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Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Elementz out at Curse, Brunch U Retires

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While the NA playoff picture came into focus this weekend, the future of some key NA teams became clouded in uncertainty as Twitter lit up with rumors of an unnamed player retiring following the Spring split. Initial rumors circled around maligned Curse support Elementz, who has recently and publicly been clashing with his teammates – particularly All Star Jungler Saintvicious. A little background – following week 9 Elementz posted this vlog to his YouTube channel commenting about his doubt in Saint’s leadership abilities. Saint naturally retorted in the same venue, stating that Elementz does not take professional gaming as seriously as he ought to, and that his play was an exploitable weakness in Curse’s lineup that other teams had identified and began pressuring. The friction between Saint and Elementz is nothing new, and reaches back as far as season 2, as evidenced by this now-famous video in which Saint alleges that Elementz does not take his job seriously, and unsurprisingly Elementz does not appreciate Saint’s criticism. The trouble between Saint and Elementz was publicly dormant during the first half of the Spring split while Curse enjoyed huge winning streaks and a number 1 spot in the LCS standings. Unsurprisingly, once Curse began to struggle later in the season, dropping game after game in the last 3 weeks until they fell to 2nd place, old wounds were re-opened and the two clashed again.

It was revealed shortly after the NA LCS’ final Spring game that it was in fact not Elementz retiring, but CompLexity’s ADC Brunch U who was leaving. The rumors and speculation about Elementz was not too far off however as just minutes later it was announced via Twitter that Elementz would be stepping down to a bench position for the Spring playoffs and would depart the team and become a free agent once the playoffs concluded. Since, CompLexity has announced that former mid-lane Chuuper (replaced weeks ago by Pr0lly) would step in to fill for Brunch “temporarily”. It’s not clear at this time if CompLexity is planning to sign a new ADC or if they will continue with Chuuper if he excels in the position in the upcoming qualifier tournament. Curse has announced that they are bringing up Rhux from his position on the bench to fill Elementz’s spot. What potential impact could these changes have on the playoff and qualifier tournaments beginning this weekend? Let’s take a closer look at each new player.

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Chuuper Returns to CompLexity

Chuuper’s return to the team that benched him will see him in another carry role, but in bottom lane instead of mid. A look at his match history reflects a lot of practice in the ADC role and interestingly about half of his recent matches are as Ezreal – a champion that Brunch U did not play very much of in Season 3. It looks like Chuuper has had mixed success with Ezreal, sometimes carrying and sometimes losing with big crooked scores. Chuuper has also put in some work on more popular ADCs such as Vayne and Caitlyn, again with an assortment of results. Of course, performance in solo queue is not indicative of his potential performance at a professional level with his team, but it offers a glimpse into what Chuuper is doing to prepare for his new spot on CompLexity. Because coL has been careful to say that Chuuper’s tenure in the ADC role is temporary, I am lead to believe that he will either carry his team to victory in the qualifier tournament or find himself on the bench again following the tourney. As far as meshing with his team goes, the bottom lane synergy is less of a concern than it might otherwise be, Chuuper has the benefit of having played with the team for a significant amount of time. Look for Chuuper to go the extra mile to distinguish himself in this second chance at the first string team; there will surely be a lot of focus on his play in the coming weeks.

Rhux in at Support for Curse

rhuxRhux is something of a solo queue All Star, known for his success on the solo queue ladder in Season 2 where he hovered around the top 3 spots for almost the entire season. Likewise in Season 3, Rhux has been a mainstay at the top of the Challenger tier, but mostly as a Solo Top. Like Chuuper, a look at Rhux’s recent match history reveals mixed success practicing his new role in solo queue. Unlike Chuuper though, Rhux has been playing mostly champions that his predecessor is known for playing – more than half of his recent games coming as Sona with a few on Blitzcrank and Thresh. While this may mean that the overall strategy for Curse might not change, it will be an excellent litmus test for the validity of Saint’s Elementz criticisms. One of the big points made by Saint during his clash with Elementz was that opponents had recognized the Cop/Elementz team as weak in 2v2 lane scenarios. Early in the season Curse pulled frequent lane swaps to allow Cop to farm safely in a 2v1 lane, but once teams began forcing Curse to 2v2 during the lane phase, the Curse duo began to struggle. If Rhux and Cop have success in upcoming 2v2s it will appear to vindicate Saint and prove that it was the right move to bring Rhux in.

