Developers over at Riot Games are broadening their strategies when it comes to countering behavior they don't like, and are going to trial new penalties for players who leave or engage in AFK behavior during matches. According to Riot, about 9% of players worldwide engage in consistent AFK behavior.
Riot defines AFK as two behaviors that waste time for others: people who idle during matches and people who just up sticks and leave the match entirely.
Right now, the worst those players can get is a queue delay: "Queue Delays are a speed bump on an offending player’s way to their next few games: Upon clicking the play button, the queue blocks them behind a short timer. The purpose of this is to change behavior," says Riot.
Now, however, players can get escalating penalties of between 1 day and 14 days of a queue lockout. That means no playing at all: They're removed from the player population entirely. "We're removing the player from the population for a while so they can't continue to AFK in games," says Riot.
For now, the new punishments are being trialed in specific regions, as Riot is concerned about certain region-specific connectivity problems. (The SEA region, at least in other MOBAs, is infamous for connectivity issues that players can't control.) Players who would be immediately subject to the new punishments have been reset to a lower tier, so they have a change to change their ways before the new punishments are levied.
You can read the whole developer log, with stats, on the League of Legends site. (opens in new tab)
Nice spot, Eurogamer (opens in new tab).