General Guide by Vynertje
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Table of contents
- I: The core of the guide: Quality
- II: The other core of your guide: Readability
- III: BB-coding basics
- IV: Structuring your guide
I am glad to see that by clicking on this link, you are looking to learn more about guide writing on Mobafire. In this 'guide' I will hope to explain you everything you need to know to write a good guide! This is a WIP (work in progress) as I will keep adding things to this as they come to mind. If you have anything that I could add to this guide, please drop a comment :)
This guide is mainly used for my review service and day-to-day guide scouting - I like to have a tool written by myself to explain some stuff with.
Before I jump into the guide itself, I would like to remind you that I am not a native English speaker and that I might have made some mistakes here and there. Please don't give me a hard time for this :)
Now we are done with all the formalities, let's jump into the guide itself
I: The core of the guide: Quality
This is what a guide is all about: The information. That is why I start the first chapter with this.
Your guide needs to have solid information.
This is obvious, isn't it? When you are writing a guide, you are teaching everyone reading your guide something. Or at least that is what you're hoping to. That is why you need to put in a lot of effort to make sure everything is well explained and preferably optimal as well.
To achieve this 'solid' level of information, you could do the following:
- You should have a lot of experience on the given champion. You should have played the champ extensively (preferably in ranked) to know your champion well. You should not create guides for theorycrafting or new champions. We have a theorycrafting subforum for that.
- You should at least be level 30, preferably gold+ rated. I would never recommend someone to write a guide with a bronze ranking, because you'll have silver people reading your guides as well.
- You might also want to have a look at how some pro players play your champion. That doesn't mean you should copy their builds, but sometimes they do have things you have not thought about yet.
- Test everything! I once commented on someone building 'unconventional items' and he replied with that he just blindly went for it because he barely tested the (much better) alternative:
"I was building blindly warmogs till now just cause i didn't liked ga so much.I tried it in only 2 games. My passive was useless in both of those games. But i think there are much more situations where the passive could be useful. I'll give it a try again."
That is why you always want to test every alternative to some extent; to make sure your guide really is optimal. The argument "it works for me" is a fallacy.
II: The other core of your guide: Readability
The second most important part of guide writing is making your guide easily readable. This is usually where it goes wrong for most guide authors.
Why is coding so important for the readability of my guide?
Well, this is quite simple. If you have ever tried to read a book on a computer screen, you will probably have noticed that this is quite uncomforable and tiring for your eyes. This is even stronger with the mobafire site layout: White text on a black background. If you don't use coding to make the guide readable, people will have a hard time reading your top-notch information that you worked out after reading Chapter I.
I could have completely skipped any coding in Chapter I, which would make it really hard to read. Just to prove my point:
Now I probably don't need to ask you which of the two you would consider an easy read. I hope this proves my point.
What can I do to make my guide easily readable?
Coding my friend, coding. This doesn't have to be fancy and it doesn't have to take you ages. For example, the coding I used in Chapter I is quite simple:
(Next chapter will be detailing some standard BB-coding stuff you can use to your aid)
Now you can also go a step further and use stuff like banners, line dividers, images and videos. There are a lot of people on the Mobafire forums who can make you a nice set of introduction/chapter banners and line dividers. While you can also make these yourself, I do not recommend doing so unless you have some good software and decent experience.
Also, you can make images quite easily yourself. For simple images, I recommend simply print-screening (ctr+alt+printscreen keys on your keyboard) your client. This is pretty much the same as copy pasting your active window. Then you can upload it to sites like imgur by simply pasting it onto the 'website'. From there, you can show the image through [img='image url here'].
Video's can be made as well, by using video capture software like Fraps or streaming software like OBS. Then you can use the embed feature to have the video show in your guide.
Finally, you can make some graphs/flowcharts yourself as well by simply using Microsoft Word. Simply use text boxes and some pointers to make a nice chart.
If you add all these things, you can make your guide look really nice. A bonus is that sometimes people vote simply based on the amount of effort put in a guide (both positive and negative) so if you make your guide look pretty, you'll usually be able to get a lot higher than if you skip coding altogether.
