The game League of Legends has evolved and has seen players come and go since its release in 2009, but Riste and Briikachu are some of the summoners that have been hanging around the game for many seasons. Both longtime players and streamers on Twitch sat down with LeagueFeed journalist Fabrice Samedy to share their thoughts on the state of one the most popular games out there.
Watch the Video Interview Here:
Fabrice: I want to start by saying thank you for taking the time for this interview. I really appreciate it. The first question I want to ask is, can you just give a small introduction about who you are?
Riste: Sure, okay. Hi everybody. My name is Riste. I am the Jimmy Fallon look alike, Garen-streaming content creator of League of Legends from the LPP. I’ve been streaming for six-ish years now, trying to dominate the Solo Queue ladder. I have near 10 million champion mastery points with Garen, so I’m considered a one-trick. I focus on positive educational content, usually providing chill vibes. I also coach other Garen players, one to one either publicly or privately in my own educational coaching sessions.
Briikachu: Wow, that was a lot more eloquent than I think I can ever describe myself. So I’m Briikachu and I am a low Elo Syndra main, I used to be a Syndra OTP until I decided that playing other champs was more fun when your OTP has a 43% win rate in solo queue. I play primarily mages and enchanters, though I have picked up a little Garen from the Demacia spin boy down there. I primarily focus on a fun and interactive environment. I really like community-based events, and providing beginner-level content to League of Legends players.
Fabrice: I know Riste mentioned that he started streaming six years ago, but for how long have you two been playing the game? And what made you decide to start playing the game?
Riste: Oh, that’s a good question. So I remember playing the Starcraft 2 beta when I was in college. I remember there was this custom map that I really liked called Hero Wars. My friend at the time, Matthew, said that I should play this game. I installed League of Legends, played like five games of it and I never went back to StarCraft two, that was just it. I’ve been addicted to this game ever since.
Briikachu: What year did you start playing Riste?
Riste: It was 2009-2010. It was right before season one was finally commencing, right as Akali was released for the first time.
Briikachu: So you had like the really old-looking map, I think I downloaded the game in like 2015, I played against beginner bots for two years because League of Legends people were really mean. I then played League for about a year, took two years off, and then came back to the game, so I guess in total I’ve maybe played like three or four years now.
Fabrice: So, I guess it’s been a while, but what made you continue playing?
Briikachu: I originally started playing the game with friends so I used to like pretty much only play in five stacks or only play against bots. I was very scared of ranking but all of my friends, like the high elo ones, were silver. So I started to want to play ranked so I couldn’t be higher ranked than my friends. I then realized that I really liked it then turned to streaming and now here we are. Now I’m addicted to grinding to plat.
Riste: Okay, so I suffer from video game addiction. I have suffered from video game addiction and League has always been that game for me. I think it is because of the competitive appeal and also the intensity of the solo queue ladder that has always scratched that itch for me in terms of trying to master a game. I think I took it one step further by trying to master one individual champion. I’ve tried to quit this game many times, but I’ve been unsuccessful in doing so. So I said: “You know what, I love this game so much. I might as well try to make a living out of it.” Well, here I am now. I started streaming in 2017 and I am still very much addicted to this game. So yeah, it’s been quite a journey.
Fabrice: From your perspective, how hard have you tried ranking in League of Legends?
Riste: You mean climbing the rank ladder?
Riste: I think I think I’ve tried tackling the rank ladder every single season possible because it’s the most fun for me, the most exciting and engaging. I’ve tried rotating game modes, and I’ve tried Clash. I’ve tried ranked and premade fives. I’ve even dipped my toes into Arams, but there’s just no better experience. I think the closest thing for me that came super close to the ranked experience was Dominion because Riot Games promised back then that they would flip the switch for ranked in Dominion. I was getting so prepared for that. But it ended up never happening, the mode just stagnated, and then they got rid of it. Same thing with Twisted Treeline. In the end, I cannot commit my heart to anything else but ranked, because even if I fall in love with something else there’s no guarantee it’s gonna stick around, there’s just no guarantee.
Briikachu: Oh, wow. I think this is my fourth season of ranked. For me, I want to get one step further because someone once told me that if you stay the same rank for more than two seasons, you can consider yourself hard-stuck. With that said, it would be season number three of being gold, so now I’m really starting to panic about it. I think what makes me want to climb the rankings is EmiliaCosplay, the Challenger support player. She is a female content creator that gets so much crap for being “boosted” and all this stuff, but there are a lot of Challenger support players. This one just happens to be female, so I want to climb the rank ladder to have more female presence in high-elo.
