Impotence and Love Lost
We’ve discussed efficacy here before, both efficacy at work and in our gaming worlds. We often spoke about it in regards to failures at balancing personal efficacy in group situations, such as how one person in WoW could ruin the excellent work of 9 other people in a raid. Efficacy should be about scale; nine good players should be able to undo the failures of one bad player, but in early raids before everyone’s super-well geared, it can make for many frustrating situations.
Back in January, Doone of T.R. Redskies wrote a piece on the toxicity of the League of Legends community. I responded then with some surprise, not because I doubted him, but because I hadn’t had the unfortunate luck to run into it. Usually, I feel like the unluckiest player that I read about when I end up again and again with terrible players in LFD. I’d hear stories of these wonderfully smooth runs, long stretches of them, and think why can’t I get lucky like that? To hear that someone else was suffering from bad groupmates didn’t make me happy at all, of course, just – pleased, perhaps, that it wasn’t me for a change.
It was suggested to me then that I’d see it more once I began playing ranked games. Simple enough, I thought; I’d avoid them. However it seems as you progress, regardless of normal or ranked play, you begin to rise in some invisible ranking and begin to play with more and more “serious” players. As a result, players find themselves in better and better teams – or with worse and worse individuals. It seems that simply putting in time and winning occasionally makes players feel like they’re entitled to having nothing but victories, to always be able to play the characters they want, and to be able to treat others as they deem necessary.
I’ve been participating a lot in the tribunal, too, as I thought it both provided me an appropriate outlet to dispense justice as well as helped me better understand the tone of some of the games. I had about 50 cases and a 100% accuracy rating for a long time. Then I missed one. I had voted for a punishment when the community had opted for a pardon. I loved that I could go back and see which case to further understand what’s acceptable to most, but dismayed when I saw what it was. The case centered around someone who’d been calling a lot of people “retards.” He’d been reported in 5 games for the same offense; calling players on his or the other team a “retard.” I remembered feeling a little unsure, because he wasn’t particularly vicious, but the repeated use of the term I felt warranted at least a warning. Apparently not. Apparently it’s okay to repeatedly refer to total strangers are retards. It was the first real rift I felt with the community as a whole.
That’s when this post really started brewing. I’d been reporting more and more and had finally run into a situation where the community as a whole and I had a disagreement. Then, today provided a prime example around which to center this post. I have been playing fewer and fewer “live” games as I was having a harder and harder time in them. To be frank, actually, I wasn’t having a harder and harder time. The fact is that if I get to play Teemo mid and I’m against anyone other than Lux (due to the incredible range on her slowing mines), I can control my lane and win there. I don’t say that to brag, but to make the following points. First, that I was running into more and more completely inflexible players, and that those inflexible players were also often very lousy.
I have a character with which I’m a solid player for 4 of the 5 roles. I support as Taric, top as Shen or Singed, depending on the team makeup, mid as teemo, and adc as – well, let’s be honest, adc is always instantly scooped up, but I can adc as TF, Graves, or Tristana. I like to start champ select by saying that I can do anything but jungle, but often in the time it takes for me to say that, every other position is called or locked in.
I can’t jungle. I don’t get it. I don’t like it. It’s not interesting or fun, and I don’t have any characters I like to do it with. Yet I kept being forced into that role. A few times I dropped champ select because of the hostility of the other players when I pointed out how malleable I was except in that one area. Other times I simply stated I would be duo top laning and wandering a bit, which was often met with the same hostility. Look, if I’m willing to play 4 of 5 roles, and 4 other people aren’t willing to work with me, then I’m not the problem. Apparently, though, that was not the general consensus. In those games, too, often mid got destroyed by someone I knew I could have stealth ganked over and over and Teemo. It was irrelevant, though, and often led to a loss.
Then today happened. I went into a normal live pvp game (because I’m stupid and stubborn and can’t seem to learn) and went ahead and typed my normal thing. No apparent problems arose, as it seemed no one wanted mid. We had 2 top, me at mid, and an ADC, and the fifth person, right before the buzzer, chose Warwick with smite. He was going to jungle. I wrote quickly before the game started that someone would have to adapt, and since we had a Twitch going top, I assumed he’d just go bot. When the game started, though, that didn’t happen.
Varus was stuck at bottom with Lux and Miss Fortune, both of whom have quick attacks compared to his slow charge-up attack. I pointed this out early on and asked again for Twitch to go bottom or Warwick just to lane with Varus, but no one would cooperate. At this point, I frankly stated that if someone didn’t relent, we would undoubtedly lose. No one did. The negativity began.
We lost, of course. We were clearly going to lose at 20 mins, so I went to surrender, but the 2 people who were top – two of the three who refused to adapt – chose no. I know because I asked and was told so. Because Varus had kept losing ground and getting killed, MF was 3 levels ahead of me as a mid, so she could shred anyone on our team. I tried another surrender when they pushed into our base 10 minutes later. Again, the same 2 refused.
I asked then what their strategy was, because if we were just going to keep defending and losing ground, we might as well quit. One of the top fellows said “ace them in our base, push mid, gg.” He was referring to the fact that the only turrets down were mine at mid, which I’d pushed alone throughout the game. They came in full force, but our team didn’t work together, so they killed a few of us and the rest were forced to retreat. I took a few of them to hell with me (gd lux’s slowing mines), so they had to fall back. Another 10 minutes passed, and they had pushed all the way in a bit at a time. Finally the surrender vote went through.
At the end, the other team said that I specifically had done a good job. I got a teamwork honor (I assume from the solo Varus who I’d helped when I could) and a few honorable opponents. Clearly my behavior didn’t bother most of the people there. However, it could easily be argued that I had a very negative attitude throughout the match simply because I was stating the obvious: if we don’t work together, we won’t win. We couldn’t even work together during champion select, so we’re not going to work together in the game (which proved true over and over). Therefore, we should surrender and save ourselves 20 minutes. I made this point repeatedly, and I feel like the two top who kept voting no to the surrender were doing so as a form of trolling. Both were atrocious players; I was the only person positive with K/D at the end, and Nunu didn’t get a single kill with his ultimate despite the repeated (losing) team fights.
So is it negative to recognize one’s impotence and acknowledge it? Were they being trolls by refusing to face reality? Who’s really the “bad guy” there? The two inflexible players? The Warwick who went jungle after 2 tops had been called? Me for chiding them for not working together? I just don’t know any more, and not knowing kills things for me. Think back to when I tried fire mage and just couldn’t, after repeated practice, understand what I was doing wrong with my rotation. Eventually, I just dropped it. When I can’t see the problem, I can’t work to fix it, and if I can’t fix it, I feel impotent, feel like I have no efficacy, which drives people to be unhappy.
I may be getting done with LoL.
Stubborn (but not stubborn enough for LoL, it seems)