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Sexism in eSports banner

 

  Disclaimer: Some of you may remember this article being published a few weeks ago. It underwent heavy editing since then and should be a lot tighter on arguments now. Enjoy reading!

 

  I believe gamers need a realistic perspective on the issue of sexism in eSports and gaming in general. Here are the major points this article will address:

  • The banal sexist remarks and misogynistic jokes we’ve all grown accustomed to as a result of constant stereotyping.
  • The male dominated culture of gaming.
  • Team Siren‘s impact on professional gaming last year and the negative perception they have created towards females who want to become pro gamers.
  • Female gamers being forced to either openly express their gender or hide it entirely.

 

 

Stereotyping Females

 

  We all like to make our assumptions about a group of people who seem consistent in behavior; stereotypes make life easier for us. They also lead to a complete lack of understanding issues in society and almost always promote hate speech, abuse and bullying. So how much do we really know about what women go through when they try to adopt gaming as a hobby or profession compared to men?

 There’s a huge difference between how two players, a man and a woman, are seen in the eyes of the majority. Females are condemned and bullied for being incapable of competing in gaming alongside men because the male-majority assumes women can’t achieve the same skill in video games as men, which is untrue. Let me explain.

  There are no studies that show females are weaker players than males. You can use the argument that there are far more men than women in pro gaming, and casual gaming in general, but that’s due to how games were originally marketed and how “gaming” was assigned, and socially upheld, as a male gender role. As a result women have had less time to: develop serious interests in gaming, develop the skills needed to compete at a top competitive level, and make major contributions to gaming, both in achievements and in their numbers. 

 However, this does not mean that gaming is incapable of embracing strong female contenders. For example, StarCraft II player Scarlett is recognized as one of the strongest players in the scene at the moment, consistently beating top-ranked opponents, despite being “a gamer girl.” But she is one of few and that is the problem. Women are less encouraged to pick up gaming as a hobby as a result of consistent framing and the rest of the community alienating them. The problem with sexism in pro-gaming starts at the bottom of the pyramid; if the industry molds around female interest and starts marketing itself equally for both genders, then we’ll see the issue resolved in more serious gaming.

Anna Prosser

 We’ve established that women are repressed in gaming, but that this is mainly due to the marketing tactics used early in the industry, alongside the community’s shock and inability to properly accomodate the increasing flux of women becoming interested in games. Pro-gaming isn’t a viable profession for women yet, as the industry hasn’t tried to reach up to a female audience. Circumstances have developed a situation where women who wish to make a living out of their hobby are cornered into finding alternate ways to do it, because their gender is a detriment to this.

 One such alternative is streaming. Streaming generates revenue through view count, rather than skill. (sometimes, skill results in a bigger audience, but this is just an isolated case, whereas in pro-gaming skill is a requirement). It favors one gender over another, because looks and character generate attention quicker than just playing well in most cases. Note that this does not include all female streamers, but it’s simply the reality of the medium. Because (most) women are left without opportunity to pursue a pro-gaming career, but streaming is easily available to them, you get a discrepancy in relevance of the two careers for females.

 Women didn’t become involved in streaming with the mentality of selling their looks. But they approached a scene that was (and still is) awkward in how it accepts them. Exploiting gender traits for revenue isn’t a conscious decision made by the majority – it’s simply a logical alternative to professional gaming when professional gaming fails to provide women the proper environment for a stable job.

 

 

Team Siren

 

Team Siren Promo Video The majority of the playerbase has only had bad experiences with female teams. To have girls compete in pro-gaming is a recent concept and is burdened not just by the gaming community’s prejudice, but by segregation in the real world. What few opportunities females have had to be recognized as eSports material have gone down in history as sore examples and have further exacerbated the issue. Such is the case from last year with Team Siren.

I believe the majority have seen their introductory video. One can immediately tell this promotion wasn’t thought through. It implies that their team (Gold I at the time) was capable of taking on any competition from the pro teams. The Sirens tried to sell immaturity and snobby attitude to the public and this severely imapcted the perception people had of female pro players.

Trash-talking enemy players during games only served to further degrade Team Siren’s image. The team’s reaction to the community backlash, coupled with poor management, forced the Sirens to disband a month after creating the team.

Ironically, the demise of Team Siren may have actually benefited women who wish to compete in eSports, by bringing attention to the issue that there are practically no pro women gaming currently. Attitude and marketing aside, the Sirens were brave enough to step up to the spotlight as a team of women aiming for the big scene. If the focus had been more on gaming and less on selling an image, the team could had been a success.

This all partially leads to the creation of the 2014 Amateur Challenge for ladies.

 

 

Scared of eSports

Colalin_tps  We shouldn’t ignore the fact that what being a gamer means for a male doesn’t mean the same for a female. There are societal views and expectations that all weigh heavily on a woman’s decision to commit to gaming. Women generally care more than men how they look in the eyes of the public. It’s a problem with gaming in general that it continues to be shunned by popular opinion, but women are much more affected by this than men.

  Women want the approval of others and when gaming doesn’t resonate with the people around them, they tend to stay away from it. Those women who have committed themselves to gaming and feel comfortable with are attributed the same characteristics, simply because they are a minority.

  There is a fact working against females who want to be in eSports – they’d be among the first. Teams participating in the Season 3 World Championship didn’t have a female member and, historically, have never had. After extensive research, the only example I found was Lin “Colalin” Ying Hsuan, substitute player for Taipei Assassins and Taipei Snipers. Statistically, women who compete in pro-play are a rare sight. A female wishing to pursue this career is going against the odds and that’s a demotivating realization.

  As a male you’ll probably face a wall of criticism if you go right now and tell your parents you want to abandon everything else and become a pro-player. This is without taking into consideration outside views and having the evidence to show them that people like you have become successful in pro-gaming. Now imagine how it would feel from a female’s perspective – she holds both a responsibility towards friends and family not to be perceived as “weird’ or “out of social standards” and she can’t show that women can become pro players and make a living.

  A woman who’s decided to be a pro gamer has all of this to overcome and she can’t be sure whether or not it’s even worth it.

 

 

Catch 22

 

  All these complex reasons for why sexism is so prevalent in gaming boils down to a simple truth – female gamers just aren’t taken seriously. Because the community is dominated by men, they assume everyone is male. Women then stick out as sort of exceptions to the rule, and they either need to conceal their gender or openly express it.

  In the first scenario, a woman is afraid of revealing who she is, because she understands the repercussions of doing so and the backlash that will follow. And insults targeted towards female gamers rarely attack the way they play; more often than not they’re just gender abuse. The male community treats women like outsiders and that’s why so many girls hide behind male avatars and nicknames – they don’t want to be blamed for being themselves.

  Good, then the problem is gone since they pretend to be male and we don’t have to care about their problems. Wrong! Being forced to hide your identity doesn’t solve anything; it’s a band-aid, a desperation move. This actually magnifies the second situation gamer girls find themselves in – expressing their gender.

  Most women simply choose to forget they’re women when they game online. This hurts those who don’t want their gender identity bent by senseless sexism on the part of the majority. When a girl gamer openly displays the fact she’s female, she’s seeking attention. If she doesn’t, she emphasizes the problem for those who are honest with their gender.

  This is not something women can solve for themselves. The male community of gamers needs to look at the way it views girl gamers currently. If basic understanding and respect aren’t present, we can’t move forward.

 

 

2014 Amateur Challenge

 Background: keSPA ( Korea e-Sports Association ) hosted The Amateur Challenge Ladies tournament this year, which features exclusively all-female teams on the pro Korean scene (OGN).

All female league  The all-female league in eSports, though inherently wrong, is currently the only real opportunity women have of breaking the gender barrier of the scene. People have likened it to other amateur leagues already out there, but what it gives girls with an interest in pro-gaming is a chance of creating a competitive environment where they are able to improve, gain experience as teams and compete at the peak level, and have a chance at making a living playing games competitively. “Professional status,” as in making a living playing video games, is something females currently aren’t even given a chance to achieve, and this league changes that!

  Though segregation of genders is inherently wrong, in the case of pro-gaming it can lead up to an equal audience of men and women. Once there are females at a skill level high enough, with experience backing them, we could see a female team climb into the LCS, and beyond. This will, indeed, make eSports a scene where anyone can become big.

  A female league is a solution born out of lack of alternatives. The fact that it’s, right now, the only shot women have at becoming relevant in eSports shows how deeply rooted this issue has become. There are girls out there who can and want to compete on the same level as other pro players, but, as all the above-mentioned arguments point out, the community and the scene have been slow to adapt to the rising interest in gaming among women.

 

 

The Sad Reality


  Female leagues serve to artificially equalize the number of men and women competing in pro gaming. The more females being involved with the scene, the more will start aiming for a career in eSports. And this is the bothersome aspect of the whole issue – we’re not that far off as a community to fixing it, we just refuse to acknowledge that the issue exists, due to the preconceived notion that games, and the leagues the pros play in, are unisex.

