Saturday, 22 December 2012

The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective League of Legends Player Part 1

I'm going to be writing a new series that I've entitled The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective League of Legends Player. The inspiration for this piece is Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The aim of this series is to help enable and empower the reader to take charge of their League of Legends career and become successful. This could apply to raising ELO, reduce raging, and increase enjoyment while playing. I cannot guarantee that you’ll reach Diamond or Platinum from reading this since the focus is behavioural and not so much mechanical skill, and you need both to reach high ELO. However, I guarantee that if you take these habits to heart, you'll enjoy your time spent on League of Legends a lot more than you currently do.

Habit #1 – “Be Proactive”

The first habit has a lot to do with looking at what shapes who you on. In League of Legends, we are shaped by our experience, and ELO. As an inexperienced player you are treated as if you don't know the game as well as someone who has played since beta, and as such, you will perform in a manner that you're expected to. ELO influences us in a similar way, and with the addition of borders for S2 standings, a player will likely under perform if they are on a team with all Platinum players when they only reached Gold last season. The Gold player may have worked hard to improve and may be just as good as the Platinum players now, but because they're expected to do worse, they will do worse in most cases. These two factors are external determinations that are used to gauge our aptitude to perform, but the fact that they are external shows that they don't have to dictate how we perform.

The basis of human intelligence is the idea that we can decide our responses to stimuli. In the case of League of Legends, the stimuli are our experience and our ELO (the perception our team/enemy has of us). As humans, we have the choice to play as we are expected or play how we know that we can play. The difficulty is applying this principle, and this is where the first habit comes into play.

The idea of habit #1 is to switch from being a reactive person to being proactive. To do this, you need to take the initiative. You can't wait for others to judge your skill based on your experience or ELO, but instead, you need to make the first move. In the context of a League of Legends match, you can do this in a number of ways such as:

  • Speak up in champion select and be cooperative
  • Get first blood (don’t give first blood)
  • Win your lane
  • Make plays early on
  • Play safe (ward/ping/call mia)

There are numerous ways of taking the initiative, but the idea is to set a precedent yourself rather than letting other factors set it for you. A fine example of this would be my life. I've faced stereotypes and expectations that others have placed upon me, but they've never dictated my success. Since I started streaming and putting myself out there online, I've heard a lot of people saying things like, “He's good for how he plays.” They see my limitations and put the expectation of my capability on me, but I choose to ignore such comments because I know I can do better. I know I can and will improve. My ELO may be at 1k now, but my understanding of competitive play and the game far exceeds that (at least in my opinion). My limiting factor is not my physical capabilities as people like to think, but it is the fact that I'm still finding the best way of playing for me. I don't play or limit myself by the expectations of others, but rather, I try to prove them wrong by taking the initiative and improving myself whenever possible.

The essence of being proactive is considering what is in your power to influence or change (your cs'ing skill, your behaviour, your map awareness, etc) and separating it from things you can't control (teammate's attitude, teammate's performance, enemy's skill, etc). The idea is that you should focus on things that you can control instead of getting stuck on the areas that you cannot control. An example of this would be playing top lane and getting ganked a lot. You can control this by warding and improving your map awareness. Alternatively, you have no control over your teammate rage quitting after they die in lane, so you shouldn't focus your energy on this matter. Not only will this help you improve your gameplay, but you'll enjoy yourself far more if you don't get upset over things that you cannot control.

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