Fabrice: Ok, but what I wanted to know is what is your approach towards the game, are you the type to play 15 hours a day every day or do you play two games a week and don’t care about your elo?
Riste: I used to be that way and Brianne helped me actually break that cycle. I used to be something called the scarred veteran where I just kept queuing up for games. I just cannot end a session unless it’s on a win. I would suffer 10 losses in a row, but I am so stubborn, even to my own demise that I’ll get back on the horse and keep playing. Now, I paced myself so much more. There are even days when I don’t even play League of Legends. I will stream five or six days a week and 99.9% of my games are now on stream. I think my discipline has gotten considerably better, but it used to be really really bad. I would sometimes stay awake until like seven o’clock in the morning just playing the demon hours of solo queue just because I want to push myself harder. Yeah, I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody because it’s pretty rough.
Briikachu: I think in my first season I played enough games to hit silver so I could consider myself in the good section of my friends. I then said I really wanted to hit gold, failed at it, then hit it the next season. I developed the mindset of the more games I play, the higher I climb, which sounds like a really simple mindset, but to bring myself to play a lot of ranked is really hard because I feel like the game and the toxicity has gotten way worse. I don’t think I’d ever be able to play like 10 games in a day because I would not be playing my best, so I probably play like five games a day and that’s if all the games go relatively well. If I lose my first two and there are two AFK days, then I’m probably done for that day. With that said, I’m also playing more days a week, which I think is helping out a lot more.
Fabrice: That’s interesting and now I want to know, how much importance do you give to you Elo? Does it have an impact on how you enjoy the game?
Riste: I think it does for me because after I hit challenger in season nine, I’ve always wanted to get it back every single season, but I’ve been unsuccessful in doing so. The closest I’ve been is when I reached Grandmaster this season, so I think the ranked fever is something that afflicts many people. I think it is definitely a big insignia to your success in the solo queue ladder because that type of credibility opens up a lot of things for you as a player. Sometimes even organizations are interested in what rank you are in, so for streamers, ranked is a very lucrative type of thing and it is so easy to become intoxicated with your rank because that’s what almost everyone talks about. You earn your place in the community with your rank, that’s just how it is, even Riot Games will consider your rank in terms of adjusting feedback. It’s very easy to fall into the slope of just caring about rank 24/7. I think that fixation is also what leads to a lot of frustration and toxicity in the game as it stands today.
Briikachu: Yes I would say that rank is pretty important for me as well, but it’s not necessarily about being high elo. For a long time, I wanted to be better than at least 50% of the player base which was Silver 2. I was telling myself that all I needed to do was to achieve Gold so that people know that I’m in the top 50%. Now, people attach your level of knowledge to your rank so I feel that I need to climb higher to get them to listen. There is also a lot of gatekeeping in the content creation community when it comes to the content. These are the factors that are motivating me to keep climbing the ladder.
Riste: So is for high-elo
Fabrice: You’re right. So we’ll jump right into what I wanted to ask for this interview. What are your general thoughts on League of Legends in season 13?
Riste: Well, it’s different. I think the longer you invest in League, the more you understand that Riot wants to change the game every season. They do not want any individual season to be identical to its previous season and they always want to change something, whether it’s for better or for worse. Thankfully, most of the changes have been good. I think many iterations of things they’ve done to improve the game have been better for the most part. One example is that everyone was against adding plants to the jungle but that ended up being a really well-perceived thing, despite the community’s disbelief. On the other hand, there were things that ultimately failed like, positional rank, where you would queue up and you get your Elo based on what queue you were at. So they’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to get to where we are right now with season 13. I think the game is in a pretty good state, although there are a lot of things that are flawed. Right now, there’s a big disparity between individual power between certain roles and positions, there still are issues with the matchmaking ladder where we are not having complete equilibrium auto-fills. So you’ll have games where one team will have three auto-fills and the other one will have one. For high Elo players specifically, we’re having players that are still able to bypass the system and duo queue even though they shouldn’t. They’re still obviously the issues of smurfing, which has been going on for years. Riot tried implementing Smurf Queue, and now they’re pulling back on it and we have no idea what they’re gonna be doing next with it. There are also Challenger transfers and whatnot. So there are still a lot of ongoing problems and that can leave a lot of people with a very sour feeling about this game. Personally, I think the game is in a pretty good spot, but at the same time, there’s so much more that I think Riot could be doing to make the game better. So it’s kind of like a bittersweet type of feeling right now, you kind of wish that things were more than they were but it’s okay. I’m just gonna say that the season is okay. I kind of liked season 12 a little bit better, though. It felt more stable, at least in my opinion.