  In a previous section I touched on the topic that no LCS team has a female in the roster. This isn’t only applicable to the actual team members; several teams lack a single female staff member. It proves how male-dominated the gaming industry is. Bad thing? Certainly. It does make one consider whether or not we truly appreciate talent more than we appreciate the comfort of a mono-gender environment. The people reading this are among the most dedicated players and viewers of eSports and LoL. I’m assuming we all want the same thing – the best experience pro-gaming can deliver and a sport that can keep us a close community.

 

What Can I do to fix this

 

Everyone could make this easier simply by avoiding misogynistic remarks they’d never use in person. When referring to a player, talk about their skill, strengths, weaknesses and exclude gender from your mindset. This goes both ways: if you use your cleavage to attract people to your stream, then you know what kind of people to expect. Allow me to quote Magic the Gathering player Jackie Lee, from an amazing article of hers:

1. Gender jokes are not funny, they’re insensitive.

2. Seek criticism and express criticism at poor behavior.

3. Don’t insult someone based on gender. (or race, or sexuality, all these characteristics do not determine a person’s qualities)

Small note, all these points relate to both men and women. Gender equality goes both ways.

 

My Info Article Ending

 

 

Patch 4 point 5 Notes

Disclaimer: This is completely legitimate news. Confirmed on Saint’s stream.

 

 

Pwyff Troll IconRiotPwyff:  Summoners! In preparation for the future of League, aka Ultra Rapid Fire mode, we’re releasing Patch 4.5 to fix the existing balance issues and make some new ones. The focus of this patch is reworks and player fun, so the new Champion, Helmet Bro, will have to wait. Enjoy reading!

 

 

Patch 4.5

 

 

Reworks

 

Lee Sin New Portrait

Context: A while ago someone leaked our April Fools patch notes for Lee Sin. This left us with nothing cool to show off for Lee Sin on April 1st, so we’re just posting his actual rework.

 

FlurryFlurry [ Passive ]

  • After using a spell, Lee Sin gains bonus health regeneration for 5 seconds.

 

Sonic_WaveSonic Wave [ Q ]

  • Now applies a 2-second bleed that scales with AP.

 

Resonating_StrikeResonating Strike [ Q ]

  • Removed.

 

SafeguardSafeguard [ W ]

  • If cast on a ward, depletes Lee Sin’s energy bar, roots him in place and goes on a 30-second cooldown.

 

TempestTempest [ E ]

  • Makes visible enemy Champions go in stealth.

 

CrippleCripple [ Reactivate E ]

  • Now applies the Cripple debuff to Lee Sin as well.

 

Dragon's_RageKitty Punch [ R ] (renamed)

Damage reduced from 200 / 400 / 600 (+200% bonus AD) to 50 / 100 / 150 (+100% bonus AD)

 

 

Yasuo New Portrait

Context: We never pushed Yasuo’s concept, because we were afraid we’d have to release a broken Champion with too many mechanics. We decided to play it safe so we removed cooldowns, gave him three passives, infinite gap-closing, 50% Armor Penetration, hard CC and a spell that counters 95% of the game. Logically, he proved far too weak to survive in the meta. With this rework we’re bringing back a lot of the “crazy” mechanics we scrapped during development. Hopefully, this will lift Yasuo’s miserable 80% win-rate.

 

Way_of_the_WandererWay of the Wanderer [ Passive ]

  • Now lets Yasuo choose an additional passive that any of the other Champions in LoL have.

 

Steel_TempestSteel Tempest [ Q ]

  • Can now be toggled to fling katana swords at enemies from Caitlyn range. Note that this is just an alternate way to cast Steel Tempest.

 

Empowered_Steel_TempestEmpowered Steel Tempest [ Third Q ]

  • Yasuo’s third ranged attack impales target enemy in place. Critical hit chance increases the duration of the stun.

 

Wind_WallWindwall [ W ]

  • Now correctly blocks Tower hits, melee attacks, non-projectile attacks and basically everything in the game ever.

 

Sweeping_BladeSweeping Blade [ E ]

  • Refills Yasuo’s Flow to maximum when cast.

 

Last_BreathRiot Please [ R ] (renamed)

  • Range is now global. Spawns a second Yasuo where the spell was cast from who continues to farm minions.

 

 

Champions

 

 

Ahri New Portrait

 

CharmCharm [ E ]

  • Charmed targets now permanently fall in love with Ahri and will follow her in other games. Ezreal is immune to this.

 

Context: Since Ahri’s rework, we had a lot of Diamond smurfs (with suspicious Bronze icons) tell us she’s ruined and that they’re moving to DotA because it’s a better company. We’re excited to see Ahri on the pro-scene again and we hope we can fulfill your fantasy of Shiphtur commanding an army of LCS players. Yes, she can still be your waifu.

 

 

Alistar New Portrait

 

Unbreakable_WillUnbreakable Will [ R ]

  • Mana cost increased from 100 to 150. (see context)

 

Context: A recent complaint on Reddit was that Alistar’s level 5 Q and W cost more than his ultimate. We realize this is confusing for players who still pick Alistar in Ranked, so we’ve fixed it. Next patch we plan to rework his Headbutt so it always sends enemies towards your ADC for free kills.

 

 

Anivia New Portrait

 

RebirthRebirth [ Passive ]

  • Instead of reviving, Anivia will now self-destruct after 6 seconds.

 

Context: We recently found an issue where Anivia would revive after dying. I think we can all agree that revive passives are broken-as-fudge toxic gameplay, but we still want Anivia players to have that experience of being completely helpless for several seconds.

 

 

New Portrait Heimerdinger

 

H-28Q_Apex_TurretH-28Q Apex Turret [ R + Q ]

  • Every third attack now spews out a regular turret.

 

Context: We had a report on NA servers that a melee Champion actually managed to lane versus Heimerdinger and trade kills. This is unacceptable and ruins the status of Heimer as the Overlord who Bathes in your Tears. These spawned turrets do not count towards Heimer’s maximum turret count and are simply there so you can die quicker when you decide to 1v1 him.

 

 

Irelia New Portrait

 

Hiten_StyleHiten Style [ W ]

  • Damage and heal removed. Can still be cast for the pretty light effect.

 

Context: Irelia is just far too overwhelming on top lane. Having infinite sustain and free harass combo on top of being able to 2v1 the enemy top and jungle on level 6 with Dominus is making a lot of top laners obsolete currently. Wait, what’s an Irelia?

 

 

Lissandra New Portrait

 

Glacial_PathGlacial Path [ E ]

  • Bugfix: Now correctly grabs enemies hit by it and pulls them towards Lissandra.

 

Frozen_TombFrozen Tomb [ R ]

  • Base damage increased from 150 / 250 / 350 to 450 / 675 / 950 and 450 / 900 / 1350 with Shatter talent.

 

Context: No context.

 

 

Lulu New Portrait

 

Whimsy Whimsy [ W ]

  • Added a variety of sweet products that Lulu can turn enemies into – muffins, croissants, dunkin’ donuts and gummy bears.

 

Context: We realize Lulu is a big problem in mid lane, so we nerfed Rabadon’s Deathcap (see below) and focused on the fun aspects of Polymorph.

 

 

Nidalee New Portrait

  • All spells except Javelin Toss have been removed.
  • Mana removed. Nidalee now drains the fun and joy out of the enemy team to cast spells.

 

Javelin_TossJavelin Toss [ Q ]

  • Cooldown removed.
  • Range is now global.

 

Context: In the office, we like to imagine that most Nidalee mains are sociopaths who throw rocks at people on the street. We understand they derive their fun experience from chugging half of someone’s health bar with invisible spears every 3 seconds, so we decided to focus on that aspect of Nidalee. We also made new Splash art for her, check below!

 

 

Teemo New Portrait

  • Occasionally cites Dante’s “Divine Comedy” in lane.

 

 Blinding_DartBlinding Dart [ Q ]

  • Target enemy’s display turns blinding white for the duration of the spell.

 

Noxious_TrapNoxious Trap [ R ]

  • Now plants claymores instead of mushrooms. Damage is instant.

 

 

Skarner New Portrait

  • Health at level 1 increased from 536 to 546.

 

ImpaleImpale [ R ]

  • Now tickles target enemy instead of rooting.
  • Applies a 10% slow for every second the enemy spends laughing at how bad Skarner is.

 

Context: We’re kind of pushing the limits here, but we want Skarner to be a viable pick. The extra 10 hit points will let Skarner tank an additional fifth of an auto attack, giving him complete dominance in the early game. To compensate, we’re reducing the amount of power he has when his ult is up and the enemy is reconnecting.

 

 

Minor Changes and Bug Fixes

 

 

Fiora New Portrait

 

Blade_WaltzBlade Waltz [ R ]

  • Can no longer be cast on Champions. Still available for minion-farming.
  • Now properly disables Flash when used until the spell comes off cooldown. (see thread for context)

Context: We realized Blade Walts only works for people who understand how often it doesn’t work. Since pro-players now know she has 4 spells, she’ll probably become a contested LCS pick unless we act. We’re fixing this along with quality of life changes to her Flash.

