The Force of Habit
Updated: Feb 7, 2019
TL;DR: Get rid of your bad habits. Start with facecheck.
We are all creatures of habit. Be it a dose of morning coffee, browsing social media while sitting on the ceramic throne, a quick smoke break, or taking a ninja nap at work; once something becomes a part of our daily routine and creates a habit, it becomes a part of us, even to a point where we go on "autopilot" and we're not even aware that we're doing a certain thing. After all, everything that seem "normal" to us tend to be overlooked.
The same concept applies to MOBA, where we have the tendency to do things repetitively. For example, after clearing a wave, what do you do? Do you just go under the safety of the tower and wait for the next wave or do you go facecheck every nearby brush, wary of a gank.
In my early days of League, I've been guilty of the former. Is it bad to hug the tower? Yes and no. If you're doing it to the point that you're playing too passive, it's bad. Yes, you're not giving up kills but you are doing nothing to apply pressure to the opponent. It's comparable to just slowly rolling over and dying. I was once too afraid of feeding that I developed a bad habit of playing too passively. If you're hugging tower just as a short respite, even trying to bait a dive, that would be fine. It's also okay from time to time in a 1v2 scenario, while waiting for a teammate to respond. Facechecking is also one bad habit that I've had and still somewhat manifests from time to time, especially with AoVs lack of wards. It once got me killed when I casually walked in a brush in a 1v2 lane and it turns out there were 3(!) heroes inside. Logic tells me not to do it but the habit of making sure there's no one inside the brush (or just to sate the curiosity if there's really someone hiding) got the better of me.
IDENTIFYING THE BAD
How can we define a bad habit? Just ask yourself "is it worth it?" and think about the risk vs reward. Like the example above, facechecking a brush would let you know if there's someone hiding in it but aside from that, there's no real value in knowing so. What's the difference with facechecking and just assuming that there's someone lurking in the brush? In both scenario, you can just play cautiously. Although having information about enemy location is a valuable resource, endangering yourself isn't a worthy trade for it unless your teammates can capitalize on it and get better objectives in exchange.
Do you just fire off your skills unnecessarily, leaving you OOM (or simply having them on cooldown) in later important skirmishes? Do you splitpush without looking at the minimap only to be collapsed on? These are just examples of bad habits that need some fixing.
BREAKING THE BAD
Completely eradicating a bad habit is no easy task as it's already ingrained in our system. It's just like a weed that no matter how we yank off, still seemingly force itself into our lawn. What we can do though is replace a bad habit with a good one, like how planting cover crops block weeds' chances to propagate. For example, splitpushing, as mentioned above, by itself is not bad. It's actually a very viable strategy. But doing it without knowing the enemy location may lead to unfavorable results. Now, try adding a good habit like looking at the minimap and you'd notice a drastic change. Combine that with another habit like always clearing waves and you can easily upgrade your gameplay to Platinum (got to plat IV with just these). Habits can be comparable to muscle memory wherein when you're not able to process information well enough and go to autopilot, you'll somewhat "default" to these, even if you're tilting.
What are your in-game habits? Identify them and if possible, jot them down to analyze if they qualify as good or bad. You can also record your game and watch a playback of your gameplay. Seeing your own game in a different perspective will give you much more insight into your habits.
In case of doubt, don't be afraid to seek help. There are communities like the Squirrel Nation that are more than willing to help with your gameplay or even builds.
This is my first (new) post here in AoV Academy. I'm planning on a series that focuses more on the psych aspects of the game. I hope this can help as much as I enjoyed writing this along with my other posts in my blog.
As always, observe, formulate, adapt.