Playing to be Evil - Part 2

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Player Profiling

Profiling yourself, team-mates and enemies gives you leverage in games. It allows you to predict how players will act based on the play-style you perceive them as having. I'm not going to list out dozens of types of player types because that isn't useful. What I will say for this section is to be honest with yourself. What sort of player are you really, don't base it on your personal ego, base it on how you realistically think you act in certain situations. The profiling types I'll be using here are based on, surprise, poker! It's the aggressive/defensive - loose/tight model.
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Let's explore each characteristic individually, follow along and think about which attributes suit you best.

Aggressive: the desire to enter perpetual conflict, to dominate other players. To you winning is a matter of besting your opponents in small scale battles, which accumulates into a victory. You are constantly looking to attack your enemies in the lane phase. You move between lanes looking for opportunities to strike, being alone in a lane is undesirable and static. The game is won by constant pressure on the enemy team, the later game is avoidable.

Poker Fact: Aggressive poker players bully opponents with powerful bets and re-raises.

Defensive: the desire to preserve yourself, to overcome enemy attacks. To you winning is a matter of survival, small scale battles have random variables you would rather avoid. You are constantly wary of being attacked in the lane phase and hence maintain a strong map awareness throughout. Ganking you is difficult as you are always "one step ahead". Being alone in a lane gives you the opportunity to accumulate resources. The game is won later on and everything before it can be trivial.

Poker Fact: Defensive poker players protect their chip stacks, and "sit out" most hands if they manage to get a chip lead. They let players in worse positions devour themselves.

Thought experiments

Would you rather your enemy and yourself in a lane be on full HP or 1/4 HP?

Do you focus on what your enemies are doing directly in the lane or is the overall map of more importance?

Look at your rune and mastery setup, do you emphasise offense or defense?

Is the best way to earn resources through killing enemies or killing neutrals and enemy creeps? Which is more practical? Which most frequently leads to your victories?

Is dying early in a lane a more dramatic feeling than killing an enemy opponent?
Would you rather have an escape spell or a damaging spell? Which would be more useful? Which would lead to a more desirable overall outcome?

Tight: the belief that opportunities come and go frequently and every situation should be correctly evaluated before approached. Deaths slow down your overall progression in a game and should be avoided. You are tactical and precise: you strike when the time is right and have the discipline to let a potential kill pass if you think the outcome is unclear. Sometimes you enter "analysis paralysis" where your overanalyzing of the situation leads to inaction. You believe your ability to correctly predict outcomes will improve if you take the time to look at things clearly: the optimum path for you to learn.

Poker Fact: Tight players generally play hands they perceive as being stronger than opponents through tells and mathematics.

Loose: the belief that opportunities are scarce and need to be acted on when they present themselves. Deaths are simply a nuisance of your play style and you have come to grips with dealing with them. You "shoot first, ask questions later" and laugh off occurrences when things didn't go your way. You don't have time to think, the situation is here and now and your gut is telling you what to do. You never let potential kills pass as doing so bothers you. Sometimes you make brash decisions that lead to your downfall, and you believe your constant action will allow you to see what "really would have happened": the optimum path for you to learn.

Poker Fac
t: Loose players believe they can represent strong hands no matter what cards they are holding.

Thought experiments

Would you enter combat with a champion knowing the chances were truly 50/50? Do you "think" about what you are doing or get a "feel" for when the time is right? Which do you act on more? Which is more trustworthy?

Do you dwell on missed kills or write them off? Do you think the opportunity to kill enemies is relatively scarce or relatively frequent? How does this influence your game?

Do you like the idea of having criticals or would you prefer your damage output be predictable? What are the weaknesses of relying on chance? What are the benefits?

Do your deaths occur more often because you didn't see the "real picture" or because you took a gamble that didn't pay off? Did you learn something or misinterpret?

STOP

Think about this properly. You have only ONE chance to do this right so do it now. Once you know the results trying to categorize yourself will result in skewing to meet a desirable outcome. Take a few minutes, think about your last games, how you acted, what you believe in an open and honest way. Forget about what the "right" play-style is. Your play-style can change, but only through correctly interpreting how you really play. Write this down and don't trivialize it as "I didn't really understand the archetypes". What you first write is most true of yourself.

Are you done? Let's look at the consequences of being each type of player.

Aggressive Tight

Core value: The demonstration of superior skill.

Descriptor: The best players generally fall under this archetype. Relentless yet reserved, they make the "correct" choices more often than anyone else, leading to the best kill-death ratios of all players. Through the application of constant pressure and high levels of analytics they have few weaknesses and an almost perfect game. Not this archetype, relax, I'm not either!

