The value of teamwork

Hello, all! Mandaray here again. 🙂

So recently, I kind of took a break both from blogging, and from playing League. While I was gone, Riot decided to kick off Season 3 with some very exciting changes to the ranked ladders. My friends and I are pretty stoked about these changes, and I for one am always happy to have a chance to prove my mettle in ranked queues.

Last night, I had a bit of free time, so I decided to hop into a solo ranked queue. Most people equate this to running a cheese grater over you knuckles, but I often find solo queue to be amusing if approached with the correct attitude. (Also see: Not a super-serious one.) The first queue dissolved after a summoner on the enemy team decided to dodge, which kind of sucked since we had a fairly decent team synergy. Second time around, though, everything stuck–though unfortunately we had a jungler who was unhappy with us for banning Rammus who was, quote, “their favorite jungler.” (They said nothing about what jungler they wanted, or that they were only proficient with a single jungler. But who cares about details like that?) They picked Sejuani instead, though they were sure to let us know that they were unhappy about it.

The game progressed pretty normally from there. I was supporting my ADC bot; we got a few ganks; it was pretty uninteresting. Eventually the enemy team managed to grab First Blood, though it was really more a matter of bad luck on the part of our jungler rather than anyone’s failure to be competent. I figured that maybe we might have a rough start, and that was fine. Not every game has to be an exercise in complete domination, after all.

But then it quickly became apparent that there were problems within our team. Bot lane did poorly, which drew the ire of mid lane. Top lane kept getting ganked, which again drew the ire of mid lane. (Our Annie was a confrontational sort. I muted them after about five minutes.) The enemy team’s AP Yi began to snowball, which drew the ire of everyone.

And then, as we moved into team fights, I began to notice something: We had no teamwork.

Our Sejuani would often initiate fights when other team members weren’t present, or were in terrible positions. Sometimes, a few of us were even buying items at spawn when she would jump in. Naturally of course, this made them very angry; doubly so since they were the kind of personality who liked to blame others for their own mistakes. Which led to more bickering, which led to even worse teamwork.

We had an Annie, a Kha’zix and a late-game Twitch, plus me as Nidalee. We had plenty of damage. But because we could never manage to focus or work together effectively, we fell apart at almost every team fight. No one else besides me seemed to notice this, and unfortunately I knew any attempt on my part to fix the situation would simply draw more “why did bot feed?” comments.

I know it’s been mentioned before on this blog, but last night’s game really drove the point home for me: When you’re playing League of Legends, teamwork is more valuable than anything else.

You can have all the DPS you want; you can hand-craft a team comp that would make the pro tournament players weep with joy; you can even use the latest over-powered champ to their fullest. But if you don’t have any teamwork? You will fail. The only time in which you won’t fail is when the enemy team doesn’t have any–you guessed it–teamwork of their own.

I have seen it time and time again. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize, but it’s always there. If you want to be a successful League player, you must to understand how to be a team player.

Will this mean you win every time? No. But it will definitely increase your chances, and will probably inspire confidence in the rest of your team as well. That’s not always easy in a community like League, but if you can do it: The rewards are more than worth it.

Good luck. 🙂

For Honor! (and ribbons)

I’ve attained the title of Honorable Opponent on my main account! Hurrah!

When Riot first announced that they would be introducing the Honor System, I was excited. There have been many times when I’ve wanted to reward a random player’s great behavior, team work, or general level of skill. But prior to the Honor System, really the only way to accomplish this was by adding the person to your friend’s list. And that was great–but unfortunately what would usually happen is that they’d go offline after maybe a game or two, and I wouldn’t see them for awhile. Then I’d forget who they were. Or, they would always be playing with their group of friends at the same time I was playing with mine. It was always a very hit-0r-miss situation, and I felt like it never really gave them the kudos that they deserved. And this is of course assuming they accepted my friend request in the first place.

These days, it’s so much easier to reward both your opponents and your teammates for good behavior. I feel like this system dovetails well with The Tribunal, which I am still a great supporter of. (Even if the trolls always insist that reporting does nothing; I care not for your discouragement, trollkine!) I also feel like it matters when you get Honor, especially Honorable Opponent. Not only does it mean that you left an impression, but you get something to show others that they can rely on you to be a good teammate. I also like the fact that Riot has designed it so that friends can’t just boost other friends into ranks of Honor–though I will never tire of annoying one of my friends by constantly giving her “Helpful”. 😄

And yes, there is a great deal of pride involved in getting your special little ribbon. Nothing wrong with a bit of that! But really I think it’s the far-reaching consequences of the Honor System I enjoy most of all. I like the fact that I am given a way to actively encourage good behavior. For whatever reason, League is often known as having a really bad community. I know that’s not an impression Riot wants to have hanging around, even if their game is really popular. After all, it alienates new players and sometimes embitters veterans such as myself. (I’ve known several people who have either quit the game outright or taken long breaks due to the League community being…well, itself.) So having a way to reward and elevate those of us who do make an effort to be decent human beings is good to see.

What are some of the things you like about the Honor System? Has anyone Honored you recently? Does it make any difference to you when you see someone with a ribbon? Discuss!

what’s up gurl?

Hey, everyone! Mandaray here. 🙂 I’m baaack!

Sorry that I haven’t written in awhile. I tend to only blog when I am strongly moved by something, and the past month has been very busy for me. And League, while fun, is not always a place for deep introspection. But a few recent experiences of mine have gotten the old cogs turning again, and I’ve returned to speak a little about my thoughts.

Basically, what sparked my train of thought was the following exchange, which happened to me a few days ago while I was queuing with a couple of friends of mine:

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Elise, the Spider Queen; or How Riot Forgot That Women Wear Clothes

Hey, everyone! My name is Mandaray, or Gwenna when I’m playing League. I’ve been playing for almost two years now, but I’ve been a gamer for pretty much as long as I can remember. My usual fare when it comes to games are RPGs, shooters, and of course the occasional MOBA. I livestream these games as regularly as I can over on my channel. When I’m not playing games, writing is one of my other passions. I believe that the written word is one of the most powerful and effective tools for education and change. As such, you can find me blogging about a variety of different subjects over at my blog, Note to Self. Today I was very excited to receive an invitation to join this blog, particularly so that I can write about a subject which is very near and dear to my heart: Female characters in video games.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about Elise.

As many of you will probably know, Riot has recently announced the release of its newest champion, Elise, the Spider Queen. According to the website, this is a character which has been in production for almost three years, and as such I am sure there are a lot of folks in the League playing crowd who are very excited right now. And, looking at her skill set, she does seem like she’s going to be a lot of fun, especially if you’re the sort of player who enjoys champions like Nidalee or Swain.

But what was my reaction when I saw Elise’s picture and skill set released on my Facebook feed?


Why disappointment, you ask? Here’s why, right here:

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