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League of Legends' latest attempt to rehabilitate jerks is a narcissism test

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Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

League of Legends' newest effort to manage its famously rancid player community includes a test for narcissistic behavior, reports Vice Motherboard.

Earlier this week players whose summoner names were flagged as inappropriate noticed they had to complete a new — and lengthy — process for creating a new name. As Vice mentions, that includes a survey whose questions are "lifted directly" from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a widely used test developed in 1979.

Sandwiched between two surveys is the requirement to complete 50 LoL matches with the provisional name Riot provides a player. Many find that length of time onerous, as well as the extra week it takes to process these surveys to get a player's name back in good graces with Riot.

Commenters on the League of Legends subreddit who noticed the survey first suspected Riot was partnering with researchers studying online behavior or a similar topic. Given that it's tied to restoring summoner names, and the length of the process involved, it's probably more about conditioning behavior, or at least holding a mirror up to those who give League of Legends such a bad name.

The second part of the survey indicates as much, asking players how many times over the preceding seven days they engaged in any of 11 antisocial behaviors, including "I got into a physical fight because I was angry" or "I slapped or kicked someone."

It's not clear how answers might influence a player's standing with Riot, or whether someone answering dishonestly (all 0s, all 6s or whatever) is more or less likely to have a new summoner name approved. One Redditor speculated that Riot isn't "trying to 'fix toxicity,'" as much as it's trying to understand the root causes for that kind of behavior in its game.

League of Legends may be an enormously popular game — nearly 30 million playing it every day according to Riot's last reported figures (in 2014). Its players also have a terrible reputation, among the worst in a multiplayer video gaming scene already stereotyped as abusive, which is a huge barrier to attracting new players — a core concern for any free-to-play game.

In the past Riot has implemented very public crackdowns on toxic behavior that threatened instant and even permanent account bans, showered rewards on players with a clean discipline sheet, and even created an entire division dedicated to understanding and reducing abusive behavior.

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