Simple Tips for Large Improvements: HUD, Quick Cast, Lockscreen
Mon 17th Mar 2014 - 8:09pm
Remembering your early stages of learning League might unfold a plethora of embarrassing memories, full of tower dives, AD Soraka (as if you would ever play support), and rightfully being reported for feeding while really, truly trying your best. On the other hand, beneath the pile of kill steal accusations, lies the moment you decided you would continue playing, determined to make it to level 30. Maybe it was your first double kill, baron steal, or the time xfioramaster15 asked, “r u a smurf”, but that moment of pride was enough for you to suddenly see your name flash over the League World’s Stage.
It was the moment you believed that you knew how to play League of Legends. I’m sure by now that feeling has passed, now in the deep gloom of “Elo Hell” and left you wondering, “How ever can I improve my game tactics?” While grinding tirelessly through bronze and silver or maybe even normals to level 30, there are some simple changes that really do make a difference. Everyone can hit a high level of skill, but over time that skill can plateau. Making a change is one of the best ways to continue improving.
Yes, while to most players it might seem obvious that lock screen play is simply not the way to go, others have never passed on from their tutorial days in the comfy box revolving solely around themselves.
For low-level players, a locked screen may be viable.
- Convenience for beginners
- Reduces distraction from moving screen
- Allows player to focus on their champion
On the other hand, although it might seem the meager cushion of vision the lock screen provides is enough in early levels, it's true that change may be inevitable. While play style is different for everyone:
- Unlocked screen provides greater map awareness
- Provides better view for skillshots or an unlocked screen certainly does provide a better view of the map and give an edge on awareness.
If you want to improve, breaking the lock screen habit is almost essential. Weaning off lock screen slowly will make it a fluid change. Many summoners worry that trying something new will drop their ability until they get used to the new settings, but taking things slowly can eliminate that period.
- Holding spacebar centers the camera, as most players know. Slowly but surely using this feature will allow you to make plays and use skill shots more effectively as you feel comfortable. In the meantime, or while walking, lock screening with the spacebar can be a nice tool to fall back on. This method is often called 'Spacebar Hugging".
- Attempt champions that are difficult to play on lock screen: this may show just how useful the free-moving camera function can be. Long skillshots, like Varus’ arrow, can be inaccurate without hovering the camera near the target.
- Try laning against champions that are difficult to beat with lock screen. For example, imagine bot-laning on Purple team against a Caitlyn who has her ult up and you’ve got one bar of health left. If she wants to pick you off, you’ll never be able to save yourself if you don’t know she’s ulting until the red target of death shows up. Noticing (or being able to see) pre-ult animations can be the difference between life and death.
Quick casting, also known as smart casting prior to the 3.12 version, allows a player to cast skills at the press of a button. While normally we hit the ability button, aim with mouse, and trigger the ability, quick casting eliminates the second step entirely. New players may not be aware or interested in this feature, but in the future that fifth of a second can be essential to coming out on top of a duel. If you aren’t at that level, you make ask, “Why learn now?”. But remember, the sooner the better!
While smart casting, in the long run, will make your play more fluid, it is true that there may some practicing to cover before trying this mode. Here are some great things to brush up on before diving in:
- Champion ability range: Once you’re quick casting, range indicators will no longer be visible.
- Practice accuracy: If aiming is difficult, practice so quick casting isn’t a trade-off between speed and accuracy- they go hand-in-hand!
- Learn Combos: Quick casting is only useful if you know which abilities to use quickly.
- Account for Movement: Stop relying on range indicators
The current smart casting feature has many customization options to make it right for you, such as what abilities will use quick casting. Choosing whether quick casting is triggered on press or release is also a great tool for customization. For example, when casting a long-range Lux laser or Ashe arrow across the map, being able to aim, then cast on release can make a huge difference. If you’d like to slowly integrate quick casting into your play, try turning on Smart Cast Range Indicators. This will allow you to practice smart casting with certain champions and abilities you are comfortable with in the heat of battle, but allows you to hold down the desired key for an extra moment to see the range indicator.
If, in the end, smart casting isn’t for you, remember that trying didn’t hurt and may have even improved your reflexes and knowledge of a champion’s abilities greatly.
The HUD (Heads-Up Display) is extremely customizable in League of Legends, but seems to be often overlooked by players. In the settings, you can reduce the size of the HUD and while it may seem like an overly-simple change, some don’t bother to do so. By doing this, you are given a slightly greater range of vision, especially on the purple team. If you are a locked screen player, it is critical that you give yourself this extra vision. Not to mention, that once you know the skills and get your items set up comfortably, you’ll no longer need to look at the GUI for guidance anyway.
I hope these extremely simple tips can help some of you to improve your game, if even slightly. Remember, small improvements can make a huge difference in the long run.