The League of Legends fans across the world split into four camps. They were ready for battle, for a showdown of epic proportions! It spanned the entire world! From a farm in rural America to a skyscraper in Beijing, everyone with an internet connection could connect and fight! A battle of word and wit. But more than anything, a battle of the biggest mouth. The average Joe was a footsoldier. Their squad captains were amateur analysts sharing their wisdom and insights. Higher ranks were achieved with internet points, something the famous online names had most of. For that reason alone, they became the strategists, the lieutenants and generals of this war.
This was a healthy rivalry between the four teams who’d made it to the semifinals of the Season 5 League of Legends World Championships. The back and forth arguing between Europe and North America remained like that. They were an ocean apart and just wanted to see their team go through to the Finals. However, there was something a little more dark brewing between China and Korea. They were both Asian regions. Both wanting to be better than the other. And the Koreans were better, right now. They’d won Worlds multiple times and were the favourites to take home the trophy again this year.
Then there was China. They wanted to be the best in the world. Or at least in Asia. But they weren’t, and Korean fans loved to remind them of this fact. Every chance they got, they rubbed it in. It got to the point where many Chinese fans were convinced there was a government program in Korea specifically aimed at annoying Chinese League of Legends fans. Ridiculous, of course, but the mind could wring itself in marvelous twists and turns. This hatred between the two regions had erupted a couple months earlier. After a post on an online Korean forum. This post went in great detail to explain just why Chinese players were so terrible at the game and why Bronze players from Korea were better than the best professional players from the LPL.
The post that instigated the hatred was long. Really long. Many fans didn’t bother reading through the entire translated version. They didn’t have that much free time on hand. But they did read the comments underneath, all of which were translated from Korean to Chinese.
「you call those pros? lmao, I think our bronze players can play better than that」
「kek what’d you expect? trash region, trash players…..」
「Remind me, why is the LPL a major region again?」
「coz rito felt bad for thsoe suckers HAHHAHAHA」
「I WATCHED AN LPL GAMES AND NOW MY EYES ARE BLEEDING HELPP!!!!」
「death >>> being forced to watch those shitty chinese play」
These comments alone were enough to give a good picture of how the Koreans thought of the Chinese players. It gave the Chinese fans all the reasons they needed to hate the Koreans! They wanted nothing more than to force these clowns to eat their own words! To this end, high rank players from China started playing on the Korean server. They terrorized Gold and Platinum as they climbed the ladder, making the games in these ranks a nightmare for the average player. But then they hit Diamond, sometimes even Master, and suddenly found they couldn’t get further. The Korean server was really competitive. It was hard to rise up to the top. There were only a few who managed to make their way into Challenger.
Though all of this happened months ago, the smell of gunpowder was still in the air. It’d ebbed to the background, but never disappeared completely. Now, with KG and SSK facing off against each other at the Worlds semifinals, the flames were reignited! The hatred reached a new boiling point. Online forums were flooded with arguments and hate messages, while players from both regions started playing on the other’s server and proving how easy it was to climb the ladder. This was war!
KG was through to the semifinals. For the first time in four years, it looked like a Chinese team might make it all the way to the finals! The Chinese fans were so excited. They’d danced on the streets! And then they learned their opponent was SSK. KG would have to beat SSK to make it to the finals. The Chinese fans knew how good SSK was, but they also remembered the hateful messages sent by the Koreans. It was something they couldn’t tolerate. They wouldn’t! If they couldn’t win at Worlds, then they would at least win this online war!
Cup Noodles read all-chat. “Fuck all Chinese? Fuck you!” he grumbled. With a shake of his head, he tried to ignore the message, only for a new one to pop up. His eyes twitched and he shouted over voice chat, “Fuck this stupid shit Vayne!”
Old Huang wasn’t as fluent in English. He puffed out some smoke, listening to his friend complain, then asked, “What’d he say anyway?”
“He said fuck all Chinese players and KG is trash!” Cup Noodles barked.
“Wait. What?” Old Huang shot up straight in his chair and looked at the messages. He copy pasted them in his browser and had them translated. They said as his friend claimed. He squinted his eyes and shouted, “That son of a bitch! What a fucking tool!”
