Typically at the top of the comments there’s a picture of a young, slim-faced man, giving a sideways glance through his thin-rimmed glasses and tipping a hat (which the Internet has erroneously dubbed a fedora). Beneath are a few lines of badly spelled fallacies about the game, a critique of the video that makes little sense, and a lamentation over his struggles as a player. It’s the same formula every time, on every video. And it’s always met with the same response.
He may be the most famous—and, surprisingly, popular—League of Legends troll on the Internet. His presence is so persistent that he’s spawned countless imitators and accounts that reference him. If the troll accounts are to be believed, his sister, his dog, and even his twin brother all post as well. His mangled lexicon—“jungler” becomes “juggler,” the highest level of the game is called “challenjour” not “challenger,” players are “toxin” not “toxic”—is starting to enter the common vernacular on the League of Legends subreddit. Most get the joke; some don’t want to. Either way there aren’t many people who follow League of Legends who don’t know the name Vvvortic.
The community is now in on the joke.
The man behind the persona isn’t remarkable. Victor (he asked us not to use his last name) is a young college drop-out from Los Angeles, just five miles from Hollywood. It’s not even him in the photograph.
“I just Googled ‘fedora nerds,’” he laughs, “and picked that image because I hadn’t seen it before.” A typical gamer in lots of ways, Victor only started playing League to fill the void left by another game. He describes himself as a “World of Warcraft addict” and claims he dropped out of college after Mists of Pandaria came out.
“I had played WoW for years,” he says, “and the expansion renewed my love for the game. After that was released, I didn’t go to college for two weeks straight, and I never felt the need to go back. Months later I got bored of it again and didn’t have the cash for a subscription, so I got into League since it’s free.”
While he liked the game, he didn’t like much else about it. “League is filled with manchildren,” he explains, citing “guys like Phreak [David “Phreak” Turley, League Championship Series commentator and analyst] who I have played with and he’s toxic.” Then, presumably shifting his answer back into character, he says, “but it’s girls who annoy me the most. Girls all suck at the game, and that is why they all play support, the role that takes the least amount of skill, and for some reason they only pick girl champions.”
It wasn’t just in game that he encountered things that annoyed him. After spending enough time to climb to a respectable level of play, in September 2014 he started leaving comments in discussion threads posted to the League of Legends subreddit. Decrying what he calls censorship, he said most of his comments were deleted by moderators, and eventually his account was banned. “After that I just told myself I was going to do whatever it took to annoy the Reddit League community and so far it’s been going great.”
“I just Googled ‘fedora nerds.’”
Initially, people didn’t see it was a joke. As absurd as the Vvvortic comments were, they were nothing that hadn’t been said in earnest at some point by Bronze-tier players. Who hasn’t heard a player talk about the horrors of “Elo hell”? Only recently, a front page thread doing just that (“Bronze 5 is inescapable”) climbed to the top of the subreddit. Such complaints are a distilled element of human nature; the inept never truly like to believe that’s what they are. The blame must lie elsewhere. As such, the community mostly reacted to the comments with hostility—just another stupid comment in a sea of them. The frequency with which he posted only served to make people even angrier.
“The reason why I got noticed so quickly is because everyone has a friend, or maybe it’s themselves, that are bronze who complain about that they deserve a higher rank but can’t because bad teammates,” he explained. “That made me very relatable.” And he added a few more staples of online trolling for good measure. “The fact I put out misspellings and misinformation about whatever the topic is just attracted people to rage at me.”
To other redditors stumbling onto a League of Legends video, Vvvortic probably looked like he’s just an extension of a much larger phenomenon. Every time a popular Reddit thread links to a YouTube video, an army of trolls invade its comments section. Calling itself “Le Reddit Armie,” the group is what Daily Dot contributor Hannah Barton has described as “a collection of meta-ironic parody accounts.”
They simultaneously lampoon both what they suspect a non-redditor’s perception of the Reddit community to be (neckbeard atheist intellectuals with a penchant for fedoras) and the idiosyncratic expressions, running gags, neologisms, or cultural references that actually thrive on the site.
But whereas Le Reddit Armie seems to revel in infuriating the community (there’s even a Google Chrome plug-in to block them called “Hide Fedora”), Vvvortic has somehow managed to twist this phenomenon on its head. The community is now in on the joke. It has, more or less, embraced him. Where the reaction used to be almost exclusively anger, there is now a feeling that no League of Legends content is complete without the Vvvortic stamp of disapproval. There’s a even a subreddit devoted to him.
“When I login my account to play League, people have actually added me in game and are pretty nice to me. I get invited to a lot of games and I also get recognized in solo-queue a lot of times… I guess that confirms I’m a big deal around here now.”
The community mostly reacted to the comments with hostility—just another stupid comment in a sea of them.
He’s shown no signs of growing tired and has built up a cult following, encouraging him to even start making his own YouTube videos. The content sticks to the same format. The same erroneous jargon, spoken in a barely comprehensible mumble, recorded over unspectacular (or sometimes spectacularly bad) gameplay. It’s hard to know if the terrible production, which apes the traditional format of YouTube video guides, is deliberate or not. He is, after all, entering new territory. That hasn’t stopped his videos getting the kind of viewing numbers that are in line with other established content creators.
Though he did want to make it clear there’s some types of League content he will never stoop to.
“I hate those league karaoke singers,” he groans. “As if they actually had their own stage at Summoners Con. Have you ever seen that one episode from South Park about Christian rock? All you have to do is take a random pop song and change lyrics to ‘blah blah blah league’ and you have a hit single. People always upvote that stuff and I can’t stand it.”
I had to wonder if he realized he was perilously close to becoming the thing he hates the most: a popular content creator. With several YouTube videos under his belt and already surpassing 13,000 subscribers, he’s talked about the potential of streaming his games. It’s hard to believe he’d not find an audience given that so many people who use Twitch have gravitated toward other streamers who are looking to troll. Kaceytron, the patron saint of such broadcasting, is a testament to what can be achieved if you can bring yourself to never break character.
In other words, so long as Vvvortic stays true to his trolling soul, he might just make a career out of it.
Illustration by Max Fleishman