If you’ve never had the misfortune to experience online harassment during a video game, then you’re either brand new to gaming or you’ve stumbled into an alternate dimension. For those of you who have felt the ire of an angry teammate or competitor, some League of Legends-related justice has been served.
Michael “Arxhgos” Zannis was permanently banned during his regular stream this week after receiving numerous communications restrictions from Riot Games‘s disciplinary system. Zannis was allegedly limited to a mere five chat messages each game, most of which were used to spread his personal brand of online vitriol.
The Greek player, who has spent months cultivating a reputation for wishing “cancer” upon his opponents can be seen here logging into two separate accounts only to permanently lose access to both. Zannis then struggled to fill his remaining streaming time, playing everything from Assassin’s Creed to Dota 2 over the ensuing four hours.
Zannis’s punishment is far-and-away the most severe that can be administered to players of Riot’s prolific game. The same punishment was famously handed down to Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen for “persistent and remorseless” violations of Riot’s code of conduct. Jensen, however, has the opportunity to appeal Riot’s decision while Zannis does not.
This is largely due to Riot’s stance on player discipline. Under the current system, players who demonstrate consistently “toxic” behavior are served a series of chat restrictions, followed by account bans consummate with the severity of their actions. Under this model, players receive numerous warnings that their behavior is not welcome before a final ban is issued.
Few players can be said to deserve this punishment more than Zannis, who was also caught physically and verbally abusing his girlfriend during a losing game.
The ban is a small victory for those who wish to play their games un-accosted. For the more egregious trolls in League of Legends, it’s a shot across the bow. Unfortunately for the long-term health of online gaming as a whole, Internet anonymity virtually guarantees that the Zannis legacy will live on, even if it’s only five lines at a time.