Let’s ignore that “anecdotal evidence suggests” is archaic English for “fake news” and just focus on the statement. Anyone who ever played that game can testify that this is completely and utterly untrue.
The truth is that “women, men, children, cyborgs, lizardmen or Russian election-rigging-bots who play League of Legends have been regular targets of harassment”. Not muting everyone at the beginning of every game is self-harming behavior. The only message the chat ever conveyed to anyone in that game is that he is a horrible person who should kill himself. Never-ever I’ve seen anything that can’t be summarized as above.
Sure, it’s absolutely not good, but has nothing to do with sexism. They don’t hate you for being woman, they hate you because the alternative of hating you is accepting that they lost due to their own fault and you clearly can’t expect it from a fellow “hardcore gamer”.
Now we can contemplate why this game draws “hardcore gamers” and why Riot is attracting these kind of
people creatures from Hell. The reason is that this is the unique selling point, this gets the money. The players don’t run around on the same map again and again, spending hours on lasthitting whack-a-mole because it’s fun. Nor because 99% genuinely want to compete in this. Sure, there is the top 1% who really has nothing better to do with his life than perfecting his hand-eye coordination on the World-changing skill of last hitting a low polygon wizard. But most people aren’t like this.
League of Legends isn’t a niche game. It’s literally the most popular game out there. This means that it’s also the most casual game, as “most people” are casuals by definition. It’s also casual by design: short sessions, free-to-play, simple rules, few maps, straightforward task. I could sit my never-gamer mother front of it and after 15 minutes she would understand it completely. Sure, she’d fail in lasthitting and would eat every “skillshot”, but she would be fully aware what she was supposed to do. Also – most importantly – if we would implement time-slow-down in the game, where all movement and attack happen 10x slower, my elderly mum would play exactly as well as the World champion. The game is a glorified whack-a-mole, nothing more. This is why it’s so popular among … everybody.
But programming a whack-a-mole isn’t hard and there is a reason why Riot gets most of the buck: because they created an illusion of hardcoreness around League of Legends. The players don’t pay for the privilege of lasthitting, they pay for the belief that they are now seen as badass hardcore PvP-ers. When the evidence proves that they aren’t that hardcore, they get buttmad and flame on chat.
So dear women, men, children, cyborgs, lizardmen or Russian election-rigging-bots, stop whining over the game being toxic, just avoid the damn thing. It’s toxic by design and if toxic people would be removed, 99% of the playerbase would go.