My First Ranked Game

Posted: May 21, 2011 by xenocidebrm in General, Metagame

A fact about me – I am a generalist. LoL is my first serious MOBA, I’m 1st rank Silver in SC2, and I get better than 1:1 ratios in most FPSes. So while I’m not amazing at anything, I like to think my experience is broad enough to give me some insight on most any kind of competitive play.

Ranked play is always draft pick, which is harrowing. In an organized match, it can cut down on a lot of things your team may not want to deal with. In a way, it’s similar to stealing a gas in Starcraft 2 or playing Highlander mode in Team Fortress 2; it allows your team to limit the options of the opposition so you can better prepare. That said, like anything else in this game, without a coherent strategy you’re pretty much giving away opportunities that your enemies will pick up on.

I played my first ranked game as Vladimir in a duo queue with damndirtycat last night. Honestly, I was pretty excited – this was Ranked play, with a capital R, and I expected the challenge to be right up there with all the streams I’ve seen.

It wasn’t.

The challenge just wasn’t there. People aren’t magically better in ranked play than in normal, and by the time you’ve played from level 1 to level 30, you’ve probably picked up enough to function pretty well as a member of a team; that leads me to my next point.

To be honest, my first mistake was queuing with two people. League of Legends is not a game where one can succeed on their own. The way champions interact necessitates teamwork and instant communication. Without voice chat, you are deaf to the intentions of your comrades. They might not be ready for that team fight, but without being able to hear them, you might decide that it’s time to go. Try playing your favorite multiplayer game sometime without any sound at all – it’s pretty disconcerting. Team Fortress 2, for example, has more audio cues than you notice in everyday play, and not having them is like being lost. League of Legends is exactly the same, except you rely on having teammates in Ventrilo or Mumble rather than in-game cues.

Needless to say, we lost the game. In short, solo or duo queues are the same whether you’re ranked level 30 or level 1 – they’re hard, and for all the wrong reasons that make the game seem unfair and unfun. So if you’re thinking about trying some ranked play, make sure to do it with a full team. I’m sure there are skilled players doing their thing at level 30, but queuing without a full team is going to be the same no matter what.

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