only title Riot had until 2020.  © Collage: Photo/RiotGames

Riot announced on Tuesday that it will disable the ability to chat with opponents in Update 11.21 of League of Legends.

The change is part of the developer team's efforts to make the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game less toxic.

Riot has still kept the option for team chats, as devs still see it as vital to team planning and strategy.

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Yet, many have admitted that regardless of removal of the universal chat, there is still plenty of abuse that occurs between teammates, which can make the gaming experience worse – particularly for women players who often deal with harassment.

Despite its good intentions, the move has already received a large amount of push-back from players, especially because there is already a menu option to disable different chat channels, including "/ all chat."

The company has assured that the update to /all chat will not remove emotes or in-game taunt animations.

Riot explained the chat change is to make sure that players have one less source of toxicity from tilted opponents – those who play too aggressively and suffer the consequences.

The idea of being tilted is believed to have started with pinball or poker.

In pinball, players could jolt or physically "tilt" the machine to influence the game – but doing so too much caused the machine to lock its paddles.

In poker, those who lose a few hands and get frustrated or mentally off-balance may start to play recklessly, which often leads to more mistakes and lost hands.

Similarly, in gaming, the frustration has led to vitriol aimed at other players and the new game-wide censorship – instead of individuals doing the one thing that could end the cycle: taking a break.

The change to the in-game chat is only a test, and League of Legends' developers plan to gather player feedback to see if removing /all chat is the right move.

Cover photo: Collage: Photo/RiotGames

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