9:00 PM. Team Tianhuan's HQ.
When Chi Shuo reached Training Room 1, his teammates were already sitting in front of their computers and doing their daily drills. As he passed behind Coach Lin Feng, he saw that the coach just so happened to have the profile page of the new [Abyssal Lord] hero on his monitor.
Lin Feng had been the starting mid laner in the first generation of Team Tianhuan. He was a very mild-mannered beta who'd stayed on as the head coach after retiring as a player.
Because he used to be a professional player himself, his coaching philosophy was different from that of many other coaches—he prioritized each player's own will, and he didn't put on airs just because he held the title of 'coach'. He rarely forced players to sit out as benchwarmers, unless a player truly made an egregious mistake and remained unrepentant about it.
Every time a new hero was added to the game, Coach Lin personally practiced with that hero first. He believed that coaches couldn't just be experts on game theory. They had to know each of the heroes inside and out, in order to choose the best lineup for every game. As a result, out of all the head coaches in the league, Lin Feng was the strongest player.
Chi Shuo stopped behind him and leaned down to look at his computer monitor. "How strong is the new hero looking?"
"Should be a T0 mid laner," Lin Feng said. "This hero is a bit hard to operate well. His displacement skill has a very short range. If the player's control isn't spectacular, it's easy to hit a wall. The shadows can split apart or group up. They can do decent damage in group fights or one-on-one matchups. Very good versatility. His attack power is bound to grow explosively in late-game. Getting a kill with his ult refreshes his other skills. The more he kills, the stronger he'll become."
"A kill-oriented assassin mage?" Chi Shuo took a seat next to the coach. He booted up his computer as he continued, "The new hero hasn't been officially released on the tournament server yet. He won't be out until November. Should we check out the Abyssal Lord in advance and figure out some strategies surrounding him?"
Coach Lin smiled and said, "As soon as he officially goes live, it's very likely that this hero will basically live on the ban list. But we should prepare for all possibilities. Just in case our opponents don't ban him, we should practice some team comps using him."
Chi Shuo nodded. "I'll play some ranked matches with you tomorrow and get a feel for the new hero."
The official tournament schedule split each tournament season into three mini-seasons.
For example, during the ninth season, the official game client was divided into three versions corresponding with these mini-seasons: 9-1, 9-2, and 9-3. These mini-seasons equated to the official pre-season, mid-season, and post-season periods in the league.
In order to keep things fresh for players and increase the variety of potential tactics that could be used in a game, new heroes were released every mini-season.
New heroes were generally very strong upon release. They would be released on the public online servers first, where players could scope out any lingering bugs. After two months, new heroes would be released on the tournament server. This helped prevent new heroes with bugs from popping up in official games and interfering with tournament results.
Currently, the new hero of game version 9-3, the Abyssal Lord - Locke, was already available on public servers. All players could buy him or complete tasks to unlock him. But he had yet to be added to the tournament server, so he couldn't be used in professional games just yet.
Professional players had to familiarize themselves with new heroes in advance. Otherwise, how would they cope if their opponents chose a new hero that had just been added to the tournament server?
Therefore, every team's players and coaches—not just the ones belonging to Team Tianhuan—would definitely practice with the new Abyssal Lord.
This was precisely the 'starting line' Ye Shaoyang had spoken of.
Ye Shaoyang continued to play ranked games with Qin Rui, using the Abyssal Lord as his hero.
Choosing a hero that was well-suited to him had an obvious benefit on the development of his own skills.
Even if his teammates were useless, he could still carry them.
After four hours, he'd won fifteen games. And he had been named the MVP in every single one of those games. Each win in their winning streak granted more and more points. In the blink of an eye, Ye Shaoyang's didi Qin Rui had reached the rank of Platinum I. Ye Shaoyang had also shot straight up from Bronze III to Gold I.
The game's ranking system granted more points for consecutive wins. As long as a player kept winning, they would continue to gain bonus points. Five consecutive wins granted one star, ten granted two, and fifteen consecutive wins granted three extra stars. Players could ride a winning streak straight up the rankings, zooming upwards like they were riding on a rocket.
When he saw that it was already past midnight, Ye Shaoyang rubbed his aching shoulders and turned around. "Let's get some sleep. We can pick this up tomorrow."
He had already been sitting in front of a computer for nine hours by then.
Qin Rui was already tired. He exited the game and turned back to look at Ye Shaoyang. "Ge, you're really good at this game. Way better than my classmates. They used to play with me, and we would always lose. You carried me straight through fifteen consecutive wins."
This little didi was so excited that his cheeks were glowing with a bit of red. "I've never won so many in a row before!"
