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In the latest salvo in League of Legends’ long-running battle against toxicity, Riot Games announced on Tuesday that it would disable “all” chat in the upcoming patch 11.21. Players will still be able to chat with teammates but will no longer be able to send text to opposing players.

All chat, or the ability to communicate with players on the other team, has been around since League of Legends launched. While Riot turned all chat off by default in the past, players could still opt-in through the in-game settings. With the impending update, that will no longer be the case and players will not be able to opt-in at all. In fact, there will be no way to communicate with the other team in matchmade games — outside of emotes and action commands — until the post-game lobby.

Why Riot Games is disabling All Chat in League of Legends

For many players, these changes will not change the way they play the game. Ever since Riot introduced the ability to disable all chat manually, many have opted to turn it off themselves. For others, this will significantly impact the social aspect of playing League of Legends.

In the official Riot Games blog post announcing the changes, the dev team outlined their thought process behind the decision.

“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,” the devs said. “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.”

“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,” the team added. “But we believe the tradeoff is worth it to cut down on the growing negativity /all chat has been creating in your games.”

The rationale is simple: it can be fun to interact with the other team but the toxicity far outweighs the harmless banter.

Behavioral Systems: A long-running battle for Riot Games

Riot’s battle with bad behavior in League of Legends is a long-running one, as the game’s reputation for harboring a toxic community is about as old as the game itself. While wholesale changes to the way Riot punishes offending players have occurred regularly throughout the game’s history (such as the implementation and eventual removal of the player-run Tribunal), the company’s “Behavioral Systems” team has been especially active since last year.

Back in May 2020, the League of Legends developer acknowledged two of its largest issues: AFKing (leaving or going inactive during games) and inting (griefing or purposely dying to the enemy team). To combat these issues, Riot Games introduced one of the most requested systems from players: the ability to mute and report other players inside of the “Champion Select” lobby.

Since that official blog post, the behavioral systems team has periodically provided updates to the community regarding the most recent developments behind the scenes. In an August 2020 update, Riot mentioned they’d be able to identify inting and AFKing at double the previous rate. In a November 2020 post, League of Legends added an early surrender mechanic for teams dealing with an AFKer.

A major update in April 2021 outlined an increase in reporting confidence. That blog post also previewed new ramping penalties for people constantly leaving games or intentionally feeding. The company then built on those plans throughout the year. This involved introducing a new and much harsher deterrent in queue lockouts.

Yet, across all of the major behavioral systems updates over the years, perhaps none have looked as fundamentally drastic on the surface as the all chat changes coming to League of Legends in patch 11.21.

As this is a developing process, we will cover all additional updates as they come.