1. Dissertation is going well – I still have chapters to hand in, but what I have I’m increasingly happier with – and there’s a letter by Jefferson I need to put your way.
First things first, for those of you playing League. There are a few videos I’ve watched that have contributed mightily to my game. I’m improving very quickly because of the aim of having no wasted moments whatsover when playing. You probably want to watch these videos if you’re playing League:
- Scarra plays new Kat – how he sizes up his opponent is a thing of beauty. He watches her mana bar, waits for her to miss a shot and see she’s got nothing left, then goes in & attacks. He also helps hugely with the counterjungling, and the comments on Rengar being overpowered at the end are spot-on.
- Zekent plays ability power Janna – I didn’t watch all of it. I got the idea fairly quickly and it is an awesome idea. Before this video, I focused on using Janna’s shield as primary support. It protects your teammate for 5 seconds and gives an attack power bonus. I still put a point in that at 1st level, of course. Now I also make a call on whether I need to rush deathcap to throw tornadoes at people and kill them. Best game with that sort of setup was 2 kills, 24 assists, no deaths. We simply marched up bot lane and took out every turret into the base.
- Sullla’s Twisted Treeline video is as good a discussion of strategy you’ll ever hear. His Shaco jungler video is something I have to take very seriously, because the jungler I’m running now is Amumu. The Amumu jungle discussion by loudscast is terrific for someone like me new to jungling. You do have to set up the runes and masteries exactly like he says and copy his move order (must get blue, otherwise you run out of mana fast). I didn’t have the right runes before and paid dearly for it. However, Shaco can completely destroy Amumu, as Sullla demonstrates.
2. The most difficult thing with playing with a group of random people is the predominant idea that your stat line reflects your value. They’re not even looking at assists – that’s just killsteal attempts for them. Sullla argues that “Elo Hell” doesn’t exist, that good players can find success at ranked by learning and adjusting. I don’t play Ranked, but I’m not so sure about his argument. I think the perfect counterargument is whether one should have to carry one’s team all the time. It’s not as much fun as one might think.
And if people don’t value support and jungle roles at all, you will be carrying your team all the time. A number of teams I’ve been on with level 20 + players have openly told me not to pick a support character when I asked them what team needed. They will say in game I’m doing nothing even as I’m spamming heal and mana buffs (or, in the case of Janna, killing enemies with tornadoes. I’m still not doing anything because I’m not directly stopping them from running out and dying).
Jungle is even more thankless. A team with very experienced players said they wanted me to jungle. To jungle as Amumu, you have to get blue buff, the mana buff that makes you recharge that much faster. That means at level 1, someone needs to leash/help you kill the epic monster who has the buff. It takes a few seconds. This team told me they’d help, then when I asked 93284927929 times for help, they sat in lane and did nothing. I ended up jungling on my own, struggling, but of course by 10 minutes I had the best cs, kills, items.
3. We need advanced stats for League. The Honor System is a huge step in the right direction. I’ve run into guys playing ranked who’ve just nitpicked about my game and other people I’m with repeatedly. I know enough to know they’re obnoxious jerks who will get beat by me in game very soon. They have no idea what it takes to make a team work, that you get people to play their best and have fun, not dictate every play to them.
But advanced stats would get League culture away from “40 kills is pro.” It isn’t: it just means you’re playing people who don’t really care to be better or are having a very bad day. It also probably means you’re cheap. The best advanced stat is wins. If you’re on teams that win all the time, you’re either lucky or doing something very right. Things you can do very right that don’t show up on stats:
- Missing out on farm (cs/minion kills) because you want to avoid dying. You’ll still level, just passively through your minions and tower firing.
- Luring out enemies.
- Warding, checking the overgrowth for hidden enemies.
- Protecting teammates by being a human wall. Yes, this gets you killed. But you might save multiple teammates doing it.
- Calling out mia.
- Treating people well.
- Protecting turrets. The game is a tower defense game.
- Taking turrets fast. Yes, getting killed to do this can be very worth it.
- Taking advantage of your champion’s strengths.
- Playing situationally.
Advanced stats would be something like “farm per minute early game.” They would depend on the champ. For example, Yi and Annie have powerful midgames but taper off in endgame. An advanced stat would say an average Yi has a certain efficiency in midgame – maybe a certain number of champ kills and turrets in that time – and then compare the Yi you play to the norm. I remember distinctly one time I was up against an overpowered Yi in mid-game. I simply waited him out and scaled really well into endgame. He ended up being someone I ganked multiple times, as opposed to the guy who carried his team. Advanced stats would show how I built midgame to be ready for endgame, and how Yi may or may not have stalled. The metagame still has much worth exploring.