In the interminable grind up the ranked ladder, encountering a teammate who goes AFK can be one of the most frustrating experiences.
If this happens after the second round, a remake vote can also no longer be called. This means that you might be left to play the entire match in a 4v5 situation, putting yourself at a major disadvantage.
Players have been calling for the RR loss penalty to be reduced in the event of an AFK teammate, but Riot Games has so far resisted a move in that direction.
As it turns out, there may be a very good reason for that. In a post on Twitter, Senior Competitive Designer Jonathan “EvrMoar” Walker explained why you’re not likely to see a softer RR penalty implemented anytime soon.
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“We do not soften RR loss due to AFK for two major reasons: toxicity and manipulation,” said EvrMoar. “If you were to lose less RR due to an AFK, bad actors would bully the lowest player on the scoreboard in an attempt to get them to AFK so they would lose less RR.”
It would have the unwanted effect of creating a gameplay incentive to be toxic, he added, or allow players to lower the RR loss for a friend by leaving the game.
The potential for manipulation could hurt the competitive integrity of the game. “It would make boosting easier because boosters would have their RR go down, while also helping boost someone else,” he said. It would enable boosters to pick up undeserved wins for the player they’re boosting, in addition to keeping the smurf account’s rank and MMR low.
At the end of the day, this would perpetuate a cycle of toxicity where forcing someone to AFK would become the most “efficient” way to climb.
“This would also lead to people giving up in games sooner to bully or force an AFK, and more games would be thrown,” he said.
Such a solution would also fail to tackle the root of the problem — the fact that AFKs happen in the first place. If Riot successfully reduces the incidence of AFKs, it would not even have to consider an RR loss reduction.
“I hope we can get to a place where everyone is happy and doesn’t have to worry about AFKs,” he said.