No love for newbies or good behavior in LoL

As a league player, I frequent r/league of legends. Like most /r’s it has it’s own posts that show up once a week, with around the same discussion round and round. Like, writers block in /r/writing. This is mostly because of how similar and boring we all are as people. Nothing is lost or gained from these post, simply because they usually don’t have clean answers and are more natural issues that are inherent to the subject.

Anyone that plays league will have rough days and losing streaks. Then it’s off to /r/leagueoflegends and an all new thread of people talking about the ‘toxicity’ in league and how it’s the worst ever. Eventually the conversation will switch to best ways to control this ever growing problem.

Everyone talks about the failure that is the honor banners, or whatever the crap they are called. Tribunal doesn’t work, in as many ways as that is possible and if only there was a better way to ban out those trolls. Maybe even send them to a special place where they can only play with each other. Logistics are talked about and every one smugly puts in their bit on why this or that wouldn’t work. Then we all get home from work/school and play till it starts again the next week.

I have been on that bandwagon many times, pointing out the frequency of the posts and how they tread the same ground. It’s only a matter of time before I get back on again, in fact it might happen again sooner then I thought…

Toxicity is inherent to the game and although rage can never be eliminated, both can and should be better handled. I present this idea for everyone’s scrutiny.

There is inherent animosity in a competitive environment, like league, but the game promotes this behavior in ways that are not inherent. Yes, yes losing will always get people mad and I am not at all trying to turn league into the abomination that is Teeball now. Where there are no losers, which to me means there are no winners.

In baseball what do you call the other team? The opponents or visitors? What do we call them in league? Purple, top, maybe enemies? There is a difference between opponents and enemies, your mind knows it. When you catch a player you don’t score you get a ‘Kill’. Sometimes it’s ‘First Blood’ or something amazing like a “Penta-Kill”.

These word choices have effect on how the players view the game, which translates to how they behave while playing. Again, I don’t want it to be Disney-ef-id, but ignoring it won’t help either. In other sports no one gets kills. They get points.

Everything about the visuals foster aggression and anger. It’s possible to get out played and see it as a matter of skill, but you have to look past the visuals of Veigar nuking you. Riot, most developers, and all of gamers, seem to be blind to the effect the representations can have on the players mindset. Instead tell their player base to fix themselves.

There is nothing in the game to foster a feeling of sportsmanship and without that, you end up with the whole ‘Rekked’ and ‘Trash jungle’.

No, no I am not against trash talking. There is a right way to do it. When friends trash talk each other, there is a little dance with each person trying to be funny and clever on top of ribbing a little. Nothing out of hand, it’s all in good fun. The language and topics can be brutal when viewed out of context, but with all the smiles and honest laughter, it’s clear everyone is just being silly.

In league there is virtually no social context. Players don’t know each other, they don’t know their relative skill level or game knowledge. Text doesn’t translate tone and god knows we aren’t all writers. So, if your having a bad game and someone you don’t know comments and it’s not obviously positive, it’s despicably negative.

For further proof that the game itself pushes the negative and toxic. No need to look any further than the emotes. What do we get, laughing, dancing, jokes, and taunts. Dancing and jokes are neutral. Taunts and most laughs are not. In games where everyone is just having fun and it’s all good, these gestures are no big deal. The way things are now, they just fuel the disrespect and push us away from maintaining any sportsmanship.

The LCS plays into this problem by letting their players use taunts, laughs and TPs as a way of showing disrespect. They have gotten better, especially since they have gotten off trying to bait Xpecial for drama, but continuing to allow disrespect in their games isn’t helping anyone.

The only way to combat toxicity and rage, is to promote sportsmanship.

The problem is very clear but the discussed fixes are always focused on how to punish bad behavior and almost nothing for how to reward and encourage the good. It doesn’t have to be IP, there are tons of ways of clearly rewarding a player for positive behavior. The dumb little banner is useless. There is someone in your last game that appreciated your play style or personality but it doesn’t tell you who. So you can’t team up.