 

 

Grasshopper

 

Taste_Their_FearTaste Their Fear [ Q ]

  • Grasshopper now makes nature sounds when a target is isolated.

 

 

Jinx New Portrait

  • If Jinx kills Officer Caitlyn or Officer Vi, the player is immediately mailed Ice-T merchandise.

 

 

Nidalee New Portrait

  • Splash art updated.

Context: Two years ago we did a visual update for Nidalee, but financial constraints prevented us from making new splash arts for her skins. Well, that’s no longer the case! Here’s one of her new Splash arts:

 

Best Nidalee Art World

New Nidalee Splash Art

 

 

Rengo

  • Makes a webcam shot of the enemy’s face when Rengar comes out of stealth. Automatically uploads it to player’s Facebook wall.

 

 

Map Vision Bugs

  • Random champion icons now again appear on the minimap for no reason.
  • Standing inside a brush sometimes grants random amounts of vision.

Context: We’ve read tons of letters from fans who told us how fond they were of the countless vision bugs and so we brought them back. From now on, bugs in patches will be referred to as “features”.

 

 

Items

 

Black_King_Bar_iconBlack King Bar

  • Grants immunity to magic damage and crowd control for 6 seconds.
  • Free if you buy an indie bundle.

 

Heart_of_Gold_itemHeart of Gold

  • Cost: 825 Gold. Grants 5 Gold per 10 seconds and 200 Health.
  • Can be upgraded to Squirtle.

 

SquirtleSquirtle

  • Cost: 1250 Gold. Grants 10 Gold per 10 seconds and 350 Health.
  • Causes your Champion to spray water jets at enemies when low on life.

 

Last_WhisperLast Whisper

  • Ranged carries can now get this item for free as a Trinket.

 

Rabadon's_DeathcapRabadon’s Deathcap

  • No longer grants % increase to AP.

 

Context: This change will hopefully reduce Lulu’s dominance in mid lane.

 

 

Twisted Treeline


 

exclamation iconNew Mode Added: Save the Poros!

  • Poros spawn randomly around the map. Both teams have 15 minutes to collect as many Poros as they can and bring them to their respective Fountains. Note that in Save the Poros! Vilemaw can move freely around the map and consume Poros.

Note: Rengo and Grasshopper are unavailable in Save the Poros!

 

 

My Info Article Ending

 


Sexism in eSports banner

 

  Background: Some of you may already know, but OGN has begun broadcasting an all-female competitive scene of League. This article will talk about how wrong, but necessary, gender separation in an intellectual sport is, and the sexism that exists around gaming in general. It’s a collaborative effort and will, hopefully, give you an objective view of the issue.

 

  I believe gamers need a realistic perspective on the issue of sexism in eSports and gaming in general. Here are the major points this article will address:

  • The banal sexist remarks and misogynistic jokes we’ve all grown accustomed to as a result of constant stereotyping.
  • The male dominated culture of gaming.
  • Team Siren‘s impact on professional gaming last year and the negative perception they have created towards females who want to become pro gamers.
  • Female gamers being forced to either openly express their gender or hide it entirely.

 

 

Stereotyping Females

 

  We all like to make our assumptions about a group of people who seem consistent in behavior; stereotypes make life easier for us. They also lead to a complete lack of understanding issues in society and almost always promote hate speech, abuse and bullying. So how much do we really know about what women go through when they try to adopt gaming as a hobby or profession compared to men?

 There’s a huge difference between how two players, a man and a woman, are seen in the eyes of the majority. Females are condemned and bullied for being incapable of competing in gaming alongside men because the male-majority assumes women can’t achieve the same skill in video games as men, which is untrue. Let me explain.

  There are no studies that show females are weaker players than males. You can use the argument that there are far more men than women in pro gaming, and casual gaming in general, but that’s due to how games were originally marketed and how “gaming” was assigned, and socially upheld, as a male gender role. As a result women have had less time to: develop serious interests in gaming, develop the skills needed to compete at a top competitive level, and make major contributions to gaming, both in achievements and in their numbers. 

 However, this does not mean that gaming is incapable of embracing strong female contenders. For example, StarCraft II player Scarlett is recognized as one of the strongest players in the scene at the moment, consistently beating top-ranked opponents, despite being “a gamer girl.” But she is one of few and that is the problem. Women are less encouraged to pick up gaming as a hobby as a result of consistent framing and the rest of the community alienating them. The problem with sexism in pro-gaming starts at the bottom of the pyramid; if the industry molds around female interest and starts marketing itself equally for both genders, then we’ll see the issue resolved in more serious gaming.

Anna Prosser

 We’ve established that women are repressed in gaming, but that this is mainly due to the marketing tactics used early in the industry, alongside the community’s shock and inability to properly accomodate the increasing flux of women becoming interested in games. Pro-gaming isn’t a viable profession for women yet, as the industry hasn’t tried to reach up to a female audience. Circumstances have developed a situation where women who wish to make a living out of their hobby are cornered into finding alternate ways to do it, because their gender is a detriment to this.

 One such alternative is streaming. Streaming generates revenue through view count, rather than skill. (sometimes, skill results in a bigger audience, but this is just an isolated case, whereas in pro-gaming skill is a requirement). It favors one gender over another, because looks and character generate attention quicker than just playing well in most cases. Note that this does not include all female streamers, but it’s simply the reality of the medium. Because (most) women are left without opportunity to pursue a pro-gaming career, but streaming is easily available to them, you get a discrepancy in relevance of the two careers for females.

 Women didn’t become involved in streaming with the mentality of selling their looks. But they approached a scene that was (and still is) awkward in how it accepts them. Exploiting gender traits for revenue isn’t a conscious decision made by the majority – it’s simply a logical alternative to professional gaming when professional gaming fails to provide women the proper environment for a stable job.

 

 

Team Siren

 

Team Siren Promo Video The majority of the playerbase has only had bad experiences with female teams. To have girls compete in pro-gaming is a recent concept and is burdened not just by the gaming community’s prejudice, but by segregation in the real world. What few opportunities females have had to be recognized as eSports material have gone down in history as sore examples and have further exacerbated the issue. Such is the case from last year with Team Siren.

I believe the majority have seen their introductory video. One can immediately tell this promotion wasn’t thought through. It implies that their team (Gold I at the time) was capable of taking on any competition from the pro teams. The Sirens tried to sell immaturity and snobby attitude to the public and this severely imapcted the perception people had of female pro players.

Trash-talking enemy players during games only served to further degrade Team Siren’s image. The team’s reaction to the community backlash, coupled with poor management, forced the Sirens to disband a month after creating the team.

Ironically, the demise of Team Siren may have actually benefited women who wish to compete in eSports, by bringing attention to the issue that there are practically no pro women gaming currently. Attitude and marketing aside, the Sirens were brave enough to step up to the spotlight as a team of women aiming for the big scene. If the focus had been more on gaming and less on selling an image, the team could had been a success.

This all partially leads to the creation of the 2014 Amateur Challenge for ladies.



Scared of eSports

Colalin_tps  We shouldn’t ignore the fact that what being a gamer means for a male doesn’t mean the same for a female. There are societal views and expectations that all weigh heavily on a woman’s decision to commit to gaming. Women generally care more than men how they look in the eyes of the public. It’s a problem with gaming in general that it continues to be shunned by popular opinion, but women are much more affected by this than men.

  Women want the approval of others and when gaming doesn’t resonate with the people around them, they tend to stay away from it. Those women who have committed themselves to gaming and feel comfortable with are attributed the same characteristics, simply because they are a minority.

  There is a fact working against females who want to be in eSports – they’d be among the first. Teams participating in the Season 3 World Championship didn’t have a female member and, historically, have never had. After extensive research, the only example I found was Lin “Colalin” Ying Hsuan, substitute player for Taipei Assassins and Taipei Snipers. Statistically, women who compete in pro-play are a rare sight. A female wishing to pursue this career is going against the odds and that’s a demotivating realization.

  As a male you’ll probably face a wall of criticism if you go right now and tell your parents you want to abandon everything else and become a pro-player. This is without taking into consideration outside views and having the evidence to show them that people like you have become successful in pro-gaming. Now imagine how it would feel from a female’s perspective – she holds both a responsibility towards friends and family not to be perceived as “weird’ or “out of social standards” and she can’t show that women can become pro players and make a living.

  A woman who’s decided to be a pro gamer has all of this to overcome and she can’t be sure whether or not it’s even worth it.

 

 

Catch 22

 

  All these complex reasons for why sexism is so prevalent in gaming boils down to a simple truth – female gamers just aren’t taken seriously. Because the community is dominated by men, they assume everyone is male. Women then stick out as sort of exceptions to the rule, and they either need to conceal their gender or openly express it.

  In the first scenario, a woman is afraid of revealing who she is, because she understands the repercussions of doing so and the backlash that will follow. And insults targeted towards female gamers rarely attack the way they play; more often than not they’re just gender abuse. The male community treats women like outsiders and that’s why so many girls hide behind male avatars and nicknames – they don’t want to be blamed for being themselves.