"How long have you been playing the game?" Ye Shaoyang asked.
"Two months," Qin Rui said. "After my college entrance exams, I made an account with some classmates. Some of them are already Diamond-ranked. I was the only one stuck in Gold. They said I was dragging them down, so they didn't want to play with me anymore."
"Do you want to get to King?" Ye Shaoyang suddenly asked.
"Huh?" Qin Rui completely froze up. He'd played for two months without managing to get out of Gold, and he was still frequently insulted by his teammates. In his mind, even the Diamond rank was too far out of his reach. The [Ultimate King] rank that was reserved for players at the pinnacle of the game was totally out of the question for him.
None of his classmates had become Ultimate Kings.
Even his strongest classmate, a powerful alpha, was stuck in Diamond I. That classmate couldn't win the promotion games he needed to clear in order to get into the Master rank.
"Ultimate King?" Qin Rui echoed dubiously. He scratched at his head. "Can I really do it?"
"If I say you can, then you can." Ye Shaoyang smiled at his didi and patted him on the shoulder. "Starting tomorrow, I'll teach you a bit more about game sense. As long as you know how to protect your teammates, it'll be a breeze for you to rank up with me."
Qin Rui was speechless. He felt like he'd grabbed hold of the pie in the sky.
He had grown up as a meek and obedient boy. He'd always been an outstanding student in his teachers' eyes, but he was always dissed when he played this game. His self-confidence had taken more than a few hits.
He truly didn't know much about this game. So even if people said extremely rude and ugly things to him, he didn't feel like he had any right to talk back.
Today, Yang-ge had helped him shoot down some people who were swearing at him. That alone had been a huge relief to Qin Rui. And then Yang-ge took him on a fifteen-game winning streak! For the first time ever, Qin Rui truly experienced what it was like to let the game get his heart pumping—he finally knew how cool it felt to win!
Qin Rui had already become Ye Shaoyang's devoted little fanboy. He gazed adoringly at his gege and asked, "If I learn from you, I can really reach the King rank?"
"That's right," Ye Shaoyang said. "We'll double queue again tomorrow, and ge will take you to King."
"Awesome!" Qin Rui cheered.
In one day, Ye Shaoyang had crossed over to a new world, learned about A/B/O dynamics, sifted through all the information on this new game, and played more than a dozen rounds with his didi… his brain had been stuffed so full of new information that it felt like it was about to explode. He rubbed at his aching temples, then got up and turned off his computer.
"Let's go. Shower, then sleep."
Qin Rui also turned off his laptop. The smile on his face was glowing even more brilliantly than before. "Mm. Good night, Yang-ge."
Ye Shaoyang picked up the little white cat that was napping on the sofa. He stroked its fur and got it settled in the cat bed on the balcony, before turning to take a shower and head to bed.
His bedroom was pretty spacious. Perhaps because the original owner of this body had lived there for many years, Ye Shaoyang got used to his surroundings very quickly. He was asleep within ten minutes of climbing into bed.
All his dreams were of his time with the LPL.
His teammates had respectfully called him Captain Ye, while fans and opponents had called him God Yang. Some fans waved banners of support and shouted his name from the stands of tournament stadiums. Others took to internet forums and called him an idiot who only ever went to international tournaments to shame himself.
The familiar faces of his old teammates flashed through his mind one by one, and the images from the finals of the world championship played out behind his eyes in slow-motion…
When he woke from his nightmare with a start, Ye Shaoyang found that his eyes were a little sore.
He knew that all these parts of his past—the highs and lows, the glories and defeats—were gone.
He was already starting from square one in a brand new world. In the future, he would have new teammates and new experiences. The only thing that would stay the same was his determination to continue working towards the 'world champion' title.
Ye Shaoyang took a deep breath, then threw off his blankets and climbed out of bed.
Qin Rui had woken up a long time ago. He was wearing an apron and making breakfast in the kitchen. When Ye Shaoyang pushed open the kitchen door and saw his didi standing by the stove, concentrating on frying up some eggs, he yawned and asked, "You're up this early?"
"I'm used to going to sleep early and getting up early," Qin Rui said with a smile. "Ge, go wash your hands and get ready for breakfast."
Ye Shaoyang turned around and went to wash up. When he returned, Qin Rui had already laid out a decadent breakfast on the table. There were fried eggs with golden yolks, fragrant fried pancakes with meat, and two bowls of mouth-wateringly aromatic pumpkin congee.
Ye Shaoyang suddenly remembered that the refrigerator had been empty. He looked up and asked, "Did you go shopping for groceries already?"
"Mm. There's a supermarket right downstairs. I bought a ton of meat and vegetables. It should be enough to last us three days."
