The art of morale manipulation in solo queue

123
Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

ZingerOTPeople

Junior Member

01-10-2013

PREFACE

While playing league of legends, and entering the ranked queue, many people are puzzled as to how to gain ELO. There have been many articles and posts on the subject, ranging from complaints of the perceived phenomenon of ELO Hell, to champion guides. Yet all of the literature hitherto I feel has been missing a critical element of the game which is observable in all ranked games that I have so far seen. The phenomenon and relevant art which I describe herein is especially relevant to those in lower ELO. In fact, I would say that the lower one falls, the more important that this subject is. The topic of this post is morale, and how it affects ranked matches.

This article will not only describe morale, and how it pertains to the game in ranked, but will also be covering some strategies to use the concept to benefit the player.This is by no means a standalone means to gain ELO, but it may be considered another tool of the player to use in their ranked matches. The art of morale manipulation may be used both positively and negatively, however those who are ignorant as to its power will most likely see its poor use come to harm them in their games. Morale is not an explicit aspect of the game, but it is undoubtedly implicit and a core element of the game.

Those who feel that they are doing everything in their power to play to the best of their ability and are still seeing losses in their match history are often do not realize the power of this intangible. It is too often that a player who thinks they are doing better than his (or her, but not likely) teammates will himself (or herself, but unlikely) suffer from a morale deficiency. In not realizing the power of morale, they will be playing as a single unit, and not realizing the role of leadership on a solo team.

I will speak briefly now on my inspiration for this article: The League of Legends player Gernat. It was his profound ignorance, both in general, of history, and of the art of morale that prompted me to write this. May I say here that while it was I abhorred playing with this untalented and otherwise ungentlemanly ruffian, I may only hope that he will have been the cause of a great thing.


ON SOLO QUEUE AND THE MORALE FACTOR
-Zinger of the People

Dedicated to a most unpleasant scoundrel, Gernat (This player is true scum)

Let us first understand the situation that solo queue puts the player into before going through our definitions.

In Solo Queue one is place onto a team of strangers, and expected to win a game against another group of (what is assumed to be) equally skilled strangers. If we have faith in the ranked system, then it should be clear that each match is a relatively fair match. If it is not true of individual games, then over time, with enough games play, one should see that averages will prevail. It may be difficult to improve an element of one's game, mechanics, map awareness, et cetera, but the implementation of morale manipulation into the game is simple, and therefore it is this that we shall make an appeal to in order to tip probability in our favour.

INTRODUCTION TO MORALE

"Morale (also known as esprit de corps) is the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in an institution or goal, particularly in the face of opposition or hardship. Morale is often referenced by authority figures as a generic value judgment of the willpower, obedience, and self-discipline of a group tasked with performing duties assigned by a superior." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morale)

The objective or goal of the game is clear, namely to win the game. However, while the team goal is clear, the individual motivations for the team are not so transparent. There are a number of different motivations that an individual player could have.

  • Just for fun!
  • Killing some time
  • Individual stats
  • Just needed to try out a new champion, man
  • First game of ranked!
  • Well, I figured that after smoking some beer and rolling a bong, I might as well play some ranked.

However, these individual goals are not mutually exclusive with winning. Herein lies the problem. A person whose individual motivations differ from the goals of the ELO oriented player has the potential to feel satisfied with their gameplay without getting a win. There already is disunity within the team with regards to objective. A player who is concerned with individual stats will play in a way which is individually beneficial, and may may satisfy their objectives, but will hurt the team. (For example through sub-optimal team fighting and a lack of communication.) These are problems that one faces immediately once a game is found.

It is the initial objective of the morale manipulator to ensure that there is congruity between the objectives of the individuals and that of the intended team goal. In the case of this work, the concept of morale is strongly linked to the morale manipulators ability to influence and keep organized the players of his (or again very unlikely, her) team. Morale must be maintained at all stages of the game. This is to say that the objective of the ELO oriented player must be to have a harmonious collective objective shared by the entire team.