  Good, then the problem is gone since they pretend to be male and we don’t have to care about their problems. Wrong! Being forced to hide your identity doesn’t solve anything; it’s a band-aid, a desperation move. This actually magnifies the second situation gamer girls find themselves in – expressing their gender.

  Most women simply choose to forget they’re women when they game online. This hurts those who don’t want their gender identity bent by senseless sexism on the part of the majority. When a girl gamer openly displays the fact she’s female, she’s seeking attention. If she doesn’t, she emphasizes the problem for those who are honest with their gender.

  This is not something women can solve for themselves. The male community of gamers needs to look at the way it views girl gamers currently. If basic understanding and respect aren’t present, we can’t move forward.

 

 

2014 Amateur Challenge

 Background: keSPA ( Korea e-Sports Association ) hosted The Amateur Challenge Ladies tournament this year, which features exclusively all-female teams on the pro Korean scene (OGN).

All female league  After doing an in-depth research on the subject, I can approve of the initiative. People have likened it to other amateur leagues already out there, but what it gives girls with an interest in pro-gaming is a chance of creating a competitive environment where they are able to improve, gain experience as teams and compete at the peak level, and have a chance at making a living playing games competitively. “Professional status,” as in making a living playing video games, is something females currently aren’t even given a chance to achieve, and this league changes that!

  Though segregation of genders is inherently wrong, in the case of pro-gaming it can lead up to an equal audience of men and women. Once there are females at a skill level high enough, with experience backing them, we could see a female team climb into the LCS, and beyond. This will, indeed, make eSports a scene where anyone can become big.

  A female league is a solution born out of lack of alternatives. The fact that it’s, right now, the only shot women have at becoming relevant in eSports shows how deeply rooted this issue has become. There are girls out there who can and want to compete on the same level as other pro players, but, as all the above-mentioned arguments point out, the community and the scene have been slow to adapt to the rising interest in gaming among women.

 

 

The Sad Reality


  Female leagues serve to artificially equalize the number of men and women competing in pro gaming. The more females being involved with the scene, the more will start aiming for a career in eSports. And this is the bothersome aspect of the whole issue – we’re not that far off as a community to fixing it, we just refuse to acknowledge that the issue exists, due to the preconceived notion that games, and the leagues the pros play in, are unisex.

  In a previous section I touched on the topic that no LCS team has a female in the roster. This isn’t only applicable to the actual team members; several teams lack a single female staff member. It proves how male-dominated the gaming industry is. Bad thing? Certainly. It does make one consider whether or not we truly appreciate talent more than we appreciate the comfort of a mono-gender environment. The people reading this are among the most dedicated players and viewers of eSports and LoL. I’m assuming we all want the same thing – the best experience pro-gaming can deliver and a sport that can keep us a closed community.

 

What Can I do to fix this

 

Everyone could make this easier simply by avoiding misogynistic remarks they’d never use in person. When referring to a player, talk about their skill, strengths, weaknesses and exclude gender from your mindset. This goes both ways: if you use your cleavage to attract people to your stream, then you know what kind of people to expect. Allow me to quote Magic the Gathering player Jackie Lee, from an amazing article of hers:

1. Gender jokes are not funny, they’re insensitive.

2. Seek criticism and express criticism at poor behavior.

3. Don’t insult someone based on gender. (or race, or sexuality, all these characteristics do not determine a person’s qualities)

Small note, all these points relate to both men and women. Gender equality goes both ways.

 

My Info Article Ending

 

 

my banner valentines edition

Valentines Veigar

Valentines tryn

Everyone in League has had a boobjob or two

Valentines zac

Valentines ram

Valentines syn

DCgreen was going to fire me if I didn’t cover up Syndra’s lady parts better ;___;

Happy Valentines day!

Artist: Ketherly tumblr/twitter/twitch/etsy

Special thanks to vcdragoon and TiberiusAudley for the quotes~

Welp. That escalated quickly

eula vs tos

(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

 

When in-game behavior carries consequences in the “real world,” many people start to wonder what limits, if any, companies like Riot have when policing user accounts. Ultimately this boils down to those pesky “Terms of Use/Service” (TOU/TOS) and “End-User License Agreement” (EULA) windows we have to click through every time a new patch is released.  

I see these terms being thrown around in-game and on the forums, and despite my efforts to correct player’s misconceptions on what the TOS and EULA actually do, the misinformation is rampant.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion!  The article centers on a question relevant to all League of Legends players:

 

What exactly are you agreeing to when you play League of Legends?

 

In this article I will quickly explain how the EULA and TOS are legally enforceable contracts, what the differences between the two are, and finally how they apply to the average player. I cannot stress enough that while I am doing a legal analysis, I cut through a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and make conclusive statements for the purposes of entertainment. If you need legal advice, please speak with an attorney. 

I. Clickwrap Agreements
Just about every time you install a program, download a patch, or purchase from a website, you have to pass through a threshold of “agreements.” 

accept-button

Many of these agreements are called “shrinkwrap,” “clickwrap,” or “adhesive” agreements - where you don’t see/understand what you’ve agreed to until after you’ve already agreed to it. For example, many online games only allow you to see the TOS after you’ve bought the game, but before you can play it online.  A better example is a website, where you’ve already “agreed” to their TOS just by being on their site. 

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

    • Clickwrap contracts are usually offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. In many contractual agreements, parties can negotiate over the terms of the contract, but in clickwrap contracts, the user has no bargaining power –they can either agree to all the terms or none.
    • As discussed above, click wrap agreements often apply post-transaction. For example, some companies (such as AutoDesk) typically don’t allow people to resell their software – but a customer might not know that until after they’ve purchased AutoCAD, and are going through the installation.

If your knee-jerk reaction is similar to what mine was, you might be thinking, “is that really a legal contract?”  Because let’s be honest, if you’re like most people, you simply don’t have the time to read every agreement you accept online.  Even if you read most, there will often be terms that won’t make sense until you start using the service/software (e.g., how many people could understand what “riot points” are prior to installing League of Legends?)   This part of why EULA/TOS are often considered to be adhesive contracts – most of us have no idea what it is we’re agreeing to.

So are these even legal?  The short answer is: Usually. There are, however, some limited exceptions:

    • Explicit Agreement: The rule of thumb is that a user must explicitly agree to an agreement before it becomes enforceable. If you don’t make an explicit act showing you are both aware of the terms and you agree to them, they are unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. While this isn’t exactly a problem for Riot (you have to click “I Agree” every time a new patch comes out), it is a notable exception to many software agreements.
    • Outrageous Terms. If there’s something absolutely ridiculous and unexpected hidden in the fine print (for example, the “immortal souls clause” that granted a British game company 7500 “soul-licenses”), that term or the whole agreement may be rendered invalid.
    • Application to minors.  In most situations, if you’re under the age of 18, you lack capacity to enter legally binding agreements.  This may provide an exception to click-wrap agreements in some situations, as the contract may be voidable

The takeaway is this: Clicking the “I agree” to Riot’s Terms of Use and End-User License Agreements probably creates a legally enforceable contract.

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

So since we already have no idea what we’re clicking, why are there so many boxes?  Why not just throw it all into one box and get it over with?  Although many portions of the EULA and TOS overlap, there is a fundamental distinction between each type of agreement:

EULA: EULAs govern the use of the software itself.  This is useful to stop unauthorized use of the game, as well as to disclaim liability for what it does to your system.

  • Example: Hosting your own “League of Legends” world championship, with dedicated servers to boot, would likely be a violation of the EULA if you used Riot’s software (and probably some intellectual property violations as well).
  • Example: Riot’s EULA would probably prevent them from being liable if League of Legends overheats your cardboard toaster. Which is really the best outcome for everyone.

EULAs are often extremely broad in what they cover.  Interestingly, Apple’s EULA for iTunes explicitly disallows use of their software for the development of weapons of mass destruction:

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

TOS/TOU: The Terms of Service governs the use of a particular service offered. In Riot’s case, some of the services offered are the ability to create an account and a means to use that account via access to their servers. While you are using their service, you are expected to follow their rules – otherwise, they may terminate your access to the service, as per the  agreement. Most players will only be concerned with the TOS.

  • Example: Going idle or AFK in-game often enough can result in temporary or permanent suspension of your ability to access Riot’s servers, because you’ve agreed to allow LeaverBuster to monitor in-game activity.

The main difference between the TOS and the EULA for players is in the types of violations, and what Riot is able to do in terms of punishing players who breach these agreements. For the most part, the TOS will impact a user’s access to the service.  The EULA, on the other hand, will impact a user’s access to the software.

TOS Violations:

Say you’re having a bad game, and decide to spam “**** you all, **** ***-skilled *******s!!!” a few dozen times in all-chat. Assuming this violates the TOS, Riot’s punishments all involve your account’s use of the service (remember, the service is access to their servers) even to the extent of permanent bans. This is where I see a lot of confusion, especially when players argue for methods (such as uninstallation) to combat toxic behavior – they confuse the accounts for the players, and the service for the software.

