Blog Archives

The Uncoachables or when will my Prince come

So the Uncoachables aka Origen, have made Playoffs. Yay! It’s been a bumpy ride so far. They’ve lost against higher level teams but they’ve been beating the less good ones so they’ve done pretty well so far on the consistency front. It’s good to be consistent. I’m very proud.

They’ve been looking for a Coach all split as well. They’ve had quite a few since the team started. The Coach is a revolving door position in Origen. They like Coaches (because who wouldn’t like someone who helps you get where you want to go) but it’s just that they haven’t found the one that’s right for them yet, the one to fit their needs and help them sort themselves out and keep on track. And after all, we all know you’ve often got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince. We also know that every frog is someone’s Prince which is nice but not really relevant, unless of course Origen is the frog and it’s them being kissed and not turning into Princes at which point the analogy is, probably, being stretched beyond breaking point and I need to stop…

 

Origen Coaching session

Origen Coaching session

 

But anyway they’re grinding their way through trying to find form and as their most impassioned fan; I support them even more than Leyton Orient – I know all their names and where they are in the LCS and everything, I’m behind them all the way. Rar rar Origen!

(it’s actually easier supporting an LCS team than a football team because there’s less people involved to keep track of and only one League with fewer teams. Football is a nightmare)

 

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The State of the Nation or what’s happening on Berath’s Brain Burps

It’s been a while, again, since I last wrote anything here, mainly for reasons I’ve already mentioned here, so I reckoned with the start of a new year, Spring and all that, it was time for a relaunch. So, first, what’s been happening:

League of Legends

I’ve more or less stopped playing League. They keep patching it and shaking up the meta. Every time I think about going to get back into it, Riot change stuff so I decide to wait a bit until it’s all sorted out and settled. And then they patch it again. So I’ve decided it’s simpler not to start at all. Less to think about. Instead I’m still watching my LoL streams, letting other people do the work. I’m also watching LCS, another way of keeping up with League without putting any effort in myself.

 

Stream of Cyanide: you can see me in chat, I have a green sword, I'm a twitch chat moderator so I can ban people

Stream of streamer Cyanide. You can see me in twitch chat, I have a green sword, I’m a moderator so I can ban people. Twitch chat is notorious for being foul. Giving a Guardian reader a banhammer.

Origen

In LCS, Origen remain my team of choice. They reached the semi-finals in Worlds, partly by managing to avoid the Korean teams and benefiting from the Chinese League teams imploding, but put up a pretty good performance all the same. They were expected to stomp this Season since, among all the newly formed teams, they had had only had one roster change; xPeke moving to a substitute position replaced by UOL’s Power of Evil. However they’ve looked  somewhat messy and unco-ordinated so far and have dropped games. There were problems with internet access and practice at the start which didn’t help. I also wonder if sometimes it’s easier being a new team at the start, what with Riot’s constant meta changes. A new team can come in fresh, a team like Origen has to unlearn what they had down so well previously and almost automatically as a team (with xPeke here) before the relearning starts up again and they can readjust.

 

Origen. All six of them

Origen. All six of them

Who Dares Grins

Whilst I’ve been away, my little multi-gaming community I was one of the Clan Leaders of, has sort of died a death. The Sunday evening Llama gaming Nights stopped (well I was the organiser) and the TF2 sessions on Tuesday and Friday evening halted. The Mumble server is still used, posts are made on the forum and some people have formed a Steam group and have pub-stomping sessions but that’s about it. I’ll probably join the group and see what’s up. I’ve been thinking about trying to get the servers populated again, but it is a lot of work that’s largely down to me; the days of community-run servers running games sustaining gaming communities seem to be almost over. WDG are one of the last of these communities to go dark with many, most,  having gone down way before.

 

Lord of the Rings Online

Still dropping in, now and again. Feels a bit like coming home, it’s so familiar. The kinship is still about. I’m still an Officer. I could resign but it’s not really worth any potential bother as everyone’s currently dozing away as things are.

 

Team Fortress 2

I miss playing TF2. Played it a little recently. Going to play it more.

 

Bomb cart will not push self

Bomb cart will not push self

Fallout 4 and modding

I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout 4. I’ve also been exploring the modding scene. There’s comparatively little out there at the moment since Bethesda haven’t released their modding tool yet. So far a lot of the mods that are available don’t really cater for me; I’ve no urge to populate my post-nuclear wilderness with topless women possessing Barbie doll-like proportions. I took a look at Skyrim which has a more advanced modding scene and it was similar; a vast over-supply of mods for hetero males wanting something fruity in their games and scantily-dressed and probably cold lady followers. Well I could either hope that more modders widened their briefs or have a go and try to make the mods myself that I wanted to see. I decided to do that and also see if I could get involved in some modding groups setting up to develop additional game content and give input (trying to keep my Cthulhu obsession reigned in). I’m not sure how it’ll go but at the moment I’m trying to get to grips with the Skyrim modding tool which is very likely to be similar to the Fallout 4 one when it’s released.

