ALL-ROUND MID LANER

Chapter 22

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To be nationally ranked was something that many people couldn't conceive of achieving. But to professional players, it wasn't that much of a challenge.

Professional players didn't often go for national rankings, but that was solely because they didn't have time.

Every day, they practiced their skills and techniques, reviewed old games, studied up on their opponents, and played training matches. Where would they find the time to take their heroes into hundreds or thousands of ranked games, just for the sake of building up their battle power?

In his past life, Ye Shaoyang played many heroes. But he was never nationally ranked with any of them.

Most of the players who made it onto the national leaderboards were streamers. Streamers spent a huge amount of time playing in ranked matches and raising their battle power, after all. Being nationally ranked was also a way a streamer could promote their channel.

However, everyone in Ye Shaoyang's old world knew that Ye Shaoyang was the best players when it came to his favored heroes.

In this world, he had yet to become a professional esports player.

He had plenty of free time.

Ye Shaoyang took a cab home and let himself into the apartment.

Little Rui instantly ran over and asked, "Ge, how did it go? Did you talk everything through with them?"

Xiao Bai, mewling noisily, also ran over to rub up against Ye Shaoyang's pants legs. The kitty probably thought he'd just returned from a hunt with something delicious to eat.

Ye Shaoyang picked up Xiao Bai and calmly said, "Blew it all up."

Xiao Bai curiously twisted its head back to look up at its master. "Meow meow?"

Little Rui's smile froze a bit. He remained silent for a few seconds before he quietly whispered, "Ge, is Whale Streaming's contract too harsh? If it isn't going to work out, should we switch over to another platform?"

"They're all birds of a feather. Every streaming platform has more or less the same contract." Ye Shaoyang moved towards the balcony with Xiao Bai in his arms. As he walked, he said, "We won't switch for now. I already have a few hundred thousand grand in gifts in my streaming room, and over two hundred thousand subscribers. I'll lose out on a lot if I switch platforms now, and it would be an insult to the gifts and subscription fees from my viewers."

Ye Shaoyang stooped down and poured some kibble into Xiao Bai's food bowl.

Xiao Bai instantly buried its head in the bowl and started to feast.

Ye Shaoyang stoked the food-obsessed kitty's head and smiled as he said, "In any case, if I don't sign, they can't withdraw the money either. It'll just sit in my account. One day, they'll come sign me of their own volition."

His expression didn't carry even the slightest hint of anger or aggrievement. In contrast, he looked perfectly calm and confidently poised. Although Qin Rui didn't know why negotiations had blown up between his gege and the streaming platform, he could tell just by looking at his gege's expression that his gege hadn't come out at a loss. Realizing that, Qin Rui let out a breath of relief and asked, "Ge, are you going to keep playing ranked this afternoon?"

"I'll start again in the evening. I need to practice a new hero first." Ye Shaoyang carried the kitten, who'd eaten its fill, back into the study.

He loaded up the game's training mode and cranked up the difficulty settings to 'Nightmare Mode'.

This was the most challenging difficulty level offered by the game's training mode. The A.I. team would have a complete view of the field. Even if you hid in the woods, the bots could find you in an instant. They could also automatically evade your skills and lock onto you with their attacks.

The computer-controlled bots in Nightmare Mode were even more nightmarish than professional players.

Professional players could still sometimes miss with their skills, after all. These bots would land a hit every single time.

Ye Shaoyang was preparing to practice with the [Illusionist] next.

He created a 1v1 practice room and chose to cycle through various heroes as his Illusionist's opponents.

There was one major perk to training this way—by observing the way the A.I. bots played, Ye Shaoyang would quickly familiarize himself with how the Illusionist worked against other heroes. For example, when facing off against the Frost Goddess, how could he best avoid her freeze ability? Against the Destruction Mage, how was he supposed to dodge that instakill ult?

Since players could choose which heroes they faced off against in practice 1v1 matches, Ye Shaoyang quickly cycled through more than twenty mid lane enemies for his Illusionist. He rapidly gained an understanding of how the Illusionist was played and how this hero worked against others.

He also clearly and precisely calculated the Illusionist's damage output potential with each of his skills. These skills would deal different amounts of damage to glass cannons and tanks, because meaty tanks typically started out with a higher base defense stat.

In practice games, players could choose and adjust the levels and builds of their opponents.

After playing many rounds, Ye Shaoyang swiftly devised a build for his Illusionist that would be best-suited for him.

He quickly scrolled through the equipment library and set up two saved builds for his Illusionist. Qin Rui sat next to him and watched him make his choices. He was practically dizzied by the display.

"Doesn't the game recommend this set?" he asked. "Ge, you don't want to use that one?"

"The recommended set isn't necessarily suitable for me," Ye Shaoyang said.

"Oh," Qin Rui murmured. He was also practicing new heroes from the neighboring seat. He had been curious enough to try the Abyssal Lord, but quickly discovered managing those three shadows was too difficult. He couldn't figure out what he was doing at all.

