Taking One for the Team

One might not think of a video game as a setting to observe the best of human behavior. In the case of League, there is a great deal of conversation about the less-than-exemplary behavior of certain gamers, conversations that I have actively participated in, for I like many have had to endure the asinine and over-the-top raging of fellow gamers who, by their toxic behavior, suck every last ounce of fun out of the experience and make it all about how angry they are at everyone else.

But there are times when the game does, in my opinion, bring out the best. The picture I will attempt to paint is without a doubt one that you, if you game at all, have experienced more than once. I know that I have. And it always makes me smile – outwardly and inwardly – for it is so simple and yet equally profound. It represents some of the very best of all of us, albeit small in scale and meaning.

You’re in game. The battle suddenly gets heated. Shots and spells explode around you, and you realize you must flee or die. You start to run, barely hanging on with a sliver of a health bar. You run, you dodge, you cut one way then another, you move, dash, flash, whatever you can to try to stay alive, but you see Ashe’s arrow or Sivir’s boomerang or Teemo’s poison dart or whatever manner of your imminent death coming towards you.

In that moment, time slows. You see it coming. You know you are going to die.

But your teammate has been running with you, flinging spells and attacks back at the pursuing enemy, and just before the very last of your health is ripped from you, he or she steps in front of the missive of death, taking the damage for you.  You both live to fight on, and the game continues, the small moment of perfection quickly passing except for a speedily typed “ty.”

It is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

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New Competitive Ladder?

As I noted in my last post, I have been inspired to write down some of my own burgeoning ideas about improving the overall experience of playing League after reading a fellow bloggers post here. I will try to make sense as I write, as these ideas are not yet fully formed in my own mind. Have patience and bear with me!

I happen to be a highly competitive person. I always, and I mean always, play to win, whether it is a video game or board game or card game or sports game. Just ask my family and friends. I am a brutal opponent in that regard. But while I am serious about winning, I do not enjoy winning at the expense of overall enjoyment and for me, enjoying a game is equal parts doing well as an individual and (this is the important part) having a shared experience of joy and fun with the people I am playing with. Ergo, when one of my teammates is ranting at me for my gameplay, I assume they are no longer having fun, thus destroying the shared experience that is so important to me. I don’t mind folks calling me out when my play is not up to snuff, such as “geez, Sarah, you are totally off your game today!”, and I really appreciate it when folks try to lend a friendly hand, like “hey, why don’t you try this?”. But when I can see that my play is destroying their fun, well, I can no longer have fun either.

So this is the question that continues to pester me, given my own personality and gaming quirks – how can you keep the overall game competitive but in a way that equally awards good sportsmanship and friendly team behavior? How can you ensure that the fun of the game doesn’t disappear just because one or more players don’t make exactly the right decision in every single moment? Right now, Normal and Ranked matches have you progress solely on winning (at least that is my rudimentary understanding – feel free to correct me!). I would personally like to have a separate competitive ladder that is based on both winning and overall good sportsmanship and team play, perhaps some magical blending of the method for awarding honor ribbons plus the traditional ELO system. Note that I am not suggesting replacing the current system. I say that because for many players, they really do care most about winning. I respect that.  There should be a place for that. But for me, knowing that my teammates are enjoying the game as much as I am is as important to me and my game experience as winning and I want to play with others who feel the same. And to do that, I don’t see how that is possible without there being a separate competitive ladder for me and other like-minded players.

So in a nutshell, that is my crazy idea. Curious to know what you think.

Great Post

I thought this was an excellent post on a topic near and dear to my heart – namely improving the overall League playing experience – so pressing it as a post to my blog as well. As I told TwoHP (@twohp2few) in my comments, the post has inspired me to write down some of my thoughts in this regard as well. But in the meantime, hope you enjoy the post as much as I did.

Making Our League Better: Starting a Conversation by TwoHP (@twohp2few)

Gleefully Giggling

There are so many things about League that I love but one is certainly how fresh the game can still be after playing almost daily for about 9 months. Lux is now my girl (after only 2 fabulous intermediate bots games) with Quinn a solid second, so that only a week or so after posting my fave champions, the list already looks pretty different. Add to that honing my skills in solo top and jungling as well as continuing to learn the overall meta game in Classic and I am a gleefully giggling happy player who has many more months of total fun in the works with League. Thank you, Riot, for the simple joy you bring to my life.

Time to queue up for more intermediate bots…still working on Lux’s shield and remembering to use it appropriately in my rotation. I keep forgetting I have it!

Why I Luv LoL

A hard question to answer as there is so much to say. Fast-paced action, an amazing amount of variability in game play with a small and manageable number of abilities, gorgeous graphics and skins, oodles of champions to play and aquire, the chance to connect with my tweener, and so much more. For me as a busy mom, having a game that I can jump in and out of but still have an ongoing relationship with is huge. While I still adore MMORPG’s, I am finding that I cannot maintain my interest over time like I have been able to with LoL. Riot Games, you guys totally rock. Thank you, thank you!

Me Time

So the young one is in bed, the oldest reading until lights out, and time for Mom to squeeze in a game of League. Woot! Gaming is my escape and I’ve been falling asleep at night rather than stay up and play. Not good for my overall mental and emotional health. Seriously.