There aren't so many like this

There aren’t so many like this in Skyrim

So that’s about it really. There are other things going on and other things will be going on but I’ll see. Whatever, I hope to be blogging more now about the above and more. Always good to write a bit of nonsense now and again!

League of Legends: Origen, ups and downs

Well we’re over halfway through the Summer Split in LCS now and it has been a bit of a bumpy journey for Origen supporters, though it could have been worse.

Origen are now hovering in the top 3 in the Standings alongside H2K and Fnatic. Fnatic are ruling pretty much unopposed and remain undefeated (and looking pretty near undefeatable). If I was in to just supporting winners, I’d have stuck with them, but no, I’ve gone with a team still finding it’s way and improving.

The first few weeks were very strong for Origen. I think they struck a bit lucky here, many of the teams they were facing were still sorting out their own roster changes and getting back into the competitive groove. However teams are now shifting into gear and many are starting to put out good performances and becoming serious challenges.

In fact yesterday, Origen lost to Unicorns of Love, a team they beat pretty convincingly the first time around; in a Split each team plays each other twice. UOL are a strong team, if inconsistent, but nevertheless, Origen has generally shown as a stronger team.

The game was agonising. Origen started off fairly well but then fell behind and seemed to fall apart. One thing Origen are not so good at, is playing from behind. What was interesting though, was how the differences in team composition worked out.

At the start of a game (pick and ban phase), the two teams pick champions. Each team can ban three champions. Each champion has different skills which can either compliment or oppose. A team chooses a composition of champions to work, in-game, in a specific way, for instance to skirmish or to take objectives. The trick is, to play your planned strategy and composition, without revealing it to the opposition to counter who in turn are trying to get their planned composition. At the same time, each team chooses bans to either rule out overpowered champions or champions they don’t want to face, or to wreck a perceived strategy.

In last night’s game, Origen seemed to make a serious error during this stage. The strongest AD Carries were banned; so was one of the stronger junglers (junglers move about the map helping their team to get ahead). UOL had first pick and picked the best jungler. Origen went on to pick one of the best supports, Alistar (rather all-in but still good) and then they made their first mistake; they picked Jayce for xPeke, signifying a poke composition. Nothing wrong with that BUT it immediately revealed to UOL with four picks to go, exactly what Origen were planning to run. Indeed, UOL, for their next two picks choose Corki, probably the third best ADC and then, boom boom, Braum as support. Now why Braum as support? Well Braum has a skill where he can bring up a shield to block skill shots to protect his team. And what does Jayce do? Well he fires skill shots. Therefore Braum is the perfect counter. Oh dear. And that is how the game worked out in what was probably one of the most frustrating games xPeke has played for a while, countered at every turn. It also didn’t help that the ADC Origen chose, Vayne, is shorter ranged so couldn’t provide additional poke.

Both teams made strategic errors around the map during the game, but the abiding image I have is of Origen valiantly trying to defend their base; xPeke poking with every shot blocked by Braum, Vayne trying to get in close and failing, Alistair  trying to get in close and failing; everyone trying to get in close and failing. Oh yes, and all the while UOL had their own poke champ, Varus, poking from afar, unimpeded. GG.

Elements and the Quest for the Philospher’s Stone: Part 2

3 months ago, here, I wrote about Elements in League of Legends, and their struggle to find a new roster during the Spring Split. I said I hoped there wouldn’t be any more roster changes and that the new roster would be allowed to settle and find it’s feet.

Nah.

It’s now 5 weeks into the Summer Split and Elements have been scooped up, shaken about and then re-assembled with a whole load of new pieces like some dodgy Lego kit. Gone are Shook (jungle), Wickd (top), Krepo (support) and Rekkles (ADC) to be replaced by Dexter, Jwaow, PromisQ and Tabzz respectively. The only constant is Froggen (mid-laner and Team Captain). To be fair Krepo retired; he has moved into casting LCS and is now employed by Riot. Rekkles also wanted to leave. He has returned to his original team, Fnatic, following a rather odd theme of the pre-Summer Split; a kind of ‘Return of the Prodgical ADC’. We’ve had Rekkles going back to Fnatic, Tabzz was the previous ADC for Elements and, a third team SK Gaming, saw the return of their old ADC, CandyPanda.

The big question of course,is, has it worked? Has the Elements organisation found the Philospher’s Stone to coalesce this new set of elements into pro-gold? So far, I’m afraid, the answer is ‘no’. Elements are currently 2 – 6. According to rumours, they may be looking at a roster change.

