The Value of Replays:How to do your own Vod Reviews. (LoL)

So you want to climb that ranked ladder, playing the game is a good way to improve but not necessarily the most efficient in isolation. If you are serious about improving you should be watching your own replays. Why? I’m glad you asked.

The most obvious and perhaps the most important thing is that it will allow you to identify mistakes. Identifying an error is an important step towards rectifying it and watching a replay can often reveal why you died here, or what cost you that team fight at baron.

No I’m not suggesting that you watch the replay at normal speed from start to finish, this is time consuming and inefficient. What you want to be looking for are your own errors. The replay spectator can help you here as the bar at the bottom contains markers for every kill and every objective. If you move along the bar and see that you died at five minutes, you can skip to just before that point and watch what happened. If it was a gank you didn’t have vision of, you have, come up with a couple of solutions, don’t push the wave (play safer) or ward. I find it helpful to make a note somewhere visible of the things I wish to improve, for example:

  • Warding in lane.
  • Switch to blue trinket when out of lane.
  • Manage waves, don’t constantly hard shove.

Having these in a visible location to refer to when you are recalling or walking back from base can help you prevent making the same mistakes again.

Team fights can be a little more tricky to analyse but there a few general things that you should look for.

  • Were you fighting for a reason, ie a tower, dragon, or baron?
  • Why did the Team Fight start?
  • Did you make any crucial mistakes? Ie, bad positioning, flashing into a wall, bad target selection etc.
  • Did you have vision?
  • Did either side have a numbers or gold lead?

If you have looked at all of these things for the team fights you’ve lost and come up with an answer to each of these questions, you’ve probably gotten as much out of this replay. It’s time to go and play more games, got to climb that ladder after all!

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any tips and tricks for efficient and successful replay analysis? Share them in the comments section below.

Five Basic Tips for New League of Legends Players:

So, if you’re an established player of Plat or above, this probably isn’t the list for you. But if you are stuck in Bronze or Iron, you may find some of these tips helpful in all of your games, ranked or otherwise.  So without further here’s number one.

  1. Image result for wards image league of legends Vision, place it, clear it, utilise it. Vision is something that is criminally underrated at all levels of competitive play in League of Legends. It is of critical importance to success and takes the number one spot on this list. So how do you improve your in game vision? The easiest way is to use your trinkets, like seriously, its free, place the damn ward. If you have a ward, ready to place and no vision, place it before you do anything else.  In a similar vein, you can help your team by buying control wards as they guarantee your opponents have no vision in that area. You should buy one of these every back if you can, if you can afford it, buy two! You’ll need it as you change positions on the map to contest different objectives.  If you have a sweeper, check areas the enemy would want to ward such as gank paths or objectives. By placing and clearing vision you will force the opposing team into risky moves that you can then punish as well as protecting your team from ambushes.
  2. No Fighting Sign and Boy Fighting Stock Illustration - Illustration of  clipart, sign: 84573081Don’t fight for no reason! This is something that loses teams games, minimises your available resources and leads to mistakes. Constant fighting is for Aram, not for Summoners Rift. Make sure that you go and pick up those side waves and keep farming. Make sure that you place vision around the objectives you want to contest and don’t fight for the hell of it. Fight when you can push a tower for some plating. Fight to contest a drake or a baron. Don’t fight because you see an enemy. Fight without vision and for no reason can lead to you throwing leads. I don’t mean, do not be aggressive or push your advantages, but do it smartly.
  3. VIDEO: Baron Nashor Gets a Skin for Worlds | ht_mediaObjectives Objectives Objectives! This is a nice short one as it ties into the point about fighting with purpose. Contest objectives, ward objectives, play to take them. Ultimately if you have 100 kills more than the enemy and it is your base that explodes, you still lose. Sometimes it is enough to chunk enemy health bars and then hit a turret (the purpose of poke compositions.) A good tip here is that you should set up vision before the objectives spawn. If you have vision first you can use it to lay traps for your enemy if they come to check or start the objectives themselves.
  4. League of Legends: Turret Aggro and Everything you Need to Know About  TurretsUse your Mini Map! You should be looking at your mini map regularly. Wards are useless if you aren’t using the vision they provide. Make sure to glance at your mini map at least every twenty seconds. To start with it might feel unnatural and you will have to think more about what information it is giving you. But when it becomes a habit you’ll be surprised how little time it takes.
    When looking at your mini map it is important to check on two things. Can you see the enemy jungle, can you see the enemy laners. If you are in bot-lane pushing past the river and the enemy mid isn’t in lane, it might be worth backing off, just in case the roam comes through. If you can use the minimap and your wards together, you will be able to prevent several needless deaths through good ‘Map Awareness.’
  5. Just keep swimming: how to swim with the current of change - Discover Your  PrintDon’t Tilt. This one is probably the hardest of all. It is a team game and some losses will not be your fault. Sometimes your team will feed, sometimes you will feed. Maybe your opposition is better, the important thing to do here is to stay calm. There are a few reasons for this the first being that you can’t control other players, flaming them will achieve nothing. The second is that tilt doesn’t just disappear at the end of the game, you don’t want it to carry over into other ranked games and cost you the lp you worked so hard for. Finally, it can win you games. At low Elo, throws happen a lot and if you are tilted and have given up you will often miss the opportunities that the enemy team throws your way. If you are calm and focused there is a good chance that there will be an opportunity to turn a bad game into a win, that much alone is worth the extra effort. It is a myth that games are 100% lost in the first minute in low Elo, the more you practice playing from behind the better you will be at losing. By this I mean you won’t give up as many kills or objectives and you will recognise your opportunities when they arrive. Taking this approach can win you games that FF15 and flaming your team mates wont.

