Hungry Like the Wolf (Hyena)

Hyena Warwick

The jungling champion Warwick is a werewolf, but one of his skins is a hyena. Guess what I play?

Today I reached Summoner Level 11 in League of Legends. I feel I am nearly ready to face actual human opponents without (overly) embarrassing myself. I’ve also managed to earn enough IP through my games to buy a small stable of champions in the various roles that I’ve been able to practice with. Fear is honestly the only thing keeping me back now.

I have a lot of those moments, where I let fear of failure dictate my actions. I suppose I should say my inaction. I’m having a similar issue in school since I got behind. Just like it’s easy to continue fighting bots and not improving in League, it is easy enough to let class slip by and say, see, I screwed up.

But it is time to take the plunge and pass into the dark depths of the jungle. Both in League and elsewhere.

Anyway, in League the role of the jungler has proven to be a bit easier to grasp than I anticipated. I watched ScrapComputer’s guide on jungling, which is great, even if it is a little outdated for season 5. Mostly the monster camps underwent a change in the current season of the game. So I just looked up a guide specifically for that and things have been peachy.


N.B. If you have no idea about the term, League of Legends happens in three “lanes”, and between those lanes is a mass of twisty paths and neutral monsters called “the jungle”. A jungler is a character who basically wanders around this area and kills the stuff there. Since it encompasses so much, the jungler also weaves in and out of lanes to ambush (“gank”) enemy players, putting his or her team at an advantage.


Vi is a jungling champion who uses her giant mechanical fists (and justice) to crush her foes.

Vi is a jungling champion who uses her giant mechanical fists (and justice) to crush her foes.

Having a jungler in the AI levels has made a noticeable impact. I’d say the games end about 3-5 minutes earlier. I’m able to help out other lanes that aren’t doing so good, filled with players who are new and/or not so great. Typically, when playing the AI, everyone typically sticks to their lane until the AI Bots move around and dictate where the team fights happen. I don’t want to fight bots forever, I’m practicing to get prepared for human opponents, so I am trying to get a familiarity with those tactics even if the AI matches aren’t exactly mirrors of typical PvP situations.

The mid lane is still my strongest game, though. I still need to go into a custom game and work on upping my CS (“creep score”; how many enemy minions you struck the final blow to and thus reaped XP and gold). You see, in League you can’t just auto-attack everything and expect to get by. For maximum efficiency you need to time your hits so that you land the last blow on enemy minions. That’s how you increase your gold and buy better items, which give you better stats. I watched a video where someone said you should be able to easily get 70 creep kills by the 10:00 minute mark before you attempt playing ranked matches. I’m only going to be playing “normals” at the moment (non-ranked 5v5 PvP games), but improving never hurts.

Now I need to apply the same principles to my academic work. Heh.

See you tomorrow for another 500 words.

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Getting into League: DeLUX Edition

For nearly five months now I have been a regular in the chat of DistractedElf’s Twitch stream. I recommend checking her out. I never thought I’d watch someone else play video games on a regular basis, but the chat is lively, Elf is fun and welcoming, and there are just a lot of good things to say about the experience.

One of the games she played most frequently was Dawngate, a MOBA that, sadly, announced its closing shortly after I joined. (Sorry, Elf and friends…) So I didn’t have much time to check it out. She began playing League of Legends–well, she got back into playing League, I should say–and I never paid much attention to it as a potential game I might play.

Then, a few weeks ago, the bug bit. I’m now endeavoring to be a not-terrible player. One of the characters I found interesting and approachable in the beginning was a mage named Lux. Sadly she passed out of rotation after I reached Summoner Level 6 and earned my way into the actual free rotation. I’ve been slowly saving IPs from my games in order to make her a permanent staple of mine. Tonight I finally reached that goal!

I’ve played quite a few games against AI bots; I’m not quite ready for primetime when it comes to facing other players. I’d previously heard from a lot of sources that League has a pretty awful player-base. Riot has allegedly been addressing this for some time now.

Despite that, most of the games I’ve played thus far have been pleasant. People have been friendly and understanding. Perhaps the work of Riot’s social scientists has paid off! (Not quite.) Nevertheless, there is a certain knowledge required to play League passably well, and I want to have those basics down to a comfortable degree before I start dragging the team down with me. If I am preemptive about being a better player myself, others may reciprocate.

A guy can dream, right?

I currently have three permanently unlocked Champions: Lux, a light-based mage; Sivir, a boomerang-throwing warrior woman; and Graves, who I haven’t played yet but I understand is a pretty decent selection in the current meta and he was on sale for a not-terrible price.

There’s a lot more going on under the hood than I originally anticipated. It’s not enough to simply kill enemy minions and Champions; there is a method to the madness. The last few days I’ve been watching tutorial videos on last-hitting and bot-laning and how to teamfight. ScrapComputer’s tutorial videos have been a blessing in this regard. Naturally, learning is one thing and implementing is another. Therein, as a Danish prince once said, lies the rub.

I don’t exactly have aspirations of professional play; I am mostly content to enjoy the game in my off time and eventually be able to hold my own with Elf and some of her friends in casual games. Should I mysteriously get good, well, I won’t complain.

This is also the start of my 500 words “series”. In order to stay up with the blog, and occasionally work on the actual craft of writing as opposed to vomiting words onto the screen, I’m going to post around 500 words a day. If something more substantial arises, I’ll be happy to use that as a daily post, but 500 words, minimum, about anything at all.

See you tomorrow.