The performance of the team and morale are interconnected. A team that is playing well will tend to have a higher morale, whereas a team that is playing poorly will tend to have lower morale. It is also true that a team with high morale will play better, as it will benefit their communication and cooperation, while a team with low morale will see the opposite, result in worse play. What is important to notice here is that morale has a snowballing effect on a team's performance. League of Legends is frequently a game of snowball effects, and morale is no different from this. That games ordinarily snowball from the nature of the game (item buying and so forth) makes it even more so the case that morale will snowball.

With this in mind, it is clear that the role of morale manipulation is twofold, to increase the morale of allies, and to troll the *****es off of the enemy team. These will be referred to as the Morale Positive and Morale Negative Approach.

THE MORALE POSITIVE APPROACH

The ideas of the Morale Positive approach are easy to comprehend. In fact, Riot is already making an initiative to encourage players to use the morale positive approach. The honor initiative and the tribunal have both been attempts to get people to stick with the Morale Positive Approach, offering incentives and punishments for following or not following. Teamwork, cooperation, and manners are all aspects of the morale positive approach. One will find that teammates will imitate their environment. This is a key concept to both the morale positive and the morale negative approach, but it will be explained here.

Teammates will act similarly to other team mates. This is part of the snow balling effect of morale. If a player introduces the idea of manners and cooperation by typing articulate and polite messages, it is likely that teammates will respond in kind. This is at least true more so than if a player to begin interaction with profanities and rudeness. Antagonizing teammates will likely anger them, and cause a backlash, triggering a cascade of bad morale. Cooperation and teamwork will be impossible after this. Remember, correcting morale is much more difficult in the middle of the game than it is than it is to start the game with good morale.

However, the most key concept of the Morale Positive Approach is that it should only be used on the FRIENDLY TEAM. Using the morale positive approach on enemies is a mistake, and will not help you win the game. (There is an exception to this that will be discussed later.

Champion Select:

This is your first meeting with your team. As was stated, it is important to get to work with morale as soon as possible. Introduce yourself, give a friendly greeting to the team, and get right to work on stating which role you would prefer. Introductions are important to open up communication with teammates, and build a sense of familiarity. Stating the role that you would prefer is a practical first step in order to give the time the maximum amount of time to work out team composition. One should not in stating role say anything that is aggressive and potentially antagonistic to the teammates. "Mid of I feed, you noobs" Is not an appropriate start. Absolute statements may show confidence, but can be off putting to teammates, and imply inflexibility. It is better to state a preference, so that communication and compromise can flourish.

Picking champions and giving advice to teammates is good, but must be done in the appropriate way. Saying something like "Mid KARMA?!??!??! Are you a ****** with assburgers?" Is the wrong choice of words. Again, such statements will only make your teammate feel as though they have something to prove (This idea will be revisited in the Morale Negative approach) A common response to this type of outburst would be for your teammate to lock in to a champion that is not very strong. Instead ask if they play a champion more to your liking. This tricks them into making it seems as though playing that champion was their idea, as they will say that they do. In a worst case scenario, a player may say that they do not want their ally's pick of choice. A statement like "I don't fancy Taric as a jungler. Good sir, I would much prefer if you were to play Evelyn mid. My estimate is that these opponents of ours are low class players. Evelyn ****s on noobs." Such a statement is much more acceptable to allies, you have implied that Taric as a jungler is simply a matter of preference, and one which you do not share. An ally at this point may think to himself "Well, I guess I can **** on noobs with Taric jungle next game."

Telling a team an anecdote may be a nice touch after most of the business of roles has been decided. This helps build teamwork and comradery. Something that your teammates can relate to is preferable. Remember that you teammates are likely not as cool as you are, and so something that speaks to the universal struggle of man is a good place to start. "No fap 2013 is really giving me some trouble so far, how about you fellows?" Getting your teammates to open up like this is a great way to build morale. Conditioning the team to respond will be important in later stages of the game.


