Last week, I was lamenting (okay, maybe whining just a little bit) about the lack of in-game acknowledgement upon reaching level 30 in League of Legends. In a cheap attempt at humor, I suggested that maybe a poro dance party was in order. Maybe, in fact, I suggested it no less than three times.
The post aired on a Wednesday morning, so what do I find at my desk when I get back from lunch that day?
That’s right. IT’S A PORO DANCE PARTY!!!!
You may also notice the “30” confetti, which admittedly looks like poro poop in the photo but was actually a cute touch. Notice also the spiffy mustachioed poro on top of the monitor. Thank you Jordan, Bob, and Tami, who teamed up after reading my morning blog. I love the Talent team at Riot Games. This place and these people are awesome.
(As an aside, yes… That’s my desk. We at Riot are in totally open space. No one in the company has offices, and we pride ourselves on lack of hierarchy. I’ve been in a lot of corporate executive roles in my career. In those roles, I’ve been consistently given an austere office, with nice polished wood inside and an executive assistant gatekeeper outside. Blech. I’ve read some negative critiques on open space recently, but for me this set-up is infinitely better and more fun. In my former roles people were wary of talking or interacting with me because they wondered if they had “permission.” Here I get the Poro Dance Club and literally laugh out loud several times a day. Laughing is better than me feeling unnecessarily important.)
Poro Dance Club = Awesome. Riot Rumble practice… well, that’s a little different story.
Since last week, I’ve played four practice games with my Rumble team, the Golden Ganks. Four games, four losses… And only one of them was even close. Two of the games were utter slaughters. Supposedly the team builder in League roughly matches you up with opponents of equal level and skill, but we were completely outclassed in our practice sessions. It’s a little depressing, frankly, but only because I’m internally way too competitive. I think I uttered the words “We’re doomed” last night after our final game.
In all four games, I played Fizz, the Tidal Trickster. Team results aside, I haven’t been too displeased with my performance or our team camaraderie. In all four I had the most take-downs (or “kills”) of our team, and usually the most gold. I’m getting pretty good with Fizz’s tricky skill-shot ultimate and rarely miss with it now. I’m figuring out how to finish people off with Ignite. And despite our losses, we’re all good-natured chaps and consistently make each other laugh (and we’ve already established that I like laughing). So that’s all the good news.
The bad news (other than persistent losing) is that I still die way too often. It’s clear to me as a mid-laner that I don’t use wards well or enough. I rarely die in one-on-one fights with Champions, but I am hugely and wholly susceptible to “ganks” (a.k.a. a surprise attack and kill from an opposing team member… our Rumble team name makes more sense to you non-gamers now, eh?). I walk into traps all the time. Theoretically I know that I use wards to avoid ganking—the whole purpose of wards, in fact, is to help me know when danger is coming—but it’s yet another thing to think about in-game. When I’m distracted, I’m not vigilant about when my wards expire. When I’m not vigilant… Bam! There goes another gank. Once I’ve fallen behind to my opposing mid-laner I find it hard to recover, which makes me even more susceptible to future ganks.
It also turns out that in the heat of battle I am a total idiot when it comes to tricksy opponents like LeBlanc, Zed, WuKong, or Shaco. I always—ALWAYS!—attack their stupid clone or shadow or illusion or whatever. In fact, LeBlanc is quickly becoming my most feared mid-lane matchup. At times I find myself missing the top lane, where it’s brute strength against pure savagery, and none of this parlor-trick hoo-ha. I may be a sophisticated thinker at work, but in League I’m apparently a blunt weapon. Fizz is an assassin. I want to, you know, kill stuff.
And this, I guess, is a big reason why League of Legends is so popular. The layers of strategic complexity in this game are mind-boggling. I didn’t even think about using wards the last few months or ponder individual lane match-ups. Once I get the hang of these, I wonder what new thing I’m not doing but should?
Anyway, these Rumble practice sessions are about all my team will have under our belts. We’ll be lucky if we get as many as four more games together before Tuesday, when the Rumble begins in earnest. League is a game where communication amongst teammates matters. It’s like basketball, in a lot of ways. Four practices or six or eight is not enough for us to be a real team.
That said, I’ve been yammering about the Rumble long enough. It’s only my pride at stake, for goodness’ sake. If the Golden Ganks are doomed, we’re doomed. Honestly, I don’t mind eating some Doom Pie as long as I’m having fun and learning something. So bring it on, mysterious-company-wide-tournament-everyone-is-talking-about-but-which-I-still-don’t-fully-understand. Bring. It. On.
(but seriously… we’re doomed)