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League of Legends players face new punishments for leaving matches and being AFK

Riot says 9 per cent of players worldwide "engage in consistent AFK behaviour".

Riot Games has outlined changes it hopes will improve player behaviour when it comes to idling or leaving early in League of Legends.

"We know that AFKs and leavers are some of the most disruptive behaviours you face, so we're happy to be coming to you today with an update around AFK and Leaver punishments." wrote BarackProbama and TimTamMonster in s blog on the game's official website.

Cover image for YouTube videoWhy is League of Legends the biggest game in the world?

Bundling both idle "AFK" behaviour and intentional quitters together as one single nuisance, the pair said that the team was introducing a number of new "prongs" to manage the issue, including new penalty "tiers" and a means of "shielding" players from repeat offenders.

"Up until now, we've penalized AFKing with queue delays," the blog explains. "Queue delays are a speed bump on an offending player's way to their next few games: Upon clicking the play button, the queue blocks them behind a short timer. The purpose of this is to change behaviour.

"For most folks queue delays work well, but about 9 per cent of our players worldwide engage in consistent AFK behaviour and don't seem to be deterred by a few delays between their games."

Looking ahead, there will now be a new penalty: queue lockouts. When a player experiences a queue lockout, "they will have a popup displayed explaining their punishment and will be unable to start games in MOBA queues".

"When we issue a Queue Lockout, we're not saying 'hey, doesn't it suck to have your time wasted?'," the blog adds. "We're removing the player from the population for a while so they can't continue to AFK in games. Once a queue lockout does expire, it's followed by the maximum-level queue delay so we can still maintain the benefits of behaviour modification and players who take a break don't get to sit out their entire punishment. Queue Lockouts apply to all MOBA queues.

"As this is rolled out, we are committed to continuing to monitor AFKs, both in regards to the frequency of this behaviour and regional specific connectivity issues," the team concluded, adding that it wanted to ensure that it was "being equitable across all regions who may experience different levels of connectivity". Therefore, the new penalities are only coming in to a select few regions initially before rolling out globally.

ICYMI, Arcane - the animated League of Legends spin-off series - debuts on Netflix this autumn/Q3. While it's the first show focused on League of Legends, it's the latest of many Netflix video game adaptations.

Interestingly, the streaming service describes it as an "event series", which suggests it won't run for multiple seasons like Castlevania.