Things I Learned From Ultimate Duo Queue

A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to attend my cousin Sam’s wedding in California.

I grew up with Sam, but I don’t remember much about him growing up.  All the memories I do have of him centered around video games.  Before working for Riot Games, he played games whenever he could.  He competed in professional gaming tournaments.  Many of the adults in his life dissuaded him, saying that he was wasting his life on video games.

When he joined Riot Games, he proved to everyone that you could do video games for a living.

Sam started from the bottom of Riot Games.  He helped out with player support.  Then he moved up to network operations.  Then he transitioned to assistant release manager.  Everywhere he went in Riot Games, he made life-long friends.

One of these life-long friends is Jing.

Now I don’t know much about Jing.  Even before I attended their wedding, I had only met Jing a couple of times.  Everything about Jing was a mystery to me.  I didn’t know how they met, nor did I know why they loved each other so much.

With the arrival of “Ultimate Duo Queue” all these questions would be answered.

On facebook, they had titled their wedding “Ultimate Duo Queue:  Sam & Jing are gettin’ married!”  For those of you who don’t play the game League of Legends, the term “ultimate duo queue” may seem strange as a title for a wedding.

I assure you, it is a fitting description.

In the game League of Legends, players who wish to play the game, get entered into a queue to wait for 9 other players to play with.  You’re going to get placed on a team of four random strangers and then asked to compete against another team consisting of five other strangers.

You don’t always have to play alone though.  If you have a friend to play with, you can duo queue.

This means that you both get entered into the queue together and this time the game will find 3 other players for you.  Duo queue ensures you guys don’t get separated into different queues.  You get to experience everything in the game together.  You either win together or lose together.

Duo queue is a partnership between two friends.  In this way, marriage can be described as ultimate duo queue.

Now, I will share with you all the things I learned from “Ultimate Duo Queue”.

#1.  Be Open To Change

During the wedding, Cory made a speech to congratulate Sam & Jing.  Cory is Sam’s best-friend since childhood.  In her speech, she describes how growing up, she used to call Sam “Ototo” and Sam would call Cory “Oneisan”.  Ototo means little brother in Japanese and Onesian means older sister.  These nicknames stuck because within their friendship, Cory was the sensible and caring one while Sam was the care-free and spontaneous one.

As they both grew older, the dynamics within their friendship changed.

Sam started to accumulate new life experiences by venturing out into the great unknown, while Cory stuck to what was safe and comforting.  Cory started to ask questions about life, while Sam shared his new found understanding of the world in order to help shed some light.  Cory no longer had to look after Sam.  Sam looked after himself and he also started to look after Cory too.

They both transitioned into new roles without missing a beat.

In general, people resist change.  Change is scary, especially when you’ve already settled down.  Change in power is even more unsettling.  Not many people can go from I’m in charge to I’ll let you be in charge.  People who take care of others, rarely accept other’s care in return.  They feel like they should be above it.  That by accepting help, they would no longer be qualified to help others anymore.

Change can be a scary thing.  That’s why it’s so nice to see people who are brave enough to accept it.

#2.  Embrace Yourself

As strange as this might sound, I think people have trouble loving and accepting themselves.  We grow up trying to live up to everyone’s expectations while forsaking our own dreams, passions, and goals.  We try so hard to fit into the mold society has setup for us, that we lose our own sense of self.

Some of us are great actors.  We play the role given to us our whole life.  We even marry the person who we think is a good match for our role.

I wonder how things would turn out if Sam hadn’t pursued his dreams and simply caved into all the expectations that surrounded him.  He probably wouldn’t play games anymore.  He probably would have a 9-to-5 corporate job he hated.  He would probably go to church just because everyone else did it too.

But would he still end up with Jing?

Would Jing still find the proper, all-work-no-play, dogmatic version of Sam attractive.  Could she be swept off her feet by his “fake” sense of humor?  I wonder if they would even meet under these new circumstances.

By being yourself and embracing yourself.  You give others around you the opportunity to fall in love with the true you.  By loving yourself first, you open up the way for others to do the same.

 #3.  Have It Your Way

Burger King’s slogan is “Have It Your Way” and you should have it your way.  Life is way too short for you to keep on settling for what others think you should want.

Most weddings have a best man and a maid of honor.  Not this wedding.  Sam’s best friend was a female and Jing’s best friend was a male.  Therefore they had a “Best Lady” and a “Man of Honor” instead.

Have It Your Way.

Most wedding couples invite everyone and anyone who is remotely related to the bride and groom.  What ends up happening is the guest list becomes a list of people we “should” invite, instead of a list of people we “want to” invite.

Sam and Jing’s wedding was very small and intimate.  Only people they were close with were invited.  During the wedding Sam told everyone, “Everyone here has played an important role in our life.  Jing and myself are extremely grateful to have you all here to share this momentous occasion with us.”

Have It Your Way.

 #4.  Have Fun & Break Some Rules

One day before the wedding, Sam and Jing gathered us all around to explain their “drinking” game.  Sam explained all the roles, the rules, and the rewards.

Sam ended his instructions with these words.  “Now, this is a drinking game.  Your job is to provide clarification if someone asks about the rules of the game.  If someone breaks these rules, that’s fine as long as they are having fun doing it.  The point is to have fun and get drunk.”

Games are supposed to be fun.  Rules provide structure and help shape the experience.  Some people get so lost in the rules that they forget to have fun.  They see rule breaking as cheating and frown upon it.

Breaking rules doesn’t always mean that you’re cheating.  Breaking rules can be an enhancement, a modification, and at times even create a whole new experience with the same game.

Riot Games breaks a ton of rules with their game League of Legends.  The interesting thing is, most of these rules were established by Riot Games to begin with.

For instance, League of Legend’s most popular game mode is Summoner’s Rift.  In this game mode, there’s three lanes and more times than not, one of the five players on your team will be occupying one of these lanes.

Some players thought it would be fun to change it up.   They decided that everyone should restrict their map movements to only the middle lane.  Then they thought it would be even more fun to randomly pick their champions.  The ARAM (All Random All Middle) game mode was born.

If Riot Games were against people breaking rules, I’m sure they could find a million ways to shut down this type of game play.  Instead they saw it for what it really was.  A natural evolution of their game.  They allowed it to exist because they knew people were having fun playing this new “version” of their game.

Riot Games even went so far as to create a whole new map called the Howling Abyss which is based on the ARAM game mode.

Play a game and have some fun.  Break the rules of the game and have even more fun.

Ultimate Duo Queue was a special day for Sam and Jing, but it was also a special day for me.  As their wedding started, I felt like I was being pulled into it like black hole of fun, laughter, and delight. I was immersed into the new world they had created together.  And for all you Backstreet Boys fans out there, I was literally “drowning in their love”.

This was no fluke.  This happened all by design.  This was Sam and Jing’s intention from the very beginning.  They wanted Ultimate Duo Queue to be memorable for everyone there.  They wanted to create an experience that you would never ever forget.  They wanted us to believe in true love again.

They won me over.  They succeeded with me.  Ultimate Duo Queue made me a believer.

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