Why the army may turn to video gamers for new recruits
In 2018, the Army missed its recruiting objective for the very first time since 2005, a fact caused by a strong economy and also because of a slowdown in conventional recruiting methods, such as cold calls. Currently, the US government is testing out a brand-new technique for signing up military personnel, looking not only on the net, but at people playing games on the internet.
The U.S. Army is looking past the traditional recruiting advertisements as it attempts to pitch itself to a brand-new target market in the for of gamers. We spoke to number of players at a sold-out gaming convention in Los Angeles where a Major General who is head of the military’s recruiting command for the region, claims he’s seeking the future generation of American soldiers.
“Is there something that gamers have today that matches the requirements of the US military?” we asked.
” Yes,” the General responded. “It’s the ability to make decisions quickly, it’s the capacity to take in a great deal of details promptly and also to be able to decide … It has to do with response time, and teamwork.”
To help the Army achieve it’s recruitment goal, it started putting together the first all-Army esports team. With more than 7,000 active service soldiers now competing for 35 full time spots playing video games like League of legends, Call of Duty and Fortnite.
Whilst gamers may not fit the traditional stereotype of what it means to be the “America’s soldier,” they carry alot of the characteristics the Army looks for in it’s soldiers, including competitiveness, team work and strategic thinking. We spoke to the team at Eagle Six Gear (our go to suppliers of patriotic shirts) about the Army’s new recruitment tactics. They had this to say, “There’s always a threat in everything the military do. There is a risk. And I think if we can find more ways to prepare our soldiers for combat, and that includes gaming, then we’re all for it.”
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How to Play Kindred
In the League of Legends universe, Kindred, also known as the eternal hunters, is the messenger of death. A pair composed of Lamb and Wolf, they tirelessly search across Runeterra for their next prey. In the game, Kindred is a stylish, ranged champion with incredible ganking and kiting capabilities.
What’s cool about Kindred is that it’s not one character but two: the Lamb and the Wolf. Although that doesn’t grant them any special gameplay advantage, it’s an aesthetic that players, new and old, will surely appreciate.
Passive – You can mark enemy champions and monsters. Killing your mark give you bonus stats.
Q: Dance of Arrows – You dash and strike at the three closest enemies. Your main damage dealer, Dance of Arrows’ cooldown is substantially lowered when used within the area of Wolf’s Frenzy (W). The ability also allows you to jump over some walls, which provides you mobility.
W: Wolf’s Frenzy – Wolf claims an area centered on a targeted location. Enemies inside the area suffer damage. Wolf attacks enemies in the area prioritising Lamb’s target. This ability provides Kindred stacks of Hunter’s Vigor from moving and attacking. When charged, she will heal for up to 32-100 (at levels 1-18) based on her missing health %.
E: Mounting Dread – It’s Kindred’s additional source of damage beyond just auto attacks and Qs, and also gives her a small ability to disengage or stick onto someone.
R: Lamb’s Respite – An ult that, if timed properly, can swing a fight in your favour, it creates an area around Kindred where, for four seconds, any creature (including enemies and monsters) cannot die. After the four seconds, everything within the blessed area is healed.
It is best to gank a lane where your team has reliable Crowd Control. Kindred’s high damage output and chase potential means you will almost always succeed. Keep in mind though that marking someone is essentially telling them “You’re going to get ganked!”
All in all, Kindred is an ideal Jungler with a potentially game-changing ult. While there will always be plenty of debate about Kindred’s gameplay qualities, you have to give it to Riot for a champion that’s well put-together. The production values, particularly the login theme, are impressive.
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Sion – a good but underrated champion
In the League of Legends universe, Sion, the undead juggernaut, was a Noxian war hero who was brought back from the dead to serve the empire. In the game, he’s a surging freight train that can take and deal huge amounts of damage. But before we get lost in translation, let’s define what a juggernaut is.
Juggernauts are the League’s titans who make short work of anyone who dares to cross their paths. When you think of these champions, these traits should come to mind: brute force, melee, durable, immobile. Classic examples are Nasus, Garen, Darius and Skarner.
There are two types of juggernauts: the freight train and the raid boss. Both types are able to deal and sustain massive amounts of damage and are vulnerable to kiting. Freight trains, however, focus on Auto attack (AA) and Attack speed (AS) and can gain burst of Movement speed (MS) to offset their vulnerability to kiting. Raid bosses, on the other hand, have some ranged abilities and better Crowd control (CC) than freight trains.
Sion is a tank whose abilities scale well and require actual aiming. He does well in solo lanes and the jungle. His Decimating Smash deals plenty of damage and, if properly charged, will stun his enemies.