Famous character that's Aggressive Tight: Batman.

Identification: Repeatedly gets unanswered hits on opponents in the lane phase.
Exploitation: Few weaknesses. Players tend to harbor a lot of pride and are rattled by bad beats (discussed later). Vulnerable to smack talk and reckless plays.

Poker Fact: Tight aggressive players are the most successful in their game as well. They fare poorly against loose players however because they play by the odds and cannot comprehend doing otherwise.

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Aggressive Loose

Core value: The annihilation of all opponents.

Descriptor: Vengeful and fearless, this is the scariest archetype to play against. Relentless with little to no reservation, they seem to never stop coming right at you. They rely on their intuition and gut instincts to make decisions, rarely taking the time to think things through. Over time their instincts become very, very solid through repeat experimentation. I'm this archetype.

Famous character that's Aggressive Loose: The Joker.

Identification: Willing to "trade blows" in the lane phase. A disregard for creeps and occasionally towers.

Exploitation: A lower evaluation of circumstances means you can use more subtle advantages: like tower proximity, reinforcements or cool-downs. Most easily baited archetype. Poker Fact: Aggressive loose players often claim they "felt" the moment was right, and made a strong play purely on instinct. What was that "feeling"? Pattern recognition.

Defensive Tight

Core value: Self preservation to a more certain end

Descriptor: defensive and subtle, this archetype strives to win through resource superiority. By harbouring items and experience under the radar you might not know they exist until it's too late. Least likely to die of all archetypes, as they take the fewest risks. Less concerned with short term kills and more concerned with long term gains. Tend to be uncooperative and are nicknamed "farmers" by the community, though the undoubtedly change games in their favour.

Famous character that's Defensive Tight: The Riddler.

Identification: Pure damage avoidance in the lane phase. Avoids over-pushing and drawing attention to himself.
Exploitation: the use of wards and information relay to prevent their resource gathering through ganks. They are reliant on item superiority and can avoid assisting defensive manoeuvres until it's too late.

Poker Fact: Defensive tight players become predictable as they only ever play strong hands. Attempting to play either loose or aggressive takes them out of their comfort zone and makes them easy to read.

Defensive Loose

Core value: The preservation of allied forces.

Descriptor: Selfless and brave, this archetype frequently pushes lanes whilst drawing attention to themselves and jumping in conflicts to attempt to "save" allies. Whilst this player often has a poor kill to death ratio thanks to brash play and a lower concern for kills, they are undervalued. Tending to be team players they value pushing and defending friendly structures. Willing to sacrifice themselves for a net gain, they see themselves as being a cog in an engine as opposed to being "the hero".

Famous character that's defensive loose: Commissioner Gordon.

Identification: Damage sponge in the lane phase, reliance on regeneration.
Exploitation: They are the easiest archetype to gank, though these players tend to stick with allies. Shut down their over pushes and punish their poor lane phase game.

Poker Fact: Defensive loose players don't win at poker. If you've ever attended a casual poker game the chances are each and every one of you were this type of player. Don't play at Casinos. Ever.

These are generalizations. You can probably identify in some way with all the archetypes, but one will fit you more than others. Aim to fit the aggressive archetype and avoid being defensive. The best players are very aggressive and it's for a good reason. Loose/tight comes down to what sort of person you are, but know the best of the best are the Aggressive-Tight archetype. To be a loose player you must be instinctual and carnal, and not all players can pull this off well.

How do most players break down? I'd say 30% Aggressive Tight, 10% Aggressive Loose, 40% Defensive Tight, 20% Defensive Loose. This is purely subjective. Most newcomers are Defensive Loose but I'm only counting decent to good players here. Each archetype has something valuable to offer, acknowledge their strengths on your team and play to them. By the same token, acknowledge and exploit enemy archetypes. A loose player will assist you in battle more often than a tight player will, and conversely Loose players are easier to kill. This is based on public games, and just because you think you are a "favourable" archetype doesn't make it so.

Try to take the best attributes of each archetype and apply them to your game. A loose players view on death is something every player should incorporate. Remember that changing your archetype means changing your beliefs, not your play style alone.

Abusing All-Chat

All-Chat is your friend, and is the perfect opportunity to really aggravate players. Sometimes you'll be outmatched, the best players have a very tight game. Taking few risks, they can outplay their opponents for certain victory. But these are still people, and players that pride themselves on being great often deal terribly with smack talk. There's a right and wrong way to do it, and no, "lol noob" sure as fuck isn't the right way.

Being snide gets under peoples skin a hundred times more than anything else. When you kill a player, saying "almost", "nice try", "you seemed
like a pretty good player" or "a little careless, aren't we?" sends some players into an absolute rage. They really, REALLY want to fucking kill you and they begin making mistakes. All of a sudden their perfect gameplay becomes sloppy as their seething rage oozes all over their keyboards.

