Lessons learned by a noob veteran

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C4Cypher

Junior Member

06-07-2011

I've been playing for a long time, years. You would think I'd be good by now, you'd be wrong. I've spent long periods away from the game (I keep coming back for some reason), my personality, impulse control and way of thinking does not naturally equip me to learning the important things of this game that are not immediately obvious. This is not an easy game to learn, and the game's emphasis on team play is not forgiving to those who are still trying to master the basics.

I would like to offer what little I've learned, some of which I still struggle to put into practice. It is my hope that I can help others have an easier transition into this game.

First if nothing else (tdlr;), Read this thread. It is crass, blunt and vulgar, but it does spell out, in brutal clarity, the stumbling blocks that keep players from understanding what it really takes to win in this game. This thread is not only valuable to new players, but anyone who has trouble playing well in pvp.

There are several essential aspects to mastering this game. I list them in no paticular order, as they are all vital to victory and a more satisfying experience.


You need to be able to play effectively with your chosen champion. This involves understanding your own champion, their role, their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, builds and anything else specific to your champion. A single player who does not do well WILL destroy a team's capacity to win. If a player can't hold his own weight, he draws hostility from his team, and unless someone is smart enough to lend a hand, very little is learned or accomplished.


You need to be able to play effectively as a part of your team. This starts with your choice of champion. Team composition is vital to the performance of a team. You need to be able to understand the different roles availible to you, and learn to play different champions that encompass some, if not all of those roles so that you'll be able to fill any unfilled role that would be missing from the team come champion selection. These roles, roughly include carry, tank and optionally, support.

Only playing one champion, or champions of one role (such as carry), picking that champion and instantly locking in, will damage your team, potentially forcing another player to fill a role they are not suited to, or worse, leaving a vital role unfilled. It also advertises to your own team that you are not a team player, sapping morale at the start of the game. Communication is vital, the team that communicates effectively from champion selection onward will have a better team composition and fight much more effectively.

A team wins together, a player looses alone.

Communication is not easy, especially if the only method is through text chat, which requires that one must stop playing in order to type. I recommend that you find a lol community with a voice server (mumble, ventrilo, teamspeak). This will enable you to get to know a regular set of teammates, learn their particular strengths, and communicate much more easily, resulting in a much easier, less frustrating, and more satisfying game. Find a good community and you'll have much more fun. Solo queuing is an exercise in misery and defeat, avoid it and you'll save yourself a monumental amount of grief.


You need to understand the enemy team. The loading screen is your first glimpse of what you'll be up against. You need to be able to identify their team composition so that you can exploit any weaknesses, the ratio of physical damage to magic damage, so that you can select those items that will best protect you, and also identify weaknesses specific to their individual champions. This involves understanding the rough capabilities and roles of all the champions, no easy task.


You need to understand the map. Learning the may layout will allow you to remember location of every bush, tower, and monster. Knowing potential ambush points and resources, good locations for wards not to mention how long it takes you to get from point a to point b will allow you to control the flow of the game much more effectively. Map control is not something that comes naturally to new players, but it is something to keep in mind later down the road. I haven't mastered it, not by a long shot.


You need to practice. Live pvp is high pressure and has a small margin for error, leaving little room to experiment with untested champions, builds, play style and other risky activities without destroying your team's capacity to win. Some things can't be learned outside of live pvp, but there is much you can learn in a much less pressured environment.

The easiest, most simple, place to practice is a custom game without bots. This allows you to practice a champion with absolutely no pressure to perfom with a team, it also allows you to configure the game settings, something you can't do outside an active game. You don't have time in live pvp to set your video settings or keybindings.

Next is a custom game with bots, this allows you to get an idea for basic laning, threat zones and get a general feel for playing your champion against others. It's not very accurate, but it's a start, I reccomend quickly moving from this to live co-op.

Co-op is an incredibly useful place to learn and practice. Basic bots will give you a low pressure game to try new ideas and builds in a low pressure setting, as players tend to not take these games serieously. At the same time, intermediate bots are aggressive, play competently (for the most part), gank, and on the whole, give an experience closer to a live game. It is neccecary to take intermediate bots a little more seriously and play as a team if you want to beat them.

Finally, some things can only be practiced in a live game. I would reccomend that anything new you might want to try should be practiced first against intermediate bots, but the bots are still somewhat predictable, and you will only face a limited selection of the available champions. Players are unpredictable, flawed, skilled and will give you challenges unavailable anywhere else. You need to take these games seriously, and only try things that you can't try anywhere else, they are for lessons learned in practice games up until this point.


