Notes on What Makes a Champion: The Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Expertise in Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games

By Yue Ding, Xin Hu, Jiawei Li, Jingbo Ye, Fei Wang, and Dan Zhang

League of Legends (LoL) is a team based Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) in which 10 people compete in teams of 5, playing as “champions” (Ding et al., 682). With the sense of teamwork that has developed within the game, players can start to feel a sense of belonging (Ding et al., 683).

Comparing the performance of video game players (VGPs) and non-video game players (NVGPs) in visual tasks, VGPs demonstrated faster response time than NVGPs (Ding et al., 683). In one study, VGPs were able to visually track two additional objects in visual tracking tasks relative to NVGPs (Ding et al., 683).

Additionally, a positive correlation was found between hand-eye coordination and being a VGP, however there was no relationship found between the amount of time spent playing video games and the hand-eye coordination of the individual (Ding et al., 683).

A division was also discovered between the development of skill in each game genre. Competitive action game players did not improve at puzzle tasks, however players of physics puzzle games did (Ding et al., 683).

Frontal midline theta activity is a known indicator of selective attention. In a study conducted on golfers, activity in this lobe was revealed to be an easily identifiable difference between novices and professionals (Ding et al., 684).

This study considered 14 behavioral features and 36 neural ones (Ding et al., 689). The most evident distinguishing behavioral feature of LoL esports professionals was that they had much higher levels of conscientiousness (Ding et al., 689). This means that they are able to pay attention to multiple simultaneous occurrences and are more self-controlled, with more careful style of behavior (Ding et al., 689).

Of the 14 neural traits that were positively correlated with player rank, heart rate variance was the most easily identifiable. Newer players were predisposed to have greater heart rate variance than professionals (Ding et al., 690). Midline theta activity was also a key distinguishing factor between professionals and newcomers. Professionals had significantly higher midline theta activity than newcomers (Ding et al., 690).

Interestingly, behavioral features had lower correlation coefficients with respect to player rank than did neural features (Ding et al., 690).

Generally, the neural traits associated with higher levels of focus separated the professionals from the newcomers (Ding et al., 691).

Ding, Yue, et al. “What Makes a Champion: The Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Expertise in Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games.” International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, vol. 34, no. 8, 2018, pp. 682–694., doi:10.1080/10447318.2018.1461761.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s