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Kevan Bateman
Professor Jennifer Murray
ENC1102-0031
November 7, 2014
League of Legends Situated Inquiry
This study was designed to give the readers common knowledge to help understand the
discourse within the League of Legends community. Fellow members involved with League of
Legends as well as anyone who holds an interest in how people communicate without physical
interaction, how complete strangers can come together to achieve a common goal, or the diverse
types of communication within a specific group, will be intrigued with how this community uses
discourse to communicate with one another. Through research and thorough analysis, it has been
informed that technology allows members (and complete strangers) to cooperate and come
together to achieve a common goal of winning the game. The study introduces the League of
Legends community as a discourse community, introduces their genre of communication, and
explains the methodology of the research. The majority is filled with analyzed results that relate
the genre of the community to rhetoric collected through the research.
The League of Legends Community
A discourse community can be defined as a group of individuals bound by a common
interest in which they communicate through approved channels where the discourse is regulated.
John Swales wrote an essay titled The Concept of Discourse Community, where he stated the
phrase six defining characteristics that will be necessary and sufficient for identifying a group
of individuals as a discourse community (4). Using the definition and Swales characteristics,

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the League of Legends community can be considered a discourse community and is the
community being analyzed within the research.
The League of Legends community was formed to allow its members (the players) to
express their opinions about the game, not only to each other but to the creators and
programmers of the game (RIOT games). The goal of the community is to allow all individuals
voices to be heard, offer their suggestions, discuss advantages and disadvantages, and have any
of their questions answered. This results in continued success for League of Legends and keeps
their players challenged and active within the community. The group exists because the team
members of RIOT care about the success of their game, and solicit the opinions of their players
in order to make future improvements.
Massive Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) are videogames that require a minimum of
two players to work together and cooperate with one another in order to achieve a common goal
of beating the game and/or winning. The concept of teamwork is extremely important in these
types of games as members cannot work together without the cooperation of one another.
Communication is a necessity for teamwork and players cannot work together unless they
converse with the other player(s). Through analyzed research, every piece of writing contains
both fact and/or opinion about how each and every member must communicate and understand
one another in order to succeed. Whether the writing is referring to understanding the lexis and
terms that other players are saying, or talking about understanding the language and how another
person is speaking, they are all talking about individuals communicating with one another to
accomplish the common goal. The player is both the reader and the writer in an MMO and must
understand the game in order to communicate with others. This allows them to use and learn

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things like abbreviated terms and the strategies that other members are using which ultimately
result in the team succeeding.
League of Legends Genres
Discourse communities use their genre and genre sets in order to accomplish goals and to
articulate the operations of the group. This being said, the genres found within League of
Legends are chat boxes, forum posts, streams, and individual interaction between members such
as handwriting, emails, text messages, etc Forums, posts, and other genres are training
grounds for becoming a citizen of the community because they call for participation. Gamers
and other members of the community influence not only the game, but fellow members by
spreading their ideas and knowledge between one another and by communicating with each other
while they actively play the game. The community uses their discourse, technology, and League
of Legends related websites to allow two complete strangers to overcome distance and achieve a
common goal of increasing their ability to play, defeating the other team, and ultimately winning
the game. Without these genres, the members would not be able to work together, be able to
defeat the other team, or defeat the other team in League of Legends.
The most important genre within the League of Legends community is the forum post.
An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold
conversations in the form of posted messages. These posts are not only how the members of
RIOT communicate game updates and any information they have, but also how an individual
member can reply back to them, start their own conversation with fellow members, or just state
general information. Forums have a specified set of jargon that is related to them, and each
individual post is called either a thread or topic and has their own set of conversations within
them.

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Following the forum post is the live stream. A live stream is a live, current, and active
video platform in which users can view or broadcast video content through the use of a camera,
other video equipment, and the internet. The client media player begins to play the data (such as
a person playing a game) before it has been fully uploaded, allowing it to happen live. Each live
stream has its own channel, usually within a website and is run by a specific group or individual
person. League of Legends uses a system called Twitch-TV which is currently the most
popular streaming system.
Methodology
The objectives at the origin were to find any data that was relative to the League of
Legends and the discourse within that specific community. The goal was to explain how the
community talked to one another and after a few revisions, turned into how the community used
technology in order to overcome various challenges and distance in order to cooperate and
achieve the common goal of winning the game. With the intentions of proving this in mind, all
sources and information were found through the use of technology, and relate communication
directly to cooperation.
This study was not flawless and had many of its own complications. The greatest of
these was finding accurate and relatable sources that achieved the goal of relating
communication through technology to the cooperation and success of the group. Unlike most
topics that, through research, have vast amount of written discourse about them or organized
forms/discussions, League of Legends (and the RIOT team) is based on the community and
therefor constantly developing. This means that it is hard for a writer to accurately display
information during a period of time because it could quite possibly change the next day (making
the information false or invalid.)