Briikachu: I think I’d agree here. I think for me, one thing that I do like about season 13 that I don’t think they did well in season 12 or in the last couple of years is that they were releasing so many new champions and they were not so much focusing on champion balance. I really liked that they’ve been doing mid-scopes with champions who kind of feel like they haven’t kept up with the current meta of the game like, obviously, I’m pretty biased as a Syndra OTP. I’m happy that they are looking at Neeko and Zyra or champions who do not do super great in pro play or in solo queue. I think Riot did a good job of keeping the game interesting. What I would like to see is that they’ve made so many changes like the dragons, the map changes, introducing mythic items, all the new items you get every season, and all the reworks. As the game gets more complex, it becomes less beginner friendly. The tutorial system is unlike the grinding to level 30 where you have to play against Challenger players or Chad on his new Smurf account, it’s not really a rewarding system. So I would like to see more to come this year with that. And then I think to address toxicity and smurfing or when someone toxic gets banned on account 32 but can go on account number 33.
Fabrice: If you had to pick one major complaint about the game, what would it be?
Briikachu: I feel like I’ve been having a lot less fun playing the game recently than I have in previous seasons due to toxicity. We have these reporting systems and we get these feedback reports, you get that little bit of dopamine from seeing them, but then you ask yourself: “Does it actually matter?” You still lost the LP, you are still demoted and that person probably has another account so it feels like the impact and your enjoyment of the game has gone down. I think that my biggest complaint is about the community and what I perceive to be a lack of effort in improving that.
Fabrice: What about you Riste?
Riste: I definitely agree with Brianne there, but I want to abstain from talking about the lane I am playing which is the top lane because as I said, there is definitely a disparity between power between roles right now, especially when it comes to like ADCs with how they’ve kind of eclipsed every other role. There is also the jungle being as strong as it is now or support still being so influential over the map which made the top lane kind of stuck in the mud a little bit. My biggest criticism for season 13 is Riot’s cadence of addressing matchmaking which has been completely backward, not only in terms of the concept but how they implement it and the execution of those concepts. The biggest example that I can bring up is removing the names in champion select. I was so stoked about that because I really felt like if fewer people focus on data mining, they could just focus on the game because somebody is coming up with a negative win rate and nobody wants to play with that. In that situation, they will go ahead and make a big fuss about it which will drive the game quality down before the game even starts.
The problem with that idea is the execution is very confusing to me because even though they did remove names and champions, you can data mine Riot’s API and still get the names of all the other four people that you got paired up with. So unless you’ve been living under a rock and you’re oblivious to that information, it’s like the problem wasn’t even solved in the first place or it’s almost like a band-aid fix. It leads me to a very sour feeling because I really wanted a proper execution, where somebody gets into champion select, and they can’t get that information at all unless they’re stream sniper or ghosting. There is also the problem with matchmaking. You know, it would feel fair to me if you have the same amount of auto-filled players on both teams. So at least you know that both teams have the same problem to solve. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing teams with varying amounts of auto-fills that do not mirror what the enemy team has. It just feels really backward and I feel like that in order for them (RIOT) to remove the champion’s name permanently from the game, they need to fix these other issues first, so players can feel good about queueing up. Unless you have a stalwart personality, or you’re strong-minded, it just feels like a diminishing experience. I guess that’s the feeling I have right now. So I think that’s my biggest qualm.
Fabrice: So from what I’ve gathered from your answers is that you have a lot of complaints but on a scale from 1 to 10, how enjoyable is your League of Legends experience?
Briikachu: Like a 5 and a half.
Riste: If it weren’t for my awesome streaming community, I would probably say 4 or 5 out of 10. In my opinion, streaming with a chill community and having music elevates the experience. Most days, I would rate the experience at a 7 or 8, but if I played solo queue for 10 to 15 hours by myself, it would plummet quickly because I don’t have that support system that my community gives me.
Briikachu: Yeah, League seems like a really fun game to play if you’re playing norms, and if you’re in a five stack with your friends who aren’t gonna flame or anything, but the solo queue experience feels drastically different.
Fabrice: Would you consider that the quality of solo queue increased or decreased over the years?
