The next afternoon, right after he woke up, Jian Rong saw that he had a few messages on his phone.
[Shiliu: Are you awake yet, big bro?]
[Shiliu: I heard that the platform is about to have a big reform again, restrain yourself a little in your recent livestreams, don’t flame so much.]
Jian Rong rubbed his eyes and replied with an “I know,” but he didn’t take it too seriously.
When the livestream platform reformed this and that, in the end it was all about the same few things. It wasn’t like he did anything pornographic or hacked the game, so it shouldn’t affect him.
Since it wasn’t time to livestream yet, Jian Rong decided to browse Weibo for a bit. He didn’t expect to see the same name covering his screen the moment he opened the app.
He only followed blogs related to e-sports on Weibo, so naturally the only things flooding his feed would be topics related to e-sports. There were even a few topics that had already climbed their way onto Weibo’s hot search, refusing to come down.
#Road rumored to retire#
#Looking back on Road’s five year pro career#
#The end of Road’s legend?#
Jian Rong blinked, and some of his sleepiness dispersed.
He flipped over and slowly scrolled down the screen.
The topic of “Road’s retirement” had already climbed to the number one spot on the hot search, even surpassing last night’s semifinals topic. It had an astonishing popularity.
But that was also to be expected. Who was Road? As soon as he joined the team, he had carried TTC, which had just been muddling around in the secondary league for many years, into the LPL. The next year, he seized the World Championship trophy and received the “Most Popular Player” title two years in a row. He was TTC’s pillar, as well as the most popular star player as of late in the LPL competitive division.
Usually, even a little interview about Road could enter the hot search, never mind something huge like retirement.
Some e-sports marketing accounts had already issued articles to stir up the mood. The comments were full of crying and heartbroken emoticons as the fans all expressed their unwillingness to believe the news.
Jian Rong also didn’t really believe it.
There were only a few circumstances under which a professional player would retire—they weren’t scoring well, they weren’t strong enough, or their APM was declining. Judging from the way Road played yesterday, all three of those circumstances could be directly eliminated.
Jian Rong went to check out TTC’s official account. The last thing the official account posted was still the competition report from last night’s semifinals.
Road’s Weibo was even more tranquil. The most recent sign of movement was a commercial that was posted a month ago.
[Shiliu: Have you gone on Weibo yet? Everyone’s saying Road is gonna retire.]
[R-ong: Saw it. Where did the info come from?]
[Shiliu: Seems like it’s insider info, apparently Road has a hand injury.]
As Jian Rong brushed his teeth, he recalled Road’s expression during the competition last night.
That was the kind of performance someone with a hand injury could pull off??
He randomly clicked on a few of Road’s posts. Even though the actual person hadn’t said anything yet, the comment section was already full of fans’ messages. Of course, there were quite a few anti-fans’ attacks mixed in as well.
[Road should’ve retired long ago, his gameplay was always trash, and last night he was even absent from the deciding game despite being a starter. Did he want to make it easy to shift the blame if they lost? All his fans must just be fans of his face, right? Who knows how much stronger the new junglers have become in these past two years.]
Jian Rong spat out the toothpaste foam and immediately pressed the forward button.
[Soft: Who’s stronger than him, list them out so Dad can take a look.]
Only after Lu Boyuan woke up did he find out that he “had been retired.”
He washed up simply before he opened the door, only to see a slightly plump little figure sitting guard outside. The image of his back seemed a bit pitiful too.
Hearing a sound, the person instantly looked behind him. It was the team’s support, Xiao Bai1, Lu Boyuan’s teammate who joined the team the same year as him.
“Ge.” Xiao Bai bit his lip, looking as if he wanted to cry but was restraining himself. He asked, mumbling, “… you’re going to retire?”
Everyone in the team knew about Lu Boyuan’s hand injury. Even though the doctor said that it wasn’t yet at the degree where Lu Boyuan could no longer play, everyone was still worrying about it constantly.
Lu Boyuan said, “En.”
Xiao Bai was stunned. Countless phrases begging him to stay flew through Xiao Bai’s head, but at last, he could only force out a, “Then, then when are you retiring?”
Lu Boyuan zipped up his jacket. “Two or three years from now?”
Xiao Bai: “…”
“Enough, don’t scare him.” The coach walked down from upstairs, holding the notebook that never left his side.
Lu Boyuan stuck a hand in his pocket. “How did the information spread?”
“At first, the rumor was about your hand injury, but then someone made an allegation that people from the LPL came over to the base last night… and then it became your retirement.” The coach said, “I told Auntie to make breakfast, go down and eat first.”
The auntie employed by the base was already used to their working and resting hours. At three in the afternoon, she swiftly prepared breakfast for Lu Boyuan.
