Riot Games is making a fundamental change to League of Legends as part of its ongoing effort to reduce toxic behavior: As of League’s 11.21 patch, /all chat has been disabled for matchmade queues.
“While /all chat can be the source of fun social interaction between teams, as well as some good-hearted banter, right now negative interactions outweigh the positives,” Riot said in a blog post. “We’ll evaluate the impact of this change through verbal abuse reports and penalty rates, as well as surveys and direct feedback from you all.”
For communicating between teams, the only option players will have are emotes, except during end of game periods, during which full team-to-team chat will be available.
You’ll still be able to chat with your teammates, which can come with its own serving of abuse, and some League of Legends players in the subreddit are expressing confusion over the choice to get rid of /all chat while leaving team chat intact.
“Just me or does 95% of the toxicity happen in team chat? Disabling /all does nothing imo,” Reddit user Own-Iron-207 wrote.
“I think ~60%-70% of my total friends list is from /all chat letting me find neat people in game, and 70%+ of the toxicity I find is from team chat,” Lord_Dust_Bunny wrote.
Riot acknowledged that team chat can also be abusive, but says that it’s sticking around because it has a better reason to exist than /all chat.
“Regarding [team chat], we’re aware that verbal abuse happens in team chat too, so disabling /all chat won’t get rid of abuse altogether,” Riot said. “But team chat also plays an important team coordination function, so the potential value it brings is much higher, even if it can also host some negative experiences. We know this sucks for those of you who just want to compliment your lane opponent’s skin, or ask for a dance party in Baron pit. But we believe the tradeoff is worth it to cut down on the growing negativity /all chat has been creating in your games.”
There’s also some general disappointment over the removal of /all, though, even if it was an outlet for toxicity.
“This /all chat feature removal is simply a punishment for the minority of players that are good sports and enjoy talking to opponents in [a] healthy way, with some reasonable and good-spirited banter,” user ThisIsSnake wrote. “Why not tie /all to high honor levels and actually make these honor levels both easier to achieve and easier to lose?”
League’s Honor system, which indicates a player’s record of positive or toxic behavior, is among the systems that Riot previously said “have started to show their wear and tear.”
Disabling /all chat is the latest in a line of moves Riot has taken to combat toxic players in its various communities. Back in April, the studio started recording player voice chat in Valorant to moderate “disruptive behavior,” with the only way to opt out being to disable voice chat.
In November 2020, Riot published an outline of measures it planned on taking to combat toxicity in League of Legends, including revising the tiered penalty system, additional ranked match solutions, and automated verbal abuse analysis.
Other competitive games have similarly restricted team-to-team chat. Rainbow Six Siege set matches to team chat by default in early 2020, citing data showing that cross-team chat is responsible for “close to 85%” of toxicity. Similar to the League of Legends update, some Siege fans expressed confusion over Ubisoft’s decision to disable cross-team chat while leaving team chat untouched.