Tag Archives: League of Legends

Lest this blog goes under…

Howdy, friends.

So, in the midst of probably the largest anime-fighting game release this year, I’m here to write about League of Legends. And more math. Seriously, does anyone actually ever get tired of math? Concepts, mind you, rather than computations.

I have a particular bone I’d like to settle with everyone who plays AD carry, because I don’t think people quite grasp what it is to “be in a fight.” We’ll start small.

Here’s a scenario: you’re early-game laning as, say, Tristana, against Corki. For the sake of simplicity, neither of you are using skills, and Tristana’s range is negligible for the time being. Assume that all dps is comparably similar (you’ll see that it really doesn’t matter anyway). You go in and start shooting him, and he starts shooting back before he realizes that he won’t win this and stops shooting to run. He’ll get away because of frame animation, but not before he takes a few more shots. When he stops firing, his dps goes from whatever it was to fucking-zero, while Tristana’s bottoms out after she gets done firing. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN

The next scenario is a team-fight. You decided to blow rocket jump early and now there’s a Nasus all over your ass. What do you do? You’re withered, catching Q’s to the face, and everyone is out to touch your butt. What’s your dps right now? Zero. Yep. You’re a walking target and because of your initial positioning of “getting shat on,” you aren’t doing a single thing. Yeah, you were there in that team-fight, but were you really a part of it?

This has been something that I’ve been grappling with for a while–when you’re trading, when do you stop, and when do you follow up? I main support (sometimes by choice, but mostly not) and I’ve been supporting a vast number of ADCs that won’t commit to a poke-game, which lets our opponent come strolling back into lane with a potion, rather than forcing him to go back and suck up losing out on farm. I get it, it isn’t safe, where’s the jungler, too many moving parts blahblahblah BUT IF THEY’RE IN RANGE AND RUNNING AWAY THERE’S A PERSPECTIVE ZERO DAMAGE YOU CAN TAKE FROM THEM, AS LONG AS THEY’RE RUNNING AWAY

Same goes for team-fights. If you’re being kited by a Vayne as Darius, then maybe it’s time to chase someone else (personal experience last night), or wait for her to make a mistake later, because if you’re getting kited, there’s a good chance that YOU DUN FUCKED UP. On the other hand, before you decide to engage in a team-fight, ask yourself, “is this an idea that will take me out of the fight?” Reposition, be patient, all that. Seconds can change the game, but so can an AD carry deciding, FUCK I HATE BEING ALIVE

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A monologue concerning performance analogues

I want to preface this entry with, yes, I’ll be talking about League of Legends. Yes, I will be talking about math. Yes, it will probably bore you to tears. Yes, I feel the necessity to write this.

In the Tampa FGC for anime fighting games (dubbed, “Tampa anime” for here on out), there’s a joke that’s passed around: “if you want to play competitively, pick top-tier.” It’s partly a truth, and partly a jest at the eSports scene. The interesting part lies in the former, obviously, and that’s what I’ll be nitpicking about today.

As with any good proof or analysis, let’s first define some variables. Top-tier can refer to a number of different things: colloquially, it describes the best character, whereas more intimately, it describes the most effective character at a specific task. There are always wrenches thrown into the cogs, mind you, as time goes on, and because of that, top-tier analysis is usually an empirical (that’s to say, “defined by experience moreso than by logic”) scale.

An example: Solomon Grundy in Injustice (I use this because everyone’s EXPECTING ME to do something anime HAH SUCK IT NERDS I’M EVERYWHERE). Day-1 top-tier. Second day, they found something close to a 60% combo that can be frame-trapped into a reset (or something–I forget, it’s been too long since anyone has talked about him). Third day, he won first place at several tournaments, to include some big ones. Fourth day, people found out about Death Stroke. Fifth day, people found out about Aquaman. Solomon Grundy died on the sixth day, and was buried on the seventh day. That was the end of Solomon Grundy. Props if you got the reference.