Sion ult is what really makes him a good jungler. With Unstoppable Onslaught, Sion charges forward at max speed and is unstoppable by any enemy ability until it hits an enemy champion or terrain. When he comes in contact with an enemy champion, Sion’s ultimate ability stuns the target.
Your ult is then complemented by Soul Furnace which goes off immediately after stunning the enemy. You then deal the death blow with Decimating Smash. For most champs, this combo is fatal, but if you’re up against another tank, chase him with Roar of the Slayer, to slow him down, making him easier to kill with melee attacks.
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What is the Funnel Strategy?
Like any competitive MOBA player, we’re always on the lookout for new strategies and techniques. Unless you’ve suffered a total internet blackout or somehow manage to avoid any League of Legends news (why?), you’ve heard of the “Funnel Strategy.”
True to its name, the strategy involves funneling all your resources into one massive hyper carry with the intention of that champion becoming strong enough to carry the game.
If this sounds all too familiar, it’s because this strategy was first seen in 3v3 Twisted Treeline before it saw widespread use in 5v5 Summoner’s Rift. 3v3 players have been using this meta to climb the ranked 3v3 ladder for a few years now.
How it works
You need a champion that works well with the strategy. The usual candidates are Kaisa, Xayah, Master Yi, Lucian, Kindred, Kayle, and Yasuo. The champion takes the mid lane becuase it’s a relatively safe, free farm lane. Relative to the jungler, of course, which is the next important role in this strategy.
While the mid laner takes care of the smiting duties, the jungler uses Exhaust and provides mid lane support. The usual jungler candidates include Braum, Taric, Nunu, Rakan, and Lulu. The jungler brings the camps low enough for the mid laner to sweep and collect XP and gold. When this strategy works, your fed mid laner will have an enormous advantage in teamfights.
It’s easy to notice that by relying on one pumped up champion, you have a single point of failure. The enemy team could simply focus on shutting you down by drafting superior early game pick compositions.
The strategy has been adopted by various teams in high level tournaments, but it has seen mixed results so far.
Until patch 8.13 arrives, we won’t know for sure if this is something that Riot will fix. In June, Riot’s lead gameplay designer said the following:
After spending time assessing funneling strats last week we’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for now, the correct approach to dealing with them is to address a small subset of champions, rather than trying to make wider systemic changes. Interested in why gamers are getting recruited in the army? Check out this post.
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Team Play Versus Solo Carry
For those who’ve been around long enough (season 3, give or take), they know that League of Legends is now team game more than ever. It’s a game where one person can lose the game but not win it. Another way to put it is that playing poorly has more impact to the game than any amount of playing well. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? If that’s a question you’re interested in, please read on.
Back in season 3, it wasn’t unheard of for a champion to hoard several items as well as be up to 5 levels ahead, or more in rare cases, of the lowest leveled member of the enemy team. This meant that a fed solo player can find picks of underleveled and underfarmed targets that he can continue to exploit while building up his own lead to the point that even if his team was almost doing nothing they would still outscale their opponents.
Now the game favours an average top laner who groups up with his team over a really good top laner who stays top solo pushing. This is because teams cannot reliably hold off a 4v5. If your team loses that fight, you will most likely lose the game, regardless of how hard you’ve pushed your lane.
Riot has added catch up mechanics to allow under-leveled, under-farmed champions to more quickly close the level gap without having to interact with their opponent. Experience points come from killing minions and monsters while gold is through passive gold generation.
Whether these changes make the game more or less fun is open for debate. The one thing that’s clear is that the game has shifted from skilled players who are good at finding their own leads to players who don’t go for risky plays and pick champions that work well with in a team.
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How to Play Top Lane
So you’ve decided to take the plunge into the world of League of Legends. You’ve assembled a group of like-minded friends and are discussing which champions and positions to pick. If you like playing solo and fighting up close and personal, this guide is for you. If not, please read on you might still pick up a thing or two.
It’s important to understand that different positions in the game carry different duties. This article goes over the basics of top lane strategy.
The top lane favors champions that are either carries or tanks. These champions can take and dish out plenty of damage. This also means they can hold the lane on their own and benefit from more XP and gold for themselves. Carries such as Jayce and Yasuo focus mainly on dealing damage, while tanks such as Maokai and Ornn center on maximum tankiness to complement their crowd control (CC) abilities. Champions that fall somewhere in between are fighters that start with on or two damage items, and then move on to tank items as the game develops. Examples of these are Darius and Yorick. Tanks may only deal average amounts of damage in the early to mid game, but they remain super tanky at every stage of the game.