(At the time of writing, apparently, Elements haven’t spent more than 4 playing weeks with the same roster since becoming Elements at the start of last Split)

Elements and the Quest for the Philospher’s Stone

Oh well. The end of another week of LCS and a couple more painful losses for Elements. It’s hard to believe that the Super Team from last season is now sitting uncomfortably in the lower half of the League Standings.

Of course everyone and his dog has a theory about why it has all gone so wrong for Elements along with a plethora of solutions, some half-baked, some less so. Certainly the game of roster musical chairs they’ve had recently can’t have helped; bench Wickd, bring in Kevin, bench Nyph, bring in Krepo, bench Kevin, bring back Wickd and expecting Krepo to shotcall and turn the team around in a week when he has never really shotcalled before, was, let’s face it, a bit of an ask. I don’t know how the support staff around the team are fairing either. Nyph has now moved to Head Coach.

Whatever, I think it can be assumed that there is a lot of soul searching going on in the Elements camp at the moment. I hope there won’t be any more roster changes, to be honest I think they’ve run out of possibilities anyway. So, this near the end of the Split, it’s time to hunker down and work it through with the components they have and maybe they’ll find the Philospher’s Stone by the end of it and create pro-gold.

 

stone2

 

(Philospher’s stone: the Philospher’s Stone is a legendary substance or coaching technique allegedly capable of turning bronze League players into Challenger or even Pro players. It can only be imagined what effect  it might have on LCS teams)

E-sports, League of Legends; support the team or the player?

In League of Legends, we’re currently in the middle of the pre-season, after one competitive Season finishes and before the next one starts sometime in January.

This is the time that, theoretically, players can rest and take time off. However, it’s also the time that teams change up their rosters for the forthcoming Season. Since I’ve only been following competitive League since the summer, this was something I hadn’t experienced before. Players I’d grown to like were dropped and teams changed beyond recognition. It was all rather unexpected.

Some of the biggest changes occurred within the team I’d grown to like the most; Fnatic. First, amidst countless rumours and gossip, they lost their prize ADC, Rekkles to their main rival Alliance. Then, following further rumours, they lost their jewel-in-the crown mid-laner xPeke to form his own team Origen, along with their longstanding jungler Cyanide who decided to retire. This left Fnatic with their toplaner, Soaz and support, Yellowstar.

This led to the following question; did I still want to support Fnatic? In mainstream sports, people support the teams without much question; Manchester United, London Irish or the Washington Redskins. They don’t stop  because they change a player. But in e-sports, support  seems to be very player led. There is an argument that this demonstrates the immaturity of the e-sports scene but I don’t agree. In mainstream sport, supporters will often support a team because of a link, perhaps geographical, or a family connection. In League some teams  have tried to build a national identity, C9 is seen as being 100% NA, up to now Roccat players have all been Polish. However, Roccat demonstrates the problem with this; they’ve now run out of Polish players at the standard they want, and are currently looking at fielding a Korean player. Establishing a national identity in this way is not possible for most teams. There is also another issue with e-sports teams; they’re small. Change three players in a football team, not so noticeable, change three in a League team, that’s over half the squad gone and the team is suddenly very different.

So what should an Organisation with a team do? Returning to Fnatic, I’d adopted the team because of the players, the front men. Apart from them, Fnatic as an organisation was just a brand. I’d never seen any management to get interested in, they’d had a coach but he left after Worlds. Fnatic as an organisation meant little. So, I’m following the players, my only remaining interest in Fnatic is supporting those who stayed. From this aspect, it’s interesting to look at xPeke’s new team/organisation that he’s forming. Origen is very much branded with his own identity and that’ll continue above and beyond individual players. It’s what I’m supporting.  This has happened elsewhere. The creator/owner of NA  team CLG is Hotshot, an ex-player who streams and has a very high profile and so, whatever happens, can provide continuity for supporters. TSM, also NA, was formed by Regi who played for them before moving into coaching for the team and similarly has a very strong though somewhat controversial profile. Returning to Roccat, their Manager, Flyy, is appearing on various League talkshows and is becoming known, maybe with a similar outcome.

I think it will happen more, now Riot is encouraging teams to have Coaches and allowing them on-stage. Teams will start to be increasingly identifiable beyond just the players.   Teams and organisations are starting to realise that having constantly changing rosters and players that rapidly come and go, particularly as the competitive lifetime of a player is generally 2 to 3 years tops, does not lend itself to a stable scene from the perspective of retaining supporters.  Raising the profiles of more permanent staff can only help with this as can giving positions e.g. as streamers to ex-players.

Full and updated article appears here: http://www.goldper10.com/article/714.html