The Winter Collegiate Cup Quarterfinals drew to a close. The fans turned off their streams, left the message boards and went home from the stadium. But they wouldn’t be bored waiting for the Semifinals to start, because there was always more League of Legends to go around. More specifically, the 2016 LPL Spring Split had started. The best teams in China were playing against each other again on a weekly basis, constantly adapting to the latest patch. And there was something even more exciting going on beyond just that. Something that was drawing far more discussion among the fans. The return of AyDeeCee to Team Rapids.
There were online forums dedicated to Shi Hang, where his fans gathered and discussed their love for their idol.
「IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII HES BACKKKKKK」
「I still can’t believe it… He’s really back. AyDeeCee is back!」
「Best player China ever had! We’re going to return to our Season 1 prime!」
「ITS BETTER THAN HAVIN A WET DREAM!!!!」
「I’m so excited to see how good he is these days!」
「Ppl laughed at me for my AyDeeCee bodypollw but Ialwysa knew!」
「Go watch the highlights from the East China Regionals! He subbed in a game there!」
But not everyone was happy with AyDeeCee’s return. There were those who were jealous of his skill and envied all the attention he was getting. And then there were those who were upset that AyDeeCee was stealing the limelight from their favourite Midlaners.
「bet ye its just publicity stunt」
「HE COULD BE MY FUCKIN GRANPA!!!!」
「We should send a cane to the LPL. Give it as a welcome back present! HARHARHAR」
「He was a great player back in the day. Now prolly he sucks donkey balls」
「Cant wait to see him get FUCKING REKT111111」
From there it devolved into a pointless argument that went on for days. Some people grabbed large buckets of popcorn and an ice-cold beer to enjoy the drama, while others furiously typed on their keyboards.
「Lolololol, noobs thinking hermes is good BEST JOKE OF 2016!!!」
「whose got the popcorn? i need moaaarrrrrr」
「Let’s be real here, guys. Daybreak Hermes is a good Midlaner. But that’s just it. He good, not great.」
「Moon and Phoenix are great. Rake is God. Hermes is the court jester!!!!」
「LMAO BEST DRAMA EVVAAAHHHHHH :pepe_laugh:」
「hermes < diamond < real pros」
「aydeecee <<<<<<< hermessss!!!!!!」
「I”LL FUCKING FIGHT YOU! I LIVE ON 742 EVERGREEN TERRACE! COME FIGHT ME!」
「lol, can you believe that ^^^^^^ guy? XD」
The HermBuds were up in arms. They were furious and livid that people dared to besmirch the name of their general. Their emperor.
「THATS TOTALLY DIFFERENT YOU CANT COMPARE HERMES WITH RAKE」
「Did you not watch Worlds? Hermes beat an emperor!!! He’s got the skill!」
「hes right up there with moon and phoenix!!!!!」
「FUCKING BOOMERS GETTING ALL SMUG just accept that aydeecee sucks babyballs!」
「King Hermes will soon be crowned EMPEROR HERMES!!!」
「THIS IS HIS YEAR!」
「EMPEROR HERMES! EMPEROR HERMES!」
There was a small group of fans reading the online forums who’d been following the League scene from the beginning, way back during Season 1. They vividly remembered how it was back then.
「kids talking big… back in season 1 at the height of China’s League presence, there was no Hermes」
「^that. And AyDeeCee wasn’t the best Midlaner either. He was second best」
「you kids dont know because of how hard the Chinese Esports Association tried to erase the past, but...」
「But we had an emperor. We had a guy who could beat Phoenix and who could fight Rake」
「Remember the name. Maple. He is the best. THeres no on else but him. HE GOATCHAMP」
「Man what I’d give to see him play again… that dude was something else. The way he just won...」
「Getting goosebumps just thinking about him! MAPLE IS MY HERO!」
There was a second post that started garnering more and more attention. It was a post detailing the Chinese players on the Korean Challenger ladder. The rivalry between South Korea and China was intense. So much so that the Korean Challenger ladder had turned into a battleground; one that had to be conquered by the Chinese players. But no Chinese player had managed to do that yet. No one had even come close. In fact, most of the players from China who made it to Challenger on the Korean server were fighting desperately to hold on to their rank and not slip back to Master.
Fans argued that if their personal heroes from the LPL were to play on the Korean server, they could make it to the Top 10 in Challenger. But professional players generally didn’t have the spare time to worry about their rank in solo queue, especially not on a server with high latency. And so the great shame had persisted for years, with no one looking like they might break it. Until now. The CN•HOOK2 account was climbing up the ladder and quickly approaching the Top 10.
「CNHOOK THE HERO WE DESEERRVVEEEEE」
「did you see him play that viktor the other day? my god hes good!」
「I wonder who he is...」
「has to be like hermes, right? Yeah, has to be.」
「He went from 250 to 30 WITHIN A MONTH!!!!!!! HOW!?!??!?!??!?!」
「You know what that means, right? RIGHT RIHGIHTIHRIHIHGITIHITHIHANHAIHAHH!H!!」
「HES GONNA CLIMB TO THE TOP!!!!」
「HES GONNA BEAT RAKE!!!!!」
「HES GONNA BRING PRIDE TO OUR NATION!!!!!」
「HES GONNA GET FACES FOR US ALLL!!!!!!」
「LONG LIVE THE HOOK2!!!!!!」
Season 5 had officially ended and Season 6 had started in most regards. But the ranked ladders hadn’t reset yet. The Korean ladder would reset at the end of the week, giving CN•HOOK2 a few more days to make it to the top. It was that time pressure that made it so much more exciting to the Chinese League of Legends fans. They clicked on the refresh button with sweaty palms and were scouring the internet for livestreams, desperate to witness how high CN•HOOK2 would climb before the ladder reset.
