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Bar the Shouting

On the subject of e-sports and League of Legends, I have to take a moment to vent a pet peeve concerning LoL casters. It comes in two parts.

First, part of their job is to drum up the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding a game. The game itself doesn’t always cooperate. Sometimes both teams lapse into well-worn strategies. Sometimes the teams flounder about rather than looking like skilled professionals. Sometimes the game is a blowout massacre. And when the game is a blowout massacre, the excitement evaporates. The audience spends ten minutes or more awaiting the inevitable.

Understandably, the casters begin casting about for reasons to treat a blowout massacre as something other than it is. It’s part of the job. So the casters begin spinning fantasy tales of how this game that’s all over isn’t really all over, beginning with the phrase, “If they can…” If they can set up a successful ambush in the top lane, and if the inevitable winners get sloppy and fall for it, and if they can then use the time gained to score two dragons and a baron and two towers…then this could still be anybody’s game. If the blowout is really, really bad, the fantasy scenarios get pretty silly. The casters know more about the game than I do, so they sometimes start spinning scenarios before I realize the game is already over; indeed, that’s one of the first indications I get. And that’s fine. Like I say, it’s part of the job.

But then there’s the second part of the complaint. Once the game is over—every game, blowout or nail-biter—the casters don the analyst hats and explain how even the narrowest victory was inevitable. And if the game was a blowout, this analysis of inevitability may run directly counter to the “anybody’s game” statements they offered ten minutes ago. One of the parts of that commentary wasn’t informative, definitely misleading, and perhaps even deliberately dishonest.

And if you can’t trust the commentary, what’s the commentary for? I mean, apart from whipping up a frenzy over nothing.

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