The worst part about the banner has to be the fact that you don’t get it till after the game is over. There is nothing built in for when things are turning sour and something can actually be done before the plunge into full rage. After a full 30 to 40 mins of poison and hate, a little +Teamwork isn’t much.

That moment before the plunge is the crucial one. Something small can trigger it either way. Yet the game offers nothing, but a weak chat client. Why isn’t there a way to thank a person on your team or honor a play that the enemy just did. There could even be an emote to show how unbelievable it is that you were able to survive that. They could have something to say, “I believe in you” or “Don’t give up.” In tf2 you can buy an item that gives random items to everyone on your team. I think it’s possible for a game to be salvaged if someone randomly gives everyone some IP or something and says something like, “We still have a chance.” I just made those up off the top of my head, the focus should be to provide a way to show positive and good sportsmanship behavior.

Reading through one of the more recent threads, people talk about their own bad experience. Things like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm-9Nd9W7SA#t=194   Here it is again, an inherent problem, namely the vast amount of auxiliary knowledge attached to league, causing rage.

Both sides clearly have grounds for being upset, the new guy doesn’t know what’s going on and they are just trying to learn. The old hat is unsure if this dude is trolling or not, but either way this is going to be 30 to 40 mins of less than fun. I know we all want the old hat to be a good person and try to help and be understanding. But, he didn’t get in the game to teach, he got in to play. Both players are going to be unhappy with the situation.

League doesn’t offer much of anything to these new players. Just limited champion pull, the weakness of no ruins or masteries and the restriction of the most common summoner in the game. While they are not learning to help, play as, or deal with junglers, they are left with no way to find people that are interested in helping newbies out. There is no safe place, where it’s ok to not understand what CS is and to be helped by someone that wants to teach.

Of course if everyone just controlled themselves and focused on their own play more then everyone elses, things would be fixed immediately. Since that will not ever happen, I would love to see Riot focus more on curbing the visuals and context of the game towards being positive and sportsmen.

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Aside

League brings on the man tears: A Loadout Review

These last two weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to do much of anything other then work, write a few words, and booze it up.  Always time for booze.  My nice liquid cooled PC master race box, has gone utterly unused.  After a long day while I sit on my couch, with my cat on my shoulder, I just can’t bring my self to take the 20 steps and reach my desk.  Then it takes time to boot the beast up and talk to people to set something up. I guess it’s just supreme laziness, the kind of laziness that stops people from burning time on dumb things and instead literally doing nothing for an hour.

On the couch, I have turned on the TV to catch some of the LCS and every single game makes me want to boot up league and have another go.  I am definitely one of those players that is more negative then anything else, but I’ll have you know I suffer in silence.  It takes maybe 5 losses in a row, trying to just win one game before bed, around 4 in the morning on the sixth game and I can’t seem to catch a break.  In my head, my options come down to 2, pull all my hair out or say something to the top laner pushed up to the enemy tower with no wards and 4 deaths.

For the last two weeks I’ll go as far as to have the computer booted up and league updated.  Then I’ll hover my mouse over the ‘Play’ button and flashes of horrible games will bring me to tears.  Shuttering with sobs, my girlfriend will put a blanket over me and whisper, “It’s ok, take your time.”

At this low point, when I question my very will to game, grassy snipes.  “Come on try Loadout”, I can hear his evil smile.  I am a 100% jaded gamer and don’t fall for the ‘new thing’.  I like to sit and wait for a game to ripen before I decide to spend any time on it.  Free to plays are so rarely worth the time they want that I stay away. A new one, ‘that is totally different’, pops up every 2 months and Grassy eats that crap up.

Fine, it can’t destroy my day like league does, let me give it a shot.  It turned out to be ok. I would give it a solid ‘meh’ and a half.  Didn’t suffer from crazy lag and only required some fighting with the dumb Friends list.  Why, if you are on steam, would you make your own clunky friends list?

Quick review, stages have little to no thought in them. It doesn’t matter so much, since the game modes are what any other came would consider novelties.  With check points bouncing here and there and people spawning everywhere, it’s just not possible to make a balanced map with any kind of depth.  OK, maybe it is, but load out definitely didn’t manage it.  Might not bother casuals, filthy as they are, but the time required to start getting a customized character isn’t worth spending in a game with so little depth.  I could be spending my time on something productive, like trying to get karma on reddit or crying in front of the League play button.