Ye Shaoyang was silent.
This omega didi who could cook was an absolute angel!
His cousin had sent Little Rui to live with him to save his intestines, right?
Ye Shaoyang's spirits soared. He picked up a fried egg with his chopsticks and took a bite, then gave Qin Rui a thumbs up. "Delicious."
Qin Rui smiled shyly. "I bought ribs, so I can make sweet and sour ribs for you later. Ge, if there's anything else you like to eat, you can tell me. I'll drop by the market again and buy the ingredients."
Ye Shaoyang studied his didi with a complex feeling in his heart.
He had never encountered anyone in the esports circle who was so kind and gentle, who could cook so well, and who would never fight back when insulted by others.
Was all that why Qin Rui had differentiated as an omega?
Qin Yue and Qin Rui were both omegas. The former was gentle and smart, and the latter was meek and adorable. Were all the omegas in the world like this? They couldn't possibly be, right?
They didn't swear, they didn't argue? They were just gentle, considerate, and kind?
Ye Shaoyang thought about that 50% chance of him differentiating as an omega, and then he tried to picture himself acting all meek and soft… he couldn't imagine it. In the end, he only gave himself goosebumps.
There was no way he could be meek and obedient. Typically, he was the one in command. Other people listened to him.
Even if he differentiated as an omega, he would still cuss out the people who needed to be cussed out.
After all, he had ten thousand ways of talking shit about people without actually swearing or saying anything that could be considered a reportable offense.
Ye Shaoyang quickly scarfed down his breakfast, then led his didi back into the study to boot up his computer.
Qin Rui sat down next to him and adopted a very earnest, studious expression. "Ge, are we going to play ranked now?"
"No need to rush," Ye Shaoyang said. "Let's start with a couple rounds against the computer. I'll teach you how to really play support. If everything goes well, I want to sprint straight up to King today. I'll sprint up the national leaderboards with the Abyssal Lord, too."
Qin Rui was speechless.
Sprinting to King in one day, and sprinting onto the national leaderboards too? Was Yang-ge really that confident?
Qin Rui opened up his friends list and clicked into Xiao Bai's profile.
Each player's profile would list the player's commonly used heroes. Only heroes used more than ten times would show up in this list, and games against A.I. teams didn't count. The Abyssal Lord was currently the only hero on Xiao Bai's commonly used heroes list. He had been used fifteen times, with a 100% win rate.
The hero's battle power was 3,689.
A bronze marker was affixed to the upper left corner of the hero's image—
Star City, Binjiang District, #1.
"Ge, you're already ranked in the district!" Qin Rui exclaimed excitedly.
Ye Shaoyang was perfectly calm. "Mm. I'll get a national ranking to show you in a few days."
Qin Rui fell silent again.
His gege's goals were truly extraordinary.
Ye Shaoyang relied on his memory to find and load up the streaming platform he had been using when he first woke in this body—Whale Streaming.
This was one of the biggest streaming platforms in the country. Upon clicking into the Gods War category, Ye Shaoyang found that there were indeed many streamers who were currently live. The most popular active streamer was named [Brother Fish], and the name of his streaming room was 'The Early Bird Gets The Worm, New Hero Abyssal Lord Training In Progress Now'. There were over two million viewers.
It was 8:30 AM. At a time like that, most players of the game would still be asleep. Brother Fish was obviously a professional streamer. With how popular his room was, he must have had some skill as well.
Every time the game released a new hero, tons of people would be eager to learn how to play that hero. They would seek out tutorials and livestreams relating to that hero, making this sort of content an extremely good way for streamers to attract attention and become more popular.
Ye Shaoyang carelessly changed the name of his own streaming room from 'Newbie Playing Casually' to 'Abyssal Lord National Ranking Sprint - Live'.
Gradually, viewers started to filter into the room.
[Xiao Bai? Isn't this the newbie who lost three placement matches in a row yesterday? You still haven't uninstalled the game, huh?]
[Are you really trying to take the low road of becoming the worst streamer on this platform?]
[Welcome back to the slippery slope of livestreaming.]
[How many times does our host plan on dying today? How many heads will you give away?]
Ye Shaoyang said nothing.
Ahem. Best not to address his dark history.
He ignored those bullet comments and swiftly pinned an announcement to the top of the comments section: [Starting at 10:00 AM, I'll be rushing the national leaderboards with the Abyssal Lord. You're welcome to watch.]
Every viewer in the streaming room fell silent.
A newbie who had died eight times in one game wanted to become nationally ranked with the new hero?
Where'd he get all that courage, huh?
The face-slapping starts now~