Riot Korea Looking Into Voice Chat for League of Legends

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(Photo: Riot Games)

One of the most controversial potential features ever hinted at for League of Legends may finally be inbound. For years Riot Games has been very hesitant to discuss the potential of adding voice chat to League of Legends, as they claim that its addition would be both a huge draw upon the server resources that League of Legends requires in order to run as well a gateway for more toxicity than already is present in the game. It seems, however, that their stance may be reversing entirely, as one of Riot's Korean GM's said earlier in the week during a Q/A session that in-game voice chat was in the process of being internally reviewed at Riot Korea.

"As you've said, League of Legends is a team oriented game so communication is important, and games are played strategically.

Because of that, In-game voice chat is currently being internally reviewed.

Previously we worried that voice chat would lead to toxic behaviors, but after rethinking, we ultimately decided to provide an in-game voice chat feature.

League of Legends promotes team-sport oriented teamwork, and we think that voice chat brings value to when players are matched with random players, so we are reviewing the feature at the moment.

After the game client update has been applied, we expect concrete plans and preparations to be possible.

It is difficult to say exactly when, but we would like to let you know that we are working progressively on bringing this feature ready and working."

GM Runterra, the Riot Korea community manager, also threw their hat into the mix, but was careful to temper expectations in doing so.

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"Voice chat is being internally reviewed very positively, however it is not something that has been confirmed.

If we were to bring this feature to live servers, we will try our best to reflect upon the player's worries and requests."

The biggest problem with voice chat is a well-known one to anyone who's played MOBA games that have it, such as DOTA 2 or Heroes of Newerth: people are assholes. More importantly, while Riot has done an amazing job at building a system to punish people who are assholes in the current in-game chat, it would be much more difficult to punish flaming players who instead opt to use voice chat. It's unclear whether the automated systems that review chat messages at the moment would be able to deal with voice chat, and if they can't then there will almost certainly be an uptick in the amount of toxicity in the game if voice chat is ever implemented. Of course, there are very real upsides that voice chat brings to the table as well, since it would give teams that ability to coordinate like never before in solo queue, but weighing the costs and benefits is an awesome responsibility that Riot has never taken lightly. Until now, that balance has always come out against voice chat, but it seems that the calculus has changed such that it seems like a reasonable change now.