I had this thought the other day when I got into a game with a Shaco player. That’s not really a story in and of itself – Shaco is appearing in almost every game since Zileas labeled him OP. The story is more in the way this Shaco decided to play.
Like most Shaco players, ours ran off to golem first thing to set himself up for the rest of the game. He was packing Smite, so I figured he’d spend a little time in the jungle and then, as most Shaco (and most jungle) players tend to do, hit up the lane that was pushed furthest for some early game killing. That wasn’t the case. Despite my pleading (and explanations that our lanes were suffering/being pushed and really needed to be ganked), Shaco continued jungling and only offered a phrase that completely blew my mind: “The fucking point of jungle Shaco is not to gank.”
I…was…floored. I understand that the primary advantage of a jungler is the exp. bonus for a teammate, but the secondary – and only secondary by a tiny margin – advantage is the element of surprise and opportunity to gank in any lane, thereby increasing the experience given to the ganked lane as well. My first reaction was, wow, I should not be paired with a player who so fundamentally misunderstands the game. I realized, though, that this could just as easily be a result of Shaco’s imbalance as it is the player’s ignorance.
I don’t know what your hero spread looks like, but mine is pretty wide. I play a lot of different champions, despite the bursts of new champions around patch time. I don’t think that’s the case for a lot of players, though, and I definitely don’t think that’t the case for the Shaco player in question.
This guy clearly misunderstood Shaco on a level that only someone fairly new to Shaco would. If he had been playing, say, Ashe – one of the strongest characters in the game – he could easily storm his way to a bunch of wins. That doesn’t make him good at the game, though. That makes him good at playing Ashe. The problem is that when he tries to transition to a toon like Shaco, most of his skills are lost. There isn’t the same kiting, the stun, the range advantage, the necessity to stay and farm. The game is almost entirely different, but the average player might not have that understanding about that game.
When I first started playing LoL I really liked that you could slowly build up and unlock champions. I’m starting to realize, though, that the champion unlocks coupled with the rune system means that most players will choose just a small number of champions to master and then fill out their rune pages accordingly. I actually played with a guy the other day that didn’t know Nidalee’s cat form skills don’t cost mana.
I would blame this on the character selection system, but I don’t think it would really be a problem if the characters were more balanced. Players would be less likely to change to a perceived OP toon and more likely to choose toons that they truly enjoy rather than the flavor of the month champions. Granted, not every toon can be balanced with every other toon, but when toons like Ashe and Ezreal stand as high above the pack as they have, it keeps players from being as widely familiar with the game as they could be, if only because the potentially or probably successful champion list is shorter than it could be.