Never Surrender! An age-old debate

The topic of whether one should forfeit a game has always been a very heated debate in League of Legends at the lowest level of solo queue up to the top echelons of competetive play.


The topic of whether one should forfeit a game has always been a very heated debate in League of Legends at the lowest level of solo queue up to the top echelons of competetive play. This article is trying to elaborate and illustrate both sides of the argument of this extremely sensitive topic.
The existential thing that needs to be settled is: should we even be able to surrender at all? For those who once in a while venture over to the dark side and test themselves not on Summoners Rift but in the Defense of the Ancients, may have noticed that every game is fought out to the bitter end because another option just doesn’t exist. As a result the question of whether one should be allowed to end the game preemptively in DotA is as old as the question of when and when not to surrender in League.
There are many pieces that discuss the matter and this are some of the points made by both sides which all have a certain point to it and in the end it often boil down to what your goal for the match and your attitude towards the game are. Remember this a compilation for both sides of the debate.
Irrational surrender by the tilting majority:
– Many of us have had the odd game where you’re teams not doing too hot, the enemy team is stacking up dragons, the 7/2/5 Riven is styling on the top half of the map but the rest is not looking all too bad going even or being a bit behind in lane. Meanwhile the team started off on the wrong foot to exaggerate a euphimism. Then suddenly while you’re farming in in the jungle your screen freezes and you’re thinkimg EUW might be at it again just to find out that the camera is rushing to your base to see the nexus aswell as your hopes and dreams of seeing the victory screen explode and you’re left wondering which of the deadly sins you commited to deserve this, since the game was way from over and you or another member of the team actually had the ability to carry. Now admittedly this is a very rare occurance since you need a 4 out of 5 majority vote to concede a match, but it is still a point albeit not he most debate settling one.
Learning to play from behind
– One of the biggest arguments of people insisting on playing the game out against two godlike enemies at level 9 is that one has to learn to be able to play from behind. Now while this most definetely a valid and good point to make the threshold of how much hard pounding and fountain holidays you are able to tolerate is extremely individual and correlates directly with the experience each one of us have made while playing this game for probably a higher amount of hours than is good for us.If you regularly make like comebacks happen by sheer endurance, will power and picking Ziggs or Anivia your definition of what is “playing from behind” and what is “even you consider unwinnable, will differ vastly from that of a QuinnorFeed grindlord who either crushes his lane 8/0 and dumpsters the game or feeds so hard it would end world hunger and then spams surrender votes on cooldown from 20:00 on. This illustrates the most important thing to realise in the struggle of finding an answer to the original question: there will never be one.

“Rubbing it in” vs “robbing my fun”
– Now this argument is very much a double edged sword since again it come down to personality and what you want and expect from the game, the opposition and yourself. I’ll call it “rubbing it in” vs “robbing my fun”. 
Each and everyone of us has had a game where you utterly annihilate the enemy team in every aspect of the game and you enter raidboss mode and can literally 1v5 the enemy team. And all of us have and will continue to hope that the enemy team won’t surrender so you can seize your destructive powers to the fullest, and every time the enemy concedes a silent tear is shed down your Lyandri’s mask. I think it is unfair to argue that giving the enemy the option of escaping this torment can be considered “robbing my fun”, because I can empathize with them and sometimes do feel sorry especially when they care and loose to trolls,dcs or one of the million other things you can loose to that you have no control over. Bht again you see thats maybe just me and my personality and you would say “I earned this lead and should be allowed to crush every in my way for as long as I please.” And you would be right, yet there is a line between having some friendly banter with your foes who team up on you and being close to sardistic in chasing every single possible kill over trying to make any progress to end the game. Once more we see it is very much a thing personality, mood and attitude which side you’re on.
The satisfaction of a comeback is a better feeling of winning than any other type of victory
– If you watched the historic game of Fnatic vs SK at the end of season 2 at IEM live it is hard to deny that the energy and the atmosphere of this awe inspiring comeback moment is rivalred by only the biggest plays in League of Legends existence. As we are all only challenger players and probably won’t make comebacks of such magnitude , you still get this powerful emotion of being indestructible after you grinded out that exhausting 68 victory that had more throws in it than the average american football game.

 Yet the reason why that particular moment is so fondly remembered and rewatched millions of times, is that the chance of even one of the greatest League players of all time xPeke making magic like this happen survivng with 39 HP to last hit the nexus is borderline 0. Because the client doesn’t give you the information of how far exactly you are behind, like it does for spectators, it takes a whole load of game experience to be able to estimate how big the lead really is considering scaling items, champions, drafon buff values, item cost efficiencies etc. etc. Even professionals misjudge what fights and games are winnable and which aren’t. So again the individual decision of how hard you’re willing to try and how much you want to commit to make it happen comes up.

– Wasting time and efficient practice
There are many pros like Dyrus who praise the surrender option and wish it was more avidly used because they understood how and why they got into a loosing position or learned the lessons and would rather try again than play out a game that relies on the enemy to mess up, since something alike is very unlikely to happen in competetive play, which Challenger should be the training ground for, but that’s a whole other debate. It is said that in high elo Korean soloqueue teams will just fountain party quite frequently in games that are decided very early on, say ~10 minutes with a 13-0 killscore or something ridiculous like that. Which is probably one of the reason for the insane amount of games that korean pros grind through in solo queue (up to 3000 or more per season!). The counterargument to this is the “learn to play from behind” one from earlier. Now for professionals this doesn’t really apply since they have the opportunity to do so in scrims. Even in Europe the notion that teams remake a scrim after a messed up level 1 play or poorly done invade is no more. At least for the teams that actually listen to their coach are forced to play the games out “until the nexus is on 10 HP and about to die” as Copenhagen Wolves coach Karl “Dentist” Krey says. So one can imagine that it is very frustrating for them being trapped in such a game, even more so than for us plebs.
The important point that to make here, is value of the game versus value using that time on the next game. By value of the game I mean, is it still an actual game that one can take something from or has it already degreaded to the typical caveman, chase your prey, kill or be killed, 10.000 BC type of game. That might be fun, at least for a while, but if you’re looking to actually improve one has to take a realistic look at the game and judge whether you’d not be better off starting a new match. Once more individual judgement, attitude towards and your goal in the game come up.
In the end the decision of whether or not you surrender a match is dependand on a myriad of factors, your mood, your team, how bad the game is going, if your girl was willing, the time of day, your pizza topping and yor prefence or dislike for masochism. 
To sum it all up perfectly here is ex-CLG Seraphs answer ,when asked what he liked and disliked about NA solo queue compared to Korea: “Good: They never surrender. Bad: They never surrender.”
My personal thoughts about this entire debate can be summed by this quote:
“Surrender what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what is to come.”
What are your thoughts?
Disclaimer: This is an opinionated piece. Any views proposed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of or their associates and employees.