8.537 thumbs out of 5 stars

I was working with someone to create a review channel. As it turns out it’s a crap ton of work making reviews. While I was preparing to create the channel I started to ask questions like, “What is the use of a review” and “What purpose do they serve”. That shot me on a search for anything to do with reviews. I jumped around checking out highly entertaining reviewers like Zero Punctuation down to the less then perfect ones on /r/gamereviews. We all have to start somewhere.

Some of them broke games down by sections: story, gameplay, “graphics”. Most used a grading system, 8/10, five stars. That got me thinking of ways I should grade the games. I tried to come up with a way to take some of the subjectivity from a star rating system. It’s even possible to turn to a pass fail system, “buy or stay away”.

Spent some time with all that bouncing around my mind and was unable to clamp down on anything. What good is having a rating system? It bothered me that after a while I will end up with a list of games and a list of ratings. It then makes sense that it would be possible to use the ratings to compare the games.

One game gets a 5 out of 5 and that one gets a 4 out of 5. Why? Games are just so drastically different from one another, that comparison is impossible. Skyrim and Gone home have completely different goals, what would a comparison between them even mean?

Ok, so if we give limbo a 9 or 10 in aesthetics and we give BioShock infinite the same. Are they as good as another? Is it fair with one having a huge budget? Should the money even matter? How about the time to play through. Journey would also have to be given high marks for aesthetics but that can be beat in like 2 hours.

The system wouldn’t even work when looking at one game at a time. What could I give in story to something like League of legends? There is some lore to it, but a player would have to go out of their way to figure out what’s going on and it wouldn’t change the gameplay.

If the rating can’t be used to compare then it only serves one other purpose, as a summery of opinions, but that’s the whole review. If by the end of the review, the audience is unsure what the reviewer thinks, they are watching zero punctuation and are wondering if he actually liked the game or, the review is missing something significant.

Systems like this serve the reviewer more then anyone else. It simplifies formatting and attempts to remove some of the subjectivity from the review. Which is the conclusion I finally found my way to.

Reviews are more then their end rating. They are there to provide some ones personal tastes. There are a few reviewers of movies and games that I watch. Like Grace from Beyond the trailer. She does a crap ton of movie reviews. I can’t possibly watch as many movies as she does, cause that’s her job. No, I don’t trust her every opinion but I have seen enough of the movies she’s recommended or rejected. I now have an idea where her opinions and mine are relative to each other, which has a lot of value for me.

If you are a reviewer out there. Forget trying to be objective and share your true opinions. Don’t apologize for having a weakness for anything to do with dragons. Say it proudly. That honesty tells more then thousands of words trying to remove yourself from the reviewing equation.

Too fancy to understand.

brothers-interview

Is “Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons” a game that a flat newbie can understand?

I have shown a bunch of games to a bunch of people.  It’s always easier to know when an avid player will get anything out of a game. Shh.. the secret is, casuals will settle for just about anything with some polish.  The real trouble, and brain teaser is, will someone on the far left of casual enjoy a game.  By ‘far left’ I mean, someone that plays maybe 1 to 3 games a year.

I think we can all agree that BioShock Infinite is extremely polished.  So a casual player is very likely able to pick it up and have their fun.  Someone on the far left, who has spent less then 50 hours in all of their first person shooting career, might feel more of a learning curve.  It’s a bit tough to miss the appeal of BioShock even if you take a while to understand what to do, but not all games are as strait forward.

Amnesia, is also fairly polished.  Unlike BioShock it’s goal is not simply to give you spectacle and narrative.  That crap is trying to scare you and it does it’s job well.  So well the videos of people reacting are entertaining.

Believe it or not, scaring is a subtle thing.  A mood has to be set.  What is a dark campsite one moment can switch to a creepy forest once a few stories have been shared.  A thought while laying in bed can change the room to a shadowy place for creatures to hide.  The spell is required or the scares just won’t work.

