UPDATE: Riot have announced that they have removed house finishers from the game as a response to this issue (15/5/19)
One of the free cosmetics awarded to League players from the Mid-Season Invitational mission line has been reported to have an adverse effect on photosensitive epileptics by a player suffering from the condition.
Players who complete a certain amount of missions are awarded with a “finisher”, a small animation that bursts to life over the body of an enemy you’ve just taken down. As a player has reported on the League forums and subreddit, however, the strobe effect is enough to trigger photosensitive epilepsy.
Photosensitive epilepsy is a form of epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by visual stimuli such as flashing lights or regular moving patterns, and Riot is no stranger to having to deal with it before. The ending animation of a game of Odyssey, League’s 2018 unique game mode, was also reported to trigger seizures in affected players.
The player who reported on this latest trigger also mentioned that he’s forced to ban champions such as Lucian and Lux, whose theme and subsequent animations utilize flashing lights, just to ensure that he doesn’t fall victim to a seizure during the game.
Riot was quick to respond to the player, but the outcome is not what everyone was hoping for. In the original forum post, it was requested that a toggle be added to remove all of the potential triggers popping up, which seemed like a good idea that should be relatively easy to implement.
“The way we are rewarding and utilizing the finishers is new for Summoner’s Rift/ARAM, and as such, we didn’t have the time or bandwidth to have engineers rework this so that a toggle could ship with the finishers,” Riot Xenogenic said. “We chatted about it at-length and ultimately decided we would rather ship them with no toggle than not ship them because we couldn’t do a toggle, but we knew there would be some level of frustration and risk with that. So again, my apologies for making League less enjoyable for you in the meantime.”
With photosensitive epilepsy affecting one in 4,000 people, there could be up to 30,000 out of the 120 million people that play League of Legends every month that are at risk from this issue. While Riot at this stage appears to show an unwillingness to add this feature in due to a lack of resources, they may take the time to implement it in future situations to avoid this happening again.
In 2017, upon the PBE release of the Super Galaxy Gnar skin, it was quickly noted that the skin’s animations could trigger seizures, something that was quickly fixed by Riot. While the reporting player and the thousands like him don’t have a solution for this yet, hopefully Riot will take the time to make a positive change for a minority group that play its game.