TL;DR: people who seek out knowledge on League often somehow know less about the game they’re playing. This is because they create expectations about how the game should be rather than how it is currently playing out. The result is an incited sense of panic, dread, and toxicity.
Hi! It’s not really important to know who I am, save for the fact that I make a lot of ‘funny ha ha’ posts about League here and abroad. I’m about as involved in the community as any one person can be, except I am a bit different in that I don’t play the game. I’d link my stats here but my name has a few of those accented á’s in it because some wad of wet toilet paper stole my real name. It’s Pápáyá Dreaming. To save you time, it has one game as Udyr in season 5 or something.
So! Why do I not play League? It’s kind of hard to separate what I find off-putting about League from issues facing other competitive online sports. I’m like 75% sure Counter Strike, Halo, Quake, all experience meltdowns in their pro community, instances of rampant toxicity and the one-off news stories featuring someone getting stabbed over a bad game. I’ve played and loved all three of those other games, meaning the next question should be:
What is specifically wrong with League? Normally this is one of my favored shitpost topics because people, when prompted by adversity in the game, behave like their universe just imploded. Sort of hilarious, sort of mesmerizing, certain players go 0/5 in lane and then crash. They simply shut down, only to never restart (I imagine their brains making the Pulsefire Ezreal death noise). The FBI commences studies, game companies start commissions, and thousands upon thousands of words are posted by reddit users—all chasing after the existential crisis that League instills in its playerbase, driving them to toxicity, breakdowns and ruin.
But therein lies the problem. People have perspectivally differing opinions on what League is and how it works. As a result, they differ on what a League match should be. That’s my core issue and my reason to avoid playing: everyone believes everyone else is playing their version of the game, and the communication meant to bridge distinct playstyles is abysmal.
There are a ton of content creators out there who can give you awesome advice on how to win at League of Legando. Seriously, there are hundreds of people slaving away on videos attempting to make you—maybe possibly—into a gold player (gasp). Players throw up their arms when people play awful, saying “there are so many guides and build guides and ugh! How do you screw up in this day and age?” They screw up… because there are so many guides and build guides. That’s right, you all are too smart to win.
Let’s look at a potential team of silver players, highlighting each one’s ‘lineage’ in terms of their preferred League sensei. Bear in mind I myself have little reason to watch guides to a game I don’t play, so all examples are stand-ins not entirely representative of their real play style.
Let’s say your silver team is sagacious enough to make a plan beforehand. you all want to level one invade.
The jungler watches Trick2g. He thinks his role in a level one invade is to splinter from the group and distract the enemy team from the other side while his team pushes in. By the time the enemy realizes they’re trapped, it’ll be too late. LATA
The ADC doesn’t watch any content online and just plays the game. Their idea of an invade is a mystery but probably has to do with clumping up.
The support watches Hashinshin and is used to EXTREMELY high elo quality gameplay. They expect the level one invade to be a perfectly executed entry, with tanky champs in front and damaging champs clumped together behind.
the top laner watches a middling content creator who admonishes silver players for trying stuff like this. This creator imposes that if this top laner’s team wants to do it, to just sit it out and focus on getting gold (carry juice) ASAP
The mid laner watches Faker and thinks they can agility tank the enemy’s first round of skill shots.
You have five people, alike in dignity but unaligned in their goals. What’s worse? These aren’t the best players, so all these different plans each INDIVIDUALLY have a chance of failing/tapering off. So even if you had a mind-reading hack, what they think is not what they will do.
What happens is the level one invade starts. The jungler splinters and tries to play footsies with the enemy team, only to get poked down. The support realizes that of the two tanky guys, one is all banged up and the other is top lane under their tower. The ADC has no idea what’s going on and fights, while the mid laner tries to scrap, all while their support flees from the enemy jungle.
Two kills go to the enemy team, and everyone is left with a sense of dread that everyone else has NO idea how to play League of Legends. Their recourse is:
Blame their team
Go limp and slowly lose the game on lack of effort alone
Limp back to their teacher of choice to wrongly gather that their fault lies in not being good enough to carry four players.
I haven’t played the game in years but I bet this situation is STILL familiar to some of you.
The situation above is what kills LoL for me—before feeding, Zoe’s existence, et cetera. This goes beyond a lack of teamwork. It’s anti teamwork, a mentality where teammates have to be forced into your true way of playing or else you are at an inherent disadvantage. I was one of those players years ago and I was never more miserable than when I was queuing up.
In my opinion, if you want to be challenger the first thing you have to realize is that there are prequisites beyond knowing the meta. If you are silver, play to the silver Meta. The worst thing is when streamers or other content creators smurf and either say: “look, you guys are all awful compared to the top!” Or “man, now I know why you guys can’t climb!” Those gold elo players aren’t playing a high diamond match. They’re playing a gold match. There are gross overestimations, miscalculations, random strokes of luck and serendipitous teamfights. Lower elo is for learning how to adapt to the game situation, but too many are interested in simply aspiring for a rank they don’t deserve yet.
I suppose it’s a little hypocritical, but I wish players were more thoughtful and a little less independent. For the time being, it’s just too frustrating to get that sense of teamwork and accomplishment I was chasing many moons ago. I shitpost instead of play because at least you guys are nice when you’re not trying to win at something, and the lore/memes are a bunch of fun 🙂
Thanks for looking at my rambling post!