The Myth of Kill-Stealing
Wed 20th Nov 2013 - 8:34pm
In a competitive game any small advantage can lead to victory, and in-fighting over 'Kill Stealing' (KSing) is negative and unnecessary. Part of the enjoyment we experience whilst playing comes from knowing we have outplayed our opponent. Going against an enemy player mano-a-mano is a true testament to our skill as a gamer. But giving all you have to take an opponent down only to have a teammate casually walk up and get the kill can be frustrating. “KS” you type furiously into chat, letting them know exactly how you feel about their so-called help. “KS”, they say more like “kill secured”.
Now, I have personally been on both sides of this issues and in my opinion it's a moot point. In a team game, securing any objectives such as kills is a team effort, in which every role is vital to succeed. It can be frustrating to watch 60%, 70%, even 90% of an enemy's health bar disappear only to have a teammate land the killing blow. But what do we gain by calling them out; arguably having that advantage in numbers is necessary to securing a win. That advantage allows us to take towers, Gold Fury, Fire Giant, and pressure the enemy base. However there are a number of factors to consider if you suspect a teammate of purposely 'KSing'.
Firstly, what did they do to get the kill; are they using AA to whittle them down or abilities. In the latter case, did they use a damaging ability or a form of crowd-control? If they are using crowd -control, I'd give them the benefit of the doubt that they were trying to help instead of stealing the kill. If they are using auto-attacks or purely damaging abilities, they may have been worried about the enemy's escape coming off cooldown and didn't want to see the kill to get away. Also consider that in the midst of a teamfight a lot of damage is coming out and at times DoTs or 'piercing' (such as Spirit Arrow) abilities may secure kills during the chaos.
The other factor to determine if you have been a victim of 'KSing' occurs after the game is over. I always consider player damage in conjunction with kills. If you have high player damage and a low K:DR, you contributed a lot in teamfights and were an integral part of the win. Whenever I see a teammate with a high number of kills but little or no assists, alongside low player damage, I recognize that they were playing for themselves. When a teammate plays selfishly and waits to contribute to the fight until a kill presents itself, that hurts your team in a way no amount of kills can compensate. Selfish players not only risk the game with their self-centered attitude but alienate their teammates and can disrupt any synergy you had before.
In short, 'KSing' is a selfish concept that has no place in a team game and while selfish teammates will deny you kills time and again, getting upset doesn't help push your advantage. Getting kills doesn't necessarily win the game; placing wards, good use of crowd-control, using heals during a teamfight, and securing objectives it much more important than a high K:DR.