Beginner’s guide: jumping into League of Legends

In a previous piece I wrote I discussed the fact that a lot of new League of Legends players have a negative first experience with the game because they really have no idea how to get started playing it. In that article I challenged everyone to tell their story of how they started playing League and offer up any advice they might have for beginners. Well, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

Below you will find a link to a Beginner’s guide that I recently wrote for Team Dignitas. Please take a look, and as always, if you like what you see then please give it a like or a share. If you have any suggestions, things you would like to see me write about next or other comments feel free to post them here or on the article.

Thank you again for all of your support. I saw some familiar faces liking my last article and I was super excited. Getting a chance to interact with you guys is definitely why I keep doing what I’m doing.


Madlife Tribute

Hi everyone. Kind of a slow start to my week, but nothing makes me smile quite like watching my favorite support god, Madlife, doing what he does best. Hopefully Madlife will pull your frown around too! Props to the gentleman who made this. Check out his other work and give him a like.

Watching all of those Flash hooks really makes me hope Riot will consider bringing that combo back, someday. For supports, taking the Flash hook away was kind of like taking Nidalee spears away from mid laners. It’s one of the support’s big exciting plays, and I miss it.

I think the thing that I admire most about Madlife is his creativity. As you saw in the video, even when he can’t land his hook he is still thinking ahead to figure out how to make a play. Many new supports simply give up after missing a crucial ability, but Madlife sticks with it until he gets his team a kill. This truly makes him one of the best in the world.

Honor, Where Have You Gone?

I don’t usually care when I spend an evening losing at League of Legends. I’ve always accepted that losing is part of the game, and sometimes, you just have off nights. What actually got to me a little bit was something else I lost tonight – my Honorable Opponent Badge.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this system, and you might not be because it really isn’t something you hear about any more, the Honor initiative was designed to allow summoners to reward each other for positive behavior. You could even reward opponents who you felt were particularly nice. This was the badge I was proudly wearing. To keep your badge you needed to consistently be awarded the Honor related to that badge. I found that if I was given Honor by an opponent once a week this was usually enough to keep my badge active.

Today, without warning, my badge was gone. I am actually a little surprised that this upset my as much as it has. Since they made some minor changes to the system last February, Riot has seemingly been content to let Honor fall by the wayside. There really is no incentive for players to maintain their Honor, other than out of a sense of pride or accomplishment. I was quite proud of my Honorable Opponent, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that maintaining it was more or less a game I played with myself, not a code that I lived by.

I always try and stay on my best behavior in League of Legends. I don’t appreciate people being mean or rude to me, and I try and treat others the same way. This is something I did long before the Honor initiative was ever considered. When Honor was first introduced, my normal behavior was often enough to win me Honor from opponents and teammates alike. Lately, when I have wanted to obtain Honor to keep my badge active, I have found that I have to resort to fishing for Honor.

To elaborate on this a bit more, my fishing process  generally involves me throwing a bunch of empty niceties at members of the other team. Often this is done while my friends accuse me of brown nosing or being a suck up. Usually I identify these “likely to give Honor” players in the post game chat by what they are saying. Then I would hit them with some compliments, agree with their gripes and bam, Honor would be mine. I worried that I was the only one who was doing something like this, but I went to the forums (always a scary experience) and was actually able to find a guide someone had written up to help people obtain the Honor badge of their choice. Check it out here. It comes complete with talking points and everything.

On the one hand you have to admire people for trying to do anything possible to keep their Honor intact, but is that really how we want it to be? Do we want a system that has grown so stagnant that the only way to get Honor is to develop a system, totally separate from your normal behavior, that allows you to chase Honor just for the sake of chasing Honor, without even caring about what that Honor represents?

Heading in to season’s end Riot had a golden opportunity to do something with the Honor system. Even as they were coming up with unique ways to reward us for our ranked exploits they could have been offering us skins, ward skins, summoner icons, anything that would have kept the Honor system in the spotlight. I know offering rewards to keep people “honorable” isn’t really a solution. There is a risk that the Honor being given is just as hollow as it is now. But if it keeps the system relevant and encourages even a couple thousand players to act a little bit nicer towards each other I would consider that a successful restarting of the system.

