There have been a lot of games that definitely discourage bad behavior. Whether it be through support, moderators, or even a tribunal system set up for the players to decide on the consequences of another's actions, there is a constant notion that if you do something bad, you're going to have a bad time. However, not too many games pick up on not only discouraging bad behavior, but encouraging good behavior. Sort of a rewards system amongst the players. Riot Games decided to experiment with this and put in an honor system in League of Legends. Not only do I think it has worked quite a bit, I think it is something the rest of the industry could perhaps explore.
Now, I want to start off by saying that even with a good behavior promotion system, there are still going to be jerks. No system is flawless and completely changes player behavior... that is, unless it mutes everyone and eliminates any way of griefing whatsoever.
That being said, in LoL I have definitely noticed a difference in the way a lot of players act during the matches. Overall, there are far less jerks than there were before. I was actually surprised. I didn't think the honor system would do that much, but it really has changed the way a lot of players act and react to others in the game.
An example: I was playing Summoner's Rift and someone on the enemy team got upset that I had killed them (pretty much a Teemo calling a Master Yi a lame choice). He flung a few names my way and I replied, "That's not very honorable." Literally that next second he said, "I'm sorry, I'm just frustrated" and didn't say another word till the end of the match.
I was surprised with his/her reaction. I had stated it in jest, seeing as I didn't know how to view the honor system at that point. I guess there is just something rewarding about receiving honor, not only from your teammates, but also from your enemies after a match. People like to get recognized for their hard work, even if they lose. People like to recognize others for not giving up, being a good player, or just being friendly and helpful.
As for the rewards for being honorable? Like I stated above, recognition is probably the biggest reward. Over time however, people can get a pretty ribbon to go around their player icons in the champion select and loading screen. Though it's been a rare site at this point in time, nothing says "give me that" more than actually seeing other players with it.
Overall, the point of this is that the honor system in LoL turned an extremely vitriolic community into one that I can somewhat withstand on a daily basis. It doesn't make players better at the game, nor does it make them more knowledgeable, but it makes them easier to deal with. That was probably one of the hardest parts of enduring League of Legends and I think they took a step forward in changing the community overall.
So what do you all think of this? Should more games institute their own sort of honor system? Perhaps in a lot of games it's not needed, but it's something I wouldn't mind that’s for sure.
Hillary "Pokket" Nicole