Tanks complement their toughness with crowd control abilities. Knockups, stuns, and taunts are abilities your teammates will rely on during teamfights. Landing a two-second CC on an enemy carry can quickly turn the tides of a fight. By improving tankiness and stocking up on items that reduce cooldown, tanks can cast more spells during teamfights, thus contributing more crowd control and extra damage.
Do not stack ability power or attack damage if you’re playing a tank. These don’t scale well later in the game.
You can rely on fighters to deal medium to high damage in most stages of the game. But late in the game you have to be a little more careful because they aren’t as tough to kill as tanks. Fighters shine when they’re able to flank enemies or use their mobility to get past the other team’s meatshields and disrupt the backline. Since fighters are a balance of damage and tankiness, they are neither tanky enough to dive into teamfights head-on, nor threatening enough to disregard strong peels. As such, their scaling is often worse than that of the tanks or pure damage carries.
Full damage carries such as Jayce and Kennen are perhaps the most difficult top lane champions to handle. They don’t do well in teamfights but their damage scales impressively. They excel as split pushers and have great duelling capabilities.
Carefully plan out your aggressive plays–don’t go all in. If you do, you’re setting yourself up to be punished. If you’re a tank, your place is in teamfights. If you’re a fighter, wait for an item power spike. If you’re a full damage carry, stay in your lane, farm and level up.
Keep an eye on the Jungler
Junglers can have a significant impact on the outcome of the laning phase so having good map awareness is essential for the top laner.
Think about this: if your opponent makes an aggressive move and you have no idea where your opponent’s jungler is, it’s either an incoming gank or a bluff. Calling their bluff might not be in your best interest.
Keep in mind that your opponent is just as paranoid as you are about getting ganked. If your jungler shows up on a lane other than yours, expect your opponent to see that as an opportunity and might just Flash on you.
Learn from every match
In some games, your strategy will work and you’ll thrash your opponents, but in other games, you’ll take a beating from player who’s simply far better than you. If you’re losing your lane, take the opportunity to learn from your opponent. Find out what they did better in the game. Did they farm better? Did they take more objectives than you. Learn from every match and incorporate winning strategies into your next game.
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7 Tips to Ease Yourself Into Playing League of Legends
It’s 2018 and League of Legends is still all the rage in multiplayer online battle arena gaming. It just keeps getting better. But with the so many characters (champions) to choose from and a huge and oftentimes critical community, the game can be intimidating for new people to get into. We’re here to change that. Here are 7 tips on how to start playing League of Legends.
- Know the map – As a beginner, your teammates don’t expect you to formulate a strategy or have a good technique, but they do expect you to know the basics of the map.
Summoner’s Rift is composed of three lanes. You have the top, middle and bottom lanes. On the bottom left and top right corners of the map are the team bases. Your role on the team is determined by the champion you selected and the part of the map you start on:
Top: The Top-laner is usually played by Tanks or Bruisers. These are characters who can take or deal a lot of damage (or both).
Mid: Mid-laners usually have solid Ability Power, or AP for short. Mages and Assassins do well as Mids.
Jungler: Junglers don’t have an assigned lane. They start out clearing the jungle of monsters. Later they drop into any of the three lanes to help their teammates by killing unsuspecting enemies. This is called ganking.
ADC: Assigned to the bottom lane together with the Support, the ADC starts the game by farming minions, leveling up, and buying items that will increase their attack damage.
Support: The Support’s main role is to keep the ADC alive, assist them in killing, and provide visibility for the team.
- Know your hotkeys – You may think that only pros use the hotkeys all the time, but there’s no going around it: a keystroke is faster than clicking on an icon on the screen. The sooner you learn them the better your game experience will be. The main ones you ought to learn are the following:
Q, W, E, R: Your four main abilities.
Ctrl + Q,W,E,R: Level up that ability (without having to click the little plus sign with your cursor)
Alt + Q,W,E,R: Casts spell/ability on yourself (if possible)
Shift + Q,W,E,R: Casts spell/ability at your cursor (if possible)
F, D: Your two Summoner Spells
S: Stop whatever it is you’re doing. Useful to prevent yourself from auto-attacking minions.
1-6: Your items. You only need to press these if a specific item has an active ability.
Spacebar: Centers the camera on your champion. Very useful during team battles when things get super hectic visually.
G: Send pings to your teammates.
Y: Locks/unlocks camera on champion.
B: Recall (takes you back to base)
P: Opens up shop window (use to check prices on items when you’re away from the base)
Tab: Opens up stats page for current game.
- Pick one role and get good at it – With so many champions to choose from, coupled with the different roles you can take, it’s easy to just freeze up and not start at all. Just pick a role. Stick to playing that role for several hours, days or even weeks, and you’ll master that role and become a more competitive player.
