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The developer of League of Legends is trying a new tack in dealing with keeping its 67 million-strong player community free of vitriol: asking certain players to fill out a survey that seems to be a standard test for narcissism.
According to a report from Motherboard, League developer Riot Games has changed the way it deals with players with “inappropriate” user names that violate the game’s terms of service. Those names include anything “offensive, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, sexually explicit, racially, ethnically, or otherwise objectionable.”
In the past, players who were reported by other players for inappropriate usernames lost those names and had new ones assigned by Riot. The process has recently changed, though, to allow players to pick new names that don’t violate League’s terms. But players have to jump through some hoops to get that privilege.
Those hoops include filling out personality surveys, parts of which players have posted on the League of Legends subreddit. One has respondents choosing between statements that best describe them, and includes options like “I don’t mind following orders” or “I like having authority,” and “I like to be the center of attention” or “I prefer to blend into the crowd.“
The surveys, as Motherboard notes, appear to have their questions pulled from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory—which is used in social psychological research to measure narcissism. The NPI is based on criteria used to diagnose narcissism in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the big book of criteria for diagnosing mental health issues published by the American Psychiatric Association. Another portion looks to have modified questions from “The Aggression Scale: A Self-Report Measure of Aggressive Behavior for Young Adolescents.”
Riot Games refused a request for an interview on the surveys, but offered the following clarifying statement, attributed to Jeff Lin, Riot’s lead game designer of social systems:
“When a player has an offensive name and it’s reported by the community, then we change it for them. It’s a standard process for games and online platforms. Players can opt out of the free name change survey and play with their assigned names, or they can pay for a name change. The survey helps players think about their behavior and this benefits the entire community.”
This isn’t Riot’s only work in the realm of trying to reduce “toxicity” among its massive player base, and it’s been known to share information it gleans from its community. But players commenting on Reddit are concerned about what, if anything, data gathered from the surveys might be used for, as well as whether it’ll be kept confidential. Riot hasn’t commented on those points.