The Intangibles

The question remains: is the individual skill of Rhux the only factor which will decide his success on the team? Consider this: by many accounts, former GGU support – now with Vulcun – Bloodwater is one of the best Supports in North America, and yet when he left GGU and was replaced, GGU began to play much better, clicking together and winning games on a consistent basis. Bloodwater’s move to Vulcun also helped his new team, who began a run which carried them into the playoffs behind excellent shot calling and high level play from the new support. Rhux’s skill then, is only part of the consideration for the future success of his team. Luckily for Curse, Rhux and Saint get along very well, and in fact Rhux has been living in the Curse gaming house since the team moved in before this season’s LCS competition began. It is possible that Elementz’s departure will spell success for Curse simply by eliminating internal arguments and distractions. The relationships among the rest of the team appear to be holding strong – Cop remains passive and quiet, Saint remains close with Jacky and Rhux and Voyboy continues to be one of the nicest guys in eSports. The good news for eSports fans is that we won’t have to wait very long to see the conclusions to these storylines resolve – LCS action resumes in North America this Friday when top teams face off for bragging rights and to stave off a trip to the qualifier tournament which could see some LCS teams drop out of the Summer Split.

edit: Thanks to redditor /u/alexwilder for pointing out some factual inaccuracies about Bloodwater in this article.

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If You’ve Ever Said “GG” Before The Nexus Fell…

This is for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVwA4vuXZ3E

 


America’s New Pastime: Our Generation’s Sport

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Growing up, I was a baseball fan. My father – in his childhood – was a fanatic. My father did it all: Collecting cards, scoring games, playing elaborate statistics games at home on his bedroom floor while the Yankees played on the radio; or playing stickball in the street with his friends. For our fathers’ generation and many before; baseball was life – America’s Game. As I got older and began to understand and appreciate the game, I watched my father’s love of baseball erode before my very eyes. As I grew to enjoy the sport, my dad seemed to lose interest. I asked him once why his childhood passion was no longer a source of happiness for him, and he grew wistful in his response. He recounted that even though he and his friends liked other sports – they were all big football, hockey and basketball fans too – baseball was special because it was the only sport where kids and adults alike could look down on the field and think: “I could do that”. Baseball players were not the enormous superhuman athletes who dominated other sports – they seemed like average guys; some were short or fat, some wore glasses and had names like “Mick” and “Ernie”. Baseball was on every day and night, it was a sport where 30% success is considered all-pro. Baseball was the most accessible sport, the closest thing to ownership that a fan could feel for a game.

Time passed, and in 1998 I watched my Yankees win 114 games. I held my breath with the rest of the country as two superheroes competed to break the holy grail of sports records: the single season home run record. Though it’s 15 years in the past now, more than any other summer I feel like I can remember every day of 1998, watching news reports and catching front page headlines to see if McGwire or Sosa had pulled ahead.

10 years later as I watched these heroes stand accused of cheating on the floor of Congress,  I understood why my father lost his love of baseball. Baseball was no longer the pastoral, blue-collar game he grew up watching and feeling a part of. Today’s players were now like those from other sports – gigantic finely tuned super athletes. Gone were the Babe Ruths and the Joe DiMaggios who reminded starry eyed kids of themselves, replaced instead with the likes of Alex Rodriguez and  Barry Bonds: guys with multi-million dollar contracts and crates of steroids. Baseball was no longer a game for average men and boys, and that fact killed the love of the game my father and his generation previously held on to.

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Mark McGwire testifies before Congress about his alleged steroid use.