I hope some of you find this list useful. If you have any tips for climbing Solo Queue that you think others could benefit from, share them in the comments section! Good Luck on the Rift, Summoners!

Tips for New Writers: Building Routines and Optimising Time.

If you’ve watched any interviews with writers on their writing process, you will have heard of Routine and making the space to write. The usual advice is to make sure you write every day. In this Writing Tip, we’re going to look at Routines, building ones that suit you and optimising your writing time.

What do I mean by a writing routine and why should you have one?

When I talk about creating a writing routine, I am talking about carving time out of your week to sit down and write. There are a few reasons that you should endeavour to create one.

  • Similarly, to all pursuits in life, consistent practice and hard work is key to progressing with any project. In this respect writing is comparable to going to the gym or learning a new craft, if you apply yourself consistently and seek to improve, the progress will come.
  • Asides from seeking to complete projects and providing you with regular space to practice the craft it gives you one other key advantage. Writing time becomes Writing time. If you establish the habit you will be able to plan around it and protect the time you have for writing from being eaten into. It’s important to note that I am not saying that you have to find time every day, for me this is often impractical which leads me to my next topic, how to establish your routine and optimise it.

Establishing Routine:

In order to find the space in your week that you might best utilise for writing, it is important to consider a few factors: consistent availability, your typical energy levels at that and the environment that you wish to write are the three I most commonly consider. Whilst they are all important, I would suggest considering where you would like to work, before looking at the other two. For instance, if you feel like you need a public space such as a library or a cafe, you will have to consider their opening times. When you’ve found a time, it’s important that you utilise it effectively.

How to optimise your time:

Think about how you work. Some of you might know already what drives you to be productive, quiet spaces, a bustle of background noise, music, a cup of tea etc. If you don’t know already a good thing to do is to sit down and get on with some writing in your most comfortable work environment and make note of the actions that you take. I noticed that I would often get up for food and drink so to cut the time taken making a sandwich and tea out of my writing time I would prepare these before I started. I combined this with low level music to block background noise and was more productive in that time. What these things will be is unique to every person, but here is a small list of things that helped me.

  • Bring an outline to the scene that you are going to write.
  • Have everything you need to keep you in one place.
  • Turn off the internet.

I hope some of these quick tips to streamline your writing time helpful. If you have any tips that you have found useful post them in the comments below!

Writing Commentary: Chapter Two, well most of it…

Hullo! Welcome or welcome back as the case may be. About the title, yes it is only most of chapter two, this chapter ended up being significantly longer than I expected. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I have a lot to talk about so lets get right to it. The first chapter ended with an opportunity or push for Kite, that would facilitate a change in circumstances for the better, spurring action for the following chapters. This was something I wanted to capitalise on, use this as a way to display some of Kite’s characteristics. The first is that she is ambitious. Not prone to sitting around and prone to seeking more than is offered.

Characters are as I’m sure you are all aware crucial to stories in general. While setting can intrigue and capture imagination, it is often the people or beings that occupy that space which give people an anchor within your novel. Something to relate their own experiences to and form attachments on one hand and perhaps more basically give them a way to understand the world in which they find themselves. A novel that had a completely alien setting and characters that displayed no human traits, would be extremely difficult to write and alien for those who tried to read it. So lets talk a little bit about establishing characters and some of the difficulties I encountered in this chapter as I tried to do just that.

Mental health, is a sticky subject but as someone with mild autism and consistent struggles with my own mental health I wanted to include elements of this in my main character. After all, characters that get everything right and never struggle with anything make for dull stories. The Fellowship’s journey to destroy the ring was no walk in the park and to use a more contemporary example Katniss Everdeen didn’t exactly survive her ordeal in the Hunger Games without assistance. I remember a lecture I sat in during my undergraduate talking about this using the framework that people’s tastes changed from the brilliant and unassailable characters of Superman who were quite literally superhuman, to Batman and the resourcefulness and humanity he displays. While I’m sure, I’ve just done a terrible job of recapping the lecture, the essence of the message was giving characters all the answers easily isn’t the best idea.