Amnesia, to the average player has a very low curve.  That curve is there though.  The game requires that you understand the basic gaming conventions. Things like, boxes usually are used to get on or as weight distributions. Some items in games are more likely to be useful then others.  Of course the big one is, moving with awsd and looking with a mouse.

For a flat new player, these little things can break the spell.  I have seen it.  Watched as inexperience changes a scary moment into a frustrating bother.

That’s what brings me to my experience last weekend, when I beat through “Brothers –  A Tale of Two Sons”.  This game is short and I definitely don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll be careful talking about it.  There is a part of it that had such a wonderfully powerful impact on me.  I am not going to lie, my cold heart felt a grip on it and if I had feelings they would have drowned me.

Upon completion of the game my immediate thought was, I have to show this to my girl friend.  Then I wasn’t sure.  Knowing of the importance of maintaining the spell in order for emotional impact to take place.  I wasn’t sure if she would understand the significance, being a far left casual.

That isn’t a snobby statement.  If you don’t watch sports, it’s sometimes hard to understand why everyone gets all excited from one moment to another. If you don’t play League of Legends, It’s unlikely you’ll understand why people say Madlife is god.  If you don’t play many games, would it be possible that you could miss the feels in Brothers?

I am just not sure.  I think the game only has one shot to hit you and I don’t want to waste it with my girl friend.  If I have to wait till she’s played more then I will.

If you are comfortable with moving in a first person shooter, please go give this game a shot. I think it’s better to just jump in without seeing much, but if you need a little more. Check out this review by Justin McElroy.

Some things are harder to google then others.

As a seasoned googler.  I have used google so much I don’t even use bookmarks any more.  When I try to re-find something my brain associates what I need with a unique term to best find it.  It’s now an extension of my brain. When searching a new topic it’s all about finding that important word/term.

It doesn’t even have to be the correct word or spelling. Even if there is a word that is better at describing what I am looking for, what only matters is weather the community that is posting on the topic use that word associated with the topic.

That might seem kind of obvious right now while you are not actually trying to find something.  It can be tough, especially when looking for something that you are not familiar with.  Then the idea of term searching is crucially important.  You’ll never get anywhere if you are not searching in the jargon that the community is using.

There are a few topics that are extremely difficult to find anything meaning full on. The most obvious search being, “Investment help”.  Trying to find out how to start investing?  Well, good luck.  So many people are trying to sell insight it is incredibly difficult to find something with substance.

The waters get extremely muddy when they have sleek presentations and are meant to appeal to people.  That means, even though their actual advice amounts to just about nothing.  The fact that people liked it, puts them high on search lists.

Here is another one, “searching for help losing weight”.  Every conceivable word within six terms removed from “weight loss” is used by these people trying to sell their book or plan or whatever.  This one can get especially nasty.  They’ll promise you to personally come down and focus their chi to remove the fat off your body, all you need do is give them a little credit card.

I stumbled on this while trying to search something, I just didn’t think would end up with all the traps.

Self Discipline. I have many projects going and I can’t figure out why It’s just been so hard to manage them all.

I want to lose weight, get up early, write more, make more videos.  What is causing these difficulties where there simply shouldn’t be any.  Low self discipline.

This is a new thing for me.  I used to have some crazy Self Discipline.  I used to be able to wake up whenever I want. I could mentally set a time before laying for bed and get up around 10 mins of that time. This was in my bachelor years, when I didn’t even have an alarm.  Heck, all I had was a bed, tv, computer and maybe 3 changes of clothes.

That’s gone.

I used to have a habit of running for 30 mins to an hour a day. I held that habit for years.  Now for some reason it’s gone.

Now that I recognize the problem.  I handled it the same way I handle anything I am going to work on.  I Looked up. Got hit with spam all the way.

Now, I am back here.  Is there a way to look up these types of searches that I haven’t thought about?  I wonder if there are any search Guru’s that can help me with the secrets to these types of searches.

There is so much free information out there.  It’s not tough finding a graduate level computer science course online, but sound advice on weight loss is on a league of it’s own.

Something special.

