Saturday, October 8, 2011

Opaque Mistakes Breed Frustration

Recently I’ve been playing two separate games which go by the names of Starcraft 2 and League of Legends. Both games are highly competitive. Both pit players against each other in deadly head to head combat. And, without a doubt, both are ruthlessly brutal to new players. Yet, only one of them frustrates me beyond belief.

League of Legends.

It’s interesting that two games which are so competitively similar can affect me in two vastly different ways. So why is that? I believe the key lies in how information comes across, or does not come across, to the player. Starcraft 2 is very transparent, while League of Legends is extremely opaque.

In Starcraft 2 most information is telegraphed to the player. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that an army with 30 units is better than an army with 15. While unit composition can muddy the water of army size comparisons, most of the time, it still takes a miracle to beat an army twice the size of yours. This transparency also extends to game wins and loses. Most of the time I can tell you why I won or lost a match of Starcraft 2. (“My macro was just horrible.” “I could have microed that battle so much better.” “If only I had scouted that tech switch sooner.”) It’s this information that allows me to improve my play, and it’s this information that helps me see that a loss was my fault. I lost because I did something wrong and I could have played better and actually won.

This is where League of Legends fails. It’s like a stone faced royal guard, just too damn opaque. In League of Legends it’s incredibly hard to tell how strong your opponent is. All you can tell at a glance is how much health someone has. You can’t know for certain how much damage they can dish out or if they run faster than you, or how much armor they currently have. So, when I die over and over again to a player, I couldn’t tell you why. It’s even worse when that player has seemingly less health than me(the most visible stat in the game), shouldn’t I be stronger? Am I just playing bad? Did I not level fast enough? Did I buy the wrong items? I don’t know. All I know is that I keep dieing and it sure as hell doesn’t feel like my fault. That champion must be unbalance, and overpowered. There’s seemingly nothing at all that I can do to win.

And when I’m powerless to do anything, I get frustrated.


  1. StarCraft isn't that cookie-cutter man. The 30 vs 15 analysis would work if it was the same unit, and even then the upgrades and micro skills make a lot of difference.

    Here are a few tips for League of Legends:
    1. There are too many heroes for you to know who does what. BUT, take a look at the "free to play" heroes, and at least learn their abilities. They will give you a fair chance if what you will get hit with.

    2. During the game, press TAB. Look at the items your opponents are carrying. They make a big difference if how their champion plays. They can be a damage soaker or dealer on the same champion, depending on how you can gear them.

    3. Get a friend to play with you. I am on EU West if they is convenient for you "Brontizzle". (Yes I know, Bronte was taken!) Two coordinated people can do a lot more damage than someone who is just tarting out.

    4. Between levels 1-6 just farm minions, harass the enemy, but don't try to kill him. You need to stay alive, you need to stay near your minions and you need some killing blows to get a good chunk of change. If you're good, you should have close to 800+ gold by the end of level 6, even without killing a champion.

    5. Survive. The longer you are up, the more experience, gold and damage you dish out over time. Don't make suicide plays. Sure you killed that weak player by charging into their lines, but not you get to stare at a black and white screen for 50 seconds.

    6. Go to, and look at some of the "Top Guides" for the champion you like playing. I would recommend starting wit Garen or Master Yi (you have to buy Yi, but he is only 450 IP right now, so you kinda get him for free).

  2. I like both League and Starcraft but I understand what Klelith is saying. I think one of the problems with League is that a hero can get so fed by the other team that there is absolutely nothing you can do to it. It seems unfair in the late game but it's because of what happened in the early game on an even playing field.

    Thanks for the tips Bronte, if you or anyone else, wants to friend me I'm Void19.

  3. I am on EU West. Is that where you are?