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!

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.”

Streaming: Critical Commentary week one.

Streaming League of Legends: The roller coaster ride.

Alrighty! Here we are, I am penning what is the first of the commentaries since the post announcing the schedule I hope to stick to. In that blog post I speculated that the problem I would encounter trying to be constructively critical of my streams. This largely owing to the fact that numbers and stats that are easily accumulated could be misleading. So, I’ve decided this week to focus on League of Legends, the game I have streamed the most since I resumed streaming in August of last year.

To give anyone new to me and my channel a little bit of context to my experience with league, I have been playing since Season Two and actively engaged with following the professional scenes in EU, NA, and Korea, dabbling in the Chinese league to keep up with my favourite teams. It’s safe to say that I have loved the game and invested countless hours into it. Sometimes seeking to improve, other times just to unwind and lose myself in games for a while. For years, my favourite form of broadcast entertainment has been the professional leagues, almost completely phasing out television and movies to the disappointment of my friends. I thought that I’d experienced the vast majority of what the game had to offer as a viewer and a player. However, as I made the transition into streaming, along with tackling familiar obstacles, I found myself squaring up against entirely new hurdles.

Right, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s address the obvious bugbear that most players and even fans of other games are familiar with where league is concerned. The community. It is no secret that competition, whether video games, sport, board game or really any other form of competitive activity can and often does bring out the very best and worst in people. Competition can drive us, rewarding successes with dopamine rushes and feelings of achievement but it can also be crushing and perpetuate negativity and even lead to hostile behaviour. As such toxicity is not unique to league and I am inclined to believe it gets a somewhat inflated reputation for it as I have experienced similar levels of toxicity in the majority of competitive video games I have played.

Even for people that just play the game in their spare time toxicity can create problems. In the first place nobody likes to lose, let alone endure insults or the blame of people they have been teamed with. I’ve sat there many times fuming at the nerve of players daring to say the loss of a game was exclusively my fault, or been deeply upset (yes I have emotions) by people telling me to go kill myself, get cancer, or any other unpleasant thing they could think of. It wasn’t pleasant and would often lead to me going to play other games or even throwing myself back into the fray unfocused and perpetuating the cycle by playing worse and inviting the toxicity to tea. While this is something I have always struggled with in regards to League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Dota, Overwatch, you name it, I’d gotten pretty good at blowing off steam by swearing profusely, playing other games etc. What I was not prepared for was how broadcasting the game would change my experience of it, both the highs and the lows in equal measure.

So lets briefly touch on something that I consider to be a core tenant of my stream. I want my stream to be a fun, relaxed environment. Why, cause I want people watching to have a good time and that’s the kind of stream I enjoy. League can make that almost impossible for me as some games, honestly just make me feel miserable. It doesn’t even have to be losses. A player flaming, a game in which I feel like I messed up repeatedly for example can lead to a negative attitude towards my play or the game that I have a hard time shaking. The simple reality for me is that the game has its ups and downs and can elicit a wide range of reactions, and as a person I have a habit of fixating on my own mistakes and getting inside my own head. Something that doesn’t help in league where confidence and PMA (positive mental attitude) can be so crucial.

As this is a critical commentary I want to move away from talking about the game and how it can effect me. Largely because that deserves to be post in itself and I have limited words to construct this piece. I want now to look at what I have done to try and create a consistent broadcast and how effective they have been, as well as looking at things I hope will make a difference in future.

The first and most notable change I have made is switching the type of game I play from Ranked, to Normal. This may not sound like a big change, I’m still playing the same map, largely the same champions and toxic players and bad performances by yours truly can still create a negative spiral that impacts my broadcasts. It is, in fact a massive change. As a naturally competitive person, I’m harsh on myself for errors and seek to excel in whatever game I am playing at any given time. (Regardless of level or my actual abilities.) A good example of this is Starcraft Two, I love watching SC2, observing the best in the world go head to head. From this I have gained some understanding of what works, what doesn’t, how I should respond to certain scenarios etc. But when I play SC2 I get incredibly frustrated, cause no matter how hard I try, I see thousands of things that I should be doing better and can’t. This attitude doesn’t change, but there is a level of prestige which comes from attaining certain ranks, ranks which act as a measure (accurately or inaccurately) of my skill as a player. And that, is where the ranked system digs its claws in deep. If I play a normal game, my rank doesn’t change, I don’t lose internet points, I just lost a bout. It sucks but it is easier to move on from, than coming away from League at the end of a day having demoted with the attitude that “today sucked” and pushing myself to stay up later and play more games in an effort to claw that back.

