Let me introduce myself. I play support. You know, the perhaps least appreciated role in LoL. I am also an ok occasional player, with a job, wife and kids to tend to. That probably reveals me as a lot older than most of you. Yes, I was even around back in the days when Tetris was released (so when someone tells me to uninstall and play Tetris instead, I can honestly say “been there, done that”). I realise now this is going to be a lengthy post, but feel free to read all of it.
I got into Support not because I really wanted to, but because it was so tedious waiting in queue to play anything else. I do not have all day sitting around waiting. Eventually it grew on me, and I even enjoy it tremendously these days. It suits me - A bit like being a dad watching over his family, patting backs and giving advice when I can. But playing, and playing Support at that, is not very rewarding these days. A lot of it boils down to player behaviour. Let me give you an old blokes perspective on it and how we can improve together.
First of all, everyone likes to win. Simple as that. I do too. But the game is actually not about the win. Winning is just a consequence of a well played game. The satisfaction is not in adding yet another game to the winning pile, ever increasing the win rate itself. It is about the satisfaction of getting everything to work together, and when it does it usually leads to victory. I can even be really satisfied with a lost game if I feel that I did the best I could, and even feel happy for the enemy team if they outcompete me/us. But to some, winning is everything. And with “everything” I mean everything! The win rate must increase and nothing will stand in their way. Manners, language, behaviour are all cast aside for the ultimate goal of WINNING! And that leads to the dark side of LoL. The side that makes some people wish other to die, and players like me just sad.
I play support. My goal with the game depends on the champ, team and opponents. If I play Leona I look for a well timed stun and all-in, fighting my way out of combat. As Sona I poke and watch over my team. As Janna I may cc, engage and disengage. I look for objectives, create opportunities, engage and disengage. I still learn new stuff in every single game. But I am not invincible, cannot read your mind, and I am not a One Man Army. But know what? Neither are you! But everyone wants to be. Everyone wants to be that super duper carry taking on everyone and everything (1vs5 pentakill), getting tons of kills and winning the game for the team. And depending on the ego, it may lead to everything from success to ultimate failure. And if we listen to the worst kind of player, they never make a single mistake. But everyone else makes tons of mistakes. And since they never make mistakes they feel it gives them the right to act like idiots. Sometimes it feels like this game should change its name to either “League of OMFG!”, or “League of Reports”. Because writing “omfg” and “report!” really helps, right? And imagine, just imagine, that maybe the enemy bot getting fed is not because I am a lousy player that needs to uninstall, get cancer, die, and be reported. Maybe it is because the enemy bot is just, you know… better? Big deal. It happens. Just remember, sometimes I am the one who is better. It goes both ways.
Imagine for a second that LoL was real life. Imagine it was, say, school. As a scientist I teach both basic and pretty advanced courses at my University. Imagine I would be just as toxic as some players are in LoL. Would that be ok? Maybe you failed your exam. Would you prefer if I supervised you and gave you advice on how to get better, or would you prefer I wish you dropped out and died instead? Or have me rant and flame at you because you failed? If you think about it, what makes LoL different than any other social situation? Nothing. It is all about you, me and the people around us. Respect is never single sided.
Want my advice? Be the player you want everyone else to be. Do you appreciate a nice word, a pat on the back and some good advice? I bet you do. I do too. So does everyone. But never expect everyone else to pat your back and praise you while you spit them right in the face. Are we 4vs5? Not fun if you ask me. Are we 5vs4? Not fun either. Know that feeling when you stomp the enemy team? They feel like you do when you get stomped yourself. No reason to rub it in. Is the top lane dying a lot? Maybe s/he has a bad day or is not very experienced. Work with it instead of downgrading. Try to help, give advice. Be the mentor if you feel you are so much better than him/her. If it fails, ok, so be it. It is not the end of the world.
League is like a lesson of life in general. You will not win all the time. You will not be the best in all categories all the time. You will fail. But what is true for you is also true for me, and vice versa.
I stay far away from ranked and play only for fun. But if you listen to some players it is like they play for their very existence, which is both scary and depressing at the same time. If you cannot handle a win or defeat in LoL, a game, how do you expect to handle it in real life? Once you realise that you can actually use LoL to become a better person. Breathe. Do your best. I will do my best too. Let us have a real good game together. Let us be humble in both victory and defeat. Give me a smile and you will certainly get a smile back. Outperform me and I will bow in grace.
Just a few words on the way. It could be so much better than it is today. But it will not change by itself. It will change one word at a time, and the words come from you and me. It is our responsibility, not anyone elses. Write insults and flame, and the gaming experience will continue to degrade even further. Write nice stuff and be positive and the game will actually start to change. One word at a time.
My choice. Your choice. Our choice.