14th June, 2017
League of Legends isn’t just a game. It’s a tool which can be used to educate and teach our youth valuable life skills. In a world where people suggest video games contribute to violence, ruin lives with addiction, and even kill people, it may seem like an unpopular opinion to suggest that playing video games makes you a better person, let alone a better worker.
Growing up in this modern world can be very difficult. Technology is so advanced that parents aren’t sure what their kids are up to, schools are applying more pressure on education than ever before, jobs are scarce and hard to find, and divorce rates are higher than ever before. This makes it very difficult to find the time to learn valuable life skills. Enter: video games.
Here are 7 life skills that League of Legends (and other competitive online games) will teach your child, and why you shouldn’t be limiting their time spent on video games, you should actually be encouraging it.
There are two types of people in education. Those that love to work in a group – and those that don’t. Unfortunately for the latter it’s very rare you’ll be in a job where you don’t need to work with a co-worker on some kind of project. This is where competitive team based games, like League of Legends, come in very useful. Working within a team is about coming together to complete a task which would be too difficult for one person alone. Managers have always looked at team based activities such as football or trust building exercises to help build relationships between their employees, but few managers consider online gaming. League of Legends not only teaches you how to work in a team, but forces you into teams with difficult people that you might not agree and get on with.
In an ideal world every work team would be perfectly created, where each employee is an expert within their role and no roles overlap. Unfortunately this is almost never the case. Just like in League of Legends you might find that you have two people play mages, it’s common to find two graphic designers on the same team during a small web design project. Teamwork is about ensuring that the person in their off role is as comfortable as they can be, without overloading them or expecting too much.
A good leader will ensure that all members of the team are happy and can work together to overcome any problems they face and reach the end goal. The only difference between League of Legends and the workplace when it comes to teamwork? In the real world you can’t kill the competition.
You won’t get through your adult life without running into problems, almost daily. You also won’t get through a day of ranked solo queue without running into problems. Perhaps a major neutral objective got stolen away, or top laner has gone AFK. These League based problems can easily be transferred into the real world. You are working on a team project at work when one of your employees is taken ill. Your deadline isn’t going to be moved just because you are a man down.
Toyota employ a technique for problems which is known as the 5 whys. The idea is that you must keep asking why to find the root cause of the problem. Let’s look at this in a League of Legends situation.
Problem: The enemy Lee Sin has stolen your Baron.
Temporary Solution: Ban Lee Sin.
This would be a quick and easy fix which most people would be happy to take, but as a League of Legends player you know that banning Lee Sin isn’t going to solve the problem. It just so happened to be Lee Sin that stole the Baron, and it could have easily have been any other jungler with a dash. Let’s now employ the 5 whys to see if we can solve this problem:
Problem: The enemy Lee Sin has stolen your Baron.
Why?: Because he was able to jump into the pit and smite it.
Why?: Because we didn’t stop him.
Why?: Because we didn’t know he was there.
Why?: Because we had no vision.
Why?: Because only our support has wards.
This fifth why is the root cause of the problem. If all the players on your team had vision then this wouldn’t happen because you could track the movements of enemy players. Playing League of Legends can teach you to apply this logic to the world of work.
Common sense can be defined as ‘A Good sense and sound judgement in practical matters’. In other words: It’s just being sensible. If you had a red car and needed to park your car, with two carparks available: One full of red cars and one full of blue cars, where would you park your car? If you chose to park your car in the blue carpark to make it easier to find, then you have common sense.
Despite popular belief; common sense can be learned. What better way to learn common sense than to try to improve your rank in League of Legends. You could have tonnes of game knowledge, but without a sound judgement you won’t get very far. By regularly analysing your game you are actually helping your brain to become better at dealing with problems. This in turn will increase your judgement in high pressure situations, making you an ideal employee.
Work is often described as boring. During 2004 a third of Britons claimed to be bored in their jobs almost daily. Despite the popular opinion, boredom doesn’t come about because you are doing nothing. You become bored because all the possible activities open you can do don’t appeal to you. This is where patience is a valuable trait. If you don’t enjoy any aspect of your job then it’s time to move on – and the same is true for League of Legends. There are many different roles to fill in a game of League but let’s just focus on one: The attack damage carry (ADC). It’s common that you have to farm for 20 minutes before you can deal any damage (you often need two items). This laning phase can be tedious and dull for some players, but they know that they will get to participate in a team fight soon enough. This excitement towards team fighting is what keeps these players from quitting.
This skill translates nicely into your job. If you become an accountant you’ll have to spend some of your inputting numbers into excel. This can be tedious and dull, but the excitement of what you can do with those numbers helps you to get the job done. This is a life skill known as grinding (no – not what you do in the clubs) which is described as enduring routine and repetitive tasks. You’ll spend a lot of your life grinding and by learning this from League of Legends you are only improving your future self.
During champion select you are going to be given one of five roles that are available to you. If you are lucky you can get your main position, but this isn’t always going to be the case. Once you are given your role it’s now important that you take on all the responsibilities that come with that position. The above process also perfectly describes the world of work.
The Price of Greatness is Responsibility
If you are put into the support position then you really shouldn’t take farm away from your ADC. You should also make sure to keep up the vision around the map for your team. What happens if you don’t perform your role properly? You’ll lose. I understand that you might not want to be a support this game, but we all have to do things in life we don’t want to do. Sometimes you’ll have to take the job as the shelf stacker to become the business owner you want to be. By playing support this game, and performing your role correctly, you are going to advance higher through the ranks and maybe next game you’ll get to be the role you want to be.
In a recent study, around half of workers admit that they don’t like their work colleagues. You are definitely going to meet someone at work that you don’t get along with. It’s not good for your health, or your work, to argue (or ‘flame’) with this person regularly. This is where League of Legends can help. It’s a rare event to get a game without any flamers in it. It’s an even rarer case to get a game where people actually stand up against the flamers, without flaming them back. This is where you need to be the bigger player.
League of Legends offers players with the option to mute players. Despite this most players will retaliate to the flame, causing the whole situation to escalate into an uncontrollable storm of abuse – usually ending with a 20 minute surrender and a player going AFK. If you try to diffuse the situation, become a leader and ensure that your team mates work together – you’ll find that you will win more games. When you then get into the world of work and meet a difficult co-worker, this skill will be invaluable and you’ll quickly find yourself in management.
We have all had those 60 minute games where everyone is now full build and there is very little difference between the two teams. The next team fight will definitely win the game, but both teams are playing safe unsure of what to do. Someone who doesn’t regularly play League of Legends won’t see the same opportunities that you see. Could you land that flash taunt on Shen to win the game? What about the teleport backdoor? In League of Legends pulling off these stunts will earn you honour – in the real world: it will earn you a promotion.
Initiative is a great life skill to have and regularly playing League of Legends definitely teaches you a lot about it. Not all opportunities should be taken – sometimes a risk just isn’t worth taking. Losing a 70 minute game due to a misplaced ultimate is a great way to learn this. For a non-gamer who hasn’t learnt this lesson yet, they might take a risk which could cost them their job. For a gamer? Well they know not to take that risk.