In the competitive video game League of Legends, it’s five on five in a virtual battlefield. But behind each professional team is a well-equipped coaching and support staff.
The Importance of the Coaching Staff
All professional teams employ at least one game analyst. The job of the analyst is to observe opponents to find out their tendencies and strategies, to develop counter-strategies against teams that might try to exploit a playstyle, and to watch the best teams in the world to understand their thought processes.
For these professional teams, even simple strategies require hours of rote practice. But the role of the analyst goes deeper than managing the practice. Teams often have communication issues, and the analyst needs find an effective system for players to relay the critical information during high pressure situations. The analyst is a flexible role that requires a high level of critical thinking and attention.
We believe that improving the strategic resources for professional League of Legends teams will enhance the team atmosphere and raise the overall performance of players.
We will know this is true when we see a marginal parity between the top 10 competitive teams. We will also know this is true by seeing a minimal amount of mistakes, compared to the average number of mistakes made by teams currently.
Ways Analysts Improve Performance
One of the areas which I specialized in was data tracking and predictive modeling. I diligently scoured match histories of opponents and built profiles on their tendencies. Those profiles would be used to develop strategies to exploit the weaknesses of the opponent by anticipating the decision making of the opponent.
The second area which I specialized in was in team communication. All five players must be able to communicate information throughout the duration of the match. At the start of each game, each person has his own task and makes their own decisions as an individual. As the game progresses, the teams come together and decision making needs to be unified.
Communication Under Pressure
With 5 people working together, a voice to direct the team must be established. Additionally, other players have to filter information between each other without cluttering voice communication. Discipline must be maintained so there aren't 5 voices shouting over each other.
Another problem with communication arises when most teams bring in non-English proficient players, a common trend in recent years. Under pressure, communication can get erratic, and this makes comprehension difficult for non-native speakers.
Creating a Communication System
To work around these communication issues, we created a communication system to condense information into short phrases with two-syllable words that are easy to enunciate. This allows foreign players to learn a short list of English phrases to understand the "playbook", as well as reduce unnecessary audibles by the English speakers.
These short phrases are often repeated several times in quick succession by a single player so the plan is understood by all. These tricks help make communication quick and efficient so that less time and fewer mental resources are used to decode the communication, allowing to more effort towards the execution of the plan.
Even though a typical professional game averages around 35 minutes, the game can be lost in a matter of seconds if a team does not coordinate properly. Having an analyst improves the overall knowledge of the team and increases the chances that a team will win, ultimately with the hope of playing in the million dollar matches featuring the best teams from around the world.
UX Skills Used:
Critical Thinking: Analyzed what each person is doing at each moment during the game.
Attention to Small Details: Discovered subtle tendencies in behavior and the reasoning behind the action.
Creation of Communication Systems: Worked with the team to create a system to improve communication clarity and split-second decision making.
Empathic Criticism: Offered critical feedback in a way that will improve the performance of the player without disheartening the player.