Sunday, November 22, 2015

do something useful while waiting for your team to give up: philosurrender

At the dawn of season six, players are facing fundamental questions when they lose to yet another fed Graves, such as: “what are we doing here?” “Is this the only way things could be?” “Do my actions have any broader meaning?” And of course, the big one: “At what point is it preferable just to surrender entirely?”

Have no fear, intrepid summoners, for these are questions that philosophers have been grappling with for millennia. This season, be sure to take a few minutes to philosurrender: to think about humanity’s deepest questions while waiting for your team to give up.

With 20-minute games, five of which are completely irrelevant, and another five minutes of between-game time, that’s a solid 20 minutes of philosurrendering per hour of good ol’ League of Legends gaming time.

As an example: when a toplaner spends the first fifteen minutes of the game in their isolated cave, viewing other players only as announcements of “an ally has been slain,” they begin to think that those actually are simply the quadra kill that the opposing Miss Fortune just got. This happens through several layers of abstraction: there are actually champions behind that absurd multikill, and summoners behind those champions, and extremely homophobic 14 year-olds behind those summoners.

When your midlaner starts a surrender vote with some comment like “wtb a fukken jungler,” think about the objectification and commodification of that role. As a role, the jungler is essentially without possessions of their own; anything they have will always be freely plundered by the better-off laners with the justification that they need it more. When a jungler is taking a camp and the midlaner comes right up and takes all the minions, Marx would understand exactly what’s going on.

As previously detailed in my introduction to Vaynespotting, the support must frequently confront the absurd. The absurd can be summarized as the gap between our need for meaning and inability to find any. When the ADC gets caught out and asks “wtf y cant u group???”, they are working tirelessly for something that ends up being entirely pointless. Unable to come up with a reason for their own death, they blame someone else rather than accepting that their 80cs at 23 minutes is for naught.

Think of the distinction between the nature of something, and the word that we use to describe that thing. For example, there is a “support” who does nothing other than stand four Teemos behind the ADC in lane. Our word for the role does us no good in understanding the person; the word “support” instead functions to actively reduce our knowledge of the action, rather than increase it. This is commonly referred to as the signifier (the idea of the “support”) and the signified (the Lux who is outraged that she didn’t get mid as last pick).

Study questions:
  • Why is the jungler the most-relied-upon role by others, and the one that receives the most changes every season? Connect this to the plight of the working class during the Industrial Revolution.
  • You are a carry, and there is a runaway enemy Blitzcrank barreling down the lane. If you do nothing, it will continue down the lane, engage, and kill four teammates. If you take the hook for the team, the rest of the team will run away safely. Explain why you are reporting your team for feeding.
  • Are all Yasuo players colonialists?
  • Why is it called Summoner's Rift and not Summoners' Rift?


Ungulateman said...

"Why is it called Summoner's Rift and not Summoners' Rift?"

There's only one summoner. It's the kid who used to be Master Hand in Smash, but since now he's a broody teenager, everything's "xxGodofDarknessxx" and "I am a SAMURAI you baka gaijin" rather than "Mario just punched Pikachu in the face, woo!"

Unknown said...

I can't tell if this is incomprehensible because I don't know anything about League or if it's just plain incomprehensible, but either way, I have a strange appreciation for it.

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