The Game

An early game idea is to found the idea of team spirit. Making a team chant or 'inside internet joke' might be something you may want to invest some thought into. This can be well integrated into Morale Negative tactics. For example, name your team the Deadly Inquisition of Killing Killers. After the team gets a kill encourage your teammates to say "You have been crushed by the D.I.K.K." This will form team unity and fun. Having fun is an important aspect of morale.

Complements are a simple way to raise morale. Players who make a good play should feel as though they have done something good. This is not only good in and of itself, but will also form a trained response from a player. They will come to be dependent on praise, and thus will make good plays for the sake of their egos being stroked. A simple "Good job" after a successful gank or kill is sufficient.

Call outs are important not just for teamwork, but also for morale. Teammates will likely be stupider than the morale manipulator, and their confusion over what their game objectives should be will only frustrate them; the low morale will hurt their game. Pinging, and giving reminders to "...hit the minions when they are low health" are great initiatives to raise morale at all stages of the game.

If the morale raising tactics are going well, then likely the team's performance is going to be quite good. If all is going according to plan, then there should be very little to be concerned about. All that is required is to maintain the high levels of morale. Morale has a half-life of five minutes. This means that if the morale of the team is not raised by any of the tactics mentioned, the level of morale which be half its peak, until it approaches a morale neutral state. Simple reminders are all the team needs in order to keep morale at appropriate levels.

The power of morale raising will not always be enough to make the game go as intended. That is not to say that, if the game goes poorly, one should stop attempting to raise morale. It is perhaps that the game is as close as it is because morale has been raised throughout the game. If the morale manipulator had not been raising morale consistently, it may have dropped to disastrous levels. Had it not been for morale raising, the game could have already been won by the enemy. While morale does have a snowball quality too it, that is not to say that equalizing poor morale is not possible. If a team is doing poorly, insist that the situation is redeemable, and that what is required is refocusing. This implies a refreshed perspective on the game, which is a tactic to attempt to quickly reach a morale neutral state. For maximum effectiveness synchronize your message of refocus with a gank to a lane that is losing, this will grant the team bonus morale.

Dealing with dissenters is one of the more difficult challenges that a morale manipulator can face. While the rest of the team may be in good spirits, there may be a specific player of the team who is suffering from low morale. Some people are inherently susceptible to low morale. (These people are important for both the morale positive and negative systems.) However others may be forced into morale by external pressures. Doing poorly in a lane, or general bad play might cause an otherwise normal player to have poor morale. Do not turn your high morale teammates against your low morale teammates, this is a form of poor morale, and will ruin the harmony that has been sought after up to this point. Negative morale has an exponential force on an individual. As negative morale stacks on a player, it requires exponentially more morale raising techniques to equalize them. It is for this reason that taking collective responsibility for misplays is essential to morale management. If the net negative morale is distributed across the team evenly, then equalization becomes easier. Singling an individual player out for a mistake is the wrong approach. The mistakes of one are the mistakes of all.

Lastly is the most important element of the Morale Positive Approach. Complementing skins is key in raising morale. Skins are innately powerful in the game of League of Legends. Not only do they raise the stats of champions (secretly of course), but they also have the potential to cause a massive morale boost in teammates. Skins are a source of great pride for a summoner, and so complementing the skin that he is using will remind him of what a splendid person he is. If your team does not have any skins, you are in trouble. The Skin Advantage is a critical part of the game (but that is for another article). However complementing champion choice can have a modest effect on morale.

THE MORALE NEGATIVE APPROACH

This is the more novel of the two systems, one which I believe readers will find more intriguing. It is a new strategy in the League of Legends Solo Queue. While the idea is not unheard of, it has yet to be used in a structured and institutionalized way. As it currently stands, those who have a crude concept of the idea use the power of the approach in a haphazard and inconsistent way. The strategy is used without any sort of fore planning. This section will give morale manipulators key scenarios to look for in their games for maximum effectiveness of the Morale Negative Approach. Riot has tried to hide the power of the Morale Negative System, but now it is revealed!