When Season 3 of League of Legends began this winter, I was struck by the synergy of the ranked ladder system for average players who wanted a tangible measurement of their improvement relative to top-level professional competition. Suddenly I found myself queuing for ranked matches on weekdays and tuning in to pro games on the weekends – two things which I’d never really done before. I saw guys just like me playing my favorite game at the highest level and found myself thinking: “I could do that”. Just like the kids in the street playing stickball and dreaming of being Ted Williams, professional League seemed accessible to me, I felt a greater connection to the game than I do with say, football. With League of Legends attracting record numbers of viewers, even mainstream media outlets are wondering: is this America’s new sport? MLG Dallas saw 2.6 million unique viewers, not a record high for e-sports, but what’s impressive is the “engagement time” – the average viewing time for MLG Dallas was around 150 minutes, much higher than the Super Bowl averages.

In some ways, the inter-connectivity provided by the web and the forward thinking team at Riot have created an environment in which a competitive spectator game can be enjoyed by fans all over the world in new, unprecedented ways. While traditional sports struggle to move into the 21st century weighed down by massive T.V. contracts and blackout restrictions, League and games like it enjoy a much more open experience for fans. Games are streamed all over the world for free. Replays are available on demand the moment the game begins – for free, and most importantly, Riot and other major games manufacturers encourage fans and sites (like allMIA) to cover their pro leagues. When we post match highlights, we’re able to bring you links directly to key moments in the broadcast in a way that a Hockey or Football blog simply can’t, due to NFL and NHL restrictions.

Our pros stream every day, connecting with the fanbase in a way that major sports just can’t. The game we play is the same game our pros play, and the dream that one day we’ll work our way up to the “challenger” tier, and qualify for a pro team is real and tangible, and it drives us ever closer to the game we love. As major American sports continue to alienate themselves from fans with bloated contracts, blackout restrictions, endorsements and lawsuits, companies like Riot offer a more attractive alternative. Consider this: 10 years ago, would you have ever pictured a scenario where you watched other people play video games with the enthusiasm that you watch “real sports”? I know I didn’t. Imagine where we might be in 10 years from now. We’re witnessing history, and even better – we can be a part of it. The NA and EU LCS first-half seasons wrap up in a few short weeks, will you tune in to see the future of competitive sports? Leave us a comment or tweet to us @ill_monstro_g – tell us what you think about the growth of e-sports and where we’re going as a community.


It Ain’t GG Till It’s GG.

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Shh. Don’t speak. First watch this video.

That was CLG.EU (now Evil Geniuses) playing Moscow 5 (now Gambit Gaming) at Dreamhack 2012 this past summer. The kill spread may not seem like much to us average players, but take a look at the gold lead the Russian team has on CLG.EU – over 24,000 gold. Thats 7 and 1/2 Bloodthirsters. That’s 850AD (with max stacks). GG. Except… not. CLG sticks together, makes a play and takes the nexus for the win, down 24,000 gold.

GG.

It’s funny that these two little letters have so many different meanings and applications to gamers,  yet usually we can tell exactly what they mean given context. Of course “good game” is meant to be a sportsmanlike affirmation of a friendly competition – the equivalent of a Baseball team shaking hands with their opponents after a game. Despite its intended meaning, GG has come to mean so much more to the summoners of League of Legends. Over time, it has morphed into shorthand for “the game is over” as a frustrated imperative.  Players say “gg” after a bad team fight, following first blood or sometimes as early as champion select when – for example – a summoner doesn’t get the role they want to play.

“gg i cant play support”

“gg mid feeding”

“gg no jungle help”

“gg support KS”

These are all uttered by summoners around the Rift every day and has become a continually growing problem in League of Legends. “GG” said to teammates before a nexus is destroyed signals that a summoner has given up and will not play as effectively – or worse – when attached to a slew of insults (“gg top is noob, uninstall kthx”) demoralizes a teammate who is already (presumably) behind and in need of help, not insults.

Sometimes, a summoner will spout “gg my team sux” in [ALL] chat which is perhaps the most destructive abuse of the term. If signaling to the team that a summoner has given up is bad, imagine what happens when the enemy team sees that their opponent has given up.

