Riot Bans League of Legends Player For Playing Unusual Role (And Not Communicating It Well)

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor March 3, 2017
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League of Legends Nunu

There are plenty of things that will get you banned in an online game: toxic language, going afk for extended periods of time, even playing poorly enough to impact your teammates. But playing your character in a different way, even when it works?

That's what happened to "Take The Draw," a League of Legends player who likes to play Nunu in a support role, as opposed to his usual counter-jungler role. Without getting too much into how LoL roles work, suffice it to say it would be like playing a medic as an attack character or a tank as a sneaky flanker.

The thing is ... it worked, at least more often than it failed. Take The Draw has a 53% win rate on Nunu, but that also comes with him being reported for poor play 50% of the time, including when his team won. That was enough to land him a 14-day ban from the game, as he made it "frustrating and 'unfun'" for his teammates.

But maybe this isn't totally a case of Riot clamping down on creativity. According to the comments on the Kotaku article reporting this incident, Take The Draw would generally announce his intentions at the start of the match and then offer little to nothing in terms of communication throughout the rest of the match. This left his teammates -- who were expecting a certain gameplay style -- to fend for themselves. Even if it worked 53% of the time, that could still leave a sour taste in their mouths, enough to report him. According to Player Support Lead WookieeCookie:

But wait! Communication doesn’t stop after you press the Enter button on your keyboard; and that’s where we saw a problem in this particular case. All of us need to be aware of the difference of communicating “with” someone vs. communicating “at” someone. Telling your team what you’re going to do and then ignoring them isn’t really working with them it’s holding them hostage. Telling your team what you want to do and actually working towards a common plan is a central part to playing any team based game.

After some back-and-forth on Reddit, Riot eventually ended Take The Draw's 14-day ban prematurely. But it does lead to an interesting dilemma: Should players be punished for poor -- though non-toxic -- communication even if they've got a winning though non-traditional strategy? Personally, I don't think so, but I can see how leaving your teammates high and dry can be frustrating. It's probably not a cut-and-dry situation, and it's something WookieeCookie said the LoL team itself is debating.

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In this article: League of Legends, Riot Games.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (28)

Tech 5 years ago
Things like this are the reason why I'm glad I stopped playing the game. It's such a toxic atmosphere. I literally go into every game expecting at least one person to start flaming or complaining about something. It could be champ pick, the way I'm playing the champ, why didn't I pick [meta pick] instead? It's just not fun anymore after a while you're just going through the motions like it's a job.

lolcatz 5 years ago
Wait.. riot ban players that are bad at the game? rofl what an awful company.

QuitLeagueMakeYouFeelBetter 5 years ago
Best day of my life Uninstall that toxic game and start feeling better ;) The potencial of the game is great but the playbase sucks nuts Fills of mexicain lagger and rage quitter Solo Game are the best You don't need to HOPE NOT HAVING 3-4 autims kid on ur team who willing playing Lee sin Master yi

zxdual 5 years ago
Yea I don't like this :/ as long as it was a casual game why does it matter if someone wants to play differently I don't want to be some uber try hard all the time trying to win and I sometimes don't like to chat with my teammates I don't feel like this person should be banned for wanting to have fun but hey people always hate the filthy casual

View 1 reply
GameMasterCYP 5 years ago
mmobomb.com , Kotaku is not a reliable source, just wanted to let you know.

Drago 5 years ago
Use to love this game but it's pure TOXIC..

Whalewolf 5 years ago
The report system has been broken for a long time. If your team decides youre the reason they lost they will simply report you for whatever and once you have enough reports youre out.

View 1 reply
Saraski 5 years ago
I was actually banned for this back when braum was released, he was newly released along with the in progress team builder and I had decided to come back to the game after a 3 month break, upon entering normal rather than team builder and my team asking for a top, I decided to go braum top as I didn't fully know where his capabilities were but heard he had been playing top recently by higher tiers, throughout the game I got abuse and just ignored it all while trying to play, eventually we lost and I was reported for "griefing", i tried playing the day later and found out I had a 14 day ban, upon messaging support and going through them 3 times, I got the reply that it was my own fault because the team wanted me to play a 2nd jungler, so in riot's eyes that is griefing intentionally, even when challenging Lyte about it, he said it was justified. quote : " I reviewed your games and I can see what it was that led to your suspension. I do want to first start off by saying that we support players who want to play outside of the "meta". Unfortunately your approach looks like it has upsetted several players in several of your games. If you are going to play something that is outside of the norm or outside of what players are comfortable playing with, then you need to be able to communicate that with your team. Let them know what you plan on doing. This helps reduce the chances of your team getting upset with you, and it helps them maybe play around your playstyle. No jungler this game? Ok, maybe I can play a jungler or play a champion that I know won't need a jungler to camp my lane. You are entering game after game knowing that you have a good chance of upsetting your team. "

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furry fury 5 years ago
Better off that he was banned than not to be it means he's not adjusting for his team mates he's picking heroes that can't be helped or a role that was given to them to be ignored it doesnt really matter if his winning rate 50% it's not going to help his future team mates and future opponents will be able to find a way in late games it would be hard because you can't do your role right. and as we all know things are unbalance in LoL one mistake such as pick a wrong hero to counter your opponent and your advantages goes to 5% only they should do their role properly not because they want to. It's because they have to if they want to win especially in rank.

View 1 reply
Hellsworth 5 years ago
"You play our game you can't play your way!"... If you only could ban devs from doing their thing dispite the whole community telling them "NO!!! STOP!!!"

Smallniceguy 5 years ago
Didn't something like this happen before, with a guy who was playing singed support with smite?

View 1 reply
kalatraba 5 years ago
If someone says to me that wants to play in a certain way in picking phase, it is OK with me. But I definitely hate the total lack of communication in some of those games when everybody just picks heroes, and even though you try to communicate and coordinate with them they just pick what they want or troll disregarding the fact that a team has to have synergy. This is especially annoying in ranked games.

View 1 reply
kalatraba 5 years ago
This is a primal concern of mine in hero-based games. Most of the time I don't have any problem picking the role that my other teammates don't wanna play but in most of those games there are some d-bags players that either troll or don't want to communicate and you end up having a bad composition of heroes and no synergy between the picked characters. Especially in ranked games. And there isn't any way of actually "reporting" them just because they don't utter a word in hero picking. There should be a special report section in such games and an inclination from the reporting dept of the game to look into those incidents/players.

Koai 5 years ago
I can understand this. I've played games where I tried to communicate with people and form a plan but they all went off and did their own thing we lost every time and in the games I played same things happened. I might have to try league of legends if people are serious about this.

ZMemme 5 years ago
Riot bans League of Legends *Player. Gotta proofread :v

View 1 reply

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