In League of Legends, there’s a ranked ladder. You rise and you fall based not only on your own merit, but your teammates’ skill and your team composition. As someone who is a diamond player who happens to also work on a prolific fan site as her day job, I get a lot people asking for advice on how to improve. Although I don’t think I’m particularly amazing, if people ask for my advice, I give it freely. I critique their masteries, I explain match-ups, and I tell them to always look to themselves for improvement first rather than blame their teammates.
I’ve found that there are two types of people who ask questions about how to improve: those who take my advice and those who don’t. However, there’s also a subset of the latter type. Now, let me tell you, I hate this subset. They don’t take my advice, but worse, it feels like they never had any intention of ever taking my advice. They question it extensively from the start. They begin to argue with it. They begin to tell me I’m not very good. They begin to berate me. It’s almost as if they asked for advice solely to reject it and get upset from.
I can always tell their story. 99% of the time, it plays out exactly as I anticipate: I’ll be Diamond II, they’ll be Silver II, but they will tell me that my Kayle build is bad even though our skill levels are completely different. They’ll tell me that they can’t believe I won’t add Gunblade as an suggested item. They won’t shut up if I reply at all, so I rarely do, because it’s exhausting.
In many ways, they are just like the people who tweet me asking why I want to play as a woman character in a game. The people who ask me why I’m being such a feminist. The people who tell me to focus on the gameplay rather than fluff.
I want to set a few things straight before tweets get convoluted and no one gets me.
I love video games. I’ve always played them. I could list dozens upon dozens of titles I’ve played that formed my utter adoration. Here’s some of my favorites who impacted my life immensely: Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, Borderlands, Diablo II, Final Fantasy VIII, Ghost Trick, Left 4 Dead, League of Legends, BioShock, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, StarCraft, Resident Evil 2, Mass Effect 2, Mario 64, Sim Copter, World of Warcraft, Street Fighter II.
You get the point, right?
Well, in case you don’t: the point is I love video games. This point should have also been apparent by how I’ve dedicated my work and free time to them, how I helped make LolKing what it is today and how I work on Wowhead. How I’ve spent almost 7 years in the gaming industry now and how I’m here to stay. Like, I pay my rent through my passion for League of Legends. I have health insurance due to that passion as well. That’s pretty rad.
But the oddest thing happens every single time I have a remotely feminist thought. That all goes out the window. My accomplishments, my personality, my status as someone who really fucking loves games—these qualities these people certainly initially followed me for—are gone.
I can just joke about how Hyrule Warriors has a really ridiculous amount of women characters and how I wish Ubisoft took note and find myself faced with half a dozen people explaining how this isn’t really an issue worth my time and how I’m overreacting.
I can tweet about how cool Lara Croft was and find myself told that she was actually a liability for Square-Enix and how they barely broke profit margins thanks to a female lead.
I can make a remark about how I hope the next GTA has a woman who isn’t shallow, like maybe a bad chick who deals drugs and kills some people—and, you guessed it, I can find myself being told I’m a feminazi.
Just like that. That is how easy it is to discredit someone as dedicated to gaming as me. It doesn’t matter that I 100%’d Grand Theft Auto IV or actually dig the series (well, prior to GTA V anyway)—I now am told I hate Grand Theft Auto and that I’m not a real gamer to them. It suddenly doesn’t matter that I’m diamond in League of Legends or got world firsts in World of Warcraft, either; they’ll tell me I don’t understand how gameplay is more important to games due to my casual nature, even though I’ve illustrated a dozen ways about how seriously I take gameplay. (Seriously though, gameplay matters to me more than story or art or presentation.)
I somehow become this stereotypical fake geek girl gamer to them, someone who plays to get boys worked up and who is somewhat of an airhead.
All because I wanted to see a bit more of myself in the pixelated worlds I spend so much time in.
Is that really a crime?
The answer is, apparently, yes.
This is a personal blog post. I don’t really think this will get a thousand billion hits. This is for people who follow me or want to or know me, so they can understand why I don’t think too highly of Rockstar* or Ubisoft right now and why I like to play as a female avatar when I can. Here’s the breakdown:
- I love games. No, really.
- I’m a little too into them. I’m competitive. Can’t help it.
- I value mechanics and gameplay more than story in any video game.
- That said, I love playing as a woman character when I can. I played as Lilith, I made a FemShep, and you better believe my favorite League of Legends champions are mostly women too. Why? If we’re being super honest, one of the biggest reasons is because I like hearing a woman’s voice when I’m playing as a character. It keeps the immersion for me since, you know, my voice is also a woman’s voice. Another reason is I just dig ladies I can look up to. When I see Aya Brea kick ass and I’m controlling her, I’m not gonna lie, I feel pretty badass for .1 seconds. Just like how you might feel like a total manly stud if you picked up Braum and owned in bot lane in League of Legends.
- I’m not really that mad. Ever. So I resent (and ironically get mad) when people say I am being uptight or furious or [insert negative emotion here] for making a joke or randomly asking GTA V why it had no solid women characters. Because seriously. All I’m doing is asking, usually without any emotion, why. I’m not raging… and let’s be real here, you probably rage harder about falling out of a division in League of Legends. You know what rage really is and it’s nothing like what I’m doing now. I’m just explaining.
- I do, however, hate that I had to make this post. But I had to because I lost another 20 followers and had four different guys actually tell me they do not consider gender an issue in the world. One person even said they liked following me, but felt I overreact too much about sexism. REALLY? C’MON BROS. DO BETTER. BE BETTER.
When I get that subset of person asking me League of Legend questions, the reason I anticipate that they will be lower ranked than me by several tiers is because of their anger. While they want to get better, they also have an emotional blocker that doesn’t let them take advice thanks to their inflated ego. They want easy answers, not hard advice on what they suck at, and they’ll be upset when the answer is to improve themselves. It’s their anger that’s holding them back from being my ranking, among other things.
It makes sense then that these men who question my gaming skills or my dedication as a gamer are so closely linked in my head to these people asking for tips on how to climb the ladder in a MOBA. Their anger is also palpable. Their inability to listen is also tangible. And they really don’t want to know that the answer is to improve themselves because that’s not what they want to hear. They want a quick fix to make me be quiet and for them to be right.
A quick fix that doesn’t exist.
Whatever. Maybe one day they’ll get up to diamond in humanity. For now, though, I’m done replying to them. It’s utterly exhausting.