This can turn great players into f*cking amateurs, so abuse the hell out of it. If they do manage to kill you, a "lucky break" or "yeah I was barely watching, who killed me?" is fantastic here.

Your opponents are people, and good players have a lot of pride under the hood. That's their weakness, and playing a little dirty can go a long way. Getting your opponent to underperform by virtue of all chat is simply amazing. Don't be outright, be cocky and sarcastic. Never admit you were "really" beaten and never simply state you are better than another player, imply it!

Most of all be subtle. Effective smack talk is all in the subtext. Consider the phrase "I really thought you had me there"! On the surface it appears to be a friendly remark, but you can immediately spot something sinister about that can't you? The subtext implies that you are a cocky prick who always has some smart arsed remark to make.

Keep it up! Always remember, what's beneath the words is what gets to people. It also makes it difficult for people to screenshot/discredit you. Using racial slurs or excessive profanity is unnecessary, ineffective and unsportsmanlike.

OK that last one gave me a chuckle, who are we kidding, but the other two remain!

Psychological Warfare

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Players in LoL are too concerned about their K/D ratio. Deaths are a mar on their great name and they seek to accrue as few as possible. First of all, fuck all that. Going down in flaming glory is ten times more interesting than running back to base. Death penalties are lenient in LoL, expect to die and don't bother trying to run when the outcome is obvious. Dying swinging your sword into some dudes chest is a lot more dignified than being chased down like a terrified doe.

Being fearless makes you a scary opponent. If the other guy knows you are willing to risk it all he'll be hesitant to duke it out with you. By the same token, if he knows you'll fight back rather than flee he'll be less inclined to try and kill you. A classic example I see in every game is an enemy comes in from behind and the dude starts running. They think "ambush!" and try to tail it out of there. Teach the prick a lesson, stand toe to toe with him, and use this against enemies.

People flee constantly when people catch them by "surprise" even if they have a good chance of winning.

People tend to "commit" to battles. This happens for two reasons, one is greed, and the and the other is at some point, your opponent believes its either you or him: retreat is no longer an option. Creating this scenario prematurely can net you a lot of kills near towers. When someone tower dives they are going for your blood: towers do a lot of damage and can turn the tide very quickly. Greedy opponents will chase you into towers, and giving them a few free hits on you causes them to "commit". They'll keep attacking until they eventually fall and you of course give them shit for it.

Chasing is another great example of this. People will chase you to the ends of the earth if they think it'll get them a kill. Leading them into friendlies works great, but what's even better is turning the tide during the chase. Taking pot-shots at them with ranged attacks (assuming the situation accommodates) can change the HP difference between you very quickly. At some point they'll begin to flee, then you start chasing them! Some players will believe they are going to lose simply because they are being chased, they assume you know something they do not.

These are weak minded opponents and you can ruin them easily. Other foes will turn and face you, start running again! When they turn away, start attacking them! This back and forth can devastate some champions as they are helpless to catch you but helpless to run away. In the confusion you can wind up getting a kill you really shouldn't have. Singed is phenomenal at this.

The chaser-fleer dynamic is fascinating. Cognitive dissonance refers to the idea that people like their actions to be consistent with their beliefs: and will change their belief before their action to avoid an internal paradox. For example, by virtue of fleeing the opponent believes they are going to lose the conflict. Why? Because fleeing and being able to win makes no sense, but the action takes precedence. They continue to flee even if they just might win. The opposite is also true: if you run from an opponent they may very well chase you. In chasing you they believe they can kill you, because chasing you but being overmatched makes no sense. Understand and abuse this.

Greedy players are easily identified and just as easily "baited". Use your higher understanding of the odds to lead enemies into situations they think they'll win. Anivia's rebirth is a classic, as is Undying Rage. Playing with a friend makes this especially entertaining: make an enemy think he's "got you" only to have a friend of yours waiting in the bushes ahead! Think from their perspective, let him hit you a few times if need be. Keep the carrot dangling in front of them until you eventually rape them with it. Good players won't commit easily, you have to sell it.
When running from enemies they will assume you are going to take a certain path. Most players will take the shortest route to their base, but great players will "juke" their opponents. When being chased, doing a quick 180 can gain a lot of ground against opponents who have clicked ahead of you. In the shuffle they lose track of you. Hiding in bushes as they run right past you is also effective, as is doing 180's within bushes themselves. Unpredictable movements make you hard to follow and a little taunting afterwards causes some pretty severe rage.

Click here for the the final part!


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