Riot has revoked the permaban on League of Legends player Nicolaj Jensen.
Jensen, who goes by the handle Incarnati0n in-game, had previously been banned in early 2013 due to “persistent toxic behavior”, alongside fellow player Khaled “DarkwinJax” Abusagr. However, the developer has now reinstated Jensen and will allow him to compete profesionally from May 11th this year.
Riot explained its reasons for lifting the ban in the company’s Mid-Year Long-Term Suspension report. “Last year, we revised our approach to bans and permabans to focus on the goal of reform, not just punishment,” the report reads. “You can read more about the long-term suspension policy here. In accordance with that policy, we have reviewed all of the currently suspended players who are eligible for a review.”
“We only suspend players for serious offenses, and we look for clear signs that a player has taken their reform seriously in determining whether their suspension should be lifted,” they continued.
On Jensen specificially, the developer noted that: “Since his last review, Jensen has continued to demonstrate behavior in game that is well above the normal standards of good behavior across all of his accounts since at least January 2014. Additionally, according to our monitoring tools, he has not been implicated in any DDOS or Drophacking-related exploits since Q2 2013. There have been no serious offenses or violations of the letter or spirit of the Summoner Code since his account-sharing related offense in Q1 2014.”
Not all the players who had their bans reviewed were so fortunate, however.
“Abusagr continues to display unacceptably negative behavior without any significant progress toward reform,” Riot stated. “His most active account has been reported in 47% of his games in the last 90 days and 50% in the last 60. He’s received a total of 1830 reports in 590 games. 70% of which were for offensive language, verbal abuse or negative attitude. An audit of chat logs from games he has been reported in reveals consistently offensive, hostile, and homophobic rhetoric. His behavior is statistically not as problematic as it has been in the past, but is still far from acceptable and moreover, any statistical improvements he has made are incidental, not the result of a commitment to reform.”
“Given Abusagr’s absolute lack of commitment to reform even given an opportunity to do so, his ban has been reclassified to indefinite with an additional Minimum Suspension Term of 4 additional splits. He will be eligible for review prior to Summer 2017. If at that point he still has yet to exceed the normal standards of good behavior, an indefinite suspension with no review will be considered. “
League of Legends is one of the most popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games, but has long had a problem with the perception of its in-game community thanks to the abusive behavior of many players. Acknowledging the problem, in 2013 Riot announced a crackdown on who it judged to be the most persistent offenders. Last year’s amendment of its policies saw them changing their approach however.
The studio employs a team of more than 30 people dedicated to weeding out players who make others’ lives a misery in-game. Their efforts have seen improvements to what is considered by many to be a hostile playing environment, thanks to the implementation of an Honor system and making in-game chat opt-in, rather than enabled by default. Simply asking people to opt-in to chat reportedly saw a decline in negative chat of 32.7% within a week, while positive chat rose by 34.5% over the same period.
“We strive to have the most sportsmanlike community in competitive gaming,” Riot explains on the official League of Legends website. “To reach that goal, we’re giving players the right data and feedback they need to reform their behavior.”