Players are only able to access the service through an account, and thus, can only violate the TOS through the use of an account (the notable exception to this is browsing their website, but that is beyond the scope of this article).  The way Riot has their TOS set up, the account acts as a real-life shield for players – both for good and for evil. The account provides a layer of privacy protection and facilitates a pseudo-anonymous experience, a great benefit for online interactions. On the downside, it makes it very difficult to penetrate the account and punish players directly – especially when it’s difficult to prove that it was that player breaking the TOS (e.g., you’re in the middle of a match when you have to answer to door (it’s your turn to pay for the pizza), and when you get back to your computer, you find that your roommates have been soliciting some of the female characters in a manner rather inconsistent with that of a gentleman).

Under the TOS agreement, it is unlikely that Riot could force removal/uninstallation of the software. And the way Riot’s current TOS is set up, it would also be difficult  to enforce an IP ban (should Riot wish to implement such a penalty, it may be possible, but the TOS would likely need to be reworded).

EULA Violations:

A forced uninstallation (i.e., an injunction) could only occur through a EULA violation (although this doesn’t stop vigilante players from wishing it to upon less-than-desirable teammates). The terms of the EULA are much less relevant to most players.  However, they do clarify an interesting point: violations of the EULA would probably end up in court (or “mandatory arbitration”). This is where Riot would claim you’ve somehow overstepped the “fair use” of their product, perhaps by selling downloads to unsuspecting users, or attempting to “reverse engineer” their game to create your own, etc.  They’d be suing you for damages, injunctions, and possibly attorney’s fees, depending on the nature and extent of the violation.

To date, I have yet to see any pending complaints by Riot against any of their players.  Suing your customers is not the custom and practice of most business entities, and on top of that, Riot tends to be more forgiving to its player-base than most companies in the industry.  If they have had issues with EULA violations, it’s likely they have been taken care of using cease & desist letters – very common in the realm of IP violations.

TL; DR: The Terms of Service and EULA are legally enforceable contracts.  If a player violates the Terms of Service, their access to the service may be suspended but not necessarily their access to the software – that would require a violation of the EULA.

 

Like the article? Have any comments or suggestions? Post below and follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!

 

scorched earth renekton banner

 

 

PBE Update  

 

 

JinxSquare

        Jinx

 

Flame_Chompers!Flame Chompers [ E ]

  • Mana cost increased from 50 to 70
  • Damage decreased from 80/135/190/245/300 to 60/120/170/240/300
  • Range lowered from 900 to 850

 

 

KassadinSquare

   Kassadin

 

Nether_BladeNether Blade [ W ]

  • Mana restore changed from 4% of Kassadin’s maximum mana to 6% of his missing mana
  • Cooldown increased from 9/8/7/6/5 to 10/9/8/7/6 seconds

 

RiftwalkRiftwalk [ R ]

  • Cost for subsequent Rift Walks increased from 100 at all ranks to 100/150/200

 

 

KhaZixSquare
    Kha’Zix

 

Taste_Their_FearTaste Their Fear [ Q ]

  • Damage changed from 50/80/110/140/170 to 70/90/110/130/150

 

LeapLeap [ E ]

  • Ratio increased from 0.4 to 0.8 (returned to live value)

 

Void_AssaultVoid Assault [ R ]

  • Movement speed decreased from 50% to 40%

 

Evolution_Active_CamouflageEvolved Active Camouflage [ R ]

  • Now grants 80% movement speed while in stealth, increased from 40%
  • Damage reduction decreased from 60% to 50% (same as live)

 

 

RenektonSquare

  Renekton

 

Cull_the_MeekCull the Meek [ Q ]

  • Damage decreased from 60/90/120/150/180 to 20/40/60/80/100
  • AD ratio changed from 80% of bonus AD to 80% of total AD (previous PBE update was 5/20/25/30/35% of total AD)
  • Fury damage changed from 90/135/180/225/270 (+120% bonus AD) to 30/60/90/120/150 (105/112.5/120/127.5/135% total AD) (previous PBE update was 2.5/30/37.5/45/52.5% total AD)

 

Slice_and_DiceSlice and Dice [ E ]

  • Damage returned to live value, still applies slow instead of armor shred (check here for previous value)

 

 

SkarnerSquare
    Skarner

 

Crystalline_ExoskeletonCrystalline Exoskeleton [ W ]

  • Movement speed reduced from 20/24/28/32/36% to 16/20/24/28/32 %

 

FractureFracture [ E ]

  • Mana cost increased from 40/45/50/55/60 to 50/55/60/65/70

 

 

ViSquare
         Vi

 

Vault_BreakerVault Breaker [ Q ]

  • Minimum damage changed from 50/80/110/140/170 ( +0.7 bonus  AD ) to 50/75/100/125/150 ( +0.8 bonus  AD )
  • Maximum damage changed from 100/160/220/280/340 ( +1.4 bonus  AD ) to  100/150/200/250/300 (+1.6 bonus AD )

 

Assault_and_BatteryAssault and Battery [ R ]

  • Cooldown increased from 130/105/80 to 140/110/80 seconds

 

 

XerathSquare

      Xerath

 

Overwhelming_PowerOverwhelming Power ( Passive )

  • Every third basic attack now restores 5% of Xerath’s maximum mana

 

Scorched Earth Renekton Splash

Scorched Earth Renekton Splash

 

Missed any recent articles? Check below:

 

Lunar Revel Splash Arts

 

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TeamCoastNew1

 

Introduce yourselves for those who may not be familiar with you.

Coast:  Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya – Top, Danny “Shiphtur” Le – Mid, Josh “NintendudeX” Atkins – Jungle, Miles “Daydreamin” Hoard – Support, and Apollo “WizFujiiN” Price – AD.

 

Before we get into spring promotion, I want to talk about your recent run in the Challenger scene. You performed extremely well there, and finished with a 3-1 victory over Complexity in the NACL. What is it like playing at the challenger level?

Coast: The team enjoys playing in the LCS. We would prefer to never play another game at the Challenger level. That said, the process of playing competitively almost every day of the off-season will help us be more prepared for the next Split than the teams who took this time off.

 

What do you think the level of play in the challenger scene is, relative to the current LCS. Who do you think is the best current challenger team?

Coast: The NA Challenger teams we played in the off season are not close to level of play in the LCS. There did not seem to be a great deal of difference between the better Challenger teams.

 

What do you think are the biggest differences between the Pro and Challenger scene?

Coast: There are some good individual players at the Challenger level, but the teams do not play in the same coordinated fashion as LCS teams. Pro players also have a deeper understanding of the game, and much better overall mechanics.

 

What changes or improvements do you think, if any, should be made to the challenger circuit?

Coast: As the money that players can earn in the Challenger Circuit (and the LCS) increases, the quality of the teams will improve proportionally.

 

Jumping into promotion, what was your preparation like leading up to the matches against TWZ? Were you confident in your ability to come out on top?

Coast: We worked very hard to get ready for the Promotion match. There was no doubt in our mind we would win over any of the Challenger teams. While the match seemed close, it really wasn’t.

 

Did TWZ surprise you at all? What do you think was the biggest factor in them not making it?

Coast: The two hour delay after Game 1 surprised us, giving TWZ time to re-group and get their wits about them. The biggest factor for TWZ not making the LCS was having to play us.

 

Had TWZ played Curse or EG, do you think they would have been able to make it in?

Coast: Both Curse and EG would likely have beaten TWZ.

 

Now that you are back in the LCS, what are your goals for 2014? Where do you see yourself finishing? Who are your biggest threats?

Coast: We want to play one game at a time, and play our best. We are very confident in the way our team stacks up against the other teams in the league. Because of the way the team is playing right now, we like our chances against any team we will face.

 

Can you give us a personal power ranking of the current LCS teams, or where you see them finishing?

Coast: We believe our team will have a very good Spring Split. The final standings will depend upon who plays consistently well throughout the season. Although it is hard to predict the way the Split will end, we believe we are in the top tier of teams. There are many pundits who don’t like our chances of finishing well this Split. However, if you were to ask the other LCS teams about the strength of Coast, you would get a very different story.

 

How has the team adapted to the preseason changes?

Coast: We like the preseason changes, and feel it plays into our strengths.

 

You recently acquired WizFuJiiN as your AD carry. What led to this decision, and how has he fit into the team so far in terms of synergy?

Coast: WizFujiiN is an extremely strong AD Carry both mechanically and as a contributor to team play. The chemistry in our Bot Lane between Wiz and Daydreamin was on display during the Promotion Match. Wiz has a great attitude, and has brought a positive influence to the team.

 

Was Chaox ever a tryout for Coast? If so, why wasn’t he picked up?

Coast: Chaox did try out for Coast, and played with the team quite a bit. Chaox is a great guy…we have nothing but good things to say about him both as a player and as a friend of the team. At the end of the day, we felt WizFujiiN was the best overall choice for the team.