With the introduction of this morale system brings a morally grey question: Is this power too sinister for Solo Queue? I dare to say that it is, but that this is no reason to not use the system. Solo Queue is an already grim place, and so this is the perfect place to use the Morale Negative System. In any other circumstance it would be improper and indeed evil to use this dark art. It is a poisoned blade that seeps into the lifeblood of the enemy, slowly corrupting it from the inside until it is a monster, incapable of teamwork to any degree.

Unlike the Morale Positive system, which is a standalone system, the Morale Negative Approach depends upon the support of the Positive. Unlike the Morale Positive System, which mainly requires repetition and some practice, the Negative requires proper set up before it may be used. Before using the Morale Negative Approach, first announce to your team that you will be doing so. They will understand what this means, and if they don't, they soon will. The point of doing so is this: You must give you team adequate time to protect themselves from the incivility that you are about to unleash upon your enemies. All of your bad manners will be used to their full destructive force. Your teammates would also have their morale lowered as collateral damage. It is important that if you are going to use the morale negative approach, that you constantly increase the morale of your team. While the enemy will be caught off guard and doubtlessly be the worse, your team will likely not be able to block the entirety of your bad manners. Constantly raising morale with good manners in team chat, while crushing the little hearts of your enemies with the negative approach will also confuse the tribunal if you are reported by the unknowing enemy, making it harder for the tribunal to reach a consensus. It will be less likely that you are banned if you combine these two approaches. Announcing to your team that you will be using the Morale Negative Approach also warns the tribunal, so they can dismiss the case as a use of well thought out strategy.

A warning that the Morale Negative Approach should only be used on the ENEMY TEAM. Using the Morale Negative Approach on your own team is a terrible mistake and will have disastrous consequences for your ELO.

The Game

There are many different styles when using the Morale Negative Approach, and it will would be an impossible task to cover them all. However, it is a good idea to start early with your assault. At the beginning of the game, check to see if there are any unorthodox picks on the enemy side. It is possible to prepare in the loading screen for choice insults regarding the enemy champion choices. Infamous champions such as Master Yi, Twitch, and Tryndamere are excellent targets as these champions carry a stigma. Saying something as simple as “Master Yi SUX” will pressure the enemy into feeling as though he has something to prove. This will cause the enemy to go on tilt, taking risks that he otherwise wouldn't in order to prove the value of his bad pick. This will cause him to make more mistakes, and in the long run will lower his morale. Alternatively you can take the passive-aggressive approach. This would look something like the following: “You guys really let him play THAT champion top?” This is a comment which has no potential to backfire, as does the first comment, which has its power reversed if the player manages to do well. As little as one death top lane will cause his team to doubt and criticize his choice in champion and his ability as a player.

One of the most important strategies in the Morale Negative Approach is to ruin the harmony of the enemy team. While a singular attack against the enemy can be deadly enough, once morale has sufficiently dropped, or the attacks have been set up in a clever way, the enemy team will join in criticizing and lowering the morale of their own teammates! The goal in any morale lower attempt is to force the enemy team into the “Squad Broken” status. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVtDlI6E_HI) Once in this state, no level of morale raising tactics can bring them back to a level which they can work together. There will be an endless cycle of bickering and lowering of morale, casuing only more inbickering.

The laning phase takes on a whole new dimension when using the morale negative approach. The support player must now in addition to warding, healing, and zoning remember to laugh at key moments. The typical tier lists are now modifying depending on the characters with the most infuriating laughs. This however only affirms Taric's position as one of the meat's strongest supports. His laugh is ideal, quick to execute and absolutely rage inducing. Lux, also is a support champion whose value jumps up, as her laugh is very powerful indeed. After dealing some harass damage, or gaining bush control, laughing on the part of the support is very strong. Bottom lanes that are working well together will laughing back and forth with one another, creating a laugh combo chain. After each kill in lane, the morale manipulator should type “lol” or “lel” in /all chat.