「How far do you think he can go?」
「NO WAY DOWNER! TOP 10 AT THE LEAST!!!!!」
「getting a bit ahead of yourself there… top 30 is already hella impressive」
「but just imagine… top 5! OR TOP 3! UP THERE WITH RAKE! OMGOMGOGMOGM!!!」
「guysguysguys, shut up for a second. Listen. We need to find out who he is! Where are the detectives!?!?」
「whoever he is, he’s gonna make the koreans maaaaaad」
「its gonna be soooooo good to laugh at the koreans after he hits the top 3!!!!」
「yeah yeah. But WHO IS HE!?!?!?!?」
「HE”S OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR! HE”S WHAT WE DESERVE!!! A TRUE HERO!!!」
Dev Thought: ALRIGHT BOIS! It's been a hot minute since I’ve done a Ted Talk on the state of the translation scene and backend operation stuff, so let’s do another one.
Now some of you already know from rants I’ve previously done that I’m a mod on the Novel Translations Subreddit (r/noveltranslations). Because apparently, when I agreed to be Shanks’ friend and editor, I also agreed that any of his problems would become my problems. And all of the other mods on that subreddit quit, leaving poor Shanks to handle the weight of the internet’s stupidity on his own. Which he’s honestly not capable of shouldering. Anyways, that place is truly a cesspit. I would not recommend joining that subreddit or attempting to talk to the wider “translation community”. Most of those people are garbage human beings. That’s not an insult. It’s an objective statement of fact.
But in the months I’ve spent monitoring and cleaning up that place as a draft Internet Janitor, certain truths have come to light. Lots of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and general headassery. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. See, y’all are here because you like reading webnovels. Why shouldn’t you? Some of them are fantastic. They’re brand new stories and daily excitement. And if you actually enjoy reading webnovels, you should give a shit about them and this talk. Because we’re walking towards a future where they might not exist anymore.
Let’s start with the first big misunderstanding. Webnovels are not books. They might look like books. They definitely do have words and chapters. But they are not books. A regular book is written out, edited, published, and read by you (the reader) in a continuous stream. By the time you get your hands on the book as a reader, it is already finished. There is nothing that can be done to fix the book or change it by the time you’re reading it.
A webnovel, especially a translated webnovel, is not like that at all. It is constantly coming out and is subject to modification. For those of us on the backend that actually create the content that you’re reading as a webnovel, we have the option of dropping a dud. Because some novels just aren’t good. Or they start out good and then hit the crapper for whatever reason. Or these days, it gets dropped because it just isn’t commercially viable. Y’all remember the big push to turn all of us from hobbyists into full-time translation crews that put out a steady stream of content rather than a chapter every few days? I realize this might come as a shocker to you guys, but when you tell content creators to quit their day jobs and pursue webnovel translation as a career, they get significantly more careful and risk-averse about the novels they’re working on. Then you add on the platform's overheads like licensing fees, hosting, backend support, etc, and there’s even more reason not to pick up a dud or continue working on a non-commercially viable novel for years.
Now this is the part where you guys, as readers, come in. Now, I get it. Most of you are generally quiet folk who don’t really want to take part in the shitpost revels that are the internet. You just want to read a couple of chapters of your favorite books and get on with your lives. Believe me, I understand. We don’t kink shame here. But like I said earlier, webnovels are not the same as regular books. And if you guys don’t actually bother to talk to us, we have no idea what you want to read. By “us”, I don’t just mean us, the Rise Team. I mean the broad set of people that are involved in the production of webnovel translations. All of your content creators. If you guys never talk to us and tell us what kind of novels you like reading, what kind of novels you don’t like reading, stuff you like about the novels that are currently being produced, stuff you don’t like about the novels currently being produced, we have no earthly idea what to do next.
That’s an actual problem. For you, not for us. Not really. Because there is a strangely vocal minority that isn’t representative of the actual audience for these webnovels who ARE active and talking. These are the guys that discover one of the super popular CN/KR webnovels and read it, and all they want is more of that stuff. The trope-heavy cultivation or power fantasy novels. But the rest of you? The guys that have been around for years and read thousands of chapters of that shit already who don’t want any more of that and are looking for something fresh? You guys truly get screwed in this equation that you’ve built. Because if all we (the translations groups) see is that from the readers, that’s all we’ll work on. Until all the readers get bored and go off to find something more entertaining to do with their free time. Then no more translators, which means no more webnovels for you.
If you want proof or evidence of that shift happening, take a minute to look around. Notice how a lot of the translators who built this entire scene from the ground up aren’t around anymore? And the ones from the old days that are still around starting to be way less excited and invested in the work that they’re doing and the community? It’s easy to fall into a routine of chapter notification, read chapter, do other things. But seriously, take a minute to look around and see how much things have changed, and not for the better.