“Yeah. That. Hold on,” Cup Noodles said, the sound of his fingers pushing down on his keyboard in the background.
Cup Noodles (Tristana):「FUK OFF! EAT SHIT!」
Zeal (Vayne):「TRASH!!! I FUK U BOT!!!!!」
Old Huang threw the words in his translation app, glaring at his screen. The words morphed into Chinese. He could read what they said. He grabbed his microphone and said, “Fuck this guy! I don’t care about whatever gameplay footage. Just kick that asshole’s ass! Teach that shit Plat player who’s boss!”
Cup Noodles laughed with righteous fury and then said, “Ha! Don’t worry. I’ll crush this noob! Fucking low elo scrub!”
Just like Cup Noodles and Old Huang, Su Xue was also furious when she read the Vayne’s messages. She shouted at the screen, “What the fuck is wrong with that guy! Didn’t his mother teach him manners? Asspiece!” She then turned to Lin Feng and frowned. The corners of her lips turned down. Then she said, “Dammit. Why did you listen to me? I wish you’d picked LeBlanc or something. You could’ve put up a tent in that idiot’s lane!”
Lin Feng, however, wasn’t at all concerned with the Vayne. His mood was great like usual. He patted his chest and said, “Trust me! I’ll carry this game with my Nasus!”
Su Xue nodded, hesitant. Then she shook her head. It didn’t feel right. It felt very wrong! She turned to Lin Feng and tugged on his arm. “Hey? Are you sure? I’ve never seen you play Nasus. Are you good at him?”
Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and said, “Well, haha, you see, I’ve played a few games with him? I want to say 10? I don’t remember. Something like that. I think. Maybe less? Ah, it’s been too long.”
“WHAT?” Su Xue shouted, her voice blasting into Lin Feng’s ear, ringing. “Only 10 games?”
Lin Feng rubbed his ear and laughed. “Oh, haha, it’s fine. Don’t worry! I’m really good at Nasus too!”
At 2 minutes, Cup Noodles arrived in lane together with his Support. Tristana and Nami. But before they could even start hitting minions, the Vayne and Thresh moved forward for a quick engage. The Vayne Tumbled and fired off an empowered auto attack, while the Thresh threw out his hook–Death Sentence! It missed. But it did set the tone for the lane. More importantly, it gave Cup Noodles some valuable information. He frowned and said in voice chat, “This Vayne and Thresh. Something’s not right…”
“What are you talking about?” Old Huang asked off the cuff. He was double and triple checking his recording software and hadn’t paid much attention to the game just yet.
Cup Noodles had his Tristana move forward, just far enough to last hit a minion. It was the cue for the Vayne and Thresh. The Vayne switched targets to the Tristana and hit her with an auto attack. Then, before the Tristana could retaliate, she fired off another silver bolt. All the while the Thresh lined up for another Death Sentence, leaving Cup Noodles with no other choice but to back away. To let the last hit slip away from him. And even then, this quick exchange cost him almost a third of his health and he hadn’t dealt any damage to the Vayne!
Cup Noodles started paying attention. His senses were right. Something was off! The way this Vayne and Thresh were playing. How the Vayne was last hitting minions. How the both of them were positioning. There was no Platinum player this good. Cup Noodles said in voice chat, “These two. They aren’t Plat. They’re smurfs. That’s the only explanation. They’re smurfing…”
The lights were still on in the training room of a building in Seoul, South Korea. This was the headquarters of Hydralisk, a secondary pro league team. The night was deep, but there were still two players practicing their skills by playing ranked duo queue. Zeal and Ron. The Botlaners of the team. They were the Vayne and Thresh, the bot lane opponents of Cup Noodles.
Zeal had just won an exchange and pushed the Tristana back under her outer tower. The lane was his! He grinned and said, “Hah! I knew he was a trash player.”
Ron, who was playing Thresh, smiled and said, “We’ve got some luck. Our first game smurfing and we get to stomp some Chinese players! Hehe.”
Their team had given them the day off. But they still felt the itch to play anyways. So they’d decided to log in on their smurfs and have some fun. There was nothing they enjoyed more than a few easy games where they could do what they felt like. A couple of games where they didn’t have to really try to win. This determination to be lazy was rewarded. Their first game wasn’t just going to be easy. It was also giving them the opportunity to play against Chinese players!