Let’s talk about why he was so good, though. Earlier, I used the word “efficiency,” which is (SUPERGENERALDEFINITIONSGO) a ratio of capital put in, versus the amount of capital put out. Note that this can be used to describe all sorts of things. Is it more efficient to invest four hours into a job to get $100, or one hour into a job and get $100? Now, what if, for that one hour, you had to scrub a hyperbolic time chamber, and it felt like years for you? WHAT NOW, HUH?! It’s a rhetorical example.

Ready for the next batch of terms? The first is “learning curve,” and the second is “skill ceiling.” A learning curve is how much you learn over a time (or experience), until mastery. That’s to say, if the learning curve is steep, then the beginning of your training, you’d learn a lot and how to do well with very little experience, but because mastery is set at the same point for all graphs, it’ll start out steep but then rapidly decrease and you’ll learn very little after that first spurt. The exact opposite goes for the converse of a “steep learning curve.”

A “skill ceiling,” on the other hand, is how well one can do with a set of skills given to them. It can be defined by the player’s capabilities (i.e., in Chess or Go), or a mixture of that and that which is given to her to work with. For the latter, the player’s performance can be taken out of the mix and determined through a variety of different quantification methods (Elo system, MMR system, etc., etc.), and those typically assume equal playing field for those in league. What I’d like to point out is this big-ass other part of that: “that which is given to her to work with.”

Solomon Grundy had both a steep learning curve and low skill ceiling, which equates out to players learning how to be decent with him quickly (while the other players who played a character with a more moderate learning curve caught up), and then petering out quickly because the people would top out with him, and better characters would beat him when the players finally caught up. Even played at the top of his game, against, say, a Superman or Aquaman at the top of their game, he doesn’t have tools to deal with their pressure or whatever.

WHERE THE FUCK AM I GOING WITH THIS.

I had the sheer delight of seeing two kids arguing over a character in League of Legends, Blitzcrank, and his lack of nerfs. If you don’t know, Blitzcrank is known for having a hook that pulls you into him, a knock-up that disallows you from doing anything, an AoE silence+DD, and a movement speed buff. It equates out to sounding like “holy fuck why” but remember: every champion has its strengths and weaknesses. The pull is on a high cooldown, for instance, and takes retarded amounts of mana. He starts out squishy. He’s melee. So on, so forth.

“But drunkaigis! What does that mean about that six-page essay you wrote earlier?!”

Note how I wrote about Solomon Grundy earlier; we took out the player performance to net a (rather conceptual) grasp on him in comparison at separate times to other characters in the game. For the lack of a better word off the top of my head, we’ll call this a “theoretical grasp,” as opposed to an “empirical grasp” that stems more from one player’s experience with the character (playing as, playing against, or playing with–it is a team game, after all).

In the end, how do we determine who was right (or has the bigger e-peen?!)? It’s a sticky situation, because both are valid points! However, even though they’re both arguing different ranges of performance on the overall spectrum of Blitzcrank-play, both of them are failing to see the dilemma that Riot is faced when they have to make the decision to buff or nerf a champion (as well as failing to see why I hate “balance discussions” between players in general)–how do they balance a champion in a game with so many moving parts, and who do we cater to? Do we cater to the lowly nubs who don’t understand team synergy yet, or do we cater to the professionals who make millions of dollars to know key points on how to wreck a Blitzcrank’s day?

Now, I don’t pretend to know the answers. I know my observations: Chie’s an asshole, Aigis needs buffs, Ragna needs corner-combo nerfs and less stupid overheads, Millia is fucking sexy–but I don’t expect anyone to change anything based off of my observations, and I sure as hell don’t think I’m qualified to bitch and moan about someone being OP (godihatethatterm). I don’t care if you’re god-damn super-platinum uranium -3, or have 4200 PSR, or are so in-tune with Awesomenauts that you can fucking read the secrets of the universe ONLY through a monitor with the game playing–you don’t get to decide who is nerfed and who is buffed, because in the end, “balance” is an arbitrary construct anyway. Trying to balance a MOBA is like getting a million seesaws and stacking them on top of each other, a mandatory four seesaws stacked on one seesaw until you run out, taking into consideration wind gusts and meteor attacks.