Riste: I think some things have gotten better. Although if I have to take a second to think about it, maybe it is also indicative that things haven’t been better too much. I feel like it has gotten worse in some regards, especially regarding Riot’s communication policies, and how they ever get to fix certain things. With that said, there were some things that were such a great gift like fixing the client or them doubling their efforts to fix remakes and AFK”s which hopefully, will be the final time that they will have to fix that. At the same time, I do not want to fall into the mental trap of saying that this is the worst season ever because I don’t know if there’s a psychological classification for that. Let me explain, if we make our assessment based on the present compared to looking five or six years back when the game was probably still as toxic as it was but people were just using different phrases and different ways to troll people. If we were to go back in time to the time machine, it might actually still be the same toxic game that we know now. So in the same regard maybe the game has gotten worse, but at the same time, maybe it has gotten better and thatI’m just not fully cognizant of it. Like I said previously, a few things that I do really appreciate from Riot is the removal of the names in champion select and I guess the LP mitigation when you have an AFK on your team, but I know some people are still not satisfied with that because you you still lose MMR and you still have to see the defeat screen at the end of the game. I’ve noticed a lot of stuff just go down in the dumps and I’m probably not the only one that has to say that I don’t like being negative and too critical because I do have an appreciation for Riot for supporting my individual career, but t the same time, I do believe my criticisms are fair towards them.
Briikachu: Yeah, I don’t think everything about the game is bad, but I do think that toxicity has gotten different because toxicity in my games two years ago was people yelling all kinds of slurs, but now it manifests itself with people quitting games and then you have to play in a 4v5. I can mute toxic Tommy but I can’t mute him AFKing and impacting the rest of the game. I think it depends on what kind of toxicity you prefer. I think the coolest thing that Riot has implemented is the system where certain words will automatically mute you, but I would like to see this idea go one step further and add an option where you can mute yourself in the loading screen or something because it’s a little bit ridiculous that when you are watching a streamer and they have to type like the first four letters of the first bad word they can think for the system to automate them where you could just turn chat off which has been an option in the client for forever. That’s where I’m at.
Fabrice: So before we talk about the toxic aspect of the game or toxicity in general, I want to know the things that you love about League of Legends?
Riste: So a lot of people don’t talk about this but I come from a background of trying to get into many competitive games that were ultimately ruined because of people cheating or exploiting the game with some sort of system, whether it be like a script or GameShark Or Action Replay. If I reflect on how many games I played, I can only really say that about 1% of those games were probably affected by somebody using one of those programs that affect the game, I very rarely run into a scripter. I think Riot’s policies on being able to safeguard their systems and how the game is executed through cheating and exploiting are really good. They have had a really good upkeep on that, with some random exceptions of course.
I don’t know why it took them five or six patches to fix the Sion script where you could change the direction with his ult.I do think that the game is satisfying in a five versus five game where nobody disconnects and both teams are equally skilled. At least, I still have the satisfaction of knowing that the game was somewhat fair and there’s stuff that I could have worked on so I think that’s my personal enjoyment. I think there are a lot of games that are telling in terms of what I could be doing better, although it’s mixed in with a lot of games that you have to deal with a lot of Bologna like somebody DC or this player decides to run it because they can’t keep their cool. League always has been kind of bittersweet because you get that peak gameplay every four out of 10 games, so you have to endure six really bad games to get the four really good quality games. I think the thing I enjoy the most is that there is at least some level of fairness. I think in the games that I do play aside from the matchmaking and the occasional scripters or the people who occasionally grief. There are certain things that Riot can’t control like smurfing. I don’t think it’s feasible for them to require somebody to use a social security number to register an account like they’ve done in Korea.
So I think my enjoyment of the game is that they do put effort into keeping the game alive, despite the criticisms and that’s what keeps me going. I think that there is some light at the end of the tunnel and that eventually there’ll be this one season where everything is going and things are actually gradually better. I guess that’s what I keep holding on.
Briikachu: I think one thing I really enjoy about the game right now is that we can always find a way to keep it interesting. As someone who’s pretty new to reading patch notes, I never realized how much change happens every two weeks in the game. I think that’s good because I think it’s really easy to play the game 100 times and play the exact same champion and do the exact same thing and not try anything new. For example, Riste is a 10 million mastery points Garen player but every game I watch feels like a new one. So I think that is super helpful from a content creator perspective that League finds a way to keep things fresh enough that you can always find new content or new ways to enjoy the game.
So for all the flack that I’m giving the game right now, I am still gonna say that I still feel like it’s really fun from a design perspective.
Fabrice: Alright, on that good note, let’s dive right into something a little bit less fun and talk about toxicity. My first question is what are your thoughts on the toxicity right now?
Briikachu: I think people see very little punishment for it. I don’t think that there’s a big enough incentive not to be toxic and to actually be a good summoner. I think we’ve known for a long time now that the honor reward system is kind of a joke. How many more Twitch and Warwick skins can I get for honor level five? It doesn’t really mean anything. I think there’s a cool back now for it, which I did think was cool at the time, but I think there should be more to stand out as a good human playing the game because I think toxicity has a pretty negative impact, especially on new players.
