Friday, February 1, 2013

League of Legends 101

For those of you new to gaming and new to League of Legends I wanted to be inclusive and fill you in on how this game works. I had a wonderful request from a friend who likes the blog but has no idea what the game is.  I will now attempt to explain the basics of the game. You will not understand the game without watching it. This guide should give you the basic vocabulary and knowledge to sit down and watch a match with a player who can add more explanation.

Each game is 5 v 5 like basketball.  Before the game begins each player picks a champion.  There are over 100 different champions to choose from. I will use a simple champion to help describe:
Annie (And her Bear Tibbers)

Annie is a school girl with a stuffed teddy bear that every now and then she can summon to vanquish her foes.
Champion Abilities:
Each champion has 5 unique abilities:
The first of these powers is always a passive (meaning it just happens and no button must be clicked to use)
The next 4 abilities are all active abilities that are used by pushing a button.

Summoner Spells:

So our teams all pick different champions for a total of 10 champions. 5 on one team and 5 on the other.
Each Summoner (the official name of players) is also given the choice of two more abilities called Summoner Spells.  These spells are not unique to characters. There is a pool of 11 summoner spells. Each summoner may choose two. I will not go in to the detail of these spells but I mention them only to make you aware of their existence.

The game is now ready to begin.

The Map

As the game loads up the teams are divided into their respective teams.  Each team at their big blue dot in the corner.  Purple team is on the top right corner while the blue team is the bottom left corner.

Object of the Game:
Destroy the Nexus (Circled in Yellow) before the enemy team destroys yours.

Towers-Red Squares
Enemy Champions

Each teams Nexus spawns computer controlled minions that flow down all three lanes labeled above.  Both sides spawn equal number of minions and the minions will continue in the lane until they reach 1 of 3 things; an enemy champion, minion or tower. If a minions comes in contact with one of these three enemies it will attack it until either the enemy dies or the minion itself dies.  Normally minions will meet an enemy minion and engage in combat with that enemy minion.

 These minions if killed by a champion are worth gold. Additionally these champions continuously spawn so if your minions die then it is not a loss.
Minions look something like this

There are 3 variation but this is the basic minion. The main purpose of a minion is to kill the minion and collect the gold and experience.  Gold is only collected by killing the minion (or last hitting) while experience is gained just by being in the vicinity of an enemy minion or champion dying.  Problem is your enemy is trying to do the same thing.

Towers are the red squares on the map.  Each team has 11 towers. These towers will shoot at all enemies players and their minions.  So for example if I am on the blue team and I run across that white line and get close enough to a tower. The tower will shoot me and I will die. However if an enemy minion is in the range of the tower, then the tower will shoot the minion and not a player.  As soon as all the minions are gone the tower will turn attention (also known as aggro*) to the champion.  Towers can be killed and destroyed but have a lot of life so it take some strategy and planning by using minions to take the hits from the tower.
*there are other rules to aggro that will not be covered her

To see this in action I have included a short video:
Enemy Champions:
Both teams have the same objective and can attack each other if two champions are in the same area no matter where on the map. While there are two sides of the map champions can attack each other any where on the map.

Beginning the Game:
Choosing an Ability
Each champion starts the game at level 1.  Each level a summoner gets to add a point in to one of the abilities to either learn the ability or increase the abilities power. So at level 1 each champion gets to chose 1 ability to learn by putting 1 point in to that ability.  Let us go back to Annie as our example:

She has 4 abilities:
Disintegrate: A fireball that will hit one enemy (minion or champion)
Incinerate: Annie shoots a cone of fire that damages all enemies (minions and champions) in the area of the cone
Molten Shield: Annie increases her defense statistics (making her less hurt by being hit) for 5 seconds
Summon Tibbers: This summons her bear deal damage on impact and allowing Tibbers to attack enemies. This ability is her ultimate ability and is extremely powerful. As such she cannot learn the ability till level 6. (All champions have an ultimate ability and have the same restriction.)

So as a summoner I would chose to put one point in one of the first three abilities which would allow me to cast that ability. Abilities have costs to be cast usually in the form of Mana so they need to be used at the right time.  Also these abilities can not be cast immediately back to back but have a cool down before they are allowed to be cast.

For example Annie's Disintegrate costs 60 mana and has a cool down of 4 seconds. Meaning annie can only cast this spell ever 4 seconds if she has enough mana. Mana and health regenerate over time but very slowly.

Throughout the game Annie will gain levels through experience and be able to unlock more abilities and power up abilities she already knows. The summoner picks which order abilities are learned or leveled up.  But one champion can only get as high as level 18.

Buying the First Item:
This introduction can not get into items but they exist and add to champions power either offensive or defensive power.

Getting into the Game:
Typically champions spread to the three lanes. One top, one mid, and two bottom.  The strategy behind this changes but the last and fifth players goes to an area of the map called the jungle.

This is the part of the map is located with blue and purple circles on the map. These circles are areas where different minions spawn and can be killed for gold.  The champion in the jungle usually leave the jungle to help support a teammate in one of the three lanes.

