A few months ago, a support Nunu main was banned from League of Legends because his teammates didn’t like his pick (despite a positive win record). After widespread backlash, the company is changing the way it punishes players.
The player had been a Nunu main in seasons past, and had taken a long break from League of Legends. Upon his return, he didn’t find Nunu in the jungle quite as fun as it used to be, so he decided to try to play him support (with smite). He would often leave his ADC in lane to clear the enemy jungler’s bot side jungle. It was weirdly effective, and in fact, he allegedly had a significantly positive winrate with that strategy.
But a ton of players still reported him. ADCs were frustrated because they were left alone and vulnerable as one of the squishiest roles in the game, while their support was counter-jungling. Because of this, despite the wins, most teammates weren’t happy with the Nunu. After so many reports, he was handed a 14-day ban by Riot. Reporting a player for playing against the meta, or a “tactical disagreement,” is against the Summoner’s Code, the rules set forth by Riot for playing League. With that in mind, the player shouldn’t have even been reported, let alone banned.
That’s all in the past. The procedure that Riot follows for banning players is being changed in order to avoid situations like this, according to a post by Riot in the official League forums. Previously, players with excessive reports were manually viewed by the support team when they weren’t automatically banned by the player ban system. Riot would then dish out punishments as it saw fit, and then feed that information back into the automatic system so it would catch it next time.
In the post, Riot defended this system. The author said that 99 percent of these bans were fair and accurate, even if it still wasn’t fair to the one percent unfairly banned.
Now, things are a bit more lenient. If an account is reported an excessive amount of times for playing off-meta picks, it will be temporarily locked instead of banned. When the account is locked, the player will see a prompt that says they need to contact Player Support to address the issue. After contacting support, the player has the chance to explain that they are still dedicated to winning despite the picks, and—once the player is deemed sincere—the Rioter will show them examples for how to better communicate their strategy with the rest of the team. The player will then be allowed to immediately play more games.
Whether you believe that the Nunu support ban was in the right, Riot going against its own Summoner’s Code is a problem. This change is a step in the right direction.