Fabrice: What about you Riste?
Riste: Well, I wish I could say that there was gonna be some sort of Utopia where League is gonna be this toxic free game, but I think this is just an issue that almost every online competitive game faces. There’s always going to be a little bit of Yin to the Yang. There’s always gonna be toxicity in League of Legends and how Riot handles the problem is ultimately on them. I can say that the community should do better because it’s up to the influencers and the community to also try to be better, but Riot has the cards on the table in terms of what systems get implemented, and how people get punished. I think they made a really good effort with the automatic mute system, where if somebody says something really offensive, that person will get muted. I think that’s a really great start as a concept, but they need to expand that much more, because right now, as Brianne referenced earlier, you can mute someone, but you can’t mute somebody trying to derail the game. If they’re using chat to antagonize the player, there’s nothing you can do to stop that, if they want to keep following that narrative. You can ask them to mute, but there’s a very low chance that they’ll actually listen. Sometimes they do, but other times, they’ll just continue arguing and then you get bothered by it, and then you have to mute them, and then you’re wondering if that ever resolved anything. I think they could do a lot more to that. I think I’ve been an advocate of the number of messages that one player puts out per game can sometimes be abused. In my personal experience, if there’s somebody who’s typing 200 messages a game, it is most likely they’re using it for a good purpose. People will flood the chat with excessive messages to go ahead and openly flame somebody. I feel that there should be an improvement in the system to tag or time out people who are using messages too much. I think there’s so much more that Riot Games could be doing like improving player security with something like two-factor authentication to help prevent accounts from being stolen.
I say that because someone tried taking my account last week
Briikachu: You did show your password in front of 100 people.
Riste: I know, but if it wasn’t for two FA my account would have been gone. There is also the ability to block invites so that content creators or anybody can’t get invites from people with super offensive names or the mute function in champion select which feels really good. They (Riot) also said that champions select has been moved to a phase now where reports actually do have an impact on how people get suspended, but I think that they need to improve clarity on that. If there’s a report that actually went through in champion select, it should be specially marked so that people understand how their report system actually worked, because I feel like the instant feedback report maybe considers reports in champion select, but a player won’t know that it actually worked, because you get the same generic message. There needs to be a bit of distinction for that. Ultimately, I think League toxicity is never going to go away, but there’s a lot more they (Riot) can do to impact a player’s safety and game experience, while also being able to take care of people who are abusing chat way too much. Riot can’t solve the soft inting issue, but they can do more to protect the player’s experience in my opinion.
Fabrice: Would it be fair to say that there’s not enough incentives to be a good summoner and that there’s not enough tools to combat toxicity in game
Briikachu: Oh, yeah. I think there’s a lot of ideas that people have that could improve those systems, but I don’t think the tools are currently available to League of Legends players.
Riste: I agree with Brianne a lot. I’ve talked about this many times on stream before. One of the reasons why people are eager to get a new account is because League of legends accounts as they stand right now, are so disposable unless you have super rare skin from like Black Alistar or Silver Kayle. I think there’s an ongoing problem that many accounts may not be valuable enough, and that’s what makes them more disposable.I don’t know how Riot Games will fix this solution. I mean, you could just say, let’s throw money at the problem. Let’s give players more rewards for honor level 5 which would make sense because there are actual tangible rewards for being a good summoner instead of running it down spewing racial slurs and threatening to unalive people. I think that if we make more tangible honor five awards or if we make accounts more valuable, then maybe players will think a little bit more before they do inappropriate stuff.As of right now, I think the only thing that chalks up to an account’s worth is its MMR and rank. It’s a very common thing right now to have multiple accounts because there’s no reason to just spend time on just one account and until that problem is fixed, we’re gonna continue having players just lose accounts and never fix our toxicity. And just move on to the next one like Brianne referenced
Briikachu: I’m so ready to have honor five only Chromas.
Fabrice: I forgot to ask a pretty important question: Have you ever experienced toxicity and if yes, how often?
Briikachu: Yes, several times a day and every day that I play league. It ranges from the general smack talk to death threats. There are also players quitting the game or feeding teammates with troll builds that start yelling racial slurs at me like.