 

What is it like in a typical game for Coast? Is there a primary shot-caller?

Coast: One of the changes during the offseason has been improved team communication. Everyone on the team is more involved in shot-calling and making sure their teammates are aware of what is happening in the game.

 

What is your attitude when playing from behind, and how do you keep your head in the game?

Coast: Because we have experience coming from behind many times, we always try to believe we can win. Communication and a positive attitude help to keep everyone moving in the right direction.

 

How does the team spend time together outside of the game? Do you play other games besides League?

Coast: Being gamers, we pretty much play any game that involves someone winning and losing.

 

Something unknown about yourselves that you’re willing to share?

Coast: We secretly want to win the LoL World Championship.

 

Shoutouts/etc?

Coast: We’d like to thank our sponsors CyberPowerPC, LoL-Class, Corsair, and ClickPoint Software for supporting the team.

 

 

Mobility in the Meta Banner

 

   We’ve all known that “mobilitycreep” is a problem in League of Legends, but I believe in this preseason the problem is at an all time high. Mobile champions completely dominate the meta and multiple culprits can be found in every lane. It isn’t even gap-closers being too abundant either; speed steroids, lock-on mechanics, and teleports are becoming increasingly common, and some champions even have multiple abilities that do this. Too much mobility is bogging down the game and dramatically limiting the number of champions that can be considered competitively viable.

 

The Culprits

You counter Mobility with Crowd Control

Why is this Bad?

Silver Lining

 

 

The Culprits

 

   The champions below are the main problem in this “mobility” meta. Please note that some champions can function in multiple lanes such as top/jungle, top/mid, or even top/mid/jungle (*cough* Riven *cough*), and their placement on the list does not mean they are exclusive to that lane only; I just didn’t want to list some Champs 2 or 3 times.  Remember that the main criteria to meet this list are:

1). High popularity in the current meta

2.) At least 1 mobility skill

(There are a few exceptions on this list which I will take time to discuss below)

 

Top Lane

Top Lane

 

Jungle

Jungle

 

Mid Lane

Mid Lane

 

Bot Lane – ADC

Bot Lane

 

Bot Lane – Support

Support

 

   To reiterate, every one of these champions, except Annie, Olaf, and Orianna (who I will explain later) has some kind of ability that doubles as a mobility tool; as I mentioned above, some even have 2 mobility spells (Shyvana, Riven, Elise, Evelynn, Vi, Lee Sin, Lucian, Vayne). All of this mobility on the Rift makes chasing, peeling, or killing these champions an extremely difficult task. The ease of access to Talisman of Ascension is also adding to this problem.

Mobility does have a counter; however, you might feel sick when you realize how many of the mobile champions also possess the counter.

 

 

Counter Mobility With Crowd Control

 

   axe blood decorationSeems simple enough right? Until you realize that most of the mobile champions above ALSO have a crowd control! Riven, Rengar, Renekton, Dr. Mundo, Elise, Vi, Evelyn, Lee Sin, Gragas, Kassadin, Kha’Zix, Ziggs, Jinx, Caitlyn, Vayne, Leona, Thresh, and Karma all have some kind of mobility ability AND crowd control in the same kit (Annie is excluded from the list because she has no mobility, but her crowd control is definitely one of the reasons she has increased in popularity). Now, I am including soft cc in that list, like slows and displacements, but even if you take out all those champs the list still looks like this: Riven, Rengar, Renekton, Elise, Vi, Jinx, Caitlyn, Vayne, Leona, Thresh, Karma. 11 mobile champions with a hard cc (stun/root/suppression).

   Now that we have established that the problem with the current meta  is rooted in high mobility + crowd control let’s take a look at our 3 outlier champions: Olaf, Orianna, Annie.

  • Olaf: Olaf makes the list because he is immune to crowd control while his ultimate is active. This makes him a great pick in a meta with increasing amounts of hard cc.
  • Orianna: At first glance Orianna may not strike you as a “mobile” champion but her ability to cast all her spells via the ball and use other champions as a delivery system give her a niche type of mobility that still functions well in the current meta. She is still a very strong champion but I think she is definitely getting edged out by some of the other high mobility options.
  • Annie: As I mentioned above, Annie is experiencing a high point in the meta because of her *instant* crowd control. The fact that her W and R have zero travel time put her over the edge in terms of viability over other support champions because her cc can not be reacted to and is therefore guaranteed to land. Even true support champions with AoE CC like Sona can’t compete any longer because mobility is such an issue; a spell like Crescendo, which has a travel time and therefore a window to react to it, are no longer good enough because they have a chance to miss.

 

 

Why is This Bad

 


   The main thing that troubles me about this trend is that it is strangling the meta-game in terms of viability and champion diversification, more-so than other power trends have in the past. Also, because these are the apex traits of power (mobility and hard-cc) it means we have reached a point of no return. The meta has finally become so stagnant that it can only support champions with high mobility and crowd control (with very minimal exceptions, lower than any previous metas in the past). In some cases, like Riven mentioned above, champions can be played in multiple lanes, which might seem like a cool trend but actually lends itself to my argument that specific champions are limiting the current pool of viability.

No Kassadin   It’s even more troubling than trends of the past that were nerfed because this is a champion-centric problem and not an item or balance problem (like Black Cleaver stacking). To fix this problem a TON of champions need to be nerfed (which is happening on the PBE thank god) or changed, because if not then they will ALWAYS out shadow the other choices. There are a lot of really cool champions out there, and future champions, that will continue to see zero competitive play at this rate due to this increasing trend. Ask yourself, “If I want the best chance of winning, why would I pick a champion without high-mobility or a hard-cc, or both?” The answer is “Never.” Even a lot of the niche champion picks, from the games I will be looking at below, exhibit mobility/cc characteristics (LeBlanc, Kayle, Zed, Alistar, Nami, Nunu, Zyra, Jax).

   To further illustrate this point I want to look at the champion picks that happened this week, on the current live patch 3.15, during Korea’s OGN Champion’s Winter semi-finals. The games I will be looking at will be both matches between “SKT T1 K vs KT Rolster Bullets” and “Najin White Shield vs Samsung Ozone.” I am only going to be looking at the champions picked or banned throughout the 7 games.

  • 7 games were played
  • 32 different champions were picked, the list above is 26 champions (Rengar was global banned due to bugs)
  • 85% of the champions listed above were picked (22/26) and there was an average of 8 “list champions” per game (even after bans).
  • 7 Champions had 100% pick/ban rates: Thresh, Kassadin, Leona, Annie, Shyvanna, Elise, and Gragas (all on the above list).
    • Kassadin was 100% banned
    • Elise was 100% picked
    • Annie was 86% banned (6/7)
    • Thresh/Leona were 71% banned (5/7)
    • Gragas was 100% picked in 1 series and 100% banned in another series.
    • Vi, Evelynn, Jinx, and Karma were 0% picked/banned.
  • Talisman of Ascension was made/being made 79% of the time.

 

 Overall Pick Numbers

 

  • 10 different champions were picked/banned for the Mid and Support roles (Kassadin, Gragas, Nidalee, Kha’Zix, Ziggs, Orianna, Riven, Kayle, Zed, and LeBlanc / Annie, Thresh, Leona, Lulu, Nami, Sona, Alistar, Blitzcrank, Zyra, and Lee Sin).
  • 5 different champions were picked/banned for the Top and ADC roles (Shyvanna, Dr. Mundo, Renekton, Lee Sin, and Jax/ Sivir, Lucian, Caitlyn, Vayne, Ezreal).
  • 5 different champions were picked/banned for the Jungle role (Elise, Olaf, Kha’Zix, Lee Sin, and Nunu).

 

   Now I really want to focus on the last 3 bullet points where you can see the “depth” of champion pools. All the lanes are getting strangled by the “overpowered” picks in some way or another. Mid is controlled by Kassadin and Gragas and then viability fluctuates around those 2 (20% of the champ pool controls the other 80%). Top is dominated by Shyvana and then picks fluctuate around her (20% also). The ADC position is a little more flexible and the pick usually depends on player preference and team comp but Sivir and Lucian still dominate priority, appearing in 6 of the 7 games (40%). The jungle picks are just ravaged by Elise and Olaf who appeared in the same game 4 times, but of course the big figure is Elise’s 100% pick rate (20%-30% limitation based on 2 champs).

   The Support role is surprisingly one of the most contested positions in terms of picks and bans but the statistics show that it is completely dominated by Annie, Thresh, and Leona because of their mobility and hard-cc. The fluctuation of the Support champions following the availability of those 3 is usually dictated by team composition. It is worth noting though that Annie was first picked 100% of the time she was unbanned, and Thresh and Leona were picked up in the 1st rotation on red side 100% of the time, and the 2nd rotation on blue side 100% of the time (30% of the pool controls the remaining 70%). Also Talisman of Ascension was made, or being made, 11/14 times being the most dominant of the new Support items (I wonder why…).