As such Kite isn’t a perfect rock of stability. Great, but how do I display this in a way that makes her seem more human without playing into the damsel in distress trope. Well the two aren’t mutually needed, there is nothing wrong with relying on friends and people close to you for support when you are struggling. However I’m conscious that I don’t want her to be reliant on other people to move the story forward and too many displays of struggling or needing other people might undermine her character as I progress through the story. To put more of the onus on her overcoming her own problems I’ve used moments of personal reflection and only sparse indications of support. But also made it clear in interactions with her closer confidants that not everything is hunky dory and that there are problems lurking under the surface that I hope to deal with, one way or another later. I hope that as the majority of times I will display the Kite as anxious will be overcome predominantly by her own actions, I can then use either a lessening or heightened success rate to indicate character growth. Or at very least a sign of increased self discipline.

The other struggle that I encountered was that I wanted to introduce a few side characters that will end up being important later, without giving you their whole biography. Which can be difficult sometimes. Perhaps you’ve heard of Hemingway’s Iceberg, (no, not the one that sank the Titanic.) Something I’ve always struggled with as a writer is trying to sprinkle information that’s needed in a productive way, rather than writing a few sentences and then hitting the ready with the complete works biographical and historical on major characters, places, goats and otherwise. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but you’re picking up what I’m putting down right? My struggle is always not to spend too much time on details that are insignificant at this moment in time. Those details are often really important for creating good characters, but nobody really cares what their favourite food is at every point in the story. That’s the kind of thing you might get to slip in should they attend a banquet or a local takeaway, or perhaps if they’re having a vivid culinary daydream. This consistent issue popped up again more strongly than I was expecting as I began to introduce characters.

While I’m not going to go into names or details, I do want to briefly mention that very few of my full novel length projects have received second drafts, and those that have, got them a long time ago. So second drafts, I really wasn’t expecting to have trouble slimming down information as I’d already faced these problems to a degree in the first draft. However it seems that as with the second draft I have developed a much more solid understanding of characters I am finding it more difficult not to add or place one or two extra titbits of information for good measure. Whilst I have already removed some of this excess information as I went, I am not looking forward to rereading the chapter at the end of the second draft rewrite as I suspect I’ll end up questioning a few of the decisions I have thus far made. But hey, that’s what edits are for .

I think perhaps that is the most important thing all the writing of drafts I have ever done has taught me. Is that I actually quite enjoy editing and it is important not to let on the fly editing stall progress. Editing can always be done later. You can always improve that segment with hindsight and fresh eyes and that is exactly what I intend to do. Even though, that is what I am already doing by rewriting and restructuring the plot. Editing is long, laborious and can be tedious but at the end of the day, multiple edits have always produced the work I was most proud of and I hope that at the end of this process I will be able to say the same.

So I’m running out of time to get this done before I have to kick off a live stream and cook myself dinner, (hmmmm fooooooood.) Nonetheless I hope you’ve enjoyed the read, see you next week!

Shieldbroski Out!

Stream Commentary: Week Two.

Hello again! Well, it’s that time of the week again so here I am. Last week we discussed trying to deal with the negative spirals that can emerge from losses and mistakes when playing competitive games. With particular reference to my experience playing League of Legends and the ranked modes. I suppose this week we are going to talk a little about the difficulty in getting into a healthier mindset in relation to the game. So lets talk about hitting our aims from last week, or not as the case may be.

Continue reading “Stream Commentary: Week Two.”

Diabolus: An early surprise in the EU Masters.


Tuning into the EU Masters for the first day of the Play Ins  2019 I wasn’t sure what to expect from Diabolus. Despite being the regular season champions of the UKLC, they had been clean swept by FNC Rising in the Play Off’s. Continue reading “Diabolus: An early surprise in the EU Masters.”

Deft vs Chovy, the MVP controversy:

If you follow the LCK, you are probably aware that Chovy won the MVP award. Ordinarily this is something that merits a pat on the back and a nod of respect, but this time it was tarnished. We’ll take a look at why exactly in a moment but first I want to lay out how the MVP voting works in the LCK. Continue reading “Deft vs Chovy, the MVP controversy:”

My take on Vaevictis Esports in the LCL:

Esports has a representation problem, it is and has been since its inception a male dominated scene. While there isn’t a singular issue causing this and it is far too nuanced a topic for binary declarations, I want to explore the approach taken by one organisation in particular. Vaevictis Esports in the LCL. If you haven’t heard already they recently pieced together an all female side to take part in the LCL. For those of you who remember the fate of Team Siren,  notorious for falling flat on its face, I’m sorry to say that Vaevictis looks set to meet the same fate. Continue reading “My take on Vaevictis Esports in the LCL:”

Rick Riordan’s: The Burning Maze

(Plot Spoilers included)


Rick Riordan’s books have been a staple of my reading since secondary school when I was introduced to The Lightning Thief. I have since picked up and read  every book he has published in that universe, The Burning Maze being no exception. Continue reading “Rick Riordan’s: The Burning Maze”