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Although there are nearly thirty-two million active members, the League of
Legends community is not filled with scholars and journalists who have written about the
discourse between members. Through seemingly countless hours of research on the League of
Legends and their discourse, the search needed to become less specified. The best place to look
for information was the League of Legends website. Using the website, forum posts, live
streams, and statements from RIOT employees, information needed to prove how the
communication was used, was obtained. There was not much else related to League of Legends
from any other various sources, so in order to find results for the research, the search needed to
be broadened even more. This lead to some relative information and with a little work and
explanation could be connected to the League of Legends.
The method for choosing primary research was to pull information from the community
and use the sources with the most relativity or largest amount of useful information. A different
kind of source could have provided just as much useful information in a different way, but would
have resulted in a paper that wasnt as clean. Other sources were not directly related to League
of Legends, or were filled with more useless information than things that were relative to what
was needed. These sources were not chosen because they lacked the needed information, were
not relative enough, were filled with the wrong kind of information, or were just not interesting
enough.
There was one final problem through all the research. Although there are written pieces
filled with data regarding semi-related topics, they could not be directly set to the League of
Legends community. They were rich in data that was about topics similar like gaming in
general, or an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online game what league of legends is), but no
matter how it was looked at, could not be relative to League of Legends. The further the

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research went into detail, the more unrelated the writing became. The final decision was made to
keep the research broadened in order to relate pieces back to the original topic.
Each and every source is related to video games and the communication within them, and
can be encountered or discovered through involvement with the League of Legends discourse
community or through associated websites. They prove how the members of the community
cooperate and help each other learn new strategies and expand their abilities, ultimately allowing
them to win more games in the future.
Results
In this study, the primary concern was to develop factual information to prove how a
community can use technology in order to come together to overcome challenges and achieve a
common goal. The research proves that this is done by teaching one another on an individual
basis but also through mass media and public education. Given the chance to go in depth, a few
topics were found that were directly related to League of Legends. Though the content found
within each piece or writing is various and based on different information, all the research
answers the question of how a community uses technology to overcome a challenge and
cooperate in order to achieve their goal.
Importance of the Forum
As stated before, the most important genre within the League of Legends is the forum
posts. One of the largest topics found amongst these posts is Education. Education isnt just
about learning new things, but also learning everything possible about the game itself, and thats
where these posts come in to play. In order for a player to develop their skills within a game,
they must learn about the strategies, lexis, and the skills that are required. These skills are
usually related to one of the five roles within the game. These roles are Marksman (ranged

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character that uses a gun), Support (risks their lives in order to keep the marksman ahead of the
game), Top-Lane (physical character built to absorb damage), Mid-Lane (magician that can
manipulate both friend and foe), and Jungler (hides around the map until the chance to help a
teammate confirm a kill arises). These roles are learned through practice and voiced through
members of the community. Niek gives an in-depth guide that explains the overall objective,
what each of these roles are and what they do, and the specific terminology needed to understand
the game in his article titled Why Am I Here: A Guide to Roles and Lanes, posted on the
League of Legends forum board. Without the posts like his, new players, or players with little
experience, will have trouble learning about the roles, terms, and objectives in the game.
Communication isnt the only thing that is needed in order for a team to be successful
while playing League of Legends. Through communication, comes their ability to work together
as a team, and not individuals. James Paul Gee states in his journal What Video Games Have to
Teach us About Learning and Literacy that When players play in massive multiplayer games,
they often collaborate in teams, each using a different, but overlapping, set of skills, and share
knowledge and other values with one another (3). The concept of teamwork is extremely
important in these types of games as members cannot work together without the (not always
willing) cooperation of one another (as many players think they are better than everyone else and
dont need help). These forums are a necessity for teamwork as players cannot work together
unless they converse with the other player(s), and this is done through these forum posts both
before and after the games.
Michael Hartman directly states that without communication, you cannot win an online
team based game because you lack the teamwork required, in his post on the forums titled
Better Communication for Winning LoL (Intro). His forum post is filled with tips and

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suggestions to both improve communication and teamwork during the game League of Legends.
Communication is extremely important when referring to winning. Familiarizing yourself with
other players allows you to understand what they are trying to say as well as making
communication simpler by using abbreviated terms. Without communication, you cannot win an
online team based game, because you lack the teamwork required to do so. Although the article
is short, Hartman fills it with examples of specific terminology used by players and the
background of how they came to exist.
Kevin Moberly and John Alberti in the journal Computers & Composition both talk about
how games cannot be completed unless the players communicate with one another and work
together. Alberti says Video gamers are both the readers and writers and without them, these
games could not function, the goals would not exist, therefor the game would not be completed
(259). In League of Legends, the communication between players currently in a game can be
found in the chat box, which allows active players to talk to others in their game, both on their
team and the opposing team.
Along with forums, comes streaming (live stream), as it is the second most important
genre. Being an active member of the League of Legends community, watching live streams and
knowing updated information is a large part of obtaining skills required for the game. Through
learning these skills, one gets introduced to alternate forms of related education such as a stream.
One of these sources is a stream from an individual player who goes by the name of Valkrin, and
another, from the League of Legends world championships, presented by RIOT themselves. The
streams are the best example of how to community share their complete (and uncensored)
thoughts with one another. During the League of Legends world competition, the announcers
analyzed the communication between both teams and explained that one team was able to gather

