League of Legends: The IWD vs Tarzaned Beef and the Issue of Boosting

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Tarzaned and IWD are sparring over Twitter, shedding some light into the culture of boosting that exists in high elo League of Legends.

It wouldn’t be a day in the League of Legends news cycle if there wasn’t some brand new drama to discuss. Today, luckily, we have the receipts of such drama, courtesy of two controversial streamers. IWillDominate (“IWD”) and Tarzaned are at each other’s throats today with accusations that the other paid for boosting services in order to achieve a higher rank.

The issue started during Tarzaned’s stream on Wednesday night, when he claimed he had to play on the former pro player’s accounts in two seasons (Season 7 and Season 8) so IWD could hit challenger. IWD then responded by revealing that Tarzaned had actually asked for Dom to play on his accounts and offered to pay for the boosting service. The two went back and forth on Twitter until, ultimately, they appeared to agree to a cease-fire.

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It’s still unclear which of these two were the boosted or the boostee, if the boosting was paid for, or even if the boosting actually happened. It certainly appears likely that there were at least some overtures by both to procure boosting services at some point in the past, but that is not the most troubling aspect of this issue.

Most troubling, to me, is that this revelation that two prominent, high-elo streamers were not only boosting, but that other high-elo players seemed to either be aware of it or accepted it as if it was normal practice. While I expected the responses from other pros or streamers to be those of outrage, most of the responses I saw were of players taking one side over the other or just making jokes.

This last tweet is the most damning because, along with the Discord receipts both Tarzaned and IWD provided, it calls the entire top of the ladder into question for at least the last few seasons. And, remember, these are from a lot of the same people who have been frustrated with Riot due to poor matchmaking, autofill, and game-ruining behavior impacting the integrity of solo queue. Now, with evidence of behavior that actually ruins the integrity of the ranked ladder and has been going on for years, their response is to shrug their shoulders and laugh.

I get it, these other behaviors make the in-game experience frustrating for players, especially at high elo, but these don’t even come close to the act of having another player playing games on your account. Boosting compromises the game at a fundamental level and should not be tolerated. The only behavior that comes close in terms of ruining the solo queue ladder is win trading.

Boosting and win trading both artificially elevate players to ranks they didn’t deserve. While many high elo players complain that some players don’t deserve their ranks because they took advantage of systems in place to boost their MMR, like the reset before Season 9 and the positional rank experiment, those ranks were elevated due to Riot’s mistakes and occurred within the existing system.

Boosting is a conscious choice by players to cheat the system, rather than just gaming an unbalanced system (which anyone could have done). Every player in high elo should be furious at this revelation that two streamers were so cavalierly discussing the possibility of boosting each other’s accounts and even discussing the exchange of money to do so.

In my opinion, both these players should have their accounts suspended with the possibility for a full ISP ban ala the Tyler1 treatment. And I don’t think anyone who hasn’t participated in boosting should have any issue with that.

As loud as the calls are for Riot to take action against players engaging in game-ruining behavior, they should be twice as loud in calling for Riot to correct and punish the problem. If players know of someone who has requested or likely participated in boosted, they should call them out and report them with evidence to Riot.

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Some may consider this punishment too harsh and I acknowledge it is unlikely that Riot would take such harsh measures against two prominent figures in the League of Legends community. But if Riot really wants to send a message that they are taking the integrity of solo queue seriously (as they have indicated they will be making bigger changes to the ranked system in Season 11), this is the only real option.