My First Encounter with a Digital Community

League of Legends: The Worst and The Best in one place

Online communities can be described the best as groups of people gathering in digital areas. Those communities are usually built around a specific show, game, or anything where the common interest of certain people may lie. One of those many communities is the so-called League of Legends community, this one being a community in which I find myself quite regularly for the past five years. This was also one of the first online communities I’d ever encountered. One might say it thought me the ropes of how to handle the worst and the best of digital communities.

What is League of Legends?

For those of you who are unknown about the concept of League of Legends (LoL). LoL is a computer game developed and released by Riot Games in 2009. This game can only be played with, and against other human players. Those players (also called Summoners) are placed in a team that consists of five players in total. They will fight on a map (called Summoner’s Rift) against five other players. With different roles for each teammate, the players will have to work together to destroy the Nexus (the core of the base) of the enemy team. One game will usually take around 30-60 minutes, and during such a game there is always a live chat function for the players to communicate with each other. This part is crucial to winning, as many objects in the game can’t be acquired without at least a certain amount of team members present.

Toxic Community; The Worst

As I stated at the beginning of this text, LoL taught me how to handle the worst situations in Digital Communities.

League of Legends is famous for having one of the most toxic player bases compared with almost all other games in the world. This means that the majority of the players usually (severely) misbehaves while playing the game. This can show in certain behavior like Rage Quitting (leaving the mid-game), AFK (Away From Keyboard; only standing still and not assisting your team anymore), trolling (playing extremely bad on purpose), and flame (saying harmful things to another person in-game).

Whereas the first three mainly impact the gameplay itself. The third case usually impacts the player behind the laptop. Different kinds of flame can be found inside this community.

Flame directed at the skill level (rank) of the player
Flame directed at the player him/herself
Some people go as far as sending death threats to other players

These pictures are only three of the many examples of conversations in the League of Legends chat that occur every day. Players usually state that it’s rarer to find a team without flamers than a team with flamers in this game. When I first entered this community, some flamers could bring me to tears with the things they said. I felt very much personally attacked. Later on, I learned to not care about what they said, as they were just throwing out their frustration from their safe place behind their desk.

A Way of Socializing; The Best

If the LoL community is that bad, why stay?

This brings us to what I would call the best of online communities, namely socializing. People tend to use this community to make friends who live much further than just the neighborhood around. Looking at my personal experience in the past five years, I’ve met people ranging from countries all over the world. I’ve had holidays in Portugal, where I could stay in one of the many houses that are owned by that one rich family in that area whose kid I am friends with. I have daily conversations with a friend from India, exchanging our cultures and knowledge. When I had trouble with my English in high school, I got help from a friend who had a master’s degree in English.

I have met every single one of those people in the LoL Community. Even though these examples are probably extremes, there are also tons of other people who I’ve met who are just normal and nice people which I like to regularly have a chat with.


This story was just a glimpse of all the things and people I’ve encountered in League of Legends. Being my first experience, this community has taught me many things.

It showed me that there are people around who see the digital as a screen of invulnerability to say everything they want without feeling real consequences. Even though I, later on, learned that the League of Legends Community is an extreme example of toxicity online, it did teach me how to deal with it. Luckily it also taught me the fun of meeting and conversing with people around the world. The opportunities for communication with people all around the globe that such a community offers are almost limitless.

So five years, a lot of insults but also new friends, later I am still here, as a part of the League of Legends Community.

All names of the players shown in the images are blurred for privacy reasons