MOBA Monday: Taste Testing Flavor of the Month

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MOBA Monday: MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is my favorite kind of gaming genre in the world.
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In League of Legends
, a prominent aspect of the game is the nature of “Flavor of the Month” strategies (or FotM for short.) Basically, FotM refers to what’s in style for a given metagame. It could be the champions being selected, an item build being executed throughout a match or anything else for that matter.

No matter how you slice it, FotM among the League of Legends community has tremendous influence as to what players do for periods of time.

A highly respected player popularizes the new, slick way of using a certain champion.

A trend develops.

Continue reading

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MOBA Monday: A Change of Heart

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Note: MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.

I have had a change of heart many times when it comes to League of Legends, particularly when it comes to my viewpoints on certain champions.

I often “hate” some champs for a long time for whatever reason. I don’t like their look, their gameplay design, their voice … Whatever it may be, I am stubborn about my stance on champs until I finally give them a genuine shot to win my affection.

In many cases, I am pleasantly surprised as to how incredible some characters are. Below are five random champs who started off in my “I think you’re a stupid champ” category before naturally moving on up to the “You’re an awesome character!” distinction.
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1. Wukong, the Monkey King

Initial Impression: I honestly thought Wukong was a boring design in terms of style and flair. It also did not help Wukong’s case that Heroes of Newerth’s own Monkey King was released around the same time as well (I really hate HoN, but at the time I thought HoN’s Monkey King was totally more interesting.)

Upon release, Wukong was actually leaning toward the underpowered side, with his skills being a tad weak. Not to mention, the clone he created from Decoy was buggy and did not “deceive” anyone properly.

Current Impression: Wukong rocks! There is no monkeying around when you utilize his skills properly. His ultimate, Cyclone, is super underrated. Not only does it do a lot of damage, its effect of knocking everyone up for a second is quite disruptive because not many things can handle displacement crowd control.

Wukong is just a crafty and fun champ to play.

Continue reading

Happy Haiku: Winter

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Happy Haiku!

Haiku
白い雪
ワンダーランド
寒い冬

Romaji
Shiroi yuki
Wandaalando
Samui fuyu

English Translation
White snow
Wonderland
Cold winter

- Nhan “Nhan-Fiction” Pham

Please be sure to like “Nhan-Fiction” on Facebook and follow me on Twitter:)

The Play-Setter and Playmaker Part 5

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Branching Out
League of Legends” has tons of champions these days, so there are plenty of choices to make as to who to play. To find new inspiration in a champion you once despised for whatever reason is always an enlightening experience.

Maokai, the Twisted Treant, was a champion I once deemed “stupid” and trashy, but then I found myself really getting into Maokai near the end of Season 3.

I attribute the sudden interest to watching the Pro Player Pick vid below.

Continue reading

Diamond Dreams

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Dreaming of Diamond
So the end of Season 3 happened last evening for “League of Legends.”

Unfortunately, I was unable to hit Diamond as I had hope for, but I did manage to reach high-Platinum territory. My Matchmaking Rating (MMR) was occasionally putting me in games with a few low-Diamond players, which tells me that Diamond is definitely within my grasp for Season 4.

It was frustrating because I am 100 percent certain I have Diamond-caliber skills for particular aspects of my game (i.e. jungling), but I tanked my MMR for a long time to the point where climbing up in Elo was difficult and extremely annoying.

Gaining less League Points for each win while losing a chunk of LP for every loss meant I was always at a disadvantage. I would make progress with a few wins, but then I would suffer a huge setback with even a single defeat.

In other words, I would make one step forward, but I found myself falling two+ steps behind again with each loss. Needless to say, it took too long to repair my MMR back into OK territory. And by then, the season was already concluding.

I actually figured out that it would take me at least 20+ games for me to hit Diamond near the final days, and this was assuming I managed to come out victorious in every single match. Not necessarily impossible per se, but even the best of the best lose a game here and there in Solo Queue.

And of course, the late-season terrors in ranked popped up in full abundance. There were so many trolls, low-skilled players, Elo-boosted players and everything else under the rainbow that meant every Solo Queue game hinged heavily on luck. Did your team have the high-Elo smurf or did your team get the guy who decided to play again after a five-month hiatus?

Overall, it was an unpleasant experience trying to make a late push toward my Elo goals. The thought of hacking away at the ranking system deflated a lot of fun about of my matches, plus I found myself raging a lot because it was always ONE THING or another.

Then again, I only have myself to blame for not sticking to my original system and strategies for ranking up. Had I stayed disciplined to carry out my game plan, I probably would have hit Diamond a long time ago with way less matches played, a lot more personal satisfaction and a huge absence of excessive stress from painful, mentally taxing matches. Continue reading

Late-season Terrors in Ranked

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The end of the third season for “League of Legends” is about two weeks away. Of course, this means the ranked ladder at this point is going to be overrun with a lot more players than usual.

Unfortunately, this also entails dealing with the “riff-raff” of the community as everyone is trying to make the last-second push toward their rank goals. It is incredibly mean to call these individuals the “riff-raff,” but believe me – they will put a damper on your progress.

Regardless of the division you are aiming for (Gold, Platinum and so forth), the LoL community’s worst offenders are running rampant in ranked at the moment.

