Greedy Goblin

Friday, October 28, 2016

How my play was a problem in League of Legends

When I started playing League of Legends, I had a fundamentally wrong assumption: that I'll be behind in mechanics (measured as losing a fair 1v1 to most players) and have to compensate with strategic thinking. When I started excluding bad players from the team via queue-dodging, I still used this assumption and just wanted to remove a few "feeders". The opposite was true. In the silver league, where the median players are, I'm probably one of the most experienced and practiced players with my chosen champions Warwick and Nunu. I saw only a handful of players with 100+ games with a champion. I had surprisingly high 1v1 win chance. Most of my teammates - even after throwing out 70% of the games - have only a handful games with their chosen champion, therefore my plan to support them with dragon buffs was totally wrong.

While I called the matchmaking fundamentally flawed, I'm fully aware that it's designed this way to support the business model of the game: sell champions and skins. The objective truth is that if you pull a new champion in a ranked game, you'll be horrible and lose your lane. Riot's income depends on people doing this, so they made sure that buying a new champion doesn't mean series of defeats or formal demotion to bronze.

We saw how the matchmaker perpetuates the problem by punishing players who play only with a few champions. If you just play with your best champion X rating, you'll be facing a player whose average rating is X, while his actual play will be X+300 main or X-300 alt, providing no fun or challenging game. You are better off dunking your rating to X-300 by grabbing an X-600 alt and then you sometimes see challenging games.

But this doesn't explain how this culture first started. At fist people must have had only a few champions, so the first guy who pulled some random champion to see how it goes, he was hammered into the ground. To understand that, we must recognize a unique mechanic in LoL: the second item is stronger than the first. Every other game uses diminishing returns. Spending 2x more gold on gear in WoW or ships in EVE won't make you 2x stronger, just 10% stronger. In League, it makes you 2.5x stronger. This is why on the bottom lane one of the players doesn't lasthit minions and avoids lasthitting enemy champions: they are stronger if one of them gets all the gold than sharing equally.

The reason for that is to make one player of the five, the "carrier" the key of the victory. It doesn't really matter how good the others are. If there are 5 players, each with 10 kills and 5 deaths in one team, while on the second team there are four 0/12 baddies and one 25/0, the second team won. Ergo when the first idiot pulled a new champ without clue to see how it goes, he merely abandoned the chance that he will be this carrier. In his absence there was 4/9 chance that the carrier will be in his team. So he didn't pay dearly for his abysmal play.

No, him having no clue about his champion don't make him a feeder (someone who die repeatedly and make the enemy kill repeatedly). Being a feeder is not about being bad with champion mechanics, it's about being an idiot, like jumping on a more fed champion 1v1 or diving a tower without overwhelming force. An acceptable player with a bad champion won't be a feeder, he will be just low.

And that was me in practically every games. Since I didn't even attempted to carry, nor I supported a carrier specifically, I've given up the chance to be good. It didn't matter that I didn't feed, it didn't matter that I got dragons, it didn't matter that I had positive kill/assist : death. All that mattered is that I wasn't the carrier.

How did my queue-dodging worked: by adding chance to have the carrier in our team. A player with experience can become the carrier, while the player with none can't. By dropping games with 0-1 possible carriers, I greatly increased our chance. But only with 200 MMR. After that my own non-carrier play stopped me from advancing.

I will have to change my gameplay to become or boost the carrier. It's not about getting better mechanically. I'm already better mechanically than most players with their average champion. It's about actually going for ganks, trying to outgrow teammates. If someone else already outgrew the team, go and support him with more ganks and letting him lasthit. Hell, maybe even dive the tower for him so he can feed more.

League of Legends - until the World Championship - is not a team game. It's a fundamentally solo game and you must shed all your "teamplay" thinking. Ignore the "team". Be the best, or support the best player!


Marek Zaborowski said...

Gevlon, but You just said IT IS team game! How does supporting carry is not a team-game? Like in football there will be only ONE player that will score goal. But You works as a team and help team-mates get that goal. Who You gonna assist? Propably best player in Your team since he have biggest chance to strike succesfully.

Whole role of a support is to help Your carry get fed, top-players are often playing tanks that whole role is being a frontline for Your team so squishy carry can inflict damage while their tank and peel for them. There is a lot of -team- in that.

Its the moment when You ignore that team part when things goes wrongs. Supports stealing kills from ADC, tanks that dont protect squishes, even carries can be problems when they dont wait for team to help them and they are trying to go 1v5.

Lets be honest here Gevlon, lol is a game where most selfish thing to do is to co-operate. This is why its interesting game. You should ignore other players AS PERSONS, but You shouldnt ignore them AS TEAMMATES!

Zyrus said...

Remember, people are terrible in almost every single game, the mere fact you are researching and reading stuff outside of the game already makes you usually better than the average. That's why you need a carry mentality and play style, then in game if you identify a better player, more suited to carry that game, support him, but you almost never want to do this, it isn't consistent enough, you're better off being the carry.

Do keep in mind certain things, like while Master Yi is an excellent carry champion, he's not always a good pick and does require fairly high mechanical skill, but if you identify that you can exploit the enemy team (they have little to no cc) then Master Yi will win that game.

You can't go wrong with things like Zac, Hecarim, Vi, Skarner though, these bruisery champions with damage are good everywhere.

I'd say if you want to pick a main champion to carry, right now, go with Zac. Does everything.

Anonymous said...

Now this, this is 100% true.

