A refer-a-friend system seems like an obvious boon for all involved. In League of Legends, it should reward referring players with bonus skins and Riot with additional players. And, of course, it gives the referred a chance at a lifetime addiction to the complex tactical interplay between an angry crocodile and a purple sadomasochist. Unfortunately, the system as it currently stands is being heavily abused by botters and account sellers.
Riot is well aware of the situation, and has laid out plans to make refer-a-friend less open to misuse.
"We started RAF to reward players for their part in growing League," write Riot (opens in new tab). "Refer-a-Friend has quite the history at this point, with multiple incarnations dating back to the original launch of the game, and it’s been a rewarding experience for lots of players.
"Any rewards program like RAF runs the risk of some participants trying to game the system, and ordinarily we might tolerate low levels of fringe misuse if it meant we were still doing right by the vast majority of players. However, RAF abuse was increasingly degrading the average players' experience, forcing us to contemplate changes."
Riot is planning to focus on account selling and botting; things that, as bots continue to load into new player games, are directly harming the new player experience.
The trouble, Riot says, is that Grey Warwick and Medieval Twitch skins require more effort than the average player can achieve—needing 25 and 50 referrals, respectively. That makes them valuable, and so attracts account resellers.
The imminent update will reduce the amount of referrals needed to achieve these skins. "With the new update," write Riot, "for every friend you refer who reaches level 10, you’ll earn 1000 IP. You can refer a total of five friends, and with three successful referrals, you’ll unlock the Grey Warwick skin. Recruit five friends and you’ll unlock Medieval Twitch."
While Riot doesn't think the plan will eliminate botting, they do hope it'll make the RAF a more stable and abuse-free system.