I think most people can see that this would suck, but undergoing this in front of an audience, becoming more and more frustrated. Feeling that you are wasting your time cause you are just making things worse, that hit harder. The change to normal games alleviated some of the things that were leading frankly to self loathing and disappointment that I was experiencing on stream, that was affecting my ability to create the kind of environment I strive to. This in turn led to another important realisation. That although some people do want to watch higher level players, I, at this moment in time had to make a choice, did I focus on my level of play or my stream. This was a question I wrestled with for quite some time. In the end I decided that trying to level up my stream, came at the price of levelling up my play. If I wanted to truly improve at league, with the pace I wanted. I would have to remove it from my streaming schedule and honestly potentially stop streaming to create the space for that kind of improvement.

Consciously making this decision turned from Atlas, to a man with no excuse for bad posture. All joking aside however it allowed me to tell myself that it was okay I didn’t play at 100% because, talking to chat, making jokes and providing good commentary, was all more important to me, than winning the game. It was a huge weight off of my shoulders and although it hasn’t completely removed my problems with falling into negative moods or struggling to cope with loss streaks it has allowed me a different outlet. Instead of constantly trying 110% to win and getting mad when I couldn’t, I am now more able to discuss why we are falling behind, make jokes and use chat as a way to get out of that negative headspace and focus on the broadcast. It is still difficult but taking away unnecessary pressure and accepting my limitations as a person has helped a great deal.

S0, I am going to go over my set maximum words here but I want to lay out a few of the other things I am trying to do to make improvements so I can discuss them at greater length in a future commentary or separate blog post. The first is to stay hydrated and make sure that I eat. Streaming an average of five hours per day means that I can often find myself low on energy just because I am not fuelling myself appropriately.
The second is to try and work gentle exercise into a daily regiment, taking short walks when health allows etc.
Thirdly, I want to make sure that I don’t play league for too long in any one sitting. This is something that I have been working on already trying to stream two games every day. A few hours of league and then something else. In doing this I can try to make sure that I bring my best focus to playing and to broadcasting league.

Alright, lengthy post done. There have been steps made but there are many more to follow. I hope you’ve enjoyed this commentary, such as it is. If you have any thoughts, experiences or suggestions on how to make streaming League or competitive games easier, feel free to drop me a comment below!

Shieldbroski out.

Will franchising be good for the level of competition in the LEC in the short term?

With the start of the LEC and the injection of new teams, players and management, there has been a tonne of hype. Dramatic off-season changes, new ‘super teams’ and the return of fan favourites Origen have given us all questions: Will the old guard remain dominant? Which super team will come out on top? Who will step up and who, will fall down? It is expected that coming off the best European Worlds run in years, hopes for the LEC would be high. In this article I seek to examine the validity of the hype and temper rampant excitement. Continue reading “Will franchising be good for the level of competition in the LEC in the short term?”

Detonation Focusme: A Dark Horse?

Today saw the League of Legends World Championship kick off in Korea, with the world wondering whether an emergent region would challenge the pre-tournament favourites. With G-Rex showing up and smashing through Kaos Latin Gamers and Gambit Esports; Cloud 9 destroying Kabum in the opening game of the day. It seemed that the ‘Script’ would be followed to the letter, with both the NA and LMS teams dominating the emerging regions. However the day was made more interesting when DetonatioN Focusme took the stage against Kabum. Continue reading “Detonation Focusme: A Dark Horse?”

G2 vs Schalke 04: The battle for Worlds.

Will Europe’s Third Seed be The Old Guard or a New Contender?

Today saw g2defeat Splyce in a tight five game series. Despite Splyce claiming a 2-1 lead it was the surprise return of mages in the bottom lane that won the day for g2. Continue reading “G2 vs Schalke 04: The battle for Worlds.”

G2 vs Splyce: Who will advance to face the Final Boss?

Yesterday’s series saw Splyce advance to the second round of the EU Regional qualifier in a shaky series against misfits logoto face g2. Continue reading “G2 vs Splyce: Who will advance to face the Final Boss?”