Even though much of what I say when fishing for Honor is meaningless, I still believe that hearing nice words is always better than hearing mean ones. There are also times when I genuinely do like to give Honor to my opponents or team mates who I feel have done a really good job, been very nice, or have put up with some really nasty teammates. In these instances, I really wish that they would get something for that Honor even if it is only a cool icon or a cheap ward skin.

Maybe Riot does have some great plan for the Honor system in Season 4. Sadly, my guess is that a lot of their effort has been put into the new Team Builder feature that they will be implementing soon. Don’t get me wrong, I think this new feature has a lot of potential. I just wish that Riot would show a little more willingness to continue to work with a system that had once shown so much promise.

For a while, Honor made all of us behave a little better, Riot had the stats to prove it, and I will always support and cherish anything that encourages this community to treat each other in a positive manner. I just worry that no end of season news is bad news for this system. What would have been a great time to make a change has simply become another opportunity to strengthen the system lost.

Without any major changes or new initiatives I can’t help but feel that the Honor system will slowly fade away, much like my own badge did.

Challenging the Twisted Treeline

Like Twisted Treeline? Want to support your friend 2hp? Curious who he has been writing for? Well then have I got a deal for you.

Below you will find a link that will take you to an interview I did for a mysterious and powerful organization. The subject of my interview was Voosha – a delightful Challenger level threes player. After you’re done reading, if you have a few seconds and enjoyed it, give it a share or leave a comment.

I am currently doing a trial period with this mystery organization, so all the views and positive comments I can get will probably help encourage them to keep me around. I would definitely like it if they kept me around.

Thanks again for all the support everyone. I hope you guys enjoy the article as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Averting a Crisis Before Minions Spawn

I should not have been anywhere the Blue Buff, but in Solo Queue you always have to put the team first – that’s what a good support does. My team just happened to consist of an Amumu, so I knew that an invade was a very real possibility. As it would turn out, an invasion was the least of my worries.

My champion, Zyra, had barely put her roots down near our Blue Buff when I first saw our Zed venture up into the other team’s jungle. Ok, I thought, he’s just going to take a quick look around and come back. Nope, before I could say anything, he had decided to face check up into the bush below the other team’s Red Buff. I’m not sure if any of us wanted him to find someone there…but he did.

I know what you are thinking, and I was thinking the same thing. The other team was probably getting ready to invade, and Zed had just found them all in sitting in their bush. I feared the worst, but instead watched as my top laner came face to face with the enemy top laner, a Xin Zhao. “Oh thank goodness,” I remember thinking. “Now Zed can just trade damage and walk away.” Well he did trade damage, but he did not walk away.

Zed had decided that he was going to fight this Xin to the death, and Xin had the exact same thoughts. I would like to tell you that I was busy trying to calculate who would win this fight. The truth is that I was just watching the duel in stunned silence, along with probably everyone else in the game. What snapped me hard out of that silence was when I realized that Zed was not going to win the fight, and he was not going to run.

A level one Zyra without boots does not run very fast, but i willed my champion north towards the battle. Just as Xin struck the death blow on my ally, I flashed into the bush and landed my snare. Xin Flashed away as my snare expired, but as I watched with baited breath, my last auto attack chased after him for the kill. Situation saved.

You would think I would have felt happy; I just remember feeling relief. Solo Queue is a delicate balance of egos and momentum. A First Blood given up for nothing can easily create the kind of doubts and unhappiness that would lose a lane, and ultimately the game. By picking up the kill, and getting my fallen comrade an assist, I maintained that delicate balance. I made sure Zed could declare “worth” and move on with his game. A game we would later win.

Next time you’re sitting around, waiting for minions to spawn, remember to keep your eyes on what your teammates are getting up to. Who knows, maybe you will also be called upon to make a sudden play. A little bit of map awareness, combined with a good Flash and an OK skill shot, can easily mean the difference between suffering defeat and averting a crisis.


Enough is Enough: Defending the League of Legends Community

You know what, I never thought I would be the guy writing this post. I don’t know if I was too embarrassed, too proud, or I agreed too much with the stuff that people were saying, but I never thought it would be me. Since then I’ve read a lot of negative stuff, seen people bash my game one too many times, and I have had enough. It’s time to stand up and say a little something different about the League of Legends community.