Below are five random examples of the players who have been causing me so many problems in ranked. In no particular order of significance. Continue reading

The Play-setter and Playmaker Part 4

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How does one naturally choose their player type in “League of Legends?” I believe people gravitate toward play-setter or playmaker characteristics based on which champions they typically select.

A quick recap of what I mean by the play-setter and playmaker terms: a play-setter complements good plays, whereas a playmaker is the one who makes the big plays happen.

Though it may appear obvious, there is more to it than meets the eye.

For instance, let’s use my favorite jungler in the game as an example: Sejuani, the Winter’s Wrath.

I consider Sejuani to be the best jungler up my sleeve, but I automatically dub myself a play-setter whenever I select her for a given match. Despite how well I may play Sejuani, she never quite reaches the point of being a playmaker-caliber character.

But why is this the case? Continue reading

Pet Peeve: Toxic Community Members

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As much as I love being part of the “League of Legends” community, I hate the fact that an abundance of toxic players exist. Whether it is due to a lack of maturity or just a matter of some players just being naughty players for the sheer sake of it, toxic players do detract from the entire LoL experience.

Unfortunately, toxic players come in many vile forms, and sometimes it does come down to picking your poison as to whom you would rather deal with in your given match.

Below are five types of toxic players who I despise (not including trolls who set out to ruin games on purpose because they are a given).

In no particular order of significance.

1. The Pub Star
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe some swag is necessary if you want to get good at a video game, or anything for that matter, but there is always that point where one is just being an annoying showboat.

The pub star often put themselves in the same vein as higher-level pros. And sure, some of these guys and gals do have some noteworthy skills to their names, but their attitude often stinks.

A pub star thinks highly of themselves. They are the ones who brag about their feats of high-kill games that they just “carried in.” They boast about how they will win the game for you without breaking a sweat.

And you may be asking, “How is this all bad?”

Well, a pub star always comes off as smug, and thus they are naturally difficult to rally behind when they are just pushy. Instead of leading their allies toward victory, they often “isolate” themselves as being above their teammates.

And of course, when things go south during your LoL match, expect the air of confidence from the pub star to devolve into a transition of blaming their teammates, flaming and coughing up excuses.

“OMG, this team is too heavy! I can’t carry this!”

Expect them to flame you for stupid things, nitpicking you over things that probably do not make sense. They will try to rationalize why they somehow underperform after proclaiming how good they are.

Basically, pub stars are toxic because they reflect every negative stereotype of a player in LoL who constantly goes into every game with the “It’s not me – it’s my teammates’ fault if I do bad!” mentality. Continue reading

The Play-setter and Playmaker Part 3

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I need to become better in “League of Legends.”

I must change my ways as a play-setter into a playmaker. At all costs.

But a combination of bad luck and poor judgment has hindered my progress. I feel like I am actually improving as an individual, but some element is missing.

Nonetheless, I believe in the notion of perseverance.

Pet Peeve: Redirecting Blame

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In “League of Legends,” a line I keep uttering to myself constantly is … “Scrubs find scapegoats.” 

What I mean is, bad players always have to find someone/something to blame when they screw up. LoL is a game built upon capitalizing on mistakes, whether how small or large of an impact they may be in the grand scheme of things.

It could be missing an entire wave of minions to last hit as the ADC or whiffing your Smite for the Dragon, but every kind of “error” does affect the end result. The notion of blame, however, appears more significant than anything else.

Naturally, people do not like having blame being focused on themselves, so the self-defense mechanism is to try pawning said blame on someone else when possible.
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Example Scenario: A teammate of yours is caught by the opposing team in a disadvantageous location. Your allies attempt to help your caught teammate, but a “hopping on a sinking ship” situation occurs and everyone on your team is killed in the process.

Your allies, of course, start getting mad at your ally for going somewhere they should not have been in, but the ally becomes defensive and tries to blame someone else for their mistake.

“Oh, it’s because the support isn’t warding!”

This prompts an argument from the support to say they should not be blamed. A flame war ensues.
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Continue reading

The Play-setter and Playmaker Part 2

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What’s Your Type?
My transition from being a play-setter to a playmaker
in “League of Legends” continues. I am certainly learning a lot as I try to improve as a player.

A quick recap of what I mean by the terms:

Play-setter: A player who complements their teammates to make them look better. Play-setters enhance good plays and generally provide support to their allies, plus they are generally overshadowed by playmakers who do the “heavy duty” stuff (i.e. getting kills).

Playmaker: A player who is capable of pulling off the exciting plays that lead to big, in-game impact. These players can and will carry their allies to victory, assuming they have the appropriate supporting cast to make it all possible.

And again, I will emphasize that both player types are not mutually exclusive to each other. Anyone can be a play-setter or a playmaker, and some are naturally a mix of both types.

But yeah, for so long, I was only just a play-setter and nothing more. Even back when I played Defense of the Ancients (DotA), I proudly proclaimed myself to be a support-focused person. I often struggled with winning games on “my own,” relying heavily on my teammates to make victory possible while I did my part to contribute toward a win.

And honestly, I have been very content with being a play-setter up to this point, but the urge to become a true playmaker is calling out to me.  Continue reading