Tuesday, 8 October 2013

LoL: The Nature of Surrender

I understand the meaning of surrender in history. I understand why was it used, and to what purpose it served. I see how much lives a simple surrender could save, how many were spared of bloodshed that would otherwise ensue. Or even a surrender as a strategic decision to have a break from fighting, only to resume war when the troops could be levied once again. What I do not understand, is the light nature of surrender in League of Legends and similar games.

It is beyond my understanding to just throw a game, even if it is just a game, just because you are losing. I hate losing. It does not matter where, I hate losing in general. And I refuse to accept defeat until I am defeated. If I know I cannot win, I will only fight harder. I want my opponent, or enemy, whatever you wish to call it, to break his teeth fighting against me. I want him to feel the frustration of knowing that he will win. Eventually. After a lot of pain and suffering. Because I refuse to admit defeat and move on.

You could say I am a bitter loser. I probably am. And misery loves company in that regard. If I can prolong the game from thirty five to sixty minutes or more, I will. I will do everything in my power to continue the game, to stay in the game. To drive my opponent to the edge. To make him play recklessly. To make him make mistakes.

Do not misunderstand. I love when I am winning, and my enemy surrenders after only twenty minutes. I love the joy of an easy win. I know how good it feels to just stomp on the enemy so hard that he throws the game at the first chance he gets. And because I know this joy, I refuse to give it to the enemy when situation is reversed.

Popular argument in favour of quick surrender is that it saves time. You can jump right back into next game, and all is good. With that, I disagree. If you have the time, even limited time that you dedicate to a certain game, then it is in your interest to make most of it in your first try. It is that, you can try again, attitude that drives me crazy.

It is beyond logic to just try again when you fail, when you could try harder in the first place. That is just slacking.  That attitude about quitting, about giving up is what vexes me about people. When you play a multiplayer game, and you decide to surrender, especially in League of Legends, it is not just your own time you are "saving". It is the time of all you team members that you are wasting. Those other four players have their own precious time as well. With your surrender you are saving your own time, and wasting theirs instead.

Now, I understand that for surrender in League of Legends to take place, you need majority vote. More that 67 percent. In an ideal game with five players in team, that is four against one. Usually can come down even to three against one, as someone quits the game along the way. And based on that, you could make an argument that when surrender vote fails on a basis of two opposed to surrender, those two would be wasting time of majority.

And to a degree it is true. To each, their own time is the most important. But why even start a competitive multiplayer game, if you are prepared to lose, and embrace defeat at the first chance you get. And I hear, that some people just do not care. They play to have fun. It is just a game. It is not worth it, some would say. All this fuss over something as petty as a successful surrender vote.

But then, we have ranked games. Games that DO matter. Games that should not have an option to surrender by any means. Games where everyone would fight until the nexus is destroyed. Both sides exhausted and happy. Even the losers. Knowing that they fought a good fight, but still lost. Winners happy because they earned, really earned that win, that it was not just given to them.

Of all my ranked games in which I lost, about a half of them is due to surrender vote. Among those lost ranked games, there are some where I failed miserably, and there are those where I carried the whole team. Fortunately the latter are more common. Yet in all of those surrendered games, the team surrendered, with only me at the end opposed to surrender.

What League of Legends really needs, is blockade between two teams. Teams should not be able to talk to each other during the game. It does not serve any purpose. Mostly, /all chat is just full of insults and verbal fighting. Of how someone from friendly team is not warding, how someone else is a total noob, how ones mother is too fat to fit an elevator, and how the one who is raging is the sole victim of the matchmaking queue.

With that blockade, failed surrender vote should be made invisible to the enemy team. If they are wining, they do not need to know about rift in the party. They do not need the morale boost that comes with seeing your enemy wishing to surrender.

What failed surrender vote brings into the team is discord. Who can really say, that those who opted for surrender are giving their best performance? Who can claim, they are not throwing the game in a more passive manner. Who is to say they are not pulling from a teamfight too early, not because of fear to die, but because this is a more certain way of ensuring the quick defeat they wish for.

Those, that vote for surrender, are essentially an extra players in enemies team. One does not call for surrender and then give his best to defeat an enemy from whom he was ready to accept defeat.

If you want the two teams to interact, they can do that after the game in the after-game window. They can insult, blame each other, and whatever else they usually do do there. What we need in game is only a "good game" button. After you win or lose to just say good game. One could argue that even that can be done in the after-game window. But for the sake of argument, it could be simply made into a command, that can be used after game is either won or lost. After the game, because otherwise it would serve no purpose. A simple /gg or /good game command would do the job.

To wrap this up. Surrender does not serve any real purpose in computer games. You can, and should play on all or nothing. Surrender is a compromise that does not have any place in gaming. In competitive games there are no shades of grey, just simple white and black. Either victory or defeat. And to achieve the first, you should give it your all. You should never play such games with the thought that you can try again if it does not go well.

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