Chances are if you ask a gamer what games they play, they will either mention League of Legends or Call of Duty and perhaps both. Both games include a massive online community with chatting capabilities. As with multiplayer communities hazing and rude comments always make their way into it. However the differences in the multiplayer communities come from the way the game was constructed. From the start, League of Legends was designed to have a bleeding effect that was escalated by the World Championships that happen at the end of every season. Call of Duty grew into a competitive atmosphere after the addition of Game Battles and other third party E-Sports. League of Legends is revolutionary in its online community’s competitiveness and the acceptance of female gamers into a competitive atmosphere. Other games are trying to catch up to the success of League of Legends and only time will tell if they succeeded.
Both video games are extremely popular amongst gamers of every kind- particularly killers. Call of Duty presents the multiplayer in several different game modes including Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and the newly added Infected. The most popular game mode, Team Deathmatch simply puts teams against each other to kill. That is the only objective. For the most part, teams are randomly generated and tend to not communicate with each other. Instead each teammate goes a separate way and the main interaction with each other is through kill streaks like UAVs and through limited use of voice chatting. Particularly on the PC version of Call of Duty, voice chat is even slimmer and text chat is almost nonexistent. All together Call of Duty players tend to game independently of each other with only the same goal. By contrast, League of Legends is only played with teamwork. The most popular game mode, “Classic,” features randomly generated teams who chose their positions in the team. It is actually improper etiquette to select a champion without consulting your teammates and generally ends up with getting reported at the end of the match. During the match, teammates constantly alert each other and communicate in order to complete the main objective, destroy the enemy’s nexus. Overall, League of Legends is a lot more of a teamwork environment while Call of Duty, like many other multiplayer games, creates an independent environment that is only loosely bounded by a common goal.
However this creates two different communities that have different player interactions especially through the unspoken game etiquette. Call of Duty, like many other popular shooter games, has only one rule to get the kill no matter who else is in the way, even if it is a teammate. Call of Duty teammates are not required to interact with each other because there are no set roles in teams. Most players work independently of each other and rarely call if an enemy teammate gets lost during a match. In League of Legends, there are unspoken rules that if broken can result in insult and reports. While in the loading screen of a match it is proper form to call the position in the team before locking in a champion, if not then reporting is imminent. The phenomenon is known as “autolocking” which may be ok in lower level matches but once it is around level 20, it becomes rude and many players get offended (Idea to Curb Autolocking, 2013). This rule is not described in the tutorials but is implied by the chatroom when selecting champions. It is also proper form to have a set team design, that is due to the champions having different strengths and weaknesses that make them more suitable for one lane than the other. Although the champions can play any role some strengths work better with certain lanes. For example, the bottom lane often referred to as “bot” normally contains two champions: an attack, defense, carry champion and a supporting champion. These two players have to work together from the beginning to push their lane forward. Mostly, these players communicate through pings. Pinging is alerting the other teammates of dangers in the playing field and alerting teammates of going to them to help. If an enemy champion goes missing the proper thing to do is ping that they are gone. These rules are only player imposed but they are so engrained in the way that League is played that to not follow them is considered an offense and rude to your fellow teammates.
The Bleeding Effect of Ranked
One of the biggest differences between Call of Duty and League of Legends is the instillation of a ranking system. The ranking system begins to divide players by casual and serious. League of Legends installed a ranking system in their game two years into the game and it has since sparked the ever popular eSports League of Legends Championships (Interactive Timeline). The first season’s World Championships of League of Legends was hosted in Sweden and had a small live audience and two live commenters not full of enthusiasm while the prize purse, $50,000, was the biggest prize in eSports history (AAa vs fnatic). Only eight teams competed in the season and overall it was a small but respectful start to the worldwide phenomenon. Since then, League of Legends World Championships has grown to over 32 million online viewers in 2013 and 16 teams competed for the one million dollar grand prize (Redbeard). Needless to say many gamers would aspire to be a part of one of those teams and the best way to do that is through ranked games. Ranked games are available after level 30 and only works after five ranked games to place the player. Many players begin to create whole teams so that they can Skype in order to not waste time typing in chat and make communicating easier. Due to easier communication, many players can now focus on playing better and working on teamwork. Many players start to plan and choreograph plays with their teammates in order to press further into the game and gain an advantage. In that way players are able to become a lot better and more competitive with more accurate keystrokes. Many of the top players that stream on Twitch not only stream video of their game play. A famous Twitch stream, TSM_bjergsen used a layout to show his screen, his face, his keyboard and his mouse all in one frame to show the way he plays and maybe teach his viewers how to play better. Many players at the top in Master and Challenger tiers have to play frequently or else they begin to lose their rank as the game takes away points for roughly every week they do not play (League System). In the meantime, their competitors probably would have played a game within the last week which would bump down the player even more. League’s rank system becomes cut throat and only the best of the best are able to stay on top. It has made League of Legends gained its prestige because everyone is trying to constantly level up and get to the top of the leaderboards.