Enemies that are doing poorly should be intensely targeted with taunting. Calling them bad directly is essential. To further sow disunity, attempt to negotiate with the enemy team. Tell the enemy that you will be willing to report their bad player if they surrender immediately. This removes the chance of them catching a lucky break and staging a comeback, however it also will create an argument in the group. All surrender votes are a test of morale. When morale is very low, surrender votes are more likely to go through. This not only makes the players play worse in the case of a failed vote, but can also save you some valuable time so you can get back into a new queue to earn more ELO. (with the help of morale manipulation of course.)

If there is a player on the enemy team who has a good score despite their poor teammates, it is important to break this player. Players doing well on the enemy team are Bulwarks of good morale, and can emanate morale to his teammates. Saying something along the lines of “Man, I feel bad for you, you deserve a better team than this,” is a trick that you can use to get the player to let slip some pent up frustration. If this does not work and in the case of a team that is doing well, make sure to criticize the smallest aspects of their game. If a player is 10-0 but has sub-par Creep Score, make sure he knows it! “You last hit like someone whose father doesn't even make six figures” is a great line to use, as it ties in an insult to their family.
The Morale Negative Approach involves doing the opposite of what you would do to your own team. That means blaming a single player, criticizing endlessly, focusing on their mistakes rather than their successes and giving them an uncool identity. While you want to give you own team a cool team name, give the enemy a humiliating one, like “The Momma's Boys” This particular name is a great name to give a team of players whose mothers all died in car accidents.

This next section will give a list of potential personas to use when using the morale negative approach. While using these lines will give great results, feel free to improvise during a game with your insults. This is called Free Style Morale Decreasing.

LEL Troll:
“You suck!”
“Nice feeding, scrub”
“That is literally actually the stupidest champ in the whole league of legends”
“I am going to pound you a new anus this game”
“I am the best player, you guys are noobsucks”
“Suck a dick and die”

Passive Aggressive:
[Upon enemy death] “Nice play.”
[Upon Death] “[Enemy champ name] OP”
“Is that really the champ you want to be playing?”
[Upon questionable champion pick] “Lol new meta?”
“I feel bad for doing this to you guys”
“This guy deserves a better team”

Pro Player:
“This is my smurf account, trust me, you are bad”
“The ELO on my main would make babies like you cry”
“Do you even have a sponsor?”
“I get more ***** than you in RL, you virgin”
“EZ”
“EZPZ”
“2EZ”
[At end of game, the coup de grace] “bg”

THE BATTLE OF MORALE MANIPULATORS

In the case of an enemy having a morale manipulator, the game very quickly ascends to a game not simply about reflexes and game knowledge, but becomes a psychological strategy game of wits. The player must even more mindful of their own teams morale, quicking countering the insults of their enemy, while attempting to undermine their morale set up. The game becomes one of verbal sensing, and a competition of Morale Negative styles. Some styles are more effective against others, though I will not be going into that in this article.

When on defence, it is important to remind your team that the enemy also is using morale lowering techniques. The awareness that they are being attacked by the Morale Negative System is in some cases enough to form a resistance against it. However, if the enemy is experienced, their assault will still get under your teammates skin. You will then have to redouble your morale raising efforts, but in some cases only owning a skin will protect a player from the damaging effects of morale lowering.

When on offensive, on must be unrelenting. Giving the enemy time to set up morale barriers and positive environment circles will shut down your morale lowering powers. A quick succession of insults and hurtful words will disrupt any attempt at raising morale and preventing the Morale Negative System. Another strategy is to coax your opponent into going to far in their retaliation. While this may damage you in the present, it will make it more likely that they will get banned instead of you, meaning you will not have to queue against a strong morale manipulator in the future.