The lanes are labeled with the three yellow numbers.  Each number is also the location of the natural balance of the lane. This means that if no champion were to attack minions the minions would meet at that location and attack each other. Champions in the lane need to kill the minions in order to get more gold to buy items and power up.

Since minions normally meet at the location of the numbers. Champions from both teams also will be in the area of those numbers in order to last hit the minion and collect the gold.  A summoner does not want their enemy to last hit and collect gold.   This will give them an advantage so each summoner is trying to prevent their enemy from collecting gold while also trying to collect gold themselves.

Best case scenario is to kill an enemy champion in lane. If the enemy champion dies they cannot collect gold or experience and remain dead for a short period of time.  When they do revive they are back at their nexus and must walk all the way back to where the minions are.  During the time of their death the living champion can collect gold and start to destroy the tower.

This is the goal of the whole game. Destroy towers continuously until your team reaches the nexus and can destroy that. There are trillions of way to accomplish this goal but all involve killing enemy champions and destroying towers.

This guide will not give you the depth of knowledge to understand the game but will give you the basic vocab to understand the game.  After this guide you should spend sometime watching professional matches with the company of a player.  This will allow you to ask questions and get more knowledge of the game.

If you need a player please feel free to contact me at :


This is Passion, This is Excitement, This is a Sport, This is e-Sport

This video will be the rallying call for e-Sports at it searches for recognition in mainstream entertainment. It perfectly illustrates the energy, excitement, and following that e-Sports has globally.

With thousands of spectators attending major events and more tuning in via online streams word is starting to make waves in popular culture. And as these events spread into mainstream media, it is important that the e-Sports community takes this opportunity to reach out and create a more welcoming and inclusive environment.

Do you think your friends might be interested in e-Sports? Reach out to them! Organize viewing parties. Go on Reddit and look for people in your area. One of the defining features of mainstream sporting entertainment is the sense of community and companionship it creates between fans. e-Sports can struggle in this regard because of the added difficulty created by the virtual environment.

Watching IEM Katowice and the backdoor featured in Chris' previous post with a group of friends to jump and yell and high five is infinitely more enjoyable that spamming "HOLY SHIT" in the twitch chat 100 times.

These moments of excitement are perfect opportunities to introduce your friends to pro gaming, even if they don't perfectly understand the mechanics and meta game. So reach out, share with friends, and create a more interconnected, dynamic community that will promote interest and excitement in e-Sports.

Making eSports Inclusive (The Human Element)

The inspiration for this post came from this video:

One of the ideas that struck me presented by a professor at MIT, T.L.Taylor, if eSports if going to grow it cannot be insular but must be more inclusive.

 Right now the demographic is predominantly male and has the mindset of being the outsider or geek. The community is content with just being insular.  If eSports wants to drop the e and become a part of main stream and just a sport. How do we bring non-gamers and a lot more women to becoming a fan of gaming?  Wait, wait, why would non-gamers ever be a fan of eSports?  This is crazy.  How many women and non-football players do you know that are fans of football?  Quite a few and I can guarantee that very few of them played high school or college ball. I am one of them.  Never played but love to watch football.

So why do women and non-football players watch football? How can this be replicated into the eSports?
These sports do a great job at connecting to many types of people. The model that best describes this is the Herrman Brain Dominance Instrument .  This model breaks people into their dominance of thought and what is easiest for them to understand.

The Olympics does a great job at connecting to all 4 types of people.  For example our C's or interpersonal thinkers love to get to see the stories about the athletes.  Their lives and struggles connect to this section of the audience.  Seeing their parents cheering on the Olympians from the crowd.

On the other side of the spectrum there the A's or the analytically thinkers. They love the result, the win the world record.  The want to know how fast, how high and percentage of accuracy.  All easy to find in not just in the Olympics but any major sport.

Our third style of thinking is our B's the sequential thinkers.  These people like to see the process of how everything works.  What was the process to prepare for the Olympics? Not just for the athletes but organizers as well. What goes in to practices for team sports? In the Olympics this sometimes is training regime or the story of creating the Olympic experience.

The last style of thought is our big picture thinkers our D's.  They like the big picture, the long term affect, and creativity.  This can be the hardest group to reach but the Olympics does well with opening and closing ceremonies to hit the creative need of audience members. eSports currently hits the analytical(A), and imaginative (D). There is still is room for improvement.

 The community is still missing  that human element.  Fans want to feel connected to their player and players that are relatable. Fan/ player connection is something every sport relies on.  It is that connection that every fan feels when Kobe Bryant hurts his finger, worry when Peyton Manning takes a big hit, or the disappointment in learning Lance Armstrong cheated.  This human emotion and connection to the players is the next step eSports needs. eSports has the excitement and energy. Just watch this ending from IEM Katowice Fnatic vs SK gaming.  It does not get much better than this clip.  This is the final moments of a match deciding which of these two teams will get to stay in the tournament.  Hope you enjoy. 

