LoL Retirement, Propaganda And The Illusion Of Choice

RichardLewisRichardLewis 2013-06-23 16:01:22

Mark this day in your diary. The cull of the League of Legends veterans continues, the latest being Shan "Chaox" Huang who today announced his retirement in a rambling video log.

Since being kicked from Team Solo Mid the player had been licking his wounds while undertaking a “remember me?” tour of the far East. Despite travelling to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea the player doesn’t seem to have found what he was looking for. What was that? Well astute speculation would lead most to conclude that the player believed that there was an opportunity for him out there, somewhere. While he was greeted warmly by fans and some members of the League of Legends fraternity no team options presented themselves. Never forget that opportunity is supposed to come knocking on your door. If you go to his place and he hides behind the sofa, something has gone very awry. With no favourable options what else is there to do? You follow in footsteps of all the e-sports greats down the years and you announce a retirement, which typically are about as permanent as those lick-and-stick tattoos that come with bubblegum. It is a great way to get attention because even the biggest of your detractors will sit and listen politely if they believe that it will be the last time they will ever hear what you have to say. It also jogs the memories of people who maybe never realised just how much of a fan they were, they have to picture life without you and realise they don’t like it. There are a few rules to adhere to. Don’t write your own obituary by needlessly highlighting your own achievements. The fans will do that for you and non-converts will turn their attention elsewhere. Be unequivocal and factual, leave nothing vague that can be debated. Leaving on a lie is about the worst thing you can do. Above all keep it classy. As it’s technically the last thing you’ll be directly conveying to the community let it be something that can be liked. That way they’ll invariably forgive you when you come back because you will be back. Huang obviously hasn’t been told these rules and outside of LCS there’s clearly no savvy PR minds to advise him. George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis is proof that no matter what you’ve done before you can always be forgiven if you go out right. Huang’s statement served only to highlight the problems that had forced him into the corner he found himself in. “There’s really no world class teams that need an ad carry right now… My Chinese honestly is not good enough to join a Chinese team. I can speak it day to day, I can live in China no problem but like League is so communication intensive any minor communication problem is a giant clusterfuck of… Badness. So yeah, joining an Asian team is out of the question and NA is NA and NA is declining since… Well actually since halfway through season 2.” I think the first thing that really needs to be said is that calling it a “retirement” is a somewhat grandiose attempt to make it look that all this has happened on his own terms, which is patently not true. Certainly if he could go back in time he’d change just some things. Just enough so he could avoid the outcome on that fateful day, take one straw off the camel’s back but probably not looking to ease the beast’s burden beyond that. Ultimately though the TSM team, with Andy "Reginald" Dinh as ever acting as both mouthpiece and lightning rod, made the call that enough was enough. I’m sure that Shan never saw it coming because those in possession of such an ego believe in their own bullet-proof status too readily. It is the cursed counterpoint to the blessing of supreme confidence. The second thing is that it won’t actually be a retirement. The six and a half minute tribute to himself was littered with clues that he indeed yearned for a return to the big time but only the big time. Having to build something again clearly doesn’t interest someone who realises he has a lot of fans who seem hold him in almost high regard as himself. This much was clear when he was at the top of the MVP voting for LCS prior to his removal. There is also an air of sour untruth in the assertion that the North American scene is in decline. Evidence suggests the contrary with the newer teams displaying a hunger that shames some of the established organisations. Not only that but we’re seeing new strategies being implemented, skills being refined in an environment where the bar had been set low by a combination of security and lethargy. What is becoming increasingly clear is that players who rose to the top in the halcyon days prior to LCS either have to evolve, adapt and work hard or fail to keep up at all. Don’t forget the reason he was kicked in the first place stems from his refusal to take practice seriously. The stories about his conduct are legendary, so much so even those of us outside the LCS bubble got to hear about them. He partied hard often and while TSM’s players might be no angels, a frat house it certainly isn’t. These things can be maybe forgiven when it’s eating into the training regime but to