Riste:You know what’s so crazy?I’ll have games where I am ahead and I’ll still find two people arguing with each other. It’s so incredibly petty and ridiculous.I find it almost laughable because you can be your own worst enemy in solo queue. You can literally self-sabotage your climb because we will let people get their egos in the way and with the current systems, they are able to just openly chat with your teammates with no filter other than you saying something that will trigger the self mute system.It’s free reign for and it happens in like 50 to 60% of my games.There will be like 30 to 40% of my games where nobody really says a thing other than somebody ult timers and that’s cool. That’s all that needs to happen even in a losing situation. Unfortunately, it happens a lot and it’s probably been the same ratio for previous seasons too. Maybe there’s been some variance in it going up and down, but it’s pretty much the same thing.
Fabrice: Riste, you mentioned that you were Grandmaster this season. I was wondering, how does the toxicity manifest itself in your games?
Riste: That’s a really good question. As I referenced earlier, with previous seasons and with how internet culture evolves in terms of how players bring other players down. For example, this year we’re going to say sexist things, next year we’re gonna say racist things etc.That’s how Internet culture influences game communities, but the toxicity alters a little bit for Masters and Grandmasters specifically because insults basically become catered to what your rank is. It affects every rank, but it’ll come down to specifics like “This person’s never going to take GM (Grandmaster) or this person will stay in Master forever or this player is Elo inflated because of the changes”. We have more people in Masters now than any other season because of the LP changes and as a result, people come up with creative things and sometimes there’s more topical things.Other times it’ll be something that’s very akin to what has happened or insults about the player being hardstuck or allegations of account purchasing. There is a little bit of variance when it comes to the individual MMR that I’m in, but it’s more so the same song. It’s either people commenting on your rank or people making an assumption based on your summoner name, whether it be your gender, your stature or your ethnicity. It’s your gameplay with people calling you an inter or mass report this person times nine. It’s more so the same tune.
Fabrice: Would target inting also be a part of the problems that you could face?
Riste: Yeah, it is it is although, it really depend on the type of player you are or whether or not you’re a content creator, because I’ve been hearing on social media that Tyler 1 just queued up EUW (one of the European servers). He just started his rank climb.and there are people trying to queue snipe him and run it down. I think there was that Syndra player with 41 deaths in his game. So if you’re a content creator or someone who’s really well known and despised based on your reputation, it will alter the amount you get targeted. And then there will be games where you are just somebody who’s not really well known, just another Summoner out there. Nobody really knows you well, but you’re part of the game where somebody’s targeting another person and you just deal with the residual fallout of that, which unfortunately sucks. People have gotten more creative though because the more you understand the system and how to avoid bands, the more intelligent players are in trying to avoid that. In the previous seasons, before Bright Games made adjustments to their AFK detection, you could walk around in the fountain every few seconds and that will allow you to dodge the system. Now you can’t do that, so players figure out what Riot’s automatic systems are doing to tag players.People get really creative, they will put asterisks in the words and the slurs to dodge filters. That is always gonna be present, people are always gonna find the next thing I need to do to go ahead and dodge a ban from Riot games. It’s always the community versus Riot and in terms of that, I don’t think that’s ever going away. I think that this season is just the newest brand of toxicity. It’s different from last season, but the methodology and how they solve that problem is the exact same thing.
Fabrice: Got it. Do you consider that Elo contributes to the level of toxicity?
Briikachu:I heard that Iron four is not so toxic actually so not really.
Riste: Yeah, right, because you don’t know how many bots are in Iron Four or people who are just trying to like derank the account so they’re too busy just trying to sabotage the game *little laugh*. I mean, there’s a lot of people who come into my chat and comment on how chill a game of mine is compared to theirs and I always call shenanigans on that. No matter the Elo, if you’re playing with nine other humans,it is guaranteed that you’re gonna have at least one toxic game at some point. I don’t think ELO really affects it that much. I do think that there are differences in toxicity and harassment because of culture differences between servers. The way you are going to be harassed in EUW is gonna be different from how you’re gonna be harassed in North America and that’s not even talking about language and the barriers between that. I think that there will still be harassment, but I don’t think that there’s gonna be a difference in toxicity based on elo.Other factors like server and who you are as a person will have an impact. Unfortunately, if you’re known as a female in the League of legends community, that’s gonna spike the harassment, especially when people recognize you and it sucks. I think everyone who’s in gold is subjected to the same type of saying, the “You’re a hardstuck” argument.
Fabrice: Alright. The next question is a little bit different because I’ll ask you to be in someone else’s shows, in this case Riot. What steps should Riot take to make the current state of the community and the game better?