Qin Rui clicked into the Abyssal Lord's equipment menu. His eyes widened slightly. "Ge, next to the Abyssal Lord's recommended set of equipment, it says, 'Recommended by National #1 Abyssal Lord, Xiao Bai.'"

Hearing that, Ye Shaoyang also loaded up the Abyssal Lord's character information to take a look. The recommended equipment really was the set he usually liked to use, and it was indeed labeled which a marker that read, 'Recommended by National #1 Abyssal Lord, Xiao Bai'.

While explaining his equipment choices to his viewers, Ye Shaoyang had hit 'recommend build' in the game as well. It seemed that, after he topped the national leaderboards, the system had automatically synced his recommendations to the server and recommended his build to all players.

In this game, every hero's character information page led to a strategy discussion section.

Ye Shaoyang clicked into the Abyssal Lord's discussion section and found quite a few comments—

[Who's Xiao Bai? So cool. Got National #1 so fast.]

[Xiao Bai is a Whale Streaming host. He's been streaming lessons on the Abyssal Lord nonstop for a few days.]

[I'll look him up. I was just thinking I wanted to learn how to play this new hero.]

[This build is pretty good, I'll try it out. Nothing compares to real battle experience.]

There was no better publicity than an official recommendation.

Gods War had over 200,000,000 players domestically. Anyone interested in playing the new hero would open the Abyssal Lord's character information page and see the name of the National #1 Abyssal Lord, Xiao Bai. That created an endless stream of people looking up his name and finding his streaming channel.

That afternoon, the officially recommended builds had been refreshed. In just a few short hours, Xiao Bai's streaming channel gained another 100,000 followers. Many of them were rushing him to hurry up and play more ranked matches. Everyone wanted to learn to play the new hero.

Ye Shaoyang wasn't in any rush to increase his popularity, though.

He once again reorganized his own schedule.

He would wake up at seven in the morning. Wash up, eat breakfast, feed the cat.

From eight until ten, he would practice against A.I. teams, hone his farming skills, train with different heroes, record damage output and equipment information, and familiarize himself with the different tricks of playing each hero.

From ten to one, he would play three hours of ranked matches and stream his charge to the national leaderboards.

From one to two, he would take a lunch break, feed the cat, and play with the cat.

From two to six, he would watch recordings of professional games.

As an outsider, he had to rush to gain an understanding of these high-level games as quickly as possible. He had to learn about team comps, counters, and so on.

From eight to midnight, he would continue playing ranked matches.

With that schedule, he only had two hours a day to practice his fundamental skills—farming, positioning, precision, and so on. These were all things he could practice in training games.

By devoting four hours to watching games every afternoon, he could quickly improve his understanding of team compositions and synergies.

And by playing ranked matches for seven hours a day, he could hone his practical skills while getting real battle experience as well.

His schedule would be packed, but it would be a very enriching training program.

If he had been back at Team GD's base, every day would have been full of dull, tedious drills. He could practice one positioning tactic hundreds of times in a row.

But Ye Shaoyang loved his job. He had long since grown accustomed to the training that his profession entailed.

 

Qin Rui didn't bring up queueing with Ye Shaoyang again. His gege was becoming more and more powerful, already reaching the thirty to fifty stars range in the King rank. All of Ye Shaoyang's randomly matched opponents were experts. Qin Rui didn't understand how to play support in these high-level games, and he didn't want to shamelessly ride his gege's coattails. His gege had already carried him up to King; that was enough for him to brag about in front of his friends for a long time.

Taking all that into consideration, Qin Rui took the initiative to say, "Ge, I won't queue with you anymore. I can just play casual games for fun. You still don't have any moderators in your streaming room, right? I'll be your mod. If anyone insults you, I'll ban them right away."

Ye Shaoyang smiled at his didi. "Sure. Before school starts for you, you can help me out by being a mod. Once your ge starts making money, you'll get a big gift."

Qin Rui happily said, "I heard my major's course load is pretty light, so I'll have a lot of time. I can keep being a manager of your fan club in the future!"

That night, Ye Shaoyang used the Abyssal Lord to play a few more ranked games. He took that time to record a bit of gameplay with that hero, which he uploaded to his channel for new viewers to check out.

Viewers also quickly noticed that Xiao Bai's streaming room had a new mod, named Xiao Rui.

The next day, Ye Shaoyang put his new schedule into effect.

At eight in the morning, he started on two hours of practice in Nightmare Mode to hone his skills. At ten, he started to queue for ranked matches.

He changed the name of his streaming room to [Abyssal Lord National Ranking Achieved, Now Streaming National Illusionist Leaderboards Sprint].

Followers of Xiao Bai's streaming room noticed that the little green light, indicating the streamer was live, lit up at exactly ten in the morning. Seeing that their streamer had indeed come online, everyone gradually trickled into the room.

[Host, you get up this early?]