After shooing Xiao Bai into the living room, the coach said, “Kan sent me a message.”
Lu Boyuan didn’t pause while cutting his ham. Kan’s messages were part of the several dozen he had received. He had only glanced at the message preview and hadn’t opened it. “What did the LPL say?”
“They’re still investigating, it won’t be so fast.” The coach sighed and said, “What if it’s us overthinking things…”
Lu Boyuan didn’t say anything. For this kind of thing, it would be better to mistakenly attack someone than to let them get away with it. Moreover, if Kan really didn’t do it, the LPL couldn’t randomly just convict him of a crime either.
“Let’s not talk about that anymore.” The coach asked, “There’s a week of vacation after the competition’s over, what are your plans?”
Lu Boyuan, “Stay at the base.”
Recently, he had to do a lot of acupuncture and moxibustion, so it wasn’t convenient to go home, nor did he want his parents to know about his hand injury.
The coach nodded. “Okay, then I’ll tell Auntie to come over punctually to prepare meals for you.”
“No need, I’ll get by on my own.” Lu Boyuan picked up a napkin and wiped his mouth. “Do you have the list?”
The coach pulled out a piece of paper from the notebook. “Here.”
There were only six people on the list. Their rank, livestream room number, or previous professional achievements were written next to their IDs, as well as scores for each category that the team’s management judged them on.
The coach said, “The team also gathered a few clips of their gameplay. I’ve watched them all, and I feel like the first two are pretty good. I’ll email them to you in a bit.”
Lu Boyuan’s gaze stopped at the very bottom of the paper, where there was a name that was crossed off by someone using a black pen.
Sensing where his gaze was, the coach explained, “That person is called Soft, I’ve ruled him out. He’s a streamer, I feel like he isn’t really suitable.”
Lu Boyuan asked, “What about him isn’t suitable?”
“Every aspect of him isn’t suitable. I was even suspecting whether one of his fans snuck their way into the team.” The coach thought a bit before he randomly selected a reason. “The champions that he’s best at are all those… Zed, Yasuo, Talon, whatever. In any case, the champions that are always benched during competitions, he likes to play them all.”
Every champion in LoL had their own personal backstory and established role. The three champions that the coach listed were all assassins with advantages in agility and burst damage.
Those three characters were all popular choices in pub games2, and those who could play them well could carry the whole team, but those who couldn’t play them well could screw over their teammates until they doubted their entire existence.
As soon as those champs were used in competitions, their weaknesses would be magnified infinitely—short range, bad at poking, overly reliant on their early game dominance, not good at initiating team fights.
In the World Championships, those three assassins had never gone on the competition stage before.
Lu Boyuan raised an eyebrow after hearing those names.
For those who wanted to play assassin champions well, the requirements for APM and reaction time were both extremely high.
“You can train other champions,” he said.
“That’s true, but…” The coach showed his cards. “I feel like the streamer himself isn’t a good fit for playing professionally.”
Lu Boyuan looked up at him. “He has flaws?”
“Could be considered that.” The coach said, “He’s really just an entertainment streamer. He usually only plays in the Diamond ranks and occasionally even runs over to play Gold games. The people he fights are all at differing skill levels, so it’s impossible to tell how strong he really is. Also, he really enjoys insulting people.”
Then he truly wasn’t suitable. Lu Boyuan asked, “The platform also allows streamers to insult people?”
He remembered last time when Xiao Bai streamed, he said some curse words, and after just a few seconds the livestream room was temporarily sealed by the super admin.
“They don’t, so usually when he insults people he doesn’t use obscenities. And not only does he exchange attacks back and forth with his water friends, he also really enjoys flaming pro players.” The coach paused momentarily. “Let’s put it like this. Out of LPL’s players, he’s flamed every single one of them, except for you.”
Lu Boyuan: “…oh.”
Lu Boyuan returned to his computer, carrying the list, and searched for the videos that the coach sent him before watching two games.
Compared to those trainees from before, these players were a bit better, but they were too conformist. There weren’t any major problems with their gameplay, but there weren’t any highlights either.
After watching for a few more minutes, Lu Boyuan paused the video and turned to ask Xiao Bai, who was sitting next to him, “Do you know Soft?”
Xiao Bai was eating a red bean pie. When he heard that, he stopped chewing. “That bluenette3 troll streamer who ran over to the beauty category when he just started streaming but ended up being chased back to the LoL category because he insulted people?”
Just by listening to him, you could tell there were some fairly deep grudges.
Lu Boyuan curved his lips. “Yes, him. You actually know quite a lot.”
“Ge, if you can laugh, it’s because you don’t know how infuriating that troll is.” Xiao Bai said bluntly, “He’s provoked too many players, so someone created a forum dedicated just to cursing him out. I heard all about it from there.”
