1. Early skirmish casting:
- Do you hit a nice high for early kills?
- Are hype levels equivalent to the state of the game? (e.g. First blood is good and all, but it's not the game defining moment)
- Do you ask what the kill means? (E.g. Kill top? Does that mean, herald control? Plates? How does that kill/fight advance the game?
- Style (This is less important early on. Are you a rapid caster saying everything? Are you more methodical only calling big moments? Do you look at the intricacies of the fight? Or the big picture?)
3. Check-ins/state of the game
- It's your job to tell me gold lead, cs differences, item spikes (if relevant) and such.
- Checks should be around every 5 minutes, but big swings in gold will affect this. Tell me what has changed since you last told me what's happening.
4. Synergy with co-caster/ leading co-caster
- Takes a long time to develop.
- Do you bring back points they previously set up? e.g. you said in draft that this elise would gank early, look she's doing it! You said this comp wanted to teamfight, why can't they?
- Jokes/sidelining kept to a minimum with clear moments when you bring us back to the game. Usually the reset to the game is the pbps job.
5. The 'Story' of the game. (AKA Narrative)
- Is this game more than a set of individual fights? Who was winning? How? Why aren't they anymore?
- What does this mean to the players? Who should I be watching?
- What does this mean for the tournament?
- I am working on seeding ‘small narratives’ throughout a cast, instead of trying to make each narrative a ‘big moment’. Little additions to a players story when you talk about an ingame moment can really amplify the player in the audiences mind. (e.g. Rekkles vs. Bwipo in a lane could be ‘Two former teammates facing off, and at the moment Bwipo has the upper hand…’)
Those are the basics. For you however, the basic is probably just getting the League terminology in your mouth and messing around with it. I will look for this too but can't really give more advice than practice. The mind is a muscle and you need your muscle memory to be league.
Alongside this, come into each game with a goal. This goal shouldn't just be 'To have a great cast and be great cause woooo'. It should be specific and measurable. My main goal at the moment is to change my teamfights, I want to use battle/war terminology and make people feel every explosive/bullet. I plan specific ways I'll do this before the cast, and even if I fail at something else, as long as I hit/learned more about my goal, that's fine
Layers of a teamfight
To create defined layers of excitement and woven narrative for teamfights. This allows an obvious advance up and down levels in relation to game state. For teamfights – add adjectives later, not at the start – See how many layers you can build up
- Entirely onscreen
- Using ability names and descriptors to portray the action.
- Examples: Bot lane skirmish
- Adding in ‘simple’ adjectives (Great, massive damage, destructive)
- Convey a sense of the flow of the fight – ‘XXX is turning it around’ ‘Pushing forward/Pulling back)
- Add in larger adjectives that describe the on screen action (The destructive power of a 1000 suns, Melting through the backline, sweeping them away with the force of a tidal wave)
- Smaller additions of player story but purely ingame. (e.g. the 5 item sivir has finally come online, Kobbe stepping up after a poor laning phase)
- Additional player specific storylines – ‘Caps, against his former team, has slain the reigning champions’
- Larger slower big moments, take a breath.
- Huge fuck off moments. These are the moments that you can lose control and make wide sweeping statements. Maintaining a degree of measured verbiage after the big moment
- Highlight moments – CAPS
Expectation setting around teamfights
When building the story of a fight, it’s very easy to look at the fight in isolation, it begins when the first ability is thrown and ends when the teams back off in their respective directions. However, the STORY of the fight lasts much longer and by fostering discussions around it early on, you can help the viewer understand not only the mechanics of the fight itself, but also the reason it happened, and the magnitude of its effects.
So how can I make sure that I am establishing this story for a fight? Well in essence there are 3 distinct parts to prepping the audience for fights that matter. I call this, Establish, Direct, and Convey.
An average audience member will be silver or gold. At this level you have a basic understanding of the mechanics of the game, and of what objectives are important (baron, dragon, etc.). The intricacies of certain fights may not be as obvious, as it’s rare to see a solo-queue team fight for a red invade, or to gain deep vision for a baron that is still 2 minutes away.
So how do we show people that these fights matter? Retrospective analysis is always easy, ‘The fight that just happened led to baron and that means this team can win the game!’ Prospective analysis,although tougher, sets up an expectation for the audience and also gives them a reason to keep engaging with the game itself. By establishing a ‘set point’ at which things should happen and then extrapolating how that further affects the game as a whole, the audience is constantly waiting for the ‘next thing’, and is never left wondering why ‘nothing’ is happening.
So now the audience knows what’s going to happen, or at least what we expect to happen. During a teamfight there are so many things going on that it can be very easy to lose track of what you’re meant to focus on. After we’ve predicted we further need to direct the eyes of the audience before the fight starts so they know what they should be looking for.
So what’s important in a fight? It’s always going to be dependent on the champions, compositions and state of the game so far but there are some things that are pretty ubiquitous to most fights.
- Cooldowns – Summoner spells and ultimates will always be the big ones to watch, an ADC lacking these could be the reason his team is skirting around instead of engaging. Item cooldowns are also important but lesser so.
- Key spells – Who will be trying to engage? Who has the fight changing ultimate? Directing audience eyes towards these key spells before fights allows them key pivot points in the action.
- Carries – Who is going to change the fight? Are late game ADCs the main source of DPS? Is it the burst mage who will try to snipe out the backline? Try to only highlight one or two players per team and during the fight bring the audiences focus back to these KEY PLAYERS
The simplest of these points but perhaps the hardest to execute. Conveying the fight purely consists of reiterating the story you have built out in the moments of the fight. This should be modest at best, a ‘ look at Perkz’ here or a ‘the fight for baron that could decide the game’ there. Don’t try to repeat all the information that you’ve previously given, just remind the audience of the lens that you have already created. This lens is how you as a play-by-play should view the fight, if you don’t do this, then the story you’ve established is wasted at best, and confusing at worst.
What is actually happening when teams fight in League of Legends? Punches are thrown, guns are fired, spells are slung. Although this is fantasy, at its simplest, this is a fight. From small brawls to full scale battles, the rift endures war on a minute by minute basis. My goal, and the defining part of ‘Medic as a teamfight caster’ is to convey this. The essence of a punch, the sensation of a spell, I want the audience to feel it in their very bones.
|This style is uncommon – not easily replicable||Very hard to develop|
|It connects our audience to the action directly||Easy to overdo – needs variance|
|It allows for big sweeping moments||When misused could sound awful – preparing for the 'wrong' fight|
|It allows for smaller precise descriptors||Balance between 'typical lexicon' and 'Medic' can be hard to strike|
|It is instantly relatable||Is the lexicon universally understandable? War lexicon for people who don't understand war, samurai etc.|
Imagine looking at this. Noobs. Get good.
Jokes. Hope it helps.
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© Post "Medic’s tips on how to be a good League of Legends PBP caster" for game League of Legends.
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