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League of Legends is putting rule-breakers through psychological testing - Report

The company's been employing a designer trained in psychology to help reform its "toxic" player base -- but is this a step across a line? UPDATE Jeff Lin responds.

A report from Vice's Motherboard blog states that Riot Games has adopted a policy of forcing a specific slice of its player base -- those who pick offensive usernames -- to go through surveys full of questions culled from psychological tests before they're allowed to pick a new identity in the game.

The surveys came to light in a thread on the League of Legends subreddit.

Vice pinpoints the questions included on the surveys -- which are required before players can change their identities -- as coming from two psychological tests.

The question becomes, then, whether or not it's ethical to require this information of players, and also whether it's okay for a game company to be warehousing sensitive data like this. What the company plans to do with the info -- in terms of how it runs its game or interacts with its user base -- is, of course, another interesting question.

Riot reportedly refused to comment on its use of the surveys, according to the Motherboard report.

The company has gone to great lengths to modify its player-base's behavior -- something Jeffrey Lin, its PhD psychologist lead designer of social systems talked about with Gamasutra earlier this year. One recent example of his influence on the game is a decision to not reward "excessively toxic" players with in-game bonuses.

Lin, who is active on Twitter, Ask.fm, and Reddit, has yet to speak about the surveys.

UPDATE: Lin responds, in a statement provided by Riot Games to Gamasutra: "When a player has an offensive name and it’s reported by the community, then we change it for them. It's a standard process for games and online platforms. Players can opt out of the free name change survey and play with their assigned names or they can pay for a name change. The survey helps players think about their behavior and this benefits the entire community."

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