Today Riot Games reconsidered a particularly strict portion of its policy regarding player punishment. Players permanently banned, or “permabanned,” from competition will now have a series of reviews built into their punishment, allowing for the possibility of them being re-instated.
Riot’s ban policy was unforgiving for permabanned players, considering many pros returning from one-year bans to healthy careers, even appearing on the analyst desk at times, as in the case of Christina “IWillDominate” Rivera.
Now, Riot’s theme of reform will also apply in these instances. “Moving forward, we’re balancing the need to protect our players from toxic behavior with the additional goal of recognizing and encouraging reform,” the announcement reads.
That’s good news for the only two players permanently banned from competitive play, Khaled “DarkwinJax” Abusagr and Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen.
Abusagr set record levels of toxicity at the time of his ban, recording the highest harassment score in the history of Europe. Jensen’s behavior saw multiple accounts banned, and alleged DDOSing led to his permanent removal.
Jensen’s case is particularly interesting—his name is still carries legendary status, a player so skilled he can change the fortunes of a franchise instantly by donning their jersey.
That’s led to speculation Jensen will join a team during this offseason, despite no apparent avenue for his reinstatement. Now, Riot Games has provided that avenue—but also shut the door, at least for now.
Jensen’s suspension, now labelled as “indefinite” with a 4 split minimum term, was up for review this offseason, and Riot Games found his case lacking. Riot cited bot accounts, account sharing, and Refer-a-friend fraud through the end of 2013 and start of 2014, despite Jensen showing improved in-game behvarior.
That means he won’t be changing the fortunes of any team. For now. Jensen’s case will be up for review again five weeks before the LCS Summer 2015 roster declaration date. Considering hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line in professional League of Legends, it’s a safe bet Jensen will be on his best behavior this split in preparation of becoming the hottest free agent we’ve ever seen in League.
And that’s how it should be. If a felon can reform through years of prison, a player should not be stuck in video game jail for life. Playing League of Legends is no longer just a hobby. It’s a career for people like Jensen. Riot unilaterally ending that career for activity not even criminal is extreme; it’s about time it changed its policy.
Illustration by Max Fleishman