Moving parts. They’re hard to predict.

So stop fucking talking about something being overpowered and enjoy your fucking games.

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Introduction, and a Primer on Fighters

 

Howdy! I’m Travis (and amongst certain circles, DrunkAigis). Typically, I’ll be writing about anime fighting games or super-elitist posts concerning Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn 2013 Edition or god knows what else. I’m a local, small-time tournament organizer and I compete on an amateur-level (I guess a little less than “amateur,” but nothing grandiose–no EVO titles for me, haha). MOBAs are another of my favorite pastimes, but it’s probably my least favorite to bring up because everyone dickrides their favorite game without realizing THEY’RE ALL THE SAME FUCKING GAME FRANK

So, why fighting games?

Fighting games are, for the most part, one-on-one competitions between two players in an attempt to best each other empirically through skill. To be overt, they’re fast-paced strategy games where both players have a puzzle to solve, and once the puzzle is solved, mechanical skill is tested. Mathematical bases are brought into the equation through different optimization of combos, and hours–if not days–are poured into training mode, perfecting these combos before moving on to doing them off of any little hit confirm.

To be real for a sec’, though, it’s just a giant mash-fest, and everyone knows it. Hah. Jokes.

But, moreover, the fighting genre differs from most other genres on a basis that is often overlooked–socioeconomically.

In the nineties, those who were blessed with the possibility of one received an NES (or SNES, or Sega Genesis, or whatever), which gave rise to the general interest in video games as a medium. However, when you take into consideration of the upfront cost of a console (which is roughly equatable to more costly than now (especially when you consider that now they’re a much larger staple in our culture)), many families couldn’t drop that much money in such a small amount of time. Sure, you had layaway, and saving up all year for major holidays or birthdays, but there had to be an alternative.

Enter: Street Fighter. An arcade game that, for one credit, you could test your mettle and mechanical prowess against a computer-player. Valid, small investments over time would eventually yield the same amount of money (and maybe even more), however, people could, say, save lunch money to play after school or the like. When the interest in the game exploded (particularly in lower-class areas), Capcom decided to revamp it to pit two players against each other, in a game that would revolutionize video gaming as we knew it.

This, coincidentally, also explains why so many ethnic people play fighting games, as opposed to wonder-bread males. Arcades thrived on lower-income areas. Nowadays, if you want to see diversity in a video game genre, look no further than fighting games (or maybe League of Legends, but eSports, man, eSports). However, fighting games throughout the years eventually made a huge crash-landing onto consoles, but it took an entire decade and a half.

2008 was a huge year for fighting games. Years had flown by with fighting games being some small niche that was grossly unwelcoming to new players because of skill-gaps, or games were an entirely different beast to get ahold of (an example being Street Fighter: Third Strike, which was woefully hard to find in stores), until Blazblue and Street Fighter 4–two console-release, netplay-capable games that would draw the old audience, but also an entirely new audience after being so accessible after all those years. On a related note, it’s now a bit of a slur to call someone a “2009-kid,” akin to “newbie” or “scrub.”

Nowadays, the genre is seeing huge competitions worldwide, and long-time lingo is now proliferating into other genres (even if it is incorrectly–I recently saw a video where a Modern Warfare shoutcaster called someone salty because he was doing well (probably the largest butcher of the definition I’ve ever seen)). We’re currently approaching the crux of the next step in the Renaissance, with Blazblue Chrono Phantasma, Ultra Street Fighter 4, Under Night: in-Birth, some stupid waifu game that everyone’s excited about that I hope flops harder than Aquapazza, and Guilty Gear Xrd (a series long-dug into the history of fighting games, but that’s a story for a different time).

I feel like it should be mentioned that I know I’ve excluded most 3D-fighters. I’ll get around to talking about those, but I can’t play them because of motion-sickness. BASED ILLNESS SIPPING FROM YOUR CUP TILL IT RUNNETH OVER

Or something.

Stay tuned as I talk more about anime games and weeab out about waifus and all sorts of other goodness!

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