Briikachu: Riste and I definitely disagree on this because he already said that he doesn’t think we need the social security thing while I’ve been saying that we should have our Social Security Number linked to your account because I’m tired of Banned Account 32. I also think it was at one o’clock in the morning when I told Riste that anyone who has hit Honor level five can now apply for a part-time job at Riot Games where you are basically doing the duty of the old tribunal, but you are getting paid for it. I think it would be super cool because they’re getting more manpower that they don’t have to give benefits to because that’s only part-time.It’s an incentive to be a good summoner. From a content creator perspective, like the ones in PMA, you can give back to the game and help fix the community. I think those are doable steps that are within Riot’s budget and serve the players, content creators, viewers, etc.
Fabrice: What about your Riste?
Riste: I don’t personally don’t think the social security thing is ever gonna be a thing in my opinion, but other than that, I do agree with Brianne for the most part. As I referenced earlier, there needs to be more safeguards in place to prevent people who are deliberately ruining games. I think there needs to be more filters and systems in terms of how many messages that people are able to put out per game. They also need to be focusing more on a positive thing like reworking the honor system again, or I would add more tangible rewards to it, because as it stands right now, it’s almost a joke. I think the special recall animation is really cool, that was a great idea, but as Brianne referenced, there could be so much cooler stuff that would give incentive for players to maybe try to be a decent human being. Things like honor five chromas, exclusive skins or getting access to the Blue Essence Emporium, etc.People always say to add voice chat to League of Legends and I think that unless you’re honor five, you don’t have access to it or you can only talk for a certain period of time.Another solution that I can think of is that you get a certain amount of messages per game, almost like an expensive chat restriction, but then people who are Honor level zero don’t get as many messages. I know that’s not a perfect argument because it also messes with the game’s integrity a bit. I might be a little radical in my thinking here, but I think that you should have a license to be able to voice chat in League of Legends, just like you have a license to be able to drive a vehicle. I think Riot needs to throw a big boulder at the situation and see what ends up holding. They just gotta throw some darts at the wall. They got to get pretty crazy with this situation because things aren’t really gonna ever change. They could add another work croma into the shop and call it a day, but we know at the end of the day that it is not gonna fix anything. It makes me so sad inside because I feel like it’s not too much to ask for a Honor five chroma.How many people from Riot would it take? How much time would be allocated towards such a thing? It doesn’t feel like too much. I know people who can sell mod skins and that do their own chromas. They all do it for free in a matter of hours, so it makes me really ponder sometimes. There are so many things that Riot could do that just end up not getting done and I’m just there wondering if there actually is any effort, any cure that the community gets better. There should be a lot of focus on deterring negative gameplay experience, but there also needs to be equal focus on promoting positive gameplay too.Maybe focus a little bit more in the good because that’s also how you can solve the stigmatism that this game brings up every year.Let’s be honest, League is always talked about as a toxic game and I have to have a mental conversation with myself anytime somebody asks if they should install the game.I have to have an internal battle on the subject and you know why?It’s because of the game’s toxicity. I would think differently if there were cool incentives or more safeguards for players or actual ways to feel good and to be protected as a positive player. As of right now, I don’t think it’s worth it to start playing this game.
Fabrice: The next set of questions might sound weird because we’re going to talk about pro play , but you will probably see where this is going. The first question is: How much do you pay attention to pro play?
Riste: Well, I’ve had my head stuck in the sand about pro play for multiple years. I think the biggest thing that gets me interested in pro play is when my champion (Garen) is locked in, which is not often. Sometimes there’ll be a cool moment that I’ll catch or something that gets featured in compilations of pro play clips versus what streamers do. I don’t get to watch pro play that much because I feel like I don’t have as much time to go ahead and re-watch every single game that gets played. I’ll be someone who wants to do that if I want to be investing in pro play. Sometimes I’ll catch worlds for a bit, I’ll watch a few games, but unlike another League Legends player, I’m not too interested in pro play. The most recent event was when Evil Geniuses Ssumday played Garen in the top lane, that really pushed me to go ahead and not only watch the game, but review it on my YouTube channel as well.
Briikachu: I actually used to live 20 minutes away from the LCS studio during season seven or eight and I actually went to watch games in person quite a bit. I was there for the day that they had five tiebreakers, but I think I have been less involved ever since I moved away from Los Angeles and Santa Monica. I think the experience of going in person is so different compared to viewing online. I also think that if I had never gone to a in person event , I would be more interested now in watching pro play from home.With that said, I’ll watch the LCS sometimes with my community, but most of my involvement is keeping up with the drama on Twitter because I think that’s pretty funny. I also make some thumbnails for a few content creators who review pro play, but that’s the extent of my knowledge.
I do LCS predictions in my discord and I always pick random teams based on the ones that I like. So I’m always gonna vote for teams like Evil Geniuses or Golden Guardians.