- Know the League language – This works in the same fashion as hotkeys.Well, mostly. It’s easier to say or type in “CC” than it is to say or spell out “Crowd Control.” This is also the language of the community so it pays to familiarise yourself with some of the commonly used terms:
CS: “Creep score.” The amount of minions you’ve killed in a game.
CC: Crowd control. Abilities that limit enemy champions’ ability to participate in fights—any move that temporarily stuns, roots, blinds, or disarms a target, for instance.
Drag: Short for dragon or drake, is a powerful monster in Summoner’s Rift. When your team kills a dragon, you receive a bonus base on the dragon killed.
Gank: Technically an abbreviation for “gang kill.” Basically, a gank is a surprise attack that makes the ones doing the ganking suddenly outnumber the opponents who are being ganked. Whenever a jungler jumps into a lane to help the teammates there kill their opponents, they’re performing a gank.
Wave clear: A champion’s ability to kill an entire wave of enemy minions in one fell swoop or very quickly.
Bait: Luring an opponent into a trap, usually by tricking them into thinking you’re weak, isolated, or both.
Kiting: Running away from an opponent while simultaneously dealing damage to them.
OOM: “Out of mana.” A good excuse to fend off accusations such as “Why the hell didn’t you fire your ult?!”
KS: “Kill-steal,” dealing the killing blow, and thus getting credit for a kill that someone else did all the hard work for.
MR: Magic resist.
Leash: A method used to help junglers by attacking monsters in the jungle to chip away at their health and/or distract them while leaving the final kill for the jungler teammate.
For a more exhaustive list, please go he re.
- Control Your Emotions – “Control, control, you must learn control.” These wise words from a green midget may have been spoken a long time ago, but they certainly apply to League of Legends. Letting your emotions get the better of you is counterproductive. It will cloud your judgement, ruin your game, and probably your day as well.
- Devote time to playing the game – Of course it’s just a game! A really fun and satisfying one if you dedicate ample time to learning it (it’s even a full-time job for some!). As with any activity, serious or otherwise, you don’t get good at playing League of Legends overnight.
A matc h typically takes about an hour or so. During that time make sure you rid yourself of any distractions (your mobile, the tv, etc.) because looking away for even a few seconds can spell the difference between losing and winning the game.
- Develop a thick skin – You have to understand that people online act way more different than they do face to face. It’s far more easier to say nasty things to someone when he’s hundreds of miles away. Don’t let them get to you. Press mute, or report abusive players.
That’s it, ladies and gents! Practise these seven tips and we can almost guarantee that you’ll be lost in the fun and camaraderie of League of Legends in no time.
For a full, up-to-date beginner’s guide to playing League of Legends, please go here
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A Kled Retrospective
If you haven’t been keeping up with League of Legends news lately, you might have heard anything about the brand new champion, Kled. Kled was first teased on posters distributed at bars in Spain and other European countries. Like a couple of other champions in the game, Kled is a Yordle, one of the many races in League of Legends. Interestingly, Kled is labelled by his epithet, “the Cantankerous Cavalier”, and his mount comprises the main part of his skillset. Playing him might end up feeling like a true duo character, or he might end up being one character with two separate parts.
In lore, Kled is a meme developed by the yordle to inspire their rank-and-file soldiers. He serves as in-universe inspiration to drive the yordle people onward into battle. He’s essentially the perfect personification of the values in their racial military, where the leaders of the armed forces want to inspire their people to be valiant cannon fodder. Kled yearns for combat, glory in battle, and exemplifies blind obedience and a complete absence of cowardice. He’s essentially a meme created for the explicit purpose of passionately inspiring the average soldier to do his best and to sacrifice his life whenever he is called upon to do so.
The developers designed Kled to be a purely offensive character with no defensive abilities or saves. They wanted to incentivize aggressive and risky behavior on the character. In order to benefit from the ultimate ability, which is a shield, he has to charge straight into the heat of battle. Even when you use the disengage ability after dismounting, you’re firing off your pocket pistol to propel yourself backwards, which gives the character a reckless bravado not seen this purely in any other champion in the entire League of Legends roster.
Kled is mounted on Skaarl, the Cowardly Lizard. Skaarl is sort of a buffer for Kled’s small life bar, and Kled benefits from an increased health pool when he’s mounted. When the health bar reaches zero, Skaarl, the Cowardly Lizard flees the field of battle, leaving Kled on the battlefield. This opens up an entirely new toolkit independent of Skaarl, and dismounted Kled gains access to these new abilities. The character is dynamic yet entirely offensive. He gains a movement speed bonus whenever he actively moves towards enemy champions. Eventually, he can bring Skaarl back by killing towers, epic monsters, or champions in combat.
