League of Legends

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Now that we’ve narrowed down what to focus on, it’s time to put it to use! There are three main points you should focus on if you’re interested in starting an eSport:

1.) Find a character/weapon/play-style you enjoy!

When you start your game, you’re going to need something to keep you there. Some people pick a specific character they like to main, others pick a specific roles or character archetype. Figure out the style you enjoy most, and just play the game. Don’t fret too much about the competitive aspects when you first start. Many games even prevent you from playing the ranked modes until a certain point (level 30 in League, 25 in OW, etc.). Play for fun and get a feel for the game itself. It’s no good to play a game competitively if you don’t enjoy it, or you’ll be hard-pressed to maintain your practice regimens. In this way, be casual about your game to get a feel for it. Throughout my eSports time, I’ve never had a game click instantly that I told myself: I want to play this competitively. By playing it for fun early on, you’ll have a strong foundational knowledge of the game’s core mechanics, roles, positions, etc. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t pick it up quick. Learning takes time, but if a game is fun, you’ll hardly notice it!

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When it comes to any sort of competitive hobby, it’s not enough to just grind out games through quantity. You NEED to practice effectively, or you won’t make any progress at all. If you have no idea what to work on, there’s no way to improve. This fact is true of any and every eSport, and this conversation happens at every level of gameplay.  Read the rest of this entry »

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With Worlds 2017 wrapped up(no spoilers! Here’s the start of the opening ceremony before the games), it’s time to talk League of Legends. Recently, my friend group and I have gotten back into League of Legends. We’ve certainly played League off and on since we all stopped playing it competitively as a five man ranked team 3 years ago, however, with one of our newer members starting to learn League, we’ve dived back in head first. As with Minecraft, I’ve decided that if I ever got back into League I’d play it for the purely casual aspects of it, enjoying the experience and avoiding unnecessary stress from trying to climb on the ranked ladder. As a result, it’s been a much more enjoyable experience, and our skill from playing competitively before has stuck around through thick and thin, albeit a bit rough nowadays.

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Game Knowledge refers to the mental interactions and experiences between the player and the game. Knowing cooldowns, what items to buy, where to go, your role, what everything does, etc. is game knowledge. Intuition refers to the utilization and practice of game knowledge in gaining an advantage, usually predicting an opponents move, knowing their power spikes and strengths or weaknesses. Intuition allows players to make plays without necessarily having the skill to pull them off by analyzing patterns and coming up with a strategic plan. It might refer to having a point and click(low skill/interaction), but extremely powerful ability that must be timed appropriately in a fight, but otherwise be useless if used incorrectly.

Skill (often called ‘mechanics’) refers to the physical interactions and experiences between the player and the game. Being able to aim correctly, react to/dodge opponents moves, land certain abilities, and quickly outplay opponents are all parts of skill. Read the rest of this entry »

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Part 1, Communication basics here.

Just like with traditional sports, eSports are played on a specific playing field that players are confined to. Some maps do this with invisible/impassable walls, and others with cliffs or insta-death locations. Games have very defined out of bounds areas due to the nature of video games, which means there’s no need for out of bounds rules that traditional sports like soccer or American football utilize. If players find a way to exit out of these zones, more often than not, they’ll fall through the map eternally, resulting in many games using a death floor in order to prevent infinite falls/loops.  Competitive games are usually in a state of “perpetual beta” much like internet browsers are, constantly evolving and changing to meet the needs of the fan base.

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Part 2: Knowing your playing field here.

Unfortunately for the introverts out there, communication is an absolute must in team oriented competitive games(which are often the biggest eSports due to the dynamism provided from having multiple players working in conjunction). While there are certainly games that don’t require having a partner/teammates such as real time strategy(RTS) games like Starcraft, fighting games like Street Fighter/SSB Melee, or even speed-running, most big eSports titles will involve communication in some way. Most professional teams in eSports are starting to adopt coaches to make communication as efficient as it can be. South Korea has a leg up on the rest of the world in this regard. Their background in eSports from the Starcraft era, along with their infrastructure and cultural appeal for eSports, has come to fruition in the modern day.

So what is communication?

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While competitively playing is all well and good, nothing beats playing games casually with friends. Whether you meet them online because they were a cool person in-game, or you just play with your real life friends to keep in touch when you can’t make plans, casual gaming is an extremely important part of the development of the digital and electronic market and, by extension, eSports. As such, games that focus on the casual market and have enough content to keep them interested(whether through DLC, updates, bug fixes, new characters, artwork, videos, community interactions, etc) tend to do quite well in the digital age.

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What are eSports (also written e-Sports, or electronic Sports) you might ask? In a nutshell, eSports refers to competitive video gaming. While many would agree this simple description doesn’t even scratch the surface, we’ll begin with using that for the purposes of this blog.

eSports basics here.

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