Ignore All Chat. I'm serious. Put up a courteous "hf, gl" at the start, and a "gg" at the end, but otherwise ignore the all chat. The enemy will try to bait you, troll you, frustrate you, and communicating with them can be upsetting and is guaranteed to be a distraction. It is also the source of all behavior that would get you punished.


I am not good at this game, I have much I need to learn, and I have had a very difficult time identifying what I've needed to learn. I still struggle putting many of these things into practice, but when I am able to, I have much, much better games. I would hope my pain and experience would serve other players, and in the process, make the game more enjoyable for anyone.

As a final note ... building relationships with established players will give you a valuable resource to knowledge that is not obvious. They will be able to identify those areas you need to work on, and things that you otherwise wouldn't have known about. They're also a hell of a lot better to play alongside. As a rule, they are a more valuable resource to written guides such as this one.

If you're still reading, thank you. I know that this is long, and I'm willing to bet that you know some of this, if not all of it already, but I've seen and displayed so much ignorance in these areas, I'd be a fool to not share what I've learned.


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Rawxir

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Junior Member

06-07-2011

Yes, i agree with everything, especially the part about trolls, they truly are frustrating. However, you need to look at the chat still for MIAs or calls for help or suggestions. Also, this game is so much easier to learn if you have friends to play customs or fun games with you as your learning. I've played for a bit over half a year and i think im a decent-good player. I usually get atleast dead even scores if not positive scores.


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SlimJimm13

Senior Member

06-08-2011

I couldn't agree more. As I want to be spending my IP on runes rather than a tank to add to my roster, a piece of me dies when ever I get in a queue with 3 auto-locks and the other player doesn't respond to chat. If ever there is a lack of tank or dps, I'm forced to try a free champion and hope to god that I get lucky.

Another note, supports are way too underrated. If your damage output is imbalanced, just get a support. Otherwise you'll be raging when the other team keeps winning team fights with constant heals and shields.

Carrying is fun, but try tanks or support. You have no idea, how big a smile I get when I burst heal over 1 thousand health from the spawn pool and watch our Yi get a triple kill with the extra health.


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UknowsI

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Senior Member

06-08-2011

I still believe that playing against the AI will teach you bad habits which has to be unlearned when you start playing against real players. Better to jump in it with two feet and feel the punishment when you make mistakes. Bot games can of course be used to learn the spells and how to jungle without dying, but teaches you very little about zoning and fighting other players.


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SlimJimm13

Senior Member

06-08-2011

Rather than playing co-op AI, I find having an alternate low level account great for learning new champions. It's much less punishing, and let's you play in a low pressure environment while still having an opponent that actually adapts and builds situationally.

AI Bots only have a fixed build and playstyle. That's why the 0/5/0 Annie still insists on trying to 1v1 your ulti'd Nasus.


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C4Cypher

Junior Member

06-08-2011

You make a good point SlimJimm13, bots are predictable, and not a substitute for the real thing. At the same time ... my main is Tristana. I have to compete with a lot of other players as to who does play a carry in a game. It has been a painful lesson to be willing to branch out and try other styles.

I've had a hard time learning to tank, but I'm finally starting to get used to Shen. Before Co-op, Shen was an exercise in misery as I attempted to tank real team fights without having developed the muscle memory to nail that feint or taunt at the exact moment that I need it.

Working co-op after co-op, just working on getting used to staying in front (not a comfortable place for somone who is used to staying in the back ready to rocket jump at the first sign of trouble), and using my abilities to soak up damage and yank any enemy away when the enemy team attempts to focus one of my team mates. It's not a substitute for the real team, but at least now I feel comfortable taunting and anticipating incoming damage to feint when I do play in real games. I'm still a lousy Shen, but at this point I'm no longer a feeder Shen. I still can't get off that ult in time, but I'll get there.

As far as support. Allow me to say that aside from Tristana, I play Sona and Soraka in a more competent manner than any other champion. It's fun being the buffer, healbot and general fly in the soup that everyone assumes is harmless.

Heh. Harmless right up until you find yourself silenced by the blue unicorn as Garren, Jax or some other bruiser starts beating your skull through your pelvis, or finding themselves fighting a caster that never runs out of mana and regenerates health as Soraka giggles from the bushes. With Sona my team moves faster, lives longer, hits harder and generally makes the enemy hate life ... when they can effectively team fight.

Concerning chat ... I would never suggest that one ignores chat ... just ALL chat. Aside from the rare compliment, nothing the enemy says should ever be relevant to your play.