Podcast video topics and timestamps:
3:25 Cowsep explains the circumstances that led to his ban
6:02 The realities of playing on the Korean server
9:22 Comparing the Korean server to other regions'
13:03 A culture of toxicity
26:29 Life after the ban
28:48 What should Riot Korea do to prevent rampant toxicity?
31:25 On why some streamers are leaving League of Legends
Joseph “Cowsep” Hursey is an American League of Legends streamer living in Korea. The Master Yi main has been top of mind and top of Reddit lately after his controversial one-month ban from the Korean server.
While he received emails from Riot stating the reason for the ban was account sharing, Cowsep said the real cause behind his first ban in nearly six years of playing in Korea were comments he made about Riot Korea’s apparent unwillingness to address rampant toxicity.
Cowsep spoke with theScore esports Podcast about the bans, the realities of playing on the Korean server and more.
According to Cowsep, toxicity is nothing new on the Korean server. The state of the community was made apparent to him when he first started playing in Korea, six years ago.
“I started playing Korean League of Legends, but the server kind of did not meet my expectations,” said Cowsep. “It’s full of toxicity, and I made a post three years ago talking about the racism and toxicity and AFKs, things like that. It did reach the top of Reddit and it was never addressed.”
A more recent post on the same subject was answered swiftly and decisively, though. On March 29, Cowsep posted on the official League of Legends NA message boards, detailing some of his experiences with racism and toxicity, and the perceived lack of action from Riot to curtail it.
“I decided to try again after somebody tried to call me out for being toxic, and yeah, it ended up at the top of Reddit and I basically said that Riot Korea never bans people, they never punish people. And then less than a week later they said ‘hold my beer, Cowsep, I’ll show you how to punish people,' and they banned all of my accounts.”
Cowsep had received emails from Riot saying the reason they banned six of his accounts was for account sharing, which is against the Summoner’s Code. The account that he used while sharing remains active and has not been banned, raising questions about the true reason for the action taken by Riot.
Cowsep said the bans had more to do with his critical comments about Riot, as opposed to the account sharing he has since admitted to.
“I can still play on it if I wanted to but I don’t want to get a ban evasion and then have a real reason to perma-ban me. I feel like they are baiting me,” said Cowsep. “They never banned it. Well the idea is that, you almost think that like ‘hey maybe they didn’t have a real reason to ban me’ and they read over my response and they're like ‘oh yeah, yeah, yeah, account sharing, yeah, he definitely did that, let’s tag him on that.'”
Cowsep has played many servers around the world, competing in Diamond or above. He feels the toxicity in Korea is much different than anything found in other regions.
“I’ve played on pretty much every server up to Diamond or high Diamond. Like in NA I played in low Masters MMR, EU West I got to Diamond 3, Vietnam Diamond 5, Taiwan Diamond 5, I’ve been to Diamond in pretty much every region,” said Cowsep. “I feel that, in general, most servers have pretty much nothing on Korea. I think that Korea’s toxicity is a bit more ‘I want you to lose’ while the toxicity in other regions is mostly like 'I hate you and I want you to know how much I hate you.'"
Even the ban were lifted or rescinded, Cowsep said he's prepared to serve the month-long ban out, choosing to play on Vietnam's server in the meantime.
“I don’t plan to return to the Korea server before a month anyways, even if it’s lifted, I will serve my ban and yes I rightfully do deserve an account sharing ban,” said Cowsep. “But I wish Riot Korea take a stance in actually banning people that deserve it, rather than manually picking on me.”
Alex Debets is a News Editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.