This has always been the case with MOBA's, especially because of the scaling you pointed out briefly where each item makes your character even stronger than before.

Strength in the game is measured verse the other team, so there is also a 'as soon as you pick up 'x' you are at your strongest, and should use it immediately' effect that happens, and is a large part of effective carrying.

Just picked up infinity edge? Go do a gank immediately, because the longer you hold it, the more time the enemy team has to pick up items and balance out the scales.

Are you going to switch to a more 'carry' character at this point Gevlon? It has always been the best way to raise your ELO (besides teaming with someone who does it). Proof can be found in games like Dota 2 where MMR is visible, and all the top MMR are the carry players (like Miracle for example, mid carry player, ridiculous MMR, while the supports he plays with will be way way lower cause support doesn't win games, it makes the carry win harder)

maxim said...

There was never a point in MOBA history where there were few champions. Even as a custom map for WC3, having many different champions was a design priority.
This culture "started" with the genre.

In general, when skilled people switch champions, they do so for a reason and a good amount of their skill carries over. A skilled person who switched champions for a reason will be much better at the new champion than a newbie just trying for fun. Furthermore, if the reason for switch is correct (brings advantages in current meta), you might not even have a rating drop.

Anonymous said...

I think you are getting a lot better at understanding the strategy.
Actually what you are putting up here is already "playing for the team".
There are only a few more things that I think you see missing.

Intrestingly enough you are not inventing a new strategy here.
What you are doing is is-developing the strategy that "grew by evolution" from a economic point of view. This gives an amazing different angle/insight.

One thing you may want to consider once you go higher on the ladder:

Supporting the carrying player is not always the best for winning:
If the carrying player is "snowballing" already and getting ahead. Doing lots of "failed" ganks against the other teams potential carry (nobody dies, you just waste his time and reduce his farm / kills) may be the right move.
Your goal is that your teams carry is farther ahead than the other teams.
And that is even true for the highest levels of play. The only differences that happen are, that at some point Teams may get two or three carries.

Anonymous said...

Most carries are worthless without a team backing them up. You still have to depend on teammates to win games, even if it's just to soak up some hits, throw out a few stuns, or split-push.

Now, considering you're in silver, if you steal absolutely everything you can from teammates, they will hate you for it. If you annoy them they will be less inclined to listen to you or even refuse to join in teamfight, throw the game, etc.

The way you're approaching this, you're not going to get into gold league any time soon. You need to understand the mindset of silver players better or you will never reliably win.

Anonymous said...

Neither it is a competitive game since having or not having a carrier is a random choice with a bit of matchmaking influence.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon is getting better. While getting better, you get better opponents and teammates. What worked on lower tier will be graduately absolete in higher tier. Just jungeling and not feeding worked well so far, to a elo limit where you wont get any benefits. Now you not only need survive, you need to influence your gameplay to others. If you cant, and playing nunu/warwick in jungle givesy low early game influence, you are the reason why your team gets behind.

First, not every role have same influence. Easiest method is being the person who carries the game. I give my list of champs positions. Its personal option, and can vary a bit per person.

Top position will be BOT AD carry, because they can kill opponent faster then opponents can kill them. When game goes on, they get another important benefit, if they survive, they will sustain. They do most of the damage by autoattacks, what cost only time and trough life steal give health back. Only 2 reasons to recall back to base, need to buy something or if health is too low to get sustain. Drawback is, they need warm up time and because they are focused first on teamfights they need good react time and last hit mechanics. On lategame, ad carry influences the game nonstop without needing to go back to base.

Second position is top, whats on current meta is a tanky champ. Tanks have high health and medicore sustain. If they get low health, they need to go back to fountain. Reason is the teamfight stage, if enemy focus on teamfight is on tanks, other teammates are safe for damage and can focus non tanky champs. Winning teamfight is key to winning objectives and also winning the game. With little help, early and midgame tanks can kill everyone with and while having high healt, they have low chance to die on the process.

Third position is jungle. Jungle has the option to influence lane. That means both giving ganks and avoiding enemy ones. On other hand, failing one either one gives usually very strong buffs to enemy and, if counter jungling is good, very hard way to come back from deficit. IF jungler is pushed out of their jungle, its basicly 5-th wheel on the game, only way to get exp and gold is stealing it from the lane, so its other way to influence game. Jungles got medicore sustain, what means so ong they are jungling, they dont lose much mana or health. If they lane, they quickly lose both of those abilities.

Fourth place is support. Just because AD- carry is so important. Giving kills, giving lasthits to minions, giving wards, giving health, giving sustain, giving cc. Thats all for ad carry to get faster stronger then enemy one. Knowing when you are strong and when you are weak is everything.

Last place is mid. Mid mage usually has 1 benefit, it got alot burst damage. Boom dead. Thing is, after that boom, it wont got much anything more. On early game, they are weak, because they dont got enough oomph to kill. What means if they get low health by poke, they need to recall. Thats early game influence, dont get low health and/or mana. On midgame, roaming can give midgame benefits, but usually, if its not coordinated with team, you will lose mid turret on 1-2 roams. And that outer mid turret is most impactful from vision point of view. On lategame, mid can nuke everyone but tanks, but if enemy can fight back, nuker will be low health/mana/cd and easy pray to counter, so almost every gank ends up asap recalling to base. High downtime means, influence is low on late game too.

I hope it helps.

99smite said...

Great insight you have gotten there! Will you adapt your play style accordingly and what is your strategy then?