‘Comms’ – Communication

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One of the most important things I learned this past year is how communication is vital to success. When people see the word ‘communication’ in league terms, usually only in-game related communication comes to mind. They group it with responding to calls or a shotcaller. But in reality, communication extends way beyond that and relates to every aspect of your life whether it is  talking with your manager, trying to connect to the fans, arguing with your teammates to solve a problem, or simply getting to know the people you compete alongside with.

In League of Legends, basically five people play the game. Most teams have a primary shotcaller and a secondary shotcaller. For C9 it is Meteos in the laning phase, followed up with Hai for teamfights/late game movements. The five people must work together in game and constantly communicate to each other. “Mid is missing; top can TP in 2 minutes; bottom lane is diveable.” These are very simple things to say, but of course, the more complex ones are the harder ones. “Mid lane will do blue buff when it spawns at 7:30~ because he started blue buff; can bottom lane look to poke their bottom lane down while mid/jungler go for the dragon when they go for their blue; also what is the status of TP on top?” “How can we win this teamfight? Who are you going to engage on? Does he have flash? Is this warded? Can you sweeper this so I can make a pick? We can get the tower afterwards”. These are examples of the ideal communication that should happen. Questions must be asked. Questions must, in return, be answered. If there is constant communication, it creates discussion and the process of formulating a plan to solve the problem. And it must happen as if it were second nature until the point where everyone is literally on the same page and doesn’t have to say much. This requires a lot of practice, trust, and communication. If teammates start to understand each other on the team, they will have increased synergy and make plays. If there is conflict, it creates mistrust and bad plays.

In a team, it is really important that communication is always there. Playing on a League of Legends professional team can be likened to something as simple as working on a school project with four other group members. While they are relatable, evidently there are some huge differences. Playing on a professional team means that everyone needs to strive to win as well as suffer the consequences of losing. Losing in a school project might only mean getting a B instead of an A, and sometimes when you do a “good job” at work you might not necessarily be rewarded. The single biggest common factor in all of these scenarios that will help obtain the most efficient/best outcome is communication.  To ensure effective communication everyone needs to be on the same page. Five people with five different ideas creates confusion, conflict, and arguments.

Let’s look at the scenario with the five co-workers and how they could accomplish a project. One advantage the five people at work have compared to the students is that they likely have an immediate corporate infrastructure. Chances are, they have management. These five people can immediately talk to the boss and figure out what they need to do. The boss should be able to lead them and tell each person what their vision should be. Person 1 will be working on A, person 2 will be working on B, person 3 will be working on C, etc. Everything is organized and if a problem comes up (maybe with another person), people can just go to the boss and solve the problem. Quick, easy, and efficient right? At every moment the boss is relaying information and maintaining the professional environment. Well, you can see how ideal this scenario is. What happens if something goes wrong like maybe the boss is lazy? What if one of the workers is uncooperative? What if no one wants to talk to each other? These are all problems that could arise, but mostly won’t because people won’t want to lose their jobs.

The next scenario is the School Project. Unlike the previous example where people are in a work environment, we have five students that are put together in a team to finish a school project. There is one huge difference that can change everything. There is no “boss”. The teacher does not count because the teacher grades the project. So what happens? The project can become a disaster if, as mentioned before, five people have five different ideas and cannot compromise. People can choose to not communicate their feelings and to not work toward a unified goal. They may not all be on the same page. So it is really important that the five people communicate with each other. Expressing one’s opinion is extremely important in scenarios like this. The ideal situation is to elect a leader. The team-leader can now guide his team members toward the unified goal. At the same time, when conflict arises, it is important everyone tries to be open minded. Being close minded can create ego issues.  Issues should just be discussed among the entire team to solve problems while working toward a  productive environment. This all requires communication. If one person shuts down, it is crucial someone else understands and helps him; especially in a scenario where there is no management. If someone is having a difficult time in the group, communication is the way to go. It is how you solve problems and move forward.

These two scenarios present themselves quite often in League of Legends. You can say that CLG lies in the middle of these two. You can say TSM is scenario 1. You can say that C9 is scenario 2 with Hai as their leader. Both scenarios work and it’s just a matter of whether or not you are able to work together. Obviously it is much easier to work with other people when you have someone like a boss to oversee things. Even for C9 I know that people have hard times with one another occasionally (good thing they have Charlie). TSM has Reginald/Loco when things get hard. Those two teams always seem to be working on a same page. CLG itself is working on improving its own particular scenario. There have been a lot of communication problems in CLG and it involves everyone. The relationship between the management and the players, as well as the players relationships with each other, must, and WILL, improve in the future. It’s a learning process, but something as simple as just talking to each other out of game will help the team immensely. It’s something we have had trouble doing. It’s something EVERYONE in the world has trouble doing, whether it is with their friends, significant others, parents, or their bosses. Communication is the single most important thing in this world in order for you to solve problems and get to first place.

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by Austin Shin, on October 23, 2014