 

 

Silver Lining

 

   The silver lining is that while the meta is stagnant right now it still has room to grow, unfortunately it will only grow around mobility and hard cc. There are still a handful of old champions that are mobile and provide cc and it is just going to take some time for the meta to readopt them into the fold and push other less-favorable champions out. Some of the “sleeper” champions I think will see a rise in popularity again are:

Silver Lining

   These are the first that come to mind, there might be more. I have listed them in order of how likely I think they are to step back onto the scene. Obviously the jungle role is wide open for competition which is why there are a lot of junglers on the list. I think if top lane can break away from Shyvanna/Mundo/Renekton that Rumble and Malphite could make a comeback as well. Wukong seems like a prime pick for midlane right now. Kennen and Zac are on my list just to cover my ass, but I think their resurgence is more unlikely than the rest.

   I hope this gave you all something to think about. The game is always in a state of flux and anytime something problematic like this comes up Riot usually responds in a rational way to try and keep the game in balance. They already have some nerfs to Riven and Shyvanna coming to the PBE which tells me they are aware of the problem. In the mean time try and use the knowledge and statistics I have provided to gain some rating before they fix it and the next form of the meta takes shape!

Love,

Dcgreen

 

EDIT: I totally forgot about Yasuo so I added him to the list of “sleepers.” I think he will be a force to be reckoned with once people get better at playing him. His mobility is reliant on enemy units being present but he comes with some good cc and damage and scales incredibly well due to his passive. I would keep an eye out for him.

 

Riot Pls Banner

A whole new year is ahead of us, Summoners! What will change in League? What do you want changed? Here are my wishes / anticipations: 

 

Client
Servers
Features

Team Builder
Fanmade
Graphics
Balance
Soon!

 

 

client banner

 

   I’d say this should be the most urgent update on Riot’s list for this year. The PVP client affects each and every player: bugs, massive memory usage, slow load times, and so on, hurt everyone’s experience. We’re all aware of the issues that plague LoL’s client, but I’d like to list some of them so there’s better visibility on what needs fixing:


  • Heavy on the memory and CPU load, slow load times

   League of Legends was released in 2009, back when Riot Games was a really small team. When you have limited funds and limited number of people working on the same field (programming, design, bug testing, etc.) you need to manage your resources properly. The company then packaged the client code using Adobe AIR, which was more suited for making smaller, cross-platform apps. Adobe AIR did not support GPU mode until 2011 when Stage3D was introduced, which allowed faster rendering. It’s a solution to the problem of making a cheap, multi-language client. I assume the initial creators did not anticipate the community taking such a massive interest in the game so they chose the option that best suited their financial status at the time. League of Legends grew (and is still growing) at an enormous pace, so once the company was committed to the tech, they couldn’t change everything in one day, or even implement massive changes to the existing client, because of the consequences it would have on the playerbase.

   I am not a programmer so I won’t waste your time with ideas that likely can’t work. I do know there are lots of independent developers making custom clients, which is an opportunity for Riot to hire talented and passionate people for this work. The philosophy for now seems to be making incremental changes to the existing client while slowly phasing out the aging tech. So the “leap” we experience once the client is fully rebuilt may not be as dramatic, but it’ll certainly be a lot safer when millions of players are affected.


  • Bugsplats, disconnects, freezes, post-game crashes and so on

   The most problematic area of League of Legends lies outside the actual game. It is perhaps these issues that drive away the biggest number of players from the experience. This has been a philosophy of Blizzard’s for twenty years now – once the product ships, it needs to be stable. Errors distract and alienate, they put a bad name on companies and are never subjective – it’s something that NEEDS fixing. I would like Riot to put more priority on creating a non-interruptive process from login to game. Think about this – would you rather solve an in-game bug or one that prevents the player from entering the game in the first place?


Wintermint

Wintermint, a PVP Client developed by AstralFoxy

 

 

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   Occasionally, you can play on EU: West without a hitch… or so they claim. It really is disheartening getting lag spikes in the middle of a match or even being disconnected and unable to log back in. Servers should be a top priority for any company running a major online game and I’m glad Riot has focused on improving infrastructure this year. There’s not much to say here – better servers are on the way, we just have to be patient.

 

 

features banner

 

   Comparisons are inevitable in these lists, so I’ll make one with Valve’s DotA 2 client. My gripe here is that Valve has had working in-client Replays in DotA 2 since beta and has created a really solid interface around it – you can sort games using a player’s name, get specific details like who won, K/D/A, etc., then either download them into a folder or watch straight from the client. In-client replays are nowhere to be found in League and it should be unacceptable that we have to resort to 3rd party solutions for a feature that so many players have requested for years. I will say that this is currently being tested on the PBE, but it’s been there for so long with seemingly no release date in sight.

   Why is this important?  Replays are a key element of any strategy game – new players can examine how others handle situations from a bird’s eye view and veteran players can likewise better understand what they did wrong and how to improve. There is no better way to evaluate a team’s performance post-game when so many things are happening at once; replays allow a user or commentator to pause and draw conclusions from a situation. Replays can also greatly benefit Youtubers – unlike streaming, Youtube videos are usually more polished, with scripted commentary, so a solid feature that allowed the content creator to edit parts of his/her gameplay quickly, without the hassle of installing additional software, goes a long way toward more and better League footage.


   The achievement tab was scrapped awhile ago and I think Riot really missed out on an opportunity with that decision. Achievements bring a LOT to a game’s longevity. They’ve always been a way to keep players in the game, by dangling shiny rewards on the screen that got progressively harder to obtain. In the case of League, there is no real end-game to strive for, which means you commit because you enjoy the experience and/or to climb Leagues. The hardcore audience has the Ranked system to keep them excited to compete, but more casual players really don’t have many options. I consider Achievements a clever way of keeping everyone involved, while not being a game-changing mechanic or a nuisance. Plus that shiny animation that pops up when you get one – it’s like Christmas on your monitor.


   Allow me to put a little backlight on the subject – back when the game was still young, there was a big effort from writers to make the universe of Runeterra feel like a real fantasy world. A total of 31 “chronicles” were released, detailing events that happened in the world of League of Legends. Champions had lore ties with the Journal of Justice and it was a really great way of establishing relationships between individual characters and even factions. If not for the journal, we wouldn’t have had one of the first pro-events in League (the Ionia vs Noxus and Demacia vs Noxus matches) and we wouldn’t have had the Ionian Boots of Lucidity.

Journal of Justice decoration

   The Journal was scrapped at the start of Season 2 and since then we’ve had lore introduced in different ways, with various degrees of success. What I really liked about those chronicle entries was their non-engaging nature – they were a small feature of the client at that time and weren’t anywhere near as bombastic, say, as the Freljord events. I think handling a fictional world’s story should be done in a way that doesn’t break the immersion – the Journal of Justice, however simple, was really how you’d expect historical events to be described – on a tattered piece of paper, usually with very artistic and noble language that writers of old would use. Making a non-integral part of League dramatic and central detracts from this idea. I miss this form of adding roleplay elements to League – Quinn’s “Journey into the Freljord” letters were as close as we got to that original form of releasing lore for the game. Once again, it’s nothing urgent and I doubt too many people are holding their breaths for this feature, but it’s something small that could solidify Runeterra as an engaging fantasy world.

Note: Riot is currently looking for writers: http://www.riotgames.com/careers/writer-0

 

 

Team Builder banner

 

We had a very intriguing announcement last year – a brand new way of handling Roles that doesn’t rely on pick order. Team Builder seeks to remedy the toxicity in Champion Select and allow everyone to pick the role he / she feels most comfortable playing. Here are the basics:

  • Team Builder will allow players to queue up for a specific role with a specific champion
  • The “leader” or host can request roles for whatever team composition he/she wishes
  • Testing is currently done with minimal flexibility, i.e you cannot change anything during Champion Select except Runes and Masteries, though it’s possible players will be allowed to change Champions within a given role later on

We’ll most likely see Team Builder hit live this year, so what does this mean for us? Let’s examine what’s good and what’s not about this new method of queueing:


Pros

 

  • No chat arguments about Team Roles
  • Most likely everyone will be playing the Champion they are strongest at, at the position they feel most comfortable taking
  • Minimum chance of having an unexpected composition (two people argue and they both lock in ADC) that players will feel feel uncomfortable playing around
  • Smarter matchmaking – Team Builder will account for a player’s experience with a certain Champion or Role and will adjust the search algorithm accordingly
  • Players can opt out of a composition if they don’t agree with the leader with no penalty for doing so


Cons

 

  • Will most likely reinforce the current meta even more
  • Sharp lack of players queueing for the most unfun / unrewarding Role at the time, which in turn will increase queue timers
  • Potential abuse of the system if players are allowed to change Champions after they’ve arrived at Champion Select

The biggest possible negative of Team Builder is it puts further emphasis on the current meta. I for one believe there are viable alternatives to it, now more than ever in Preseason. Back when LoL was young the game went through several pseudo-metas, most notably the AoE Press R compositions and the HP-stacking bruisers. What we have now is certainly the most balanced comp, i.e it can compete in any scenario, but that’s just it – team composition is effectively a non-factor in the game’s strategy today. It would be amazing to see Melee Carries handle bot lane or ADCs returning to former glory as solo mid picks… maybe a tri-lane on top? ( I can dream.) Team Builder may have provided the tools for creating diverse compositions, but I don’t think it will nurture the mentality needed for it to happen. After all, if you lock Champions to certain Roles, you really don’t have many options, do you?