It’s definitely something that doesn’t happen on a whim, but is still sudden and I want it back.  Earlier, I promised Grassy, when Skyrim dropped under $12 it would be mine.  Skyrim was 8 bucks on steam this holiday sale.

A game like Skyrim ripens with age. Mods and patches take a game a long way.  I do want to touch on the fun of picking the right mods, but something happened that I didn’t expect.  I started to have fun.

I am not some sort of gaming curmudgeon. Yelling at casuals, “Get of my server”.  When I play, it can be for a ton of reasons.  Fun, real fun, the kind that comes with investment and excitement, is hard to come by.   I’ll settle for engagement or maybe some reward of mastery.

Somewhere along the lines of running for the fetch/find quests that are Skyrim.  I started to want to talk to people.  For a brief time, I remembered what it was like playing Secrets of Evermore or Illusion of Gaia.  I wanted to talk to everyone.  The Towns people each had a story and problem, instead of just another thing to add to my grocery list, aka Skyrim Journal, they were little adventures.

I have no idea what happened, but I want it back.  The next day It was gone.  I haven’t quit on the game, on the small chance that it’ll hypnotize me again.  I have been trying to collect my thoughts and figure what the issue is.  Why do I just care so little about what’s going on in that game.

I have read and seen enough comparisons of Skyrim, Morrowen, Oblivion,  and Fallout to write a dissertation.  Which tells me one thing. There is already a dissertations worth of discussion out there and I don’t want to retread on what has been covered very well.  So I am going to avoid the Quest Marker topic.  Going back trying to get that spark I realized some of the problems that kept my “care” needle firmly at “couldn’t any less”.

The problem is the size.  It is just too big.  Way to many named NPCs with way too  much lore with no practical way of consuming it.  An exposition at the start would be bad, this game is worst.  It is just about impossible to care with every NPC having their own problem.

Oh, they stole your daughter? I’ll ask the guard if he saw anything.  He did but, he actually has this map that leads to an amazing treasure all I need is to find a person that can read it. He’s in the next town.

On and on.  Just put it in the pile.  The pattern turns them in to, basically where and who am I killing and a stampede of names, locations, lore and none of them related.  Which cuts the legs off any kind of good story telling.

GTA 5 is also an open world game that manages to have smaller side stories, memorable NPCs and n solid over arching story.  It does this by keeping things more linear and limits the number of named NPCs.

What if Skyrim was approached this way.  One major arch and fewer larger subplots.  This way the lore could be placed strategically.

I’ll continue trying to get that sweet spot.  Who knows I might actually beat this one.

Unique gaming experience.

I don’t remember what I was complaining about while arguing with Grassy, but I got a strong pang of nostalgia. Something had me thinking about peculiar gaming experiences.

Things that weren’t part of the games. Things that happened because of my unique situation.  Things that I simply can never re-live.  Like playing the first game that requires a pause to look around and just enjoy the spectacle.

I started to run through all the years of gaming I could remember, and find those times.

I got the PlayStation as a Christmas present, along with Final fantasy VII but no memory card. I remember playing the first maybe 2 hours over and over, stretching it to around 15 hours.

When I finally made it past the tower and out of the city for the first time. I can’t describe the excitement that came with the realization that this city was just one of a whole world. That changed gaming for me.

I had spent so much time in Midgar, I just never would have thought that there was another place.

I remember being challenged to 1v1 in Unreal Tournament by some other dude at school.  Unreal was the first online game I had ever bought.  At the time, I had just got broad band.  I played that game day and night, so naturally I accepted.

I pretty much destroyed him.  He had a negative score by the end since I took to pushing him over the edge. Then the big reveal, it was actually another dude playing.  The lesser of the pair.  Now I’d fight the real challenger.

He picked an indoor map, low gravity, and intsa-gib only(which is a one shot kill gone).  Did I mentioned, I lived this game?  Particularly with the insta-gib.  I would practice with that gun at 180% normal game speed.

I stomped him worst.

The last straw was my leap from one side of the stage to the other and killing him three times before I landed.  They disconnected. Memories.

I spoke to Grassy about his experiences.  Apparently he is the most boring standard gamer ever.

Please share some of yours.