[Host, you're so dedicated. You stream at 10 every day!]

[Wait, wait. I just saw that the room name has been changed. Xiao Bai, you're charging the national leaderboards with the Illusionist now?]

[The National #1 Illusionist has been Brother Fish for a long time. Is our host embarking on a never-ending journey of smacking down Brother Fish?]

[Newbies like this only care about generating hype. Trying to stomp on Brother Fish… how shameless!]

[If you're all that, show your face. Trying to sell the cute act with a cat? Bet the streamer is too ugly to appear in public.]

[This streamer Xiao Bai talks big. Does he think it's that easy to get a national ranking? Hahaha.]

User [Fish Isn't Bad] has been muted by Moderator Xiao Rui.

User [Angelic Little Princess] has been muted by Moderator Xiao Rui.

Qin Rui swiftly silenced several incendiary users in a row.

A flood of 'mod 666!' comments filled up the screen.

Ye Shaoyang didn't pay any attention to those argumentative trolls. He only said, "I'll be playing ranked with the Illusionist this week. Once I make the national leaderboards, I'll switch to a different hero next week."

His viewers were all instantly baffled.

[Fuck, he really thinks the national leaderboards are nothing. He thinks he can just take it if he wants it.]

[One national ranking per week? Are you serious?]

[Host, you're wild! I like it!]

[It's good for young people to be a bit wild! I mean, what kind of gamer would go up to an enemy in the game and politely ask, may I please kill you?]

[Good luck, host. I'll be watching you. Take the Illusionist up the national rankings and shut up that stinky fish's fans!]

His viewers were getting worked up, but Ye Shaoyang paid them no mind.

He began to queue for a match and started to focus on the game.

 

10:30 AM. Team Jingzhe HQ.

Coach Chen, with two huge bags under his eyes, sat in front of a computer and yawned incessantly while watching Xiao Bai's stream.

The word 'VICTORY' had just popped up on the screen. When the final stats came out, the Illusionist was named the MVP with a kill-death-assist score of 12-0-4. His average stats were all very high. With just one match, he earned more than 400 battle power points.

The Illusionist getting twelve kills in one game… wasn't that too savage?!

Coach Chen's sleepiness instantly evaporated. He rubbed his eyes and said, "He isn't playing the Abyssal Lord anymore. He switched over to the Illusionist? And he wants to be nationally ranked with the Illusionist too?"

Xie Yuan also wandered over and stopped next to the coach. "The National #1 Illusionist title is currently held by the streamer Brother Fish. Looks like Xiao Bai has zeroed in on Brother Fish. He's wailing on him like crazy."

The team's support, Li Yun'mo, calmly said, "Wasn't Brother Fish the one who said our domestic pros are all cowards who are only capable of losing on the world stage? Now look at him. He won't even be able to keep his #1 spot with his most famed hero."

Coach Chen looked pensive. "He's targeting one person and focusing all his aggression there? Xiao Bai's popularity has been shooting up nonstop these days. Lots of his viewers are from Brother Fish's room. Does he plan on using Brother Fish as a stepping stone?"

Xie Yuan smiled and said, "Didn't Brother Fish use the entire professional esports community as a stepping stone to fame? If he's being punished by a newbie, it's just what he deserves."

In truth, Ye Shaoyang had no intentions of 'stepping' on anyone.

He was just after another national ranking.

Being ranked with only the Abyssal Lord was far from enough to prove his might.

And the most important problem was—he was already twenty-one years old, but he had yet to differentiate.

He'd done some research and learned that most rookies in that world started to play competitively in their teens.

Most people differentiated between the ages of sixteen to eighteen. The physical and emotional states of these youths would gradually mature and become stable. At that age, their hands were also as agile as they would ever be. Esports players who were around eighteen were most likely to produce results. Players who were over twenty were basically all gaming gods in the esports community already; they were the pillars of their respective teams.

Anyone who heard that Ye Shaoyang was just starting to play esports at age twenty-one would probably think, It's too late.

Therefore, he had to be many, many times more outstanding than the rookies who were recruited for junior training camps. That was the only way he would be able to catch the attention of a coach or scout.

He couldn't possibly go the standard route of applying for a training camp. If he did that, he would be over twenty-two by the time he started playing in official matches. Ideally, he would debut in the next season, not the one after that.

But he did know that any coach would see fielding a twenty-one-year-old newbie, who supposedly had no real tournament experience, as a huge risk. Signing someone like him would be like taking on an 'old' rookie.

He obviously couldn't tell people, 'Actually, I've played a few hundred official games already. I have plenty of experience.' It was very difficult to clearly explain something like his soul being transported here from another world. So, he had to rely on his own outstanding skills to make coaches acknowledge him.

Presently, he didn't have the means to prove himself in official games. The most basic plan he could put into motion was achieving as many national rankings as possible.

As long as he became nationally ranked with a lot of heroes, making himself well-known as an 'Amateur King', he would naturally draw attention from various professional teams.

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