Teamwork: Passing Fad or Solid Commitment?

If you have followed Riot on Twitter you may have recently seen several videos with one theme in common – teamwork. I never would have believed that these videos would make me anything but happy, but there is a bit of sadness thrown in there as well. Let me explain.

First, if you haven’t seen the videos I will put them below for you. They are definitely worth a watch.

Riot is at an interesting crossroads in regards to the content that they put out for this game. On the one hand they are trying to build League of Legends up like any other sport you might tune into. They have features on the different players, the different teams and anything else you can imagine related to the pro scene. You can’t help but admire the work they put out. The production quality gets better every time, and you do really feel like you are watching sports on ESPN.

While I admire the work Riot is doing I do believe it is coming at a cost. With the majority of their content focused on the LCS (pro League) I feel that they somewhat neglect putting out content for the average gamer. Specifically, I feel that Riot is missing out on a great opportunity to try and shape their community of Joe Schmo gamers. What we see are videos talking about aspects of LoL that most of us will never experience. What I would like us to see are videos talking about respecting your fellow gamer, working together as a team and basically anything else that could be targeted at the average LoL player to encourage them to be a more…honorable opponent, if you will.

A lot of people act like jerks in LoL simply because that is their purpose for playing. As strange as this may sound, I firmly believe that there is a large portion of gamers who behave like trash simply because they honestly don’t know any better. No one has really given them any reason to be a decent, friendly gamer. From Riot they get videos of pro players. This leads them to want to be like pro players, and so they tune into Twitch to watch the pro players stream.

Yes, some pros set fairly decent examples. The problem is that many others display apathy or even down right horrible behavior towards their fellow gamers. I would love to see Riot use their strong creative team and expert production crew to actually put out some solid PSA’s that could reach out to those uninformed gamers and show them how to be a nicer player. This is something I don’t believe we can trust to the pros, and by the time it hits the tribunal it is already too late.

Enter the videos posted on Facebook. They are exactly the kinds of things I would like to see Riot focus more of their attention on. They talk about how LoL players, all LoL players, can actually work together more respectfully and effectively and the videos point out some of the tangible benefits that come from working together.

Yes, Riot posts videos of pro players like Ocelot, who apparently had an epiphany and decided to clean up his act. Despite his talk of being a role model and deciding to simply be good, one can’t help but think (I mean look at that smirk he’s rocking for a lot of the video) that Ocelot was mostly motivated by the risk of losing what is essentially a job playing video games. What I like about these videos posted by Riot is that they show what the benefits are to the rest of us. They show that actually working with your team and resisting the urge to trash talk really will improve your experience – and get you wins!

There are a couple of things that bug me about the videos. The first is that I find them to be kind of idealized. They make it seem like working well with your teammates is as simple as talking with them and willing it to happen. They show that great things can happen when you work together, but really do not discuss the ways to get your team talking and working together. I just worry that some people might go into a game expecting to be able to develop great team cohesion and then discover that it is not as easy as these videos make it look. The videos are definitely a great start, and promote the right ideas, but they could always offer you a bit more of an idea of how to work as a team.

The second thing that bugs/worries me is that none of these videos were produced by Riot. Yes, Riot took the time to hunt them down and post them. Heck, maybe Riot even commissioned them, I don’t know. What worries me is that as long as the videos aren’t being produced by Riot it is hard to tell just how committed to spreading the good word on teamwork Riot really is.

Someone like myself who follows the scene and knows the people who made these videos knows that they are very respectable players and their work should be viewed with respect. Others might not know who the streamers are and might not listen to the video’s advice the same way they would listen to it if the advice was part of a Riot video featuring Phreak. Until I see Riot actually making the videos I have to question how committed they are to spreading this great message to their players.

The people who produced the three teamwork themed videos definitely should be applauded for reminding us all that actually making an effort to work with your teammates can and will make LoL more enjoyable for you. As good as these videos were just, imagine what kind of videos Riot could produce if they put the same effort that they put into videos covering the pro scene into videos to try and make this game just a bit more friendly. Hopefully Riot will convince me that teamwork and a nicer community is just as important to them as the LCS.

For any non League of Legends players who might have checked out this article, is there anything the company behind your game does to promote a better gaming community? Would you like to see similar videos in your game?

Finally, thanks everyone who wished me well on my trip. It was a very pleasant break from everything and I am very glad I decided to go. I saw nature, saw some good friends of mine and spent much more time eating than getting eaten. All in all it was a great success!

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