League of Legends creators Riot Games have never shied away from the fact that some players are really, really bad. The company’s “tribunal” response to toxic behavior has seen big gains in recent years, but it hasn’t reached zero all rude players – meaning Riot still had some recent data on hand to connect the dots for an intriguing, workplace-related corollary.
The guiding question: does bad in-game behavior carry over into the workplace? Riot should know, as his staffers are also excited LOL players – and apparently have given their bosses permission to track their gameplay.
With the help of Google’s re:Work workforce analytics team, Riot searched every employee’s last 12 months LOL gameplay records and chat logs. The analysts found that in the case of fired employees, 25 percent of them engaged in significant toxic in-game behavior. This wasn’t a superficial search for vulgar and hateful keywords, but rather a deeper, context-specific analysis; according to re:Work, the worst behavior included “passive aggression (snarky comments) and using authoritative language, sometimes using their authority as a Riot employee to intimidate or threaten others.”
Riot then applied that data to performance ratings for the remaining employees. Similar “toxic” gameplay patterns were identified in 30 staffers, which Riot noted were “more junior rioters, new to the working world,” and the company conducted interviews with each of them with LOL chat logs at hand. Some interviews ended with employees leaving, but most paid off. “Virtually everyone we spoke to was shocked by their own behavior,” Riot talent developer Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar told re:Work (who also noted that some affected employees wrote apologetic essays).
The report concluded with Riot’s statement of intent to request LOL usernames of all prospective employees for comparable chat log analysis. That means potential employees have to consider an entirely different kind of tribunal before feeding or going AFK.