do them at tournaments themselves would be unacceptable in any professional sport. At MLG Dallas though it was well documented he was out drinking until the small hours, turning up to practices hungover and without sufficient sleep to perform. One night he missed practice entirely because he was with some female admirers, meaning his team had to share his inactivity. These are the sort of actions that would be tolerable only if you were the greatest player the game had seen, the George Best of LoL, which he wasn’t and not by some way. Ultimately he was a player forced into irrelevancy. His skills never matched his own lofty assessments of them, so much so that despite his assertions he could walk into another top North American team, that feels unlikely. Marry that to a lack of work ethic and it makes for a blend that is hardly desirable in the LCS culture, where the stakes are high and anything that could be deemed vaguely non-professional will incur the wrath of the RIOT sugar-daddies. “I could join an NA team but I’ve done it all. I’ve been best in NA as an ad and you could even argue the best NA player since as I got MVP last season. NA is a region I’ve done everything in and I’ve already proven myself in. it’s just the world stage that I want to tackle.” This statement is filled with absurdities. Huang has not “done it all”. He has performed to a decent standard within a team that was the best in a region he admits is weak. They achieved little on the world stage and at no point could ever have conceivably been referred to as the best in the world. “All” seems to be something of an exaggeration and far from the truth. But the truth rarely enters into Huang’s goodbye, something that his fellow professionals at least are content to acknowledge publicly. Zach "Nientonsoh" Malhas summed up the thoughts of many of the professional scene upon viewing the self-aggrandising video farewell. “Watching chaox's vlog... I don't understand some people. claiming to be the best AD in NA, let alone the best player in NA. As i'm sure you would know, playing AD on a dominant team such as tsm was in season 2 is a cakewalk, he was consistently average but that's it, this is a prime example of arrogance/ego skill capping a player and preventing them from being the best. Thinking that you can do something and claiming you were the best are two entirely different things.” [center] "So, you hear that Chaox has called himself the Season 2 MVP?" (image courtesy of Gamespot.com ) [/center] If you wish to file Huang’s claims under exaggeration, then try and explain the out and out fiction he also included, namely awarding himself MVP for the whole of Season 2, something that never happened in any official capacity. Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, who took the AD carry spot in the North American All-stars was quick to point this out: “Am I the only one who finds it ridiculous that people believe Chaox was actually the MVP of S2? He self-proclaimed the title himself rofl” Probably not but, as Huang is well aware, that propaganda will take root in the wider community, it is a fiction that will come to be repeated as fact, like an urban myth that has always happened to a friend of a friend. Amongst his peers though this claim will always leave a bad taste in the mouth and while it is CLG who have been content to be open in their mockery, privately the ridicule is rightfully more widespread. “Shifting focus from being a player to an entertainer wasn’t an easy choice but it’s definitely fun and rewarding.” The words of someone who realises the exact opposite. After two months spent undertaking a glorified form of couch-surfing the terrifying reality starts to set in. The twin spectres of “real job” and “all for nothing” lurk in the shadows, which given his well documented issues with his parental approval may as well be called “mom” and “dad”. For anyone who held a position at the top for even the briefest moment of time there is the consolation prize of streaming, directly converting popularity into revenue through direct advertising. Not much but enough that you can dry hump the e-sports dream some more and lie in waiting. Which is what will happen of course but please let’s not call it a “choice”. These are the words of someone who had a pretty sweet deal all told and managed to throw it away for himself. Now that he’s on the outside looking in this “retirement” is little more than an attempt to remind us of what we’re supposedly missing. No matter how good you are though, the game will always move on without you. In that sense Chaox didn’t retire from the game, the game retired him.
91 Comments
DDeal
I completely understand its right to be as biased as you want to be, and I support you in that. You seem like quite a good writer, and I hope this is not a form of pandering to the consensus. You don't seem like the type to sacrifice your true feelings just for random praise. Keep making good material, and impressing the masses.
Javani
"hotshot also had many "documentaries" made when he quit league, and it was brought to everyones attention by SaintV that hotshotgg was KICKED FROM HIS OWN TEAM. I D I O T S." -- This