When you play him, you’re going to be using your mount to charge aggressively into battle, recklessly sacrificing your health bar to mix it up with enemy champs. He’s one of the most interesting champs to come out in recent memory, and he’s going to be a lot of fun to play in a wide variety of different roles and scenarios. We can only begin to speculate how he’ll play to the meta, but we can anticipate that he will be one of the most purely offensive heroes in the game, and he will likely do an incredible amount of damage when used effectively against the enemy team.
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Why Gamers Should Care About Their Health
We’ve talked at length before about the importance of setting up a great gaming environment for League of Legends, and it goes beyond peripherals, monitors, and hardware for your computer. There are more gamers in the world than ever before, and as the hobby continues to grow, so will health issues associated with the sedentary lifestyle that accompanies hardcore gaming. If you’re sitting in your chair for more than 2 hours at a time, you’re putting yourself at risk for a variety of different issues. It’s important that you take steps to ensure your health is going to be solid down the road, otherwise, you’re looking at a world of hurt.
Dr. Levi Harrison has a channel on YouTube that caught my attention recently. He goes into detail about what you can do to minimize the impact of your favorite hobby upon your health, and he’s got an active podcast which talks about similar information. We’ve all heard medical doctors and specialists lecture us before, but what makes Dr. Harrison’s perspective different is that it is aimed at office workers and gamers, and he’s put out a lot of videos on the subject of staying healthy while gaming.
Dr. Levi Harrison’s latest video covers neck, posture and alignment. It’s worth watching it on YouTube if you want to learn a little more about finding a comfortable setup at your desk that helps you avoid back pain, discomfort, and long-term joint issues. While this might not be the most interesting topic we’ve ever covered here on the Eloboost blog, it is definitely one of the most important. Almost every top-tier gamer I know puts a lot of thought into ergonomics and into creating a comfortable gaming environment, and you should as well. It may not be the sexiest thing ever, but it’s worth the investment, the research, and the time.
Check out Dr. Harrison’s videos on YouTube to learn more about what you can do to avoid impacting your health negatively as a result of your hobby. If you’re looking for updated information, take a look at his podcast. He’s a great guy, and it’s clear that he really cares about helping gamers in the community. Take five minutes out of your no doubt busy day to take a look at his video and learn ways to minimize discomfort and joint damage.
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Changes to Ryze Reviewed
If you haven’t read up on the 6.14 update yet, now’s the time to get informed. One of the oldest and appreciated champs in League of Legends is finally getting a much-needed update, and Riot intends to push it out in a way that will fundamentally change the champion yet keep him somewhat similar to his origins. Ryze is often considered one of the most important champions in the game. Korean mid-laner Faker promoted Ryze as being an essential champion for learning the art of positioning within the game. Many pro gamers believe that mastering Ryze is the key to mastering all of the important lessons in combat that LoL has to teach.
What’s interesting about Faker is that he’s never lost once with Ryze in a pro game, so he knows what he’s talking about. Ryze is, in many ways, the champion by which all other champions in the game are measured. He’s been available to play since the game’s original 2009 release, and he’s received some pretty crazy overhauls over the years that have been nothing short of controversial. Even with various tweaks, buffs, and nerfs to his toolkit, he was still considered an outdated champion that no one with a good sense of the meta would ever pick up and play.
Because Ryze had an ability toolkit purely focused on damage, he seemed anachronistic in a much more complex meta which emphasizes diverse abilities and strategic options of all sorts of different varieties. Like Taric, Ryze has been the butt of many jokes for being an outdated champ pick, and if you ended up picking him in a game, you had better have been a master with him to make that pick justifiable. Champs like Veigar almost always outshine these old-fashioned champs, that is until the latest update being pushed out.
In addition to updating the mechanics of Ryze, they’re also giving him some improved lore to give his character a bit more flavor and a distinct identity. Players conscious of the lore didn’t really have much to say about him, other than the fact he was blue, old, grumpy, and had a massive magic scroll. Thanks to the new update, we now know that he is centuries old and he’s always on a journey to find new sources of power in order to improve himself. He’s fundamentally disconnected from other beings, and he’s looking to protect these ancient sources of magic from people who would use them for far less noble purposes.
I encourage all of you to pick up and play Ryze this patch and see how much he’s been changed for the better. After playing him recently, I’ve fallen in love with the old champ I knew and loved in 2009. He’s different but he fits much better contextually in 2016 LoL, and I think he will be a shining example of a champ with a great comeback. He’s definitely worth trying if you liked his original playstyle, and his toolkit has been improved massively.
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