CONCLUSION

Morale is an underrated section of the game without question. It can be used to cause great good, and great evil. Morale Manipulators are the new carries of Solo Queue. Again, this is not a replacement for skill, but it is a new kind of skill that one must hone if they wish to succeed. Especially in the case of the Morale Negative System, now is a crucial time. Those who adopt the system will do so before it becomes a standard part of the meta-game, and will catch their opponents off-guard and potentially without a dedicated morale manipulator. I expect that the meta and techniques surrounding morale manipulation will chance in the coming months, and I look forward to seeing the art transform and evolve. As the founder of the system, I cannot expect to always be the strongest morale manipulator, but I only hope to be an instructor as to its ways.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

S0ygamer

Junior Member

01-10-2013

I think you have truly stumbled onto something incredibly powerful. It's worth noting that the idea of a "skin advantage" where the team with more skins has a greater chance of winning. I myself have noted this frequently in games. It's almost impossible to come back from a 2 skin deficit.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

mdiaz28

Senior Member

01-10-2013

Bump, but very long


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

xMrSmilesx

Recruiter

01-10-2013

Love this detailed and though out thread on psychological warfare. I have been trying some of this to mixed results, but some of the suggestions here prove valuable. Thank you OP for organizing this strategy into a logical, but long post.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

YuHZ

Member

01-10-2013

What makes you think the other team won't BM you back in turn? They could come up with like the most awesome comeback ever for one of your insults and you could have less morale.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

TheHawtPotato

This user has referred a friend to League of Legends, click for more information

Senior Member

01-10-2013

dammit to long wont read......
saw this so thumbs up
LEL Troll:
“You suck!”
“Nice feeding, scrub”
“That is literally actually the stupidest champ in the whole league of legends”
“I am going to pound you a new anus this game”
“I am the best player, you guys are noobsucks”
“Suck a dick and die”

Passive Aggressive:
[Upon enemy death] “Nice play.”
[Upon Death] “[Enemy champ name] OP”
“Is that really the champ you want to be playing?”
[Upon questionable champion pick] “Lol new meta?”
“I feel bad for doing this to you guys”
“This guy deserves a better team”

Pro Player:
“This is my smurf account, trust me, you are bad”
“The ELO on my main would make babies like you cry”
“Do you even have a sponsor?”
“I get more ***** than you in RL, you virgin”
“EZ”
“EZPZ”
“2EZ”
[At end of game, the coup de grace] “bg”


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

S0ygamer

Junior Member

01-10-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by YuHZ View Post
What makes you think the other team won't BM you back in turn? They could come up with like the most awesome comeback ever for one of your insults and you could have less morale.
You are entirely correct sir. When you play the game of morale, you are truly dancing on the tip of a double edged blade.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

Boagster

Senior Member

01-10-2013

But, consider this: If you practice the Negative Morale approach, you will be used to doing it, hopefully detracting little from your game. If the enemy does not practice it, hopefully they will be typing at all the wrong times.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

havate

Junior Member

01-10-2013

I am no high elo player but I think You have good point regarding this morale manipulation. However as it already has ben mentioned , negative morale manipulation of your enemy team is a double edged sword. If your opponent has a mentally tough player he will probably help his weak player feel good by positive reinforcement. And probably gank you to the extent that you will switch your target to him. This is when the game starts changing. He will kill you more often and make you primary target.when your KDA ratio drops
"all you can do is talk and no skill at all"

I think this is when your negative morale approach comes back hitting your own team.

However positive morale reinforcement of your own team doesn't have this kind of side effects.


Comment below rating threshold, click here to show it.

ZingerOTPeople

Junior Member

01-11-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by YuHZ View Post
What makes you think the other team won't BM you back in turn? They could come up with like the most awesome comeback ever for one of your insults and you could have less morale.
Getting the enemy to respond with bad manners is actually one of your potential goals. However, you have to understand the difference between reflective and prereflective bad manners. In your case your insults are done after reflection, and do not affect your morale. However, your enemy likely will be replying out of anger, prereflectively. This means that their insults are a result of them going on tilt, and will play a worse game because of it. Your enemies insults won't affect you, because you will realize that he is doing this because he is angry. As I said, awareness is important when dealing with morale. However, you teammates might be less resistant to ban manners, and so you will have to remind them of your enemy's intentions and engage in some morale raising for damage control.


123