So why have I chosen now to take my stand? Well I guess the story the I am linking to you here was what kind of set things in motion. A dumb kid, who just happens to play League of Legends, is going through a nasty breakup and LoL is being highlighted because it is related to some of the stupid stuff he is doing. This set in motion a rather incredible movement by some gamers I follow on Twitter, who became determined to join LoL and essentially hunt this guy down. In the process, they decided to point out how nasty the community is, how crazy the community is etc. I think the following Tweet was the one that pushed me over the edge:

“BTW: Holy Batshit-cray-cray Batman…League of Legends community #SMH. Need I say more…they need to stop playing LOL and seek help. Srsly”

Those of you who follow this blog know exactly how I feel about my fellow LoLers, and I’m pretty sure many of you have similar feelings, that’s fine. A good hunk of what goes down in this community makes me mad and I would love to see players like the aforementioned XJ9 never play this game again.

It makes me sick to my stomach to see IWillDominate returning to the pro scene after his “year off” for being universally regarded as one of the nastiest players to ever play on the North American server. Too much crap goes on in game that is excused by the idea that the player is “having a bad day” or simply doesn’t know better. I know all of this, and I will be the first person to point that out.

I guess what bugs me is when people who have never really bothered to play the game decide to pick it up or try it out for a few days, pronounce it to be as horrible as everyone says and leave it at that. Then there are the people who are simply content to believe and spread the negative stereotypes they have heard about this game without ever trying it. When one of my fellow bloggers decided to give LoL a try I saw her Twitter post get quite a few messages telling her to run or avoid that garbage community – posts that were made by people who have probably never played the game.

For too long I was ok with this happening without challenging it, probably because I jokingly said a lot of the same stuff about this community to my friends who play or who were looking to start playing. Now I realize that when we let people freely say negative things about this community we are letting them lump all of us LoL players in with the likes of IWillDominate and XJ9. Or better yet, we are letting them call us stupid for continuing to put up with the darker elements of the community.

What they fail to understand, because many of them have never really spent any time in this community, is that everything that is rotten in LoL gets balanced out by the good things that happen. For every rage filled idiot you meet you also run into a nice kid from the other side of your country who likes to top lane. For every time you get called a noob you also get called a genius by a delightful blogger whose love of LoL brought you together. And for every bad game you have with random folks in solo que there’s an equal number of great games played with friends and randoms alike. Those of us who stick with LoL don’t do it because we are stupid or incapable of finding other games. We do it because we have found something here that we like, something that keeps us going.

It is also not as though many of us haven’t pushed Riot to try and make the game better. Popular support got the Tribunal system off and running and made people take the Honor system seriously (if only for a week). Riot clearly has some kind of interest in removing the darker elements of the community, and even when some of their initiatives stall, I have no doubt that many people in this community will keep pushing them to make things better. That proves to me that, beneath what is often a rotten exterior, this game has the same solid core of committed and positive gamers that every other gaming community has.

I could keep going on and on about things I like in LoL, but most of what you hear about the game in the general gaming community isn’t the positive stuff. I think a lot of this isn’t helped by the very nature of LoL itself. LoL  has become by far the biggest community, so it makes sense that the negative element will be quite large and draw a lot more attention than it would in other communities. If a player in another game does something stupid in his personal life, like XJ9, it doesn’t get the same kind of coverage because, and let’s be honest here, most of the eSports community’s attention is focused on LoL.

The nature of LoL is also quite conducive to negative behavior. Games with a steep learning curve almost always lead to early frustration. Throw together five random people who are at different points on that curve and there are bound to be some pretty nasty games to start things out. It also doesn’t help that LoL is, compared to shooters and many RTS games, slow paced enough that there is plenty of time for people to yell at each other.

This means that when people from other gaming communities come to try out LoL they are almost guaranteed a bad experience unless they are willing to strongly commit to learning the game. Not everyone has the time or will to do this, and they walk away and continue the cycle of talking about how horrible the game is.

