The internet is a wonderful source of information, depth and strategy for nearly anything you can imagine. This access to information on a quick and reliable platform certainly has its upsides, however it can lead to an overload of information. In addition to an overload of information, there can also be misinformation spread by the person(s) that can make their voice the most heard. Having too much to think about and a lack of focus causes a phenomena called analysis paralysis, in which the interpreter of data is confused by the bombardment of information.
The Warning Signs
There are indicators of analysis paralysis seen in someone that is trying to better themselves. The warning signs are typically going into minute details while ignoring the broad strokes. Everyone knows that person that needs the stars to align in order to get into something. You’re starting running? Well you need to get running shoes, but not any ones, get the $150 pair that RunGuyDave12 says are mandatory. Then you’ll need running clothes, you can’t just go running in jeans or those beat up shorts, you have to have the drywick underarmor for performance enhancement. How many sports players in commercials do you see wearing paint stained sweatpants? Oh and you can run longer if you’re listening to your favorite jams and pumping yourself up, so you should get an iPod arm strap and now you need new headphones because your other ones might fall out. Well what if it’s raining and you want to run? I guess you should get a gym membership or a treadmill for your house, but you can’t just go to that smelly $10/mo gym, that’s where “casual” exercisers and slackers go. You need to be going to the top of the line new facility down the street for $50/mo, that’s where the real exercisers go.
So you’ve got your shoes, running clothes, iPod strap and headphones and a gym membership. What’s missing? Well, you know, actually running. So much thought has gone into how to increase performance that you haven’t considered that maybe you can run in those beat up old sweats and practice your form. Maybe your feet and shins hurt because you are running flatfooted or you’re not used to the exercise. While this example may seem hyperbolic to those who have ever ran for exercise, this is a mindset many take for all aspects of life. It lacks a feedback loop that diagnoses actual problems and finds solutions.
The League of Legends “Runner”
Since I like to apply life to league, let’s look at League of Legends equivalent of the above now. A standard player will read guides, watch professionals play and read up on the game a little bit. They’ll see these players doing and saying really remarkable stuff and will obviously want to replicate it. So when you’re laning you need to be harassing your laner and winning your lane. But you also see when M5 runs top they invade the enemy jungle and take their golems, so when you’re top you want to do that. Top laners also run teleport and do awesome bottom lane ganks and dragon control, so you should run teleport. Are you a jungler? Well maybe you should be invading a whole bunch and messing up their jungle. How about playing Maokai, he’s good at ganking right? You need to be ganking all the time. No just counter ganking. No, invading and map control. Mid? Gotta be hyper aggressive, it’s how Regibro does it. Nah, maybe a little passive with Anivia, Froggen is considered real good, right? Curse has some great dragon control, we should focus on early dragons and doing them just as they spawn! The jungle is about buff control only, we need to have the strictest timers on our buffs possible! That Nunu/Kog’Maw bottom lane is amazing, we should try to run it all the time. But it’s weak early and Leona and Alistar are amazing, let’s do a kill lane! Man, this matchup in lane is considered weak in my favor. Strong in my favor. This guy counters them in lane! Maybe I should choose a safer character to play…
Alright. Clearly you can see there’s an abundance of information and things you can work on. What’s left out of all of these descriptions? Fundamentals such as farming and warding are left entirely out of this. Far too often players focus on things they could be doing to change the game like counter picking lanes and roaming. The reason these things work at the professional level is because they’re good at doing whatever the want while maintaining farm. Emphasis on fundamentals is not glorified most times (except maybe some comments about how well Doublelift can do it) and is swept under the rug. However, if you are able to farm better than your opponent and can ward properly, you can make it to the higher ELOs. Aside from ELO, having sound fundamentals is key to improving because of the feedback loop.
The Feedback Loop
The feedback loop is how you can diagnose and address problems in your performance. By having sound farming and warding skills, you’re removing variables. Why did you lose this game? Well you were only 10 CS behind where you should be and warded well enough to avoid most ganks. This means that those aren’t reasons you lost this game and maybe you lost because you didn’t shut down the opposing laner, join teamfights, contest dragon, etc. But if you are at 82 CS at the fifteen minute mark, you’re missing a substantial amount of income and now did you lose the game because you didn’t have that money or because of any of the above reasons? Having strong fundamentals in lane helps you find your actual problems and put them through revision.
Dumb It Down
The point of this article is to keep you out of analysis paralysis, or letting too many different options stop you from fixing something that can be much simpler. If you’re not able to farm with 90% efficiency (you miss maybe one creep in a wave of 6), work on your farm. If you’re not buying wards and being ganked or losing map control because of it, learn to ward. Map objectives, lane harassment, counter picks, lane matchups, roaming, counter jungling, buff control and teamfighting can take a back seat to these issues. Get to great farming and warding and I will guarantee your game will not only improve, but it will become easier to spot errors in your play.