Zeal and Ron belonged to a small subset of Korean professional players who considered themselves superior to other regions, and would openly say so. To them, North American and European teams were so bad that they weren’t even qualified to compete in the second Korean league. As for the LPL, those who played in that league weren’t real professional players. They were hillbillies trying to look cool by calling themselves professionals! SSK versus KG would only reaffirm that. As would this ranked game.
“Nasus and Tristana, huh?” Zeal sneered. “I’ll send you two back to where you came from! I’ll have you two cry and beg for yo mamas! Stupid scrubs!”
SIMPING IS FOR SUCKAS #2
Shanks Thought: We’re going to continue the talk about trying to find yourself in this big wide world and who you are as a person. This is a life lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way and still one that I struggle with to this day. Don’t idolize people. Don’t think they’re perfect and do no wrong. It’s alright to admire certain traits that they have, but by no means should you put them on a pedestal. This includes any of us on the translation team. Everyone has their demons. Everyone has their own faults. Everyone is struggling in their own way. Thinking anyone has all their shit together is only going to lead you down a world of hurt, and I cannot emphasize that point any more.
I was 15. My dad was always busy with work, and I didn’t have any friends that I could really relate to in high school. But I still wanted connections. I still wanted to find a group of friends that could accept me for me. So I moved online. I hung out in forums and chat rooms based on my hobbies, and I eventually found a group of online friends that made me feel like I belonged.
The friend group was centered around a guy called Albert. He was a really charismatic and confident guy. You know the type that always makes you feel like they’re right no matter the situation? That was him. And it was that aspect of his personality that drew people in, even if he was a bit of an asshole.
Of course, I was no exception. I was actually one of the people that found myself connecting with him the most. He was everything I wanted to be, that I saw lacking in myself. He was my role model and someone I idolized. It got to the point that I would mimic his behaviour. The people in our friend group would jokingly call me Mini Albert.
However, Albert wasn’t perfect. He had his own issues. He was just really good at hiding it behind that confident and charismatic personality of his. One day, though, it cracked. He got into a love triangle with two friends in the group, and it ended with the girl picking the other guy over him. There was a big fight. A huge back and forth, and there were even rape accusations being thrown around. He threatened to ruin the girl and that other guy’s lives. He booted them from our chat group and banned us from contacting them.
It was a really messy situation to say the least, but it was also a wake-up call for me. All of a sudden, Albert was no longer the guy who was always right. He was no longer the mental image in my head that I idolized. He was human, with faults of his own too. And when all those faults came to light, they became the only things that I could focus on. His narcissism. His god complex. His selfishness. I could no longer interact with him the same as before. I no longer saw him the same as before. I think it was the same for many of us in the friend group. We all became disillusioned with him.
I personally mentally disconnected. I didn’t leave the friend group immediately, but I started slowly lessening contact. It impacted me in a way I didn’t expect. I kind of lost my sense of since so much of my personality was based on emulating Albert. I didn’t know if I was interacting with people as me or the “me” that I think people like. It got pretty bad there for a while. But, I eventually moved on. I found the me that I was okay with. The me that doesn’t care to be anything but me. I don’t always like everything about myself. I don’t think anybody does. But I don’t want to be anyone else.
So yeah, don’t idolize people. It can mess with your head really badly. If you have an Albert in your friend group, make sure to call him out on his shit. Realize he isn’t perfect, because he’s just as vulnerable as any of us. If you think of him as your friend, that’s your responsibility. I wish I could’ve done that with my Albert. Maybe things would’ve turned out different. But it’s already too late for that.
Dev Thought: Shanks idolizes me. And this entire thought is a rant because I woke up this morning and I was mean to him. So now he feels bad. But don’t worry. I’ll give him a pat on the head later and a ‘strong work’ or two, and he’ll be back.
But all joking aside, you should never idolize anyone. Everyone has demons, some more so than others. And we all try to make peace with or fight our demons every day. Some days, we win. Others, we lose. C’est la vie. There’s nothing wrong in looking up to someone and emulating the positive traits you see in them. That’s how we grow and evolve. But you should never try to be someone else because all you see is the idealized version of them that exists in your head. One day, that image will crack.