Lu Boyuan made an “en” noise. “What level are you in the forum?”
“9…” Xiao Bai said a single number before he shut up. He swallowed his red bean pie and coughed twice as a cover up. “Why are you asking about him?”
Lu Boyuan said, “Just asking.”
Xiao Bai complained, “But recently the people on that forum have become weirder and weirder, I don’t even like browsing it anymore.”
Xiao Bai unlocked his phone and flipped through the forums he followed before clicking on “SoftBar”4 and handing his phone to Lu Boyuan.
Lu Boyuan swept a look over it—
[God, how come this trash streamer still hasn’t started streaming yet? Laozi’s been camping out in front of the computer for half an hour now, my girlfriend isn’t even as late as he always is, dammit.]
[I’m also waiting, if I don’t insult him for a day then my heart feels all empty inside.]
[I’ve disliked this dumbass5 streamer for a long time now. Bros look, am I doing it right? [photo]]
The photo was a gift-giving screenshot of StarTV. On the banner was a row of large words—“Soft Dumbass Streamer sent out a Sea of Stars in Soft’s livestream”.
Lu Boyuan: “…”
At night, Lu Boyuan finally finished watching all the gameplay videos that the team sent over.
He rubbed his forehead and closed the video playing software before stuffing the list into the desk. When he was closing the drawer, he caught sight of the smudge of black on the paper from the corner of his eye.
A few minutes later, Lu Boyuan opened StarTV’s streaming platform and typed Soft into the search bar before smoothly entering the other’s livestream room.
The moment he entered the room, he saw that the streamer was currently typing something with his head lowered. From the angle of the camera, the only thing visible was his blue hair, eyelashes, and pale cheeks.
The rapidfire keyboard clacking never ceased. The keyboard, which could light up, turned into nightclub strobe lighting because of his typing.
Lu Boyuan looked at the game interface.
[No Way You’re So Trash [The Master of Shadows6]: Flaming the support, do you even deserve to hate? Why don’t you take a look at your own KDA7? Sleepwalking in the jungle, you think you’re all that great? If your mom sees your gameplay even she’ll have to shout a ‘for heaven’s sake’]
[No Way You’re So Trash [The Master of Shadows]: Rolling around in the jungle for an entire thirty minutes, if someone didn’t know better they would’ve thought you were picking out your own grave.]
Right after typing out that sentence, the streamer encountered the enemy support in the jungle. He finally looked up from the keyboard, and after a few seconds, he skillfully and rapidly reaped the enemy support’s head.
[Streamer stop flaming stop flaming, this is your promotion series10!!!]
“I know.” Annoyed by the messy hair prickling his eyelashes, Soft swept a hand through his bangs, revealing a good-looking pair of eyes. “Keep in mind, if you lose in the promo series, you can still keep playing, but if you let a dumbass slip by, then you can never curse them out again, understood?”
Lu Boyuan: “…”
(press the “^” to go back to your spot in the chapter!)
- Xiao Bai is literally Little Bai, it’s his nickname ^
- Pub games refers to playing with all random players that you don’t know ^
- Bluenette – apparently this is a thing, just refers (in a joking way) to someone with blue hair ^
- The ‘ba’ in Tieba is equivalent to forum (more or less) or ‘bar’, so “SoftBar” is basically a forum for Soft’s fans ^
- 傻逼: this comes up a lot in this novel, and the translation I’m going with is ‘dumbass’. It can be used much more vulgarly, but in this case JR and co use it in a more ‘friendly bantering’ manner. It’s also not quite considered a swear word in Chinese (bc of the censored ‘bi’) so I’m guessing that’s why it passes the streaming platform’s censors. Just know that there are much more offensive insults out there than this lmao ^
- The title for Zed ^
- KDA: kill/death/assist ratio ^
- I’m assuming 挂机 is roughly equivalent to AFK (away from keyboard)/idling ^
- Feeding is essentially sending yourself to the enemy and ‘feeding’ them your deaths for easy kills/gold; it’s really easy for a champion to get super buffed if you keep feeding ^
- Currently in LoL to progress from tier to tier (i.e. platinum to diamond) or division to division (plat 4 to plat 3) you’ll have to play a set of games called “promotion series” once you reach 100 LP (league points). It’s BO3 within a tier and BO5 between tiers, and by winning you get promoted ^
Yan: I am so sorry for the excessive amount of translation notes hahahaha ;;; there’s a lot of gaming terms in this chapter so I just wanted to explain them all in case anyone was super confused. It’ll go down eventually I swear!!! Jian Rong’s flaming comments always make me laugh
Wei: Lol I love JR’s logic–is he wrong though…