A few months ago, there was some discussion about a new user survey in Dota 2. After a match, players were asked to rate how well they think their team-mates cooperated, and then how well they thought that they them-self cooperated. This forced self-reflection caused players to report others 15% less than they had previously, as it made them evaluate how well they actually played and made them want to perform better so that they could self-report better behavior.
MOBAs such as Dota 2 (owned by Valve) and League of Legends (owned by Riot) have a reputation for having a toxic player-base, and so anything that they can do to improve this is great.
League of Legends developers have in the past looked at how to subtly influence the behaviors of players. One such study was known as the “Optimus Experiment”. When a match in League of Legends is starting, players are presented with helpful tips. In this Optimus Experiment, the effects of messages when displayed in red/blue/white were tested. It was found that a message such as “Teammates perform worse if you harass them after a mistake” displayed in red led to a larger drop in in-game flaming than when the message was displayed in white. Conversely, blue messages highlighting the benefits of being nice to your team performed better than identical messages displayed in white. It seems now however that Riot is taking a leaf out of Valve’s book by “forcing” players to self-evaluate their behavior if they have an offensive name. One of the questionnaires presented to users can be seen here:
I say “forcing” rather than forcing, as players don’t HAVE to complete the survey. Players with an offensive name are forced to change their name to be able to continue playing. Players can either complete this survey and receive a free name change, or they can dismiss the survey and have to use the paid name change service to change their names. No results seem to be available about the impact of having players take such a survey, but it would certainly be interesting to see what sort of effects it has!