Wednesday, February 5, 2014
League is Mario Party and Why Luigi is Diamond
Growing up in the 90s, one of the most simultaneously entertaining and frustrating games I played was Mario Party. In a nutshell, it is a multiplayer party game designed to ruin your friendships with cruel twists of fate in the process of deciding a winner. It was only recently when I realized the astounding similarities between ranked League of Legends and Mario Party. Following this connection, I hypothesize that Luigi could easily be a diamond-ranked player.
First of all, let's start with Mario Party.
In short, the object of Mario Party is to go around a board in typical board-game fashion (rolling dice to move) to collect stars. Stars are generally obtained by buying them with coins at constantly shifting locations on the map. You can gain and lose coins by simply moving around the board, but they are primarily obtained through griefing exercises that the game calls minigames that are played after all players have had their turn. Ranging from button mashing, teamwork tests, precision timing or straight up luck, these minigames introduce the bulk of the coins into the game economy. The player with the most stars at the end of the game wins.
I'm skimming over a LOT of details, as each game in the series has a variety of boards with unique events that change how things work, but for the purposes of this article all you need to know is that coins mean stars mean victory, and luck is constantly stopping you from achieving any of those things. So, what's the point of playing Mario Party if it's all luck? The answer is, it secretly isn't.
You can never guarantee victory, but you can amass a large amount of influence.
Mario Party will, at the roll of a dice, strip away your chances of winning without blinking. But independent of these luck events are [most of] the minigames. In a fair number of these an experienced player can have an advantage. Think of these minigames like CSing- independent of other factors, you can always get more last hits if you have better mechanics. Coins = Gold is a pretty simple step of logic, and following that with Stars = Items is also pretty clear- you spend coins on stars.
But since stars win Mario Party, does that mean that items win League of Legends? The answer in both comparisons is sometimes. Stars won't always win you Mario Party, just like getting really fed won't always win a game of League. You could have 6 more stars than anyone else and you haven't won until you've won. There are certain random events in Mario Party that will cause you to lose stars, or worse, give them away to other players. These disastrous events can be likened to a bad teamfight. Maybe you didn't have vision at the right time, or someone was caught out. There was nothing in your direct power to fix the problem, but now it's causing you to lose despite otherwise winning by all accounts.
The most you can do to ensure victory in Mario Party is to have the most influence. If you have the most coins, or most stars, you are a larger contributing factor in deciding the winner (even if it isn't you!).
So what does this have to do with Luigi Bot?
Luigi Bot cares about two things in this world: coins, and having a lot of them.
In my experiences playing Mario Party, the Luigi Bot seems to just be straight up better at getting coins. He tends to perform slightly better in minigames, makes smarter investing decisions, and doesn't hold grudges (looking at you Peach Bot). Luigi Bot plays the influence game as described before- he is focused on increasing his chances of winning in the few ways that he actually can.
Manipulate what you can, and don't stress out about what you can't.
The fact of the matter is you will go absolutely insane if you stress over every bad thing that happens in either game. Who you get matched with and what their skill level is with what champion they pick and what plays they succeed or fail at is entirely out of your control. Why let it stress you out? Accepting this and making a conscious effort to improve what you can affect is an important step to improving as a player. Arguably one of Luigi Bot's strengths is he honestly doesn't give a damn about the emotions riding on the game or the circumstances surrounding it- he plays to win the influence game.
It isn't fair, but it is equally unfair.
Yes, it sucks to have a teammate that goes 0/3 in the first 10 minutes of a game, but it was just as likely that said feeder could have been matched into the enemy team. It might not seem fair, but it is equally unfair. In Mario Party, you'll always feel great when someone else lands on a Bowser space (which triggers a random event of disproportionately unfortunate luck) but when you're the one landing on the exact same space, the inexperienced player will get frustrated and claim the game is against them. Once again, refer to the fact that Luigi Bot is incapable of forming an opinion one way or the other, and will continue on his merry way in the face of tragedy.
Everyone else is just as happy or miserable as you, and you get to choose which.
In Mario Party, each of the four players are trying to independently win. But sometimes the game will group the players up for a 1v3 or 2v2 minigame, which means that your victory also could mean that an enemy is winning, too. Even if Mario took your stars, made you land on a red space or has generally been an unlikable person, losing is setting you both back equally. It is always in your best interests to try to win. Once again, being a soulless AI, Luigi Bot never maliciously sabotages his teammates' chances of victory- he wants the most coins, and will do whatever he can to ensure he gets his cut, regardless of standings.
He knows he isn't the superstar, and doesn't care.
It's not called Luigi Party. All the characters in the game exist because and are derivative of the success of the red plumber, so everyone else is pretty much Mario's guest- and Luigi is totes cool with that. Luigi doesn't need the spotlight to be happy to play, and he certainly doesn't need it to win. In League of Legends, your mage or marksman won't always be there to carry. Sometimes your top lane will carry. Sometimes your jungler will. Sometimes you'll get camped or feed or get caught and you're not the superstar anymore- its your support. It's okay for the game to not be about you anymore- it's still in your best interest to show up to the party and rally around that superstar. Peel for him. Set him up for victory. Your CC might not do much damage because you're behind on items but it's still a CC- leverage any tool you have to try and make it work. It's not a party without guests, and it's not a winning game of League without your team.
Let's all get ruined by chance time together.