Wat. Haha, I thought that Hotshotgg quit because of stress and anxiety. Wasn't there an interview saying that he was getting stressed and nervous and whatnot. Kinda' makes sense now that he's trying to make a new challenger team. I was wondering. Makes no sense leaving your team and then making a NEW one when you're getting stressed from it etc.

As for this article and all those articles on Chaox, Hotshotgg, Voyboy, Oddone and Pooksie (and all the other girls these kids boned), its pretty immature. I don't find myself surprised in the least since its a bunch of 12-16 year olds playing this game. But at the same time I find it very entertaining and don't mind reading them.. soo, good job on that OP.

Ps: rinnlol - seems to be frothing in the mouth for some reason. Calm down bro.. you sound like a rabid dog more than anything else. No need to get personal just because you can't prove your point. Highly immature to bring up someone's looks up just because you can't get your point across.
supah-
This is kinda big on the LoL reddit, nice =)
Partierdude
well put, i dont follow the lol scene massively, but from what ive read about him this sums it perfectly!

Bet cadred views have gone up with this feature :)
kadet
Great read. It may be an editorial, but it's refreshing report on facts which are otherwise kept hidden or massively misrepresented. I've never heard of cadred.com, but I'll be following you in case you post more LoL editorials
EsioooOOOOO
It's cadred.org :P

I'm pretty sure Richard will be writing more LoL editorials in the future :)
Deadlyy
enjoy your stay.
UMadBra
This article is amazing funny and bad. You sound mega butt hurt and mad. I'm not a Chaox fan but he is just as good as any other NA carry right now and has some of the best map awareness in the game. He could play for many other teams or start his own easily. How hard is it to understand he doesn't want to play? You see it in sports all the time. Mega superstar retires and tries to come back and play half ass to win or prove something. Cudos to him for not doing that and boo to you and this website for trying to call out and bully someone. The guy has done a lot for esports and League of Legends. His outing from TSM may not have been his choice but if you are saying his retirement and not playing for another team wasn't his choice. Then you are the delusional one. Speaking of which, what have you done for esports lately? Besides spread more drama in this hate filled world? Maybe doublelift is more your speed? Call everyone trash and then lose every game.

Even Xpecial says your full of shit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsVfOz2PcA0
EsioooOOOOO
your username should be applied to yourself
RichardLewis
Xpecial says some the following things aren't true:

"He did have offers, from Cloud9" - I never said he didn't

"He was also a really good player" - I never said he wasn't

So, much like a lot of the people criticising the article, but not all of them, he hasn't read the piece.
messioso
You quit CS, but Has anything really changed Rich?

Enjoyed it myself.
.aToria
Good read 4/5
mintent
This article is biased as hell, but haters gona hate.
You twisted Chaox's words and put a negative connotation to everything.

You must have made it in life to be 31 years old and writing bashful articles about someone retiring. Get a life dood.
Rickeh
So fucking thick.
msk-
Damn, reading the comments from cadred users then reading the comments on reddit is pretty funny, I guess years of reading articles on here makes you familiar with this kind of writing. Anyway, I agree with a lot of what you said, but you just made a large portion of the league community despise you. It would have been possible to write about the topic and start up a discussion without completely exaggerating almost every point just to make Chaox look even worse than he already does and at the same time bringing down a load of hate on yourself. I understand it's an editorial and you're expressing your opinion, but I think you just blew your chances with the league community.
Mr. Floppy
Hardly, the disagreements are from purely fanboys, it started as soon as the post went up. Theres a very large amount of people commending it and saying that the community needed something like this in terms of articles and look forward to reading them.

