League of Legends is billed as a team game, with two squads of five dueling to the death in a variety of locales. However, a few games spent in the Solo Queue highlights the fact this is really only a team game in name – matches will quickly descend into bickering, infighting, and insult-hurling before the First Blood is spilled. New players are lambasted for their inexperience, and left to their fate. The frequent chant of “KS!” – kill steal – further illustrates the individualistic nature of the game, with teammates only there because a 1 v 5 game would not be pleasant. The toxicity of the game in the solo queues may now be an engrained part of the LoL culture, and the fixes for this are worth exploring in a different debate. What is often an interesting insight into the mind of the average LoL player is the post-match debriefing, where players from both teams can interact with each other for the first time.
After most matches a round of “gg”s – good game – are traded between players as a salute to their team for playing hard, and their opponents for providing suitable competition. But in cases of a rout, when one team surrenders early or an opposing player has caused pandemonium for example, the blame is quickly flung in every direction.
In one match, a Vayne on our team finished 22/4/9. These are solid stats, indicating a player of skill using the character. When the match ended and we went to the post-match stats, the enemy team immediately began laying into each other, giving some indication of how aggressive the team chat during the game must have been. The most common taunt was directed at the players who had opposed Vayne during the early game, a Master Yi and a Renekton. The players were told they ‘sucked’, that they had fed Vayne ‘because they sucked’, that their ‘sucking’ was the root cause of an overwhelming defeat.
What is surprising here is that the blame is laid squarely at the feet of the two opposition players, with little regard shown to our Vayne. Having such solid stats indicates our Vayne player knew what they were doing and it is interesting to see that a team, rather than accept that another player may be more skilled than they, sought to hound their own players. The mud getting slung in the post match indicates that the team chat was a similar environment, and this must certainly have contributed to why they had such a bad performance. Rather than look to support their team members who are struggling against our solid Vayne player, they allowed them to get run down and then make a scapegoat out of them.
Contrary to what the solo queue would want you to think, LoL is a team game. Victory comes not from five players gallivanting in any manner they choose, squabbling over who goes bottom as an example, but from a solid, cohesive effort. Show support to your team, talk to each other, don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to switch lanes, and your teams will fare much better.
Another Week, Another Patch
The ranked queues this week have been shut down in anticipation of the arrival of patch 4.4. While not bringing as many changes as 4.3, 4.4 still features some new, interesting alterations to the characters and items and one champion has been given an entire reworking.
The character in question is Kassadin, who will undergo significant changes in the upcoming patch. As the notes state, Kassadin now boasts a longer attack range, while his passive no longer grants attack speed but ignores unit collision. This alteration of these skills will result in Kassadin needing to be played in a very different style, making him into a highly mobile assassin which is how the designers intended him. His skills have also been altered, with his Null Sphere no longer silencing the target and doing slightly less damage. To compensate, this ability now grants a shield for 1.5 seconds. His ultimate, Riftwalk, has underwent a complete retooling – instead of granting ability power with each level, it scales with mana. When hitting enemy champions, it no longer refunds mana, and each stack on an enemy doubles its mana cost. These are significant changes to Kassadin, and obviously alter the way he is played. Riot has stated that they will monitor Kassadin closely in the following weeks to see how the changes are affecting him.
The other main change in 4.4 is the change to the Lich Bane, which Riot argues was causing issues due to “its high-power AP burst”. Rather than dealing 50 (+0.75 ability power) magic damage, it has been changed to deal 75% base AD (+0.5 ability power) magic damage. To counter the damage reduction given to champions who rely on Lich Bane, Diana, Ezreal, Fizz, and Twisted Fate have had some power given back to them, some of their abilities doing more damage.