Mute All is Like Locked Camera

18 May 2022
5 minute read

One piece of advice I’ve seen given frequently is “You should mute all your teammates at the start of every game.” Here’s why I think you should reconsider that.

Mashup of imaginary settings for League of Legends

It’s no secret that many of the players in MOBA games like League of Legends are toxic. They will flame you for every little mistake, they might even spew racist or homophobic slurs. And even when they try to help, much of the time when they try to shot call their calls are wrong. They only focus on their sliver of the action, and because they are missing the larger context, will come to an incorrect conclusion.

So if your teammates are misinformed at best, and toxic at worst, why should you even bother to listen to what they have to say? That’s the reasoning that prompt many players to mute all their teammates at the start of every game. They don’t even give anyone a chance to say anything in chat that might offend them.

It’s possible to permanently disable chat in the player settings, but most people seem to prefer to do this on a per-game basis. Maybe if you’re playing with friends it can be a little inconvenient to re-enable chat. Or maybe people simple feel some sort of pleasure at muting other players.

Also, when I say chat I mean text chat. While League does have a voice client, it’s disabled by default, and most people prefer to use other voice chat options like Discord.

So why do I think it’s a mistake to mute all game chat? If you take a step back, the issue is not a simple yes or no. It’s not that you should either mute all or not. The real issue here is, how good are your communion skills?

If you’re unfamiliar with communion skills, you should check out the related posts with the communion tag

There’s an analogy I can make between muting all and locking your camera. One of the basic Agency skills in League is camera control. Using edge-jabbing and the mini-map, a skilled player will rapidly move his camera across the map, allowing him to gather the necessary information to make good decisions. The downside to moving your camera like that is, of course, you can no longer see your own character. It’s possible, in a hectic teamfight, to actually lose sight of your own champion, and when that happens you’re likely to earn a quick death.

So many players, when they are starting out, enable the locked camera feature. When your camera is locked, you can’t move your camera around, and your champion always remains in the center of the screen. You never have to worry about losing your champion, and all your aiming and movement commands remain constant. Clicking in the upper right quadrant of the screen will move your character in that direction.

Many players will ask, “I use a locked camera, and I can’t play with the camera unlocked. Is that bad?” The answer is to usually recommend that the player try playing with the camera unlocked, and keep practicing at it until it becomes second nature. It’s a skill that needs to be learned. Playing with a locked camera is not bad, necessarily, but it imposes a ceiling on just how good you can get. If you’re a new player and you’re overwhelmed with all the different skills you need to learn, then sure, lock your camera and play that way until you’re more confident. But eventually, when you’re ready, you need to unlock your camera to unlock your full potential.

Muting all your teammates is exactly like that. Managing your teammates, interacting with them and getting the best play out of them as possible, those are all communion skills. Those skills ar difficult, they take practice, and most people are not very good at them.

There’s no simple yes-or-no answer to “Should I mute all my teammates every game?”. Instead, you should consider your own communion skills. If you have difficulty playing as a team member, then perhaps muting all is best, at least for now. Treat it as playing with a locked camera. It makes the games easier at first, but it will eventually put a ceiling on how high you can climb. Once you’ve practiced and mastered communion skills like I’ve listed before, leave chat enabled and use it as a tool to improve your game further.

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