It's fanboy hate at its finest in that thread, the fact that people can't understand the concept of an editorial, despite how often it was pointed out to them, proves that fact. They don't want to read or listen, they just want to mash their keyboards with their sausage hands as fast as possible to flame
msk-
I wouldn't say the disagreements are purely from fanboys, I don't like Chaox at all and I even agree with most of the points Richard made in the piece, but it was over the top in my opinion, and considering /r/leagueoflegends is probably the biggest league site/community I wouldn't really call an article that received almost as many downvotes as upvotes a success. I guess in some ways it served it's purpose by getting the attention of the league community and bringing them to the site, but the article doesn't even really add anything to the discussion, it basically just looks like needless hate to get page views. Obviously there will always be people with opinions like this but I think I'd rather this kind of writing didn't become part of the community, it just feels like a really cheap tactic.
RichardLewis
Yeah, people really need to stop expressing their honest opinions in the written form and only say nice things then e-sports will be a much better place.
msk-
I could have worded that last sentence better, I didn't mean I think people should stop expressing their opinion, rather they shouldn't write an article in a certain style intentionally to provoke people in a negative way. You were extremely harsh and exaggerated a lot of points, while at the same time not really offering anything that hasn't already been discussed in previous threads. If you had kept to the facts and expressed an opinion without resorting to things like the screenshot of Doublelift from a completely irrelevant interview (yes, I know it's a joke but many others don't realise that and it could easily have been avoided) it probably would have been very well received by the reddit community and brought a lot of users over rather than mindless hate. Again, I'm not a fan of Chaox in the slightest and I agree with your points, but I feel like you could have toned it down a bit and it wouldn't have had such a negative reaction from the community.
RichardLewis
I'm not going to dumb down my writing because people can't see a picture of Doublelift laughing with that caption is clearly a joke. If they want to go away believing that I made something up, let them. They are morons and I can't make them not think moronic thoughts. They are unreachable. I know first hand.

Let's look at the groups that are receiving it badly:

1) Chaox fans - can't do anything about them. If it's a positive piece saying how much I'll miss him, they like it.

2) People who don't understand what editorial is.

3) People who think only anonymous forum users can have opinions, not paid e-sports "personalities"

4) People who think everyone should be constantly nice to everyone else in e-sports despite it being a very aggressive and nasty industry to work in

5) People who don't like the writing style (smallest section of the five).

None of those people are worth pandering to and they'd only turn on my work some point in the future when I did get around to writing something they disagreed with. That's the reality of what I do. Say ONE thing ONCE someone doesn't like and they hate you for life.

My following are the kind of people who can take contrary opinions on board without having a mental breakdown and suddenly hating the author of those opinions. This is who I write for. Simple as that.
msk-
Fair enough, I just wanted to give an opinion on the article without having to resort to insults to get my point across.
footplayer
We've wrote plenty of positive League articles and done plenty of nice interviews that didn't get this sort of attention. People just fucking love drama.
Nostalgia
We've all been desensitized by years of Cadred.

On another note, I dunno if it's just me but half of the reddit community seem to miss what's being said in the article as well at some points. Prime example is that most people are calling Rich out for lying about him getting no offers as Cloud9 offered them a spot, but I read it as Chaox getting no offers that he thought acceptable. At the time of being offered the spot Cloud9 weren't even an LCS team yet and largely unproven to succeed so I really can't understand how people can't see that Chaox most likely didn't want to play for an unproven team. I guess the fact they're currently #1 in standing is bringing all the "HURR DURR BEST TEAM IN NA OFFERED HIM A SPOT" comments. Can't say I blame Chaox for trying to get a spot on an Asian team but when all fails at least bow out with some sort of grace.
RichardLewis
People will always despise opinions and those with the fortitude to express them. Luckily for me I couldn't give a fuck about being popular. It's an opinion shared by roughly 60 - 65% of the LoL community, an article that has been praised by people who work within LoL and other e-sports journalists. That'll do me.
TosspoT
Would it be too much to say that Chaox personifies everything that is wrong with America? WHO TALKS LIKE THAT?
ExoFun
BombDropped!
lani
you can say anything
crokey
drgonzo the human marmite
RichardLewis
Brown, sticky and full of yeast.
crokey
haha, but its an interesting article man. I dont follow LoL at all but my little brothers play it and they seem to have a similar opinion to you.

i think that as soon as (if?) he gets a good offer he will be back, its the bug! i am assuming he is a very good player though. you mention you think he has been left behind, but once youve been at the top how far can you really be left behind? the only thing separating top 5 teams from top 25 teams from top 250 teams in any game is coordinated and cohesive dedication. im of the opinion that anyone thats been a top player can become a top player again, the only requirements are time and a team willing to wait for you to catch up.

tbh i have never bought any esports "retirement", i mean what the fuck are you retiring from? it basically translates as "i dont want to play this computer game anymore". he will want to play it again. everybody does!

...although this guy does seem like he would prefer a huge twitch following, allowing him to avoid competitive play and earn via streaming. like merlini in dota, angrytestie in hon, etc etc
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