At GDC 2014 one of the most interesting talks for me was a talk by Jeff Lynn of Riot Games on encouraging sportsmanship in players. This concept isn’t new in engineering online experiences but Riot Games has an interesting twist in that Riot Games focuses on four different ‘behavior inflection points’ rather than just in-game behaviour.
Choosing a game mode, pre-game, in-game and post-game are all seen as points to encourage sportsmanship behaviours. If you pave the way towards good experiences before matches or after matches, you greatly increase the odds that a players’ overall experience is seen as positive.
The company starts from the premise that all players are inherently good, but bad contexts give rise to bad behaviours. If a player has a positive day, gets the character and role they want, then obviously they’re entering the game on a high note, coincidentally it all worked out in the players’ favour. On the other hand, if they had a bad day, can’t get the player they want, they’re having a bad experience before they start playing.