 Connecting players and viewers eSports needs an ambassador.  Other alternative sports had this; such as Tony Hawk for skate boarding, Lance Armstrong for cycling (until he cheated), and Dave Mira for BMX.  Each made headlines and promote their individual sport.  These were the poster boys that usually could be found giving back to the community through education, events or promotions.  eSports needs to find their poster boy especially in the United States and Europe that can bring fans in the door to see and experience eSports.  Without it eSports may just always retain the "e" in eSports and never enjoy the prestige of traditional sports.

 Who could be this poster boy to bring eSports in to the main stream?  My thought could be Snoopeh from Evil Geniuses but only time will tell.
Snoopeh and his famous stare

Until next time.
Rule #3: Be nice in game. The community does not need a toxic troll.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

League of Legends eSports Site is Live

League of Legends eSports
The official site is now up.  Matches start the 7th!

A New Addition

I would like to introduce the newest member of the the team here at e-Sports (The Rise), Myself.

I am Preston "Tripped" Orr, avid e-Sports viewer, commentator and player. After years of being influenced by personalities such as Day9, Tastosis, and TobiWan I am ready to start taking a more active role in the e-Sports community. My primary focus will be on Starcraft 2 with a smattering of insight into the Dota2 community; and some good natured trash talk towards League of Legends.

With introductions out of the way I want to bring attention to the most important event in International SC2 e-Sports; which happens to be occurring in just over 6 hours. EG.Stephano [RC], the foreign hope, will be making his GSL Code S debut. 

For those of you who are not familiar with the Starcraft2 e-Sports community this game is hugely popular in South Korea, and the programmer scene is dominated by Koreans. Therefore anyone who is not Korean is considered a "foreigner". With a prize pool of over $160,000 USD GSL Code S is largest Starcraft 2 tournament in the world. If Starcraft was Soccer, the GSL would be England, and Code S would be the Barclays Premier League.  

EG.Stephano [RC] is regarded by many as the best foreign progammer of all time. Teamliquid posts "Already the best non-Korean to play the game, success in Code S would make Stephano one of the greatest[progammers], period." The hopes and dreams of foreign SC2 fans across the world rest on Stephano's shoulders, directly under his ridiculous hair.

Tune in tonight at 1:10 AM PST at and support Stephano, The GSL, and the e-Sports community.

Image Via Team Liquid

IEM Sao Pualo - Ranking the Production

Currently watching the IEM Sao Pualo.  The commentary has changed to English so I can understand it now.  Going to be writing down notes on a few areas of rating production value of each tournament.
   Games starting on time
   Down time in between matches
   Advertisers being seen and heard?

I will try to collect as much data as I can.  Taking notes as we go.

Wish me luck.  If you have any suggestions on what to look for in productions let me know.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recognition by the Mainstream

Today I saw the second post from ESPN on League of Legends so I wanted to share with everyone.

There is a great video in this article.  It interviews teams qualifying to be a salaried teams in season 3. These players are competing for a year long salary.  This will allow players to dedicate their lives like any other professional to their sport.

The article does a great job at showing how dedicated these players are to their profession.  Also how the industry of e-Sports has grown with "viewership that trumps the NHL" .  This fact, while not quantified in the article, is pretty amusing.  That a "fake sport" has more viewership than a "real" sport.

Another really cool part of this article is this
We’re hoping to build a Monday Night Football-type experience where you can see an exciting, high-production-value show. With this structure we are setting up, fans will be able to tune in Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and see their favorite teams play. We created a studio in Los Angeles and hired producers with backgrounds from the NFL and the Olympics in order to do that type of storytelling that they do so well in pro sports.” 

You can see the similarities when the commentators are running play by plays similar to an ESPN Sportcenter episode. Yes there is actual strategy and break down that sometimes is the chaos of a video game. You just need to learn how to see it.  Just like in football there is misdirection and a lot of chaos in the trenches.  While in football everyone really just focus who has the ball in e-Sports every player has the ball which can make it difficult but that much more exciting s you never now who will make a big play.

See Jatt breaking down a  late game play during the North American Qualifiers.

There is a misconceptions about gamers and gaming teams that the article reinforces that I would like to point out.

" I can already envision the bottles of Mountain Dew littering the floor." 

  One thing all the professional teams have learned quickly is that to compete at this level they have to be mentally and physically sound. Most professional teams especially in Korea maintain a strict eating and exercise diet. The stereotype of gamers surrounded by junk food may have some credibility to the average gamer should not be cast on to these professionals.  While many still take energy drinks during tournaments, gone are endless packages of junk food for these pros.

The best is this final quote
There have been eSports events in Korea with over 100,000 attendants, and we see that as something in our near-term horizon. For us, it’s go big or go home.

Korea has been the mecca for e-Sports the past ten years.  My dream is that the North American scene can be come as big as Korea.  So far we filled the USC stadium at the World Championship Series. Who knows what next years World Championships will hold for us.

World Championship Series in the Fall in the USC sports arena.  Wish I was there.

Remember the first rule in League of Legends: Don't Die.