It can be frustrating because I have noticed that this cycle has led to the stereotyping of LoL players even in the blogging community. There are still a large number of bloggers who don’t consider LoL and its community to be anything more than a bunch of angry kids whose only contribution to the world of gaming is to set records for the number of homophobic slurs used in a match. This view even gets applied to the people who write about LoL, I mean why would you waste your time writing about a community filled with angry kids? I believe this is why you didn’t see many of the well established gaming blogs talking about LoL in any serious capacity until it became so big it was hard to ignore.

You know what though, I do believe that we, the LoL community, are responsible for the fact that LoL continues to get such a bad rep. We stay quiet when people badmouth the game either because we are embarrassed to say we play it or because we hate the people they are complaining about even more than they do. What we need to remember is that when we sit silently by we are also letting these badmouthers put down our friends and all of the other great people we know who play LoL. Oh, and we are also letting them put us down for even associating with the game. This is something we need to stop letting them do.

We also need to try to be more welcoming of new people who want to try the game out. Unfortunately, LoL will never be as easy to pick up as shooters or other games that are easy to get started in but hard to master. I’m not saying that we need to take every new player by the hand and show them the ropes, but if you see on Twitter or Facebook that someone is looking to start playing the game definitely don’t hesitate to shoot them a few tips. I will be writing a guide for getting started playing the game, and I hope you will all consider doing the same thing.

If writing isn’t your style then try to find a beginners guide that you like, and have it handy. There is no way we will be able to improve the experience of everyone who is looking to try LoL for the first time, but if we can make it easier for even a few people to play then hopefully we can begin to break away some of the negative stigma surrounding this game.

I have spent far too long trying to pretend I am not a member of the LoL community. I play the game, I write about it, but I tried to distance myself from the community just enough that I wouldn’t be considered a rager or a dumb kid. I realize now that this is the wrong position.

By pretending to not be a member of the community, I was giving strength to the argument that the only thing the community is made up of are ragers and dumb kids. What I should be supporting is the idea that this community is made up of people who design their own champions, people who dress up as their favorite laners and people who love to write about a game that has them so intrigued and interested. People just like me.

I am proud to be a member of the League of Legends community, and the next time you see someone try and put this community down, you tell them to come meet me and the thousands of others just like me. Enough of XJ9. Enough of IWillDominate. WE are the LoL community!

Dear Twohp: A Quest for Your Questions

Hi everyone. I know I have yet to reveal to you who I’m doing some writing for, but that is because I do not want to Lucian it. Wait, I meant Jinx… or did I? I have high hopes I’ll be able to make it clear to everyone quite soon who I’m sending stuff in to. In the meantime, I need your help.

What I would like from you guys is any League of Legends issues, problems, etiquette questions, strategy/build inquiries etc that you would like to hear me answer or want to see me struggle with. I’m pulling out all the stops trying to come up with creative articles to write, and the one I have decided to write next is a LoL themed advice column.

A very basic example of what I am looking for could be, “What should I do when I pick my champion first but someone has called the position I want?”

As you can imagine, I could probably just make up some problems and submit them, but I feel like it will come across sounding a little too scripted. It’s also no fun answering my own questions, my brain stopped doing that years ago. I don’t care if your questions are serious ones (if so I would love to try and help!) or you submit something over the top with an elaborate back story that you would probably laugh at if you read it in your morning paper. I know for a fact that many of you are very creative people, so I am both scared and excited to think of what you could come up with.

There is nothing wrong with a good old fashioned rant that you simply want me to agree or disagree with. At least that’s what I’m seeing in a lot of these columns. The more stuff I have to choose from the better. Just remember that I am trying to be taken somewhat serious so anything too profane or wacky will probably be left out.

Your assistance in this is greatly appreciated. I know commenting on WordPress can be kind of a pain if you don’t have an account, so I have included links to my Facebook and Twitter accounts to give you all kinds of places to post your questions. If you want to get really classy, you could even use the hash tag #dear2hp. Cool right? I mean who doesn’t want to be a trend setter?

Seriously though, all of your support and contributions have really kept me going over the past year that I have been doing this blog. I hope you can forgive me for probably pushing this pretty hard for a day or two. I have a shot at something kind of cool, and I firmly intend to throw everything I have into this opportunity.