League of Legends Has a New Punishment for AFK Players

If you frequently go away from the keyboard (AFK) in League of Legends and make a trend of it, you're soon going to be faced with a new type of punishment: Queue Lockouts. These don't replace the Queue Delays that are already levied against AFK players and leavers but will instead exist alongside the delays and will be directed at the most egregious offenders. Riot Games announced the plans for the new League penalty this week and said the new system will be tested regionally first before it gets a global release.

For those who haven't been hit with a Queue Delay before, it's a way for Riot to keep players out of games for a while after they've gone AFK or left entirely before a match concluded. These offences can be detected automatically, but players can also report each other if someone's going AFK by moving around in a small area to technically be active but still isn't doing anything to contribute to the game. People who are found guilty of going AFK eventually get hit with a relatively short delay that makes them wait before they queue up for another game.

Those penalties will still be issued, but people who AFK constantly will be hit with a Queue Lockout. Riot described these as "mega-delays" and said that even after this punishment expires, players will still be facing Queue Delays once their lockout expires.

"When we issue a Queue Lockout, we're not saying 'hey, doesn't it suck to have your time wasted?'" Riot said. "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 behavior modification and players who take a break don't get to sit out their entire punishment. Queue Lockouts apply to all MOBA queues."

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(Photo: Riot Games)

Only those who advance past Tier 3 of the AFK penalties will be facing Queue Lockouts. The chart above shows how these will be distributed to players based on their actions. Once your repeated offences escalate your AFK status to Tier 4, for example, you'll face a Queue Lockout of one day which means you won't even be able to queue up for a MOBA match for 24 hours. After that expires, you'll be able to play again, but you'll still face 15-minute delays between games for the next five matches afterwards.

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There's still more to be done regarding AFK players, Riot said, but we'll see this new penalty rolled out in certain regions first before it launches globally.

"We want to ensure we are being equitable across all regions who may experience different levels of connectivity," Riot said. "To be safe, we're going to start by testing these changes in a few regions before rolling them out globally; keep an eye on the patch notes for status updates."