So it is only natural that when the ranked teams are randomized that players are more on edge and are more likely to insult players because they want to get to the top. That means the littlest mistakes become magnified by the intensity of the match. In League of Legends, insults come in two varieties: trolls and actual insults. Trolls are more rampant in League of Legends because most players take the game way too seriously. These trolls often call a position and then chose a champion not fit for that position which violates the unspoken rules. They also tend to chat in all caps and try their teammate mad. Some even go to the extent to try and get their teammate killed in battle which only adds to the anger. Many popular YouTubers even have videos that depict a series of trolling events even trapping their teammates with the enemy (VG Legion). This anger leads to actual insults, but unlike other games, the insults tend to be directed at the player’s ability to play the game instead of just using overused single word insults. Of course, like any other game there are cruel insults however League has a forum to display the clever insults from the community and contains eleven pages of insults (Most clever insults you've heard in the game). Most insults witnessed in normal matches include getting told to quit the game because it to stay would only make the enemy team stronger. Others include biblical references, like when a teammate suggested that on the eighth day God created a bot lane to feed the enemy team (Most clever insults you’ve heard in the game). These insults are a far cry from the typical insults generated in other video games like Call of Duty players who tend to use expletives and threats against other player’s mothers to get their point across.
Probably something more important is League’s acceptance of female gamers in its online community. In League, playable champions are both female and male. It does not try to pink-wash the game that is to make the game into what the stereotypical female would enjoy. Instead, Riot created the female champions to be strong and the absence of voice chat actually works towards the female players’ advantage because the gender of the player is not explicit through just a name. Since the male players do not exactly know who is female and who isn’t, the possibility for sexist remarks decreases. In that way, when playing a game the males and females are on equal ground because there is no reason to worry about males harassing the females in game based on their gender. This is something most other games have not been able to solve. For example, Call of Duty has a popular voice chat, especially on consoles and once those male gamers understand that they are playing with a female, sexist comments do not stop. My experience in Call of Duty has taught me about this. Whenever I would play Call of Duty on the PS3 with voice chat almost every game would include some comment about my gender. Some more crude than others, but all of them screamed sexism. The most common comment I would get would be about going back to the kitchen where I belonged or telling me to perform sexual acts for strangers as if I owed them something. I learned to deal with it because I assumed that it was part of the gaming world. However ever since I have played League of Legends I have not gotten one comment about my gender or my place in society. Although I would be insulted often, it was more about my gaming ability than anything else. I felt safer in the League of Legends community. This is not an exception to the rule, it is a majority. Many League of Legends players are females and the fact that they are not insulted is a huge step forward into females moving into the competitive gaming community.
Will Call of Duty Follow League?
That is something that many games are desperate to get. Call of Duty introduced both female and male avatars into their game in Call of Duty: Ghost and continued the tradition in the newest video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which also contains an updated in-game ranking system. Shooter games like Call of Duty have been trying to increase the prestige of their game so it does not seem like a mindless shooter that is directed at the gaming population. Polygon recently released an article on how the Call of Duty franchise has been trying to recreate the experience for the player and trying to introduce new mechanics that would interest the newer players and the older fans (Leone). However what the article failed to mention is the introduction of the word ranked as the updated version of Black Ops 2’s League and the continue to cater to their growing female audience. Call of Duty: Ghosts introduced female character avatars in the online multiplayer. Just to have the option to play a female or male character is liberating for many players. Some male players prefer to play with female avatars, and some females prefer to play with male avatars. However this does not stop the fundamental issue of the sexism that relies in the video game. Perhaps with the ranking system, the online community of Call of Duty will care more about a player’s abilities than their reproductive organs.
AAa vs fnatic - Grand Final Season 1 Championship. (2013, January 28). Retrieved November 29, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMTI1kYG4h0
Idea to curb autolocking. (2013, October 10). Retrieved November 30, 2014, from http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=3937688
Interactive Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2014, from http://timeline.leagueoflegends.com/
League system. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2014, from http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/League_system
Leone, M. (n.d.). The plan to reinvent Call of Duty. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
Most clever insults you've heard in the game. (2013, June 3). Retrieved December 8, 2014, from http://forums.na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=3512744
Redbeard. (2013, September 1). One World Championship, 32 million viewers. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
TSM_Bjergsen. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2014.
VG Legion. (2013, December 15). League of Legends - Anivia Troll Teamkills. Retrieved November 30, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCEowPv9xLo