Top 5 Reasons for Raging in League of Legends

All aboard the Rage Train for the game that turns friends and complete strangers to enemies!

For those of you who don't know, League of Legends is a free to play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game made by Riot Games for the PC and Mac. As of 2012, it was the most played PC game in the world. There are over 7.5 million people playing this game at any given time of the day. At the end of last year, 32 million people tuned in to watch the World Championships making the event the most watched eSports event of all time and setting huge strides for the genre and rapidly growing industry. 

If you're into the game scene and you haven't heard of League of Legends, you will be hearing more about it soon.

The key word with all this is "Multiplayer." For better or worse, LoL is a game that dumps you into a pit with 5 or 9 other players in a battle to the death. You are expected to work with your team on strategy and rely on their reaction times to take objectives and achieve victory.

My experience with the LoL community has been largely negative. I've been playing on and off for 3 years, and I'd like to share with you just a small portion of my experience:

The multiple problems with throwing 10 strangers into a battle pit, armed with anonymity and shielded in the comfort of their own privacy, are the same we see in the YouTube comments section or, for those of you unfortunate enough, a 4chan board.

1. The internet produces strange social situations.

In the past, every word that came out of your mouth and said to other people was either done face to face or over the phone. The outcome was the same: Everyone knew it was you. You were ultimately responsible for anything you said whether you used a racial slur or exclaimed that there was a bomb on the plane you sat in.

On the internet we use usernames to identify ourselves. Rarely is it that you can even begin to fathom who sits behind the username "ImaQTPie"... But, really, there is a professional League of Legends player that uses this name and makes $30,000 a year in salary from Riot Games and even more than that from sponsors. All joking aside, the mask of usernames allows people to say anything they want without regret or fear of repercussions.

It also dehumanizes people. Now, a walking talking human being becomes a few symbols on your monitor. This thing on your monitor naturally means less to you than someone with a smile or a waving hand, so you treat it with less respect.

Imagine if this thing that you have little respect for, that you fear little from, decides to give up a kill to the other team? You can expect something like this to happen:

2. The people playing this game are dangerously stressed or, ironically, not stressed enough.

League of Legends is a "twitch" game. It is a game that tests the reaction time of the player. For a good example of what can happen in every game, see below:


Mesmerizing, isn't it? Even after three years of playing this game I still have trouble reacting during big fights like this, as do many other players. This kind of thing is the result of 10 people and 20 hands all pressing buttons at once to make their champions reposition and execute abilities at the precise moment to engage or escape or contest or siege... It's very intense! 

Naturally these situations either leave you sorely unprepared or put you on an extreme edge. People who underperform in fights are often berated by others because they're a "noob" or they aren't paying attention or they're some other insulting/degrading noun. After a time of being berated, underperformers will lash back with their own insults or simply mute other ragers. I praise the latter group infinitely for taking the higher ground.

People who are performing and delivering their role in fights will often devolve in the face of others who are underperforming and become ego freaks who assumingly never have made a mistake in their entire gaming careers. Every game their ego grows or the stress becomes more real and the threats become more intense until they reach the pinnacle of gaming grief: the Rage Quit.

The Rage Quit is the ultimate form of rage: the Super Saiyan, the Power Star, the Triforce, the Limit Break.. It's what an angry gamer becomes at their most powerful stage. So powerful in fact, that it destroys the gamer. In that moment, the gamer wields such a power over himself that he or she simply implodes and the experience that makes them what they are ends. Don't ever Rage Quit, don't destroy yourself. You're better than that.

3. Playing against the Meta

The Metagame is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action, or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. 

What this means to LoL is that, when entering a game, other players expect these general strategies and prescribed rulesets to be fulfilled. There is always one jungler, two bot laners, one top laner and one middle laner. There are reasons for this general strategy that I won't get into in this article but the fact remains that people demand it to be fulfilled. This strategy is so popular that Riot Games is changing LoL so that it is a constant.

When someone enters a game and declares that they will be jungling when the team already has a jungler, you can expect a heavy dose of raging or at least a few defeated comments. Because the Meta is so widely accepted and apparently the strongest strategy in the game currently, you will automatically be targeted for verbal destruction in-game despite your talent or friendliness.

4. AFK players

Life happens. You will occasionally have to get up from the throne you ride into videogame Vallhalla with, whether it's back pain, having the sudden urge to relieve yourself, writing that last minute rent check... there are a million reasons to stop playing the game. That's why we have start buttons on every controller in the market today. 

When you get up from a LoL game, however, there is no pause. The game continues regardless of you walking away from your keyboard or closing the game on your computer and your team mates are put at an immediate disadvantage. CHOO CHOO.. What's that? Here comes the Rage Train!


Regardless of what you're doing at the other end of the monitor, whether it be brushing your teeth or fighting off a burglar or helping your grandma take in the groceries, you can expect someone to be upset that you left the game and put them in a bad spot even for a few seconds.

5. Everything is riding on bragging rights

Perhaps a lot of these previous items could be avoided if there weren't a running total of everything you did in game aggregated by multiple websites as a timeless reference to your performance. Riot logs every kill, every death, every win and loss, and posts it for all time. This information is also collected by other sites like Lolking.net and OP.GG that can be used by other players to look up potential rivals in-game and get a feel for their skills before they are met in battle.

What's worse is that LoL has a ranking system. After 10 ranked matches, players are sorted into different tiers by medals: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Challenger. In ranked mode, every single game counts towards this categorization of your skills which will almost certainly be checked and double checked by other players. You are literally given a badge that determines your worth in this game and you are forced to wear it. Sound familiar to you?

Friends, let me tell you about another group of hate mongers that made people wear badges...they were called NAZIS!

Again, joking aside, because there is so much that is potentially riding on these games for players, the level of raging is much, much higher than say if you happened to wipe on a raid of Deathwing in World of Warcraft. Surprisingly enough, 30-60 minutes of real world time wasted in a game that charges a subscription fee could be less rage inducing than just losing a game of League of Legends, which is free to play.

Before I go and call everyone at Riot a Nazi or call rage quitting an act of self-destruction, I do have to say that there is a good amount of people who fall outside of my sweeping generalizations. Riot has implemented a system that rewards these players with pretty banners in character select as a way to sort of praise good behavior. Even with this system in place I have noticed that ragers will still rage on and ruin an experience that should be fun for everyone. 

Everyone's mileage may vary of course. If you have been lucky enough to escape all mentioned above, I urge you to comment below and share your secret!

Correspondent

Published Mar. 18th 2014

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