My debut at the Secular View: Why You Should Play League of Legends and How to Ease Into It as a New Player.

I recently got picked up as a gaming columnist for the Secular View.  My gaming stream is now housed over there and today my first post went up about League of Legends.  I talk about why I find the game appealing, some of the mechanics, how new players can get involved, as well as why I find e-sports to be a real appealing form of competition:

LoL is presently the most popular e-sport on the planet, and the first to look like it has a real chance of breaking into the mainstream.  And I love it because it’s fair compared to other sports.  What do I mean by that?  Consider the sport of basketball.  If you are 6’10″, a fact that has nothing to do with how much time you practice, you are going to have a distinct advantage.  Consider a comparison between past NBA players Mugsy Bogues and Dikembe Mutombo.  Mutombo was 7’2″ and an eight-time NBA all-star.  Bogues was 5’3″, the shortest player to ever play in the NBA.  He never played in an all-star game.  And yet Bogues was faster than Mutombo, he shot better, dribbled better, jumped higher, passed better…you get the drift.  If it required skill, Mugsy probably dominated Mutombo.  Bogues didn’t block and rebound better than Mutombo, but that was likely a function of the near two-foot difference in height, not of Bogues’ instinct and ability.

And yet, Mutombo was the eight-time all-star.  I’m not saying that Mutombo was not a good player, he most certainly was.  But in virtually every sport you are born with certain key advantages that naturally select for who can compete at the highest levels.

E-sports, especially e-sports like LoL, do not have that.  For the most part the people who practice most and who are most clever in refining their game are the dominant players.  I like that.

The NA LCS kicks back off today at 4pm EST.  I’ll be in the chat room over at my stream, but will be playing catchup from being away.  But feel free to hang out over there and chat among yourselves.  If I’m up for it after the LCS I’ll probably stream a few games.  :)

Sadly, LoL at the pro level is dominated by men.  This is a problem for all of e-sports.  This is what makes the accomplishments of Scarlett, the only major female pro Starcraft 2 player, so impressive.  I’d literally call her the Jackie Robinson of e-sports.  She swept the 2012 SC2 World Championship Series in Canada as well as the 2012 NA Championship.  Even more impressively, she largely plays zerg, which was by far the most underpowered race in the game at the time.  Stacking on to that, her favorite match up is against Terrans, the most overpowered race!

There are no professional women LoL players.  Team Siren attempted to be the first.  Immediately they were accused of trying to cash in on the niche of being pretty female gamers.  Whether or not it was true, all five of their players were diamond or platinum level.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.  They were good, but not pro level (despite coaching from TSM’s Xspecial).  Sadly, they disbanded earlier this year because they couldn’t get along.

I wonder if Secular View would consider putting together an all-woman ranked team.  I’d comment on and post their matches every week.  I should ask the site admins about that as a project…

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.