Riot Games is implementing a new system into League of Legends, just a week before the early rounds of its World Championship tournament begin. The Honor system allows players to commend teammates or enemies that go above and beyond the general expectations of sportsmanship. Should a player deserve recognition, simply "thumbs up" their summoner name in one of four categories (Helpful, Friendly, Teamwork, or Honorable Opponent) post-game. Honor is not a currency, however, and while Riot may reward honorable players in the future there are currently no such implementations.
A dozen potential misuses and exploits might currently be running through your head, and Riot recognizes that such a system, despite its lack of wards, must be carefully managed. As such, they've made a number of fail-safe system in Honor to prevent abuse. Specifically:
- Players have a limited amount of honor to distribute, though it is replenished by playing matchmaking games. If using Honor responsibly, Riot expects a player should never run out.
- Honor can only be given in matchmaking games. This means players won't be able to set up customized games just to trade Honor.
- Riot also has "a lot of math in place to track down players who might be trading Honor." Riot is willing to punish those who abuse the system in this manner.
- Players also have the ability to report those they see abusing Honor, which Riot says can be done with the "Spamming" category.
- Honor given by the same person, over and over again, will not count as strongly as Honor given from a player previously unencountered.
- Perhaps most significant of all, those punished by the Tribunal will have their Honor dropped to zero.
It's clear Riot wants their Honor system to truly encourage the community to be more positive. The extent to which they're going to prevent abuse is admirable, though at the end of the day it's difficult to tell whether players will feel encouraged not just to participate, but to alter their attitudes and work harder at sportsmanship.
For example, Reddit has a system called "Karma" where just by participating on the site the number for each user should go up naturally. Users instead feel as if this number is more significant than it seems, and go to length to increase it by gaming the system. Will players of Riot's League of Legends do something similar? Will they see Honor as a meta-game and encourage positivity to build their score? Or will they simply see it as a non-requisite support system with no reward, and ignore it?
Whatever the results, it's encouraging to see Riot attempt to help its community grow stronger and more positive through in-game systems. While the goals of the Honor system may be unclear, and maybe not within reach, there's no question that it has good intentions. Try out a League of Legends matchmaking game today