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more information and work better together as a team because of their excellent communication
with one another.
An Influential Community
Albertis journal and Matthew S.S. Johnsons Public Writing in Gaming Spaces, talk
about how the writing in video games reframe our understanding of literacy and impact the entire
community as the goals of one member can usually be related to the goals of another.
Communication is self-motivated and impacts the entire community as almost any member can
read it. Johnson states that text and writing from players in reference to computer/video games is
not only directed to a specific audience with specified purposes, but has the potential to cause
change within the community and that gamers are agents who have the power, through writing,
to shape the electronic worlds, and influence our understanding of literacy (Intro). Forums,
posts, and other genres are training grounds for becoming a citizen of the community because
they call for participation. Gamers and other members of the community influence not only the
game, but fellow members by spreading their ideas and knowledge between one another and by
communicating with each other while they actively play the game. Alberti calls video games
dialog discursive spaces and reading and writing the arenas of socialization, communication,
and ultimately, play (260). The Community relies on individual players to speak their minds
and opinions. Without this process, the game does not change, and League of Legends is always
changing as it is something RIOT has promised.
The Need to Understand
Every piece of writing contains both fact and/or opinion about how each and every
member must communicate and understand one another in order to succeed. Whether the
writing is referring to understanding the lexis and terms that other players are saying, or talking

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about understanding the language and how another person is speaking, they are all talking about
individuals communicating with one another to accomplish the common goal. The player is both
the reader and the writer in an MMO and must understand the game in order to communicate
with others. This allows them to use and learn things like abbreviated terms and the strategies
that other members are using which ultimately result in the team succeeding. In The Semiotic
Ecology and Linguistic Complexity of an Online Game World, Steven L. Thorne, Ingrid
Fischer, and Xiaofei Lu state the texts are extremely relevant to the actions, decision, and
problem-solving that players face when playing an online game and show the relationship
between the player and their environment (280). Without the ability to understand one another,
members of the community have to try much harder in order to communicate and work together
to achieve their goal. Each of these articles also contains information that shows how technology
has made communication easier and helped people with similar interests overcome distance and
come together not only just to speak, but to cooperate. Although technology allows members to
easily communicate, it causes members of the community to become less familiar with one
another because of lack of physical interaction/face to face conversation.
Conclusion
Using Swales six defining characteristics for identifying a group of individuals as a
discourse community, the League of Legends community can be defined as one based on his
definition. Communication between members is needed in order to cooperate or accomplish a
goal and through this communication and technology, two people can overcome distance and
converse even when familiarity with one another isnt very high. Most of the communication as
it refers to League of Legends is about strategy and helping other players become educated, and
can be found most commonly on the forum board in posts. Through research and thorough

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analysis, it has been informed that technology allows members (and complete strangers) to
cooperate and come together to achieve a common goal of winning the game. The study
introduced the League of Legends community as a discourse community and their genre of
communication, the forum board, as well as the methodology of the research, how it was all
obtained and what it all contains.

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Works Cited
Alberti, John. "The Game Of Reading And Writing: How Video Games Reframe Our
Understanding Of Literacy." Computers & Composition 25.3 (2008): 258-269.
Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
Colby, Richard, and John Alberti. Rhetoric/Composition/Play through Video Games: Reshaping
Theory and Practice of Writing / Edited By Richard Colby, Matthew S.S. Johnson, and
Rebekah Shultz Colby. n.p.: New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013., 2013.OneSearch.
Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning And Literacy / James
Paul Gee. n.p.: New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2004., 2004. OneSearch. Web. 07 Nov.
2014.
Hartman, Michael. Better Communication for Winning LoL. Altered Gamer. 17 Apr. 2012.
Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
Johnson, Matthew S.S. "Public Writing in Gaming Spaces." Computers & Composition 25.3
(2008): 270-283. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
Moberly, Kevin. "Composition, Computer Games, And The Absence Of Writing." Computers &
Composition 25.3 (2008): 284-299. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 07
Nov. 2014.
Niek. Why Am I Here: A Guide to Roles and Lanes. Weblog post. League of Legends
Community RSS. N.p., 23 Feb. 2012. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
Thorne, Steven L., Ingrid Fischer, and Xiaofei Lu. "The Semiotic Ecology and Linguistic
Complexity of an Online Game World." Recall 24.3 (2012): 279-301. ERIC. Web. 07
Nov. 2014.

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Worlds Group Stage 1 Day 1. Riot Games. 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.