Team Builder is a brilliant system that faces perils most systems built for a huge online community do. I really hope we see it polished and released this year, even if only for Normal Games. It’s probably Riot’s greatest effort to reduce player toxicity and I hope it succeeds.

 

 

fanmade banner

 

I’m always blown away by how creative LoL’s community is and has been for many years. Back when Nika was running the Summoner Showcase we were seeing dozens of fan creations every week. Go to a major gaming event and you’ll see League cosplayers everywhere, showing off costumes that often take weeks and months to make. It’s a shame, then, that we don’t see Riot getting more involved with fans of the game.

   One marketing area that could really benefit from passionate fans is physical merchandise. Lots of people out there like making custom T-shirts, pillows, mugs and so on with their favorite League characters, but you can’t really be selling those without permit. Given how crazy creative fans can be with their hobby, why not host contests or entire events where they can show their work? Lots of companies look into community content as a serious way of establishing business relationships.

   Another area that’s similar in principle is in-game visual content. Valve has the DotA 2 store maintained almost entirely by community-made gear for Champions. Every day I see so many incredible skin ideas and it’s upsetting that so many of them are forgotten or overlooked. I applaud Riot’s intention to not focus too much on monetization and skin making over fixing other issues, but getting fan ideas into the development cycle can be equally positive while also rewarding for both the community and the company. I really hope we see more interaction with fans from Riot during S4.

 

 

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sivir old vs new decoration   I must say, I was repeatedly amazed last year by the amount of detail put into new and old, reworked Champions. 2013 was definitely the best year for older Champions to shine. Archaic models that hadn’t seen updates since beta were reworked to match the fidelity of newer releases and it was a joy seeing the return of old-timers such as Nasus, Sivir, Karma and more. On the graphical side we also got Howling Abyss with all its snowstormy glory, buscuit-eating poros, and collapsing towers. New brush popped up all over Summoner’s Rift to replace the inferior grass of Season 3 and now you have moving grass everywhere and what would you do without that? With all that said, however… our 5v5 battleground is still in dire state visually.

   Summoner’s Rift has always been practical and unintrusive with its contrasting color palette and lack of distracting detail. But it’s never been fun to look at the map, not unless it’s snowing there. Even with the texture update we got in 2012 the map still fails to impress. There are two reasons Riot hasn’t taken the initiate here – one is not to strain the resources of players with older hardware and  the other is a design choice. By keeping the map visuals clean it’s easier to distinguish Champions and spells, especially in teamfights.

   The problem is we already have an example of what Riot can do with map design – the reworked Twisted Treeline. It is an absolutely gorgeous setting and it doesn’t hurt the experience by being this detailed environment. Here’s a short list of graphical options I’d like to see implemented in League down the line:

  • Better Anti-Aliasing: AA is the technology that makes jagged edges appear smooth. Riot uses FXAA for LoL, which is the least performance-demanding method of all, but it blurs textures and hurts the fidelity of the visuals. A solid alternative would be SMAA, which is similarly light on demand, but doesn’t affect textures.
  • Ambient Occlusion: It’s used to blend objects placed on the ground with the ground itself. AO makes those corners touching the horizontal plane darker so the eye loses that line of contrast between the two. It may sound like a negligible feature, but the difference when using Ambient Occlusion in games is quite astonishing.
  • More / Better lighting: Twisted Treeline features some impressive use of lighting on the Recall Platform and Shrines, which tells me there is a way to implement this on Summoner’s Rift as well. There are torches on SR, but the light coming from them isn’t dynamic and so they just blend with the rest of the textures. In-game objects that are perfect candidates for better lighting would be the crystals on Towers, inhibitors, torches, Nexus and Dragon (y u no breathe fire). Immersive lighting also depends on the surface its cast on, so metal textures on the Recall Platform of Summoner’s Rift, glass for the crystals on buildings and so on, would make the effect much more apparent.
  • HDR (High-dynamic-range imaging): HDR makes textures appear sharp without changing the actual textures. It’s a complex method, so here’s the short version: HDR adds more dynamic range to an image, which is the difference between light and dark in that image. It’s essentially higher contrast that’s giving the illusion of more detail.
  • Bloom: Goes well with the above-mentioned better lighting. Bloom is a trick used for really bright objects (like torches) to make it seem like they’re bleeding out light from the edges. It really is that – you just turn those edges into light sources of their own. If you had shining bright crystals on Towers and inhibitors and added bloom, it would seem like light was radiant, instead of just illuminating like a lightbulb.

Graphics are secondary, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be a priority. Here’s hoping we get a better-looking Summoner’s Rift this year. Or maybe even Magma Chamber!… we’re not getting Magma Chamber, are we.

Dawngate Screenshot

Dawngate (MOBA). Detailed map that doesn’t intrude

 

 

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   It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride this year on the Rift, with Champions and items rising to insane popularity before getting swifly cut down by NerfMasterSuckTown. We’ve had our fair share of bugs and exiles hopping around the map with six cleavers deleting teammates and enemies in two seconds, Ryze building Manamune and not getting reported for it, Ezreal having more CC than tanks, Ranged carries buying lifestealing blades that turned them into Sonic / Duke Nukem in teamfights and so on, but those were fixed in a timely manner. It’s fair to say the game’s overall stable at this point, even with the massive changes that Preseason brought. So I want to focus on Riot’s philosophy of handling balance, rather than wishing for individual fixes for this year.

   What you have with League of Legends is essentially cycle balancing. Here’s a strange analogy – imagine all the Champions of the League are riding a Ferris Wheel. Eventually, some of them will reach the top, which means they’re the easiest to see. These Champions then become FotM (Flavor of the Month) and become overplayed, banned and commented. Now, it doesn’t have to be an actual balance issue leading to this – maybe a popular streamer showed a Champion stomp or a professional E-sports player won with some unexplored pick or item. It doesn’t matter – the end result is you get a disruption in game flow, where one strategy appears prevalent and so everyone copies it. This makes the game monotone, predictable and, as a result, boring to play and watch. So Riot “fixes” the issue by nerfing that particular issue. But by turning the Ferris Wheel so the top Champions (or items) come down, others go up. Thus you have cycle balancing.

Updated Riven banner

   This was used to bring Black Cleaver back into obscurity and deter the double Relic strat at the start of Preseason, among other cases. It’s what we see all the time in patches when Champions become pick/banned consistently. But is this a proper way of handling balance? I’d argue no, because cycle balancing is not fixing the issue, it’s preventing an issue from having a harmful effect on the game for too long. Let me give you an example – Riven is nerfed because of a continuous community outcry. Prior to this she is getting banned all the time, in games where she’s not she snowballs really hard off top or mid, deals insane damage and so on. So it appears she’s simply out of line, right? But there are lots of reasons why Riven’s dominance occurs in the place. Maybe her counters got nerfed too hard or in such a way that it ruined the fun aspect of those Champions and so people no longer wish to play them, even if they know they could beat Riven this way. Maybe Riven’s lack of resource is giving her that game-winning edge over Champions that would normally beat her, but are restrained by mana costs. Or maybe the issue isn’t Riven at all? Maybe Lifesteal is too strong with mechanics that reset the Auto-attack timer? You see how the more we elaborate on the cause, the bigger the issues we’re exploring become. This was just one recent case I used as an example. I’m not being biased in my assessment of Riven as she’s not a Champion I enjoy playing, but she does present cycle balancing in a good way.

   I don’t think either Morello or anyone working at Riot would go so far against the established philosophy of cycle balancing, especially given how successful League of Legends has become and that any massive changes are probably too risky for the reward they’d bring. But I do hope the balancing team at least examines the bigger case issues with balancing LoL and not just individual Champions and items. Nerfs are not fun – that we can all agree on. The less of them there are, the better, and if you rework, say, the way minion EXP works or increase Mana Regeneration for Champions who struggle in their matchups, you might solve more than one issue and save players the trouble of nerfing their favourite picks… or you might cause an apocalypse. But at least it will be a fun apocalypse.

 

 

soon banner

 

So the last section was a bit too serious for this optimistic topic… let’s look at the announcements I think we’re all excited for:

  • Visual Update for Baron Nashor
  • Awesome skins!
  • Visual reworks of Evelynn and Urgot
  • Complete reworks of Sion and Xerath
  • Dragon Master Swain
  • Release (or at least teaser) of Ao Shin
  • Release of Zelos, teased to be Irelia’s brother
  • Release of Kassadin’s daughter

All of this is confirmed content, though whether or not we’ll it all released in 2014 is uncertain.

 

 

What do you wish Riot delivered on in Season 4? Or beyond? Share below!

 

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