Fabrice: My soul just died a little after hearing that but that’s fine. I think that we can all agree that sometimes and especially when it comes to your champion Brianne, uh, that the meta is heavily influenced by pro play. My question is: Do you think that it should be the case?
Brianne: Not to the extent that it is currently. For example, someone played Heimerdinger support in pro play and now we are seeing it in a game in Gold 4. There’s a very big difference between a pro player who understands the strengths and weaknesses of a champion or how to use it in a certain role and a player first timing it in ranked. I don’t think you should be allowed to randomly first pick a champion in ranked because you saw it online.I think it’s a waste of time to actually play it.Do I think there should be more Garen players because Ssumday played it? Sure, I think it’s cool, but go practice it in norms or go play in flex queue.
Fabrice: What about you Riste?
Riste: So I have accepted that pro play is always going to influence the way the game is played, because of the mentality of “if the best of the best can do it, why can’t I do it in my solo queue games”? Riot has stated that they have always considered making the game different for pros where they would play on a patch where certain champions are balanced because of their dominance in competition. With that in mind, Azir would be much weaker in pro play than he would be in solo queue, because he is only really an issue in pro play. Riot has also stated that they were not looking to do that because they want the game to be picked up by anybody the same way that it is played on the pro stage. The best analogy that I can come up with is like picking up a basketball and playing a game of basketball on your local court compared to the NBA.The stadiums are different, but you can still kind of play the same game. Because of that and the fact that the gates are open in terms of being able to lock in anything that the pros play, I think the game is always going to be an influence from pro players on what happens in solo queue. The opposite can happen too. I remember that in season nine, Rekkles reached out to me personally because he wanted some advice on how to pilot Garen bot lane because Yuumi was the champion to lock in back then. It was around the time that she was released and that she was super broken. It’s a circle of influence and I think that it’s a cool aspect. I also think that it is always going to be part of the game.I am not sure if it should be happening that much, I really don’t know.I think it’s cool, but I do see the problems with it too. I remember the time where Banner of Command was starting to get picked in pro play and then everyone started building it in solo queue.The item ended up getting removed because of it and because Riot did not know how to fix this situation. This shows there are some big fallout sometimes when situations like that happen. Ultimately, I think that I’ve accepted that situation. I think that it’s a cool thing and I try not to shun it. I think that this is a really cool ecosystem.
Fabrice: All right! So, the last question that I wanted to ask is: What are your wishes for the future of the game?
Riste:I think I speak for everybody when I say that I wish that matchmaking hopefully gets fixed. This means autofill parody, Summoner names being removed from Riot’s API so that people can’t data mine anymore. I also hope for better safeguard systems to prevent negative gaming. I am not saying that Riot can fix everything, but they need to continue to work on the stuff that can’t be prevented.The worst feeling you can have as a League of Legend player is knowing in the back of your head that Riot could do something about this. It’s all just about a matter of when and I am waiting for the day that it eventually happens.That way the toxicity can be curved a little bit, and we can maybe focus more on the positive.I hope that they re-incentivize or rework the honor system. The special recall animation was a great addition, but Riot shouldn’t be stopping there.There should always be active developers working on the behavioral systems for League.I don’t agree that they need to go on hiatus and work on other stuff, they should always be present because the ecosystem and the League community is something that’s ever thriving, but it all could ultimately die if it goes unchecked for too long. I think everybody can agree about that, but Riot has been taking this weird stature where they go ahead and delegate resources to other teams to make a behavioral system or initiatives and or big changes.I think there should always be devs on duty to make the next big step to improve the game. I hope that this will be the reality that we see in the future. I think that that’s all I could ever really hope for me to continue playing this game.
Briikachu: I definitely agree about incentives for honor level. I also would like to get a feedback report if there’s actually something being done when I report someone in champion select.I just want to feel like what I do actually has an impact. I would also like better communication and transparency for things like patch updates because right now you have to search all over the Internet to find answers. It should not be that difficult. The last thing would be better communication on what is being done to improve the state of the game
Fabrice: All right, well that’s all the questions that I had in mind for this interview. Where can we find you on the Internet?
Riste: You can find me on Twitch at Twitch.tv/Riste. You can also find me on Youtube under the name Riste and on TikTok at Risteband.
Fabrice: Where can we find you Brianne?
Briikachu: You can find me at Twitch.Tv/Briikachu.
Fabrice: Thank you for your time.
Riste and Briikachu: Thank you for having us!
You can watch both Riste and Briikachu on the streaming platform Twitch and consume more of their content on the following websites:
*This interview has been modified a little bit from the audio version to make everything flow better*