To me, abusing “gg” is one of the most destructive habits exhibited by League of Legends summoners. Some summoners argue that the game they’re playing is hopeless, but saying “gg” prematurely accomplishes absolutely nothing except upsetting others, which should never be your goal. If you find yourself wanting to hurt another player, if you want to make someone else feel bad because they aren’t good at the game, or because they make mistakes; you are the reason you lose games. A player who is making mistakes can be taught to make smarter plays. A summoner with a mean streak who is so competitive that they berate their team at the slightest misshap can’t be taught to behave like a human being and will always reduce their team’s chances of success.

If you think of yourself as super competitive – and use that as an excuse to play angry – consider that truly competitive players always want to give themselves the best chance to win the game; this means never doing anything that reduces their chances of winning. You may feel that there is nothing you can do to improve your chances to win… but you can always make it worse. Don’t. Every game you play has something to teach you. Look for the lesson – even when your team throws – and you might just learn how to play from behind.

Post-Rant

If you want to learn how to win a game that seems lost, take a look at our article covering game 3 of the IEM Hanover 2013 Grand Final (VOD). CJ Entus Blaze’s play in game 3 shows how a team should play when losing the early game if they want to make a comeback. While the rando-pubstars you’re matched up with in Silver III solo-queue may not exactly be Korean mega-stars, every game you’re losing is a chance to practice the kinds of plays and strategies which help turn around losing games. Don’t give up. Don’t blame your team. Don’t say GG until it’s really GG.


Dorkly Points Out a Problem With Gaming

Really, this article is a reflection of a prevalent issue facing all communities from really enclosed ones like the League of Legends community to much broader communities like Reddit or television viewers. At times, fans forget that just because a sentiment or idea is popular or high profile doesn’t mean that other people don’t have contrasting ideas. Moreover, for those who claim gamers are “fickle”, the reality is that we’re all unique and have different tastes and opinions. While the term “hivemind” is often leveled at gaming or online communities, in reality the popular opinion of a group isn’t always as consistent as we’d like to believe.

What do you think about the Dorkly article? Leave a comment and let us know!


Changes Coming to Champ Select? Lyte Says So

Just quick post to let you know that RiotLyte is having a discussion about “fixing” champion select right now over on the official LoL forums.

The player behavior and experience teams at Riot are tackling some of the biggest problems in not just League of Legends but indeed all of online gaming and beyond. When a company employs people who ask questions like this one:

1) Real-Life Context | This scenario really illustrates how context outside the game can influence behavior inside the game. Traditionally, game studios don’t design or solve for context. Or can they?

You know that they are pushing the boundaries of what it means to play games socially and anonymously. As a community, we’ve got to do our part to support Riot’s attempts at manipulating player behavior as it directly benefits the entire player-base  Fewer games lost because of toxicity, less frustration and anger over a recreational activity – these are the net benefits which we all reap when Riot innovates in the social interactivity space. Check back with allMIA later for a closer look at RiotLyte and the plan to fix champion select.


Z.A.C. A Jungler? PBE Evidence Suggests Yes

Way back in December of 2012, Riot game designer Ezreal was asked if we would see a Yordle jungler released in 2013. His response in this official League of Legends forums post is as follows:

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, yes.”

Seeing as how this is just about as specific and concrete as game developers ever get, Yordle fans and jungle mains world wide felt their hearts swell in size, anticipating a new addition to their champion pool. Now a quarter of the way into 2013 (already!) some of the puzzle pieces surrounding new Zaun-affliated champion “Z.A.C.” suggest this just might be the champion Ezreal was talking about.

In a recent news post from Reign of Gaming it was revealed via datamining the PBE that upcoming champion “Z.A.C.”‘s reccomended starting items are a Hunter’s Machete and 5 health potions. While these kinds of things are tentative (such is the nature of the PBE) it seems like strong evidence to suggest that Riot intends the new champion to primarily function as a jungler. So how do we know it could be specifically a Yordle jungler? Take a look at these promotional images, also hosted over at Reign of Gaming. With cupcakes and candies scattered about, it seems like even more evidence pointing to a brand new Yordle jungler.

Of course this leaves one logical question… who is Lissandra going to be?