III: BB-coding basics
Now I know; it would be mean of me to tell you that you should use BB-coding without giving you some help. This chapter is dedicated to some BB-coding basics, largely taken from my own guides.
The basics: Colors, headings and the coding of skills
These are probably the most basic and easiest to learn features in BB-coding. I would say that at least knowing how to apply these things are mandatory for a good guide. This is because they all involve editing text and making it easily readable.
There are a couple of things you can use BB-coding for:
- Bold/Italics/Underscore: simply use [b]"your text here"[/b] to make your text bold.
[i]"your text here"[/i] to make your text in italics or [u]"your text here"[/u] to underscore it. You can use these things for headings or to make a special (usually more important) part stand out from the rest.
You can also use the icons in the text editor toolbar or even just use the key combination Ctr+b/i/u.
- Colors: You can simply pick a color from the toolbar in the text editor. Sometimes you don't need to use a specific color code but simply the color itself, like [color=black]"your text here"[/color].
- Coding skills/items: Simply use [[randuin's omen]] to show Randuin's Omen. This is quite nice to have because that way the reader doesn't have to scroll up to see what the item/skill exactly does. Keep in mind: [[zephyr]] makes Zephyr, and [[ability zephyr]] gives
Zephyr. This obviously goes for multiple items, spells and masteries which can conflict.
You can also use this to get item icons: [icon=randuin's omen size=50] grants .
Keep in mind to not overdo coding and colors, so you won't end up with this:
The point is that coding every little word will end up in a really chaotic build so you have to use it with moderation. It's just like drinking: If you use it too much, you'll get an headache, but there's no fun in not doing it at all.
You don't need to code every word or item, and you don't need to code Randuin's Omen every time you mention the item. You can also use terms like 'Randuins' instead of coding the item from time to time.
More advanced coding: columns, indents, lists and spoilers
If you ever want to work on making your guide attractive to read, you need to use advanced BB-coding. One of the more complicated ones but also most 'rewarding' types of coding is to use columns and indents. With the use of these two you can create some nice looking layouts for specific chapters. A quick example:
Besides columns and indents, you can also use lists. Lists allow you to sum up things in an orderly fashion. You can use this, for example, to sum up specific uses for spells or items. I have used these lists throughout this guide so I don't believe they need much explaining.
A final thing I have made extensive use of in this guide, is the 'spoiler'. A spoiler is pretty much a way to hide less important information or huge images, to avoid taking too much space or messing up the look of your guide. Examples could be a list of images where to ward (you usually don't want to have 10 huge images in your guide because it makes it harder to navigate through your guide) or just like I used, bad examples of coding.
The coding is quite simple, you just use [spoiler]'text or image url's here'[/spoiler]. You can also edit the text in the spoiler thing itself by using [spoiler='displayed text here']'spoilered text here'[/spoiler]
IV: Structuring your guide
Something that is closely related to readability is structuring. Structuring specifically means that you maintain a logic order of chapters and information. This is quite important for navigation purposes, but it is quite annoying to read as well if the chapter order is messed up badly.
A bad chapter order would be:
This doesn't make any sense, does it? Now let's look at a good setup and explain why.
- Summoner Spells
- Item explanation
- Skills & Skill sequence
- Gameplay tips
Now this does make sense. First of all, I added Introduction/Conclusion chapters. These chapters usually don't add much to the guide itself besides that they make the guide look better. That way, you don't just jump into the guide at an apparently random moment, but you actually introduce and close the guide in a nice way.
Followed by this, we explain our pre-game setup. These should be the first chapters because these will be the things players want to set up before the game. That is why Runes, Masteries & Summoner spells should always be next to each other in the beginning of the guide.
After this, we explain items. This could also be considered a pre-game setup for the sake of creating item sets for the specific champion. Following this, you should explain the basics of playing the champion in your skills chapters. You should explain the skills (preferably in-depth) - not just copy paste the numbers from Leaguepedia - and explain why you max the spells this way. After that you can explain combo's and other gameplay related stuff in specific chapters, I usually make one gameplay chapter for this.
Also, notice how I moved changelog down to the bottom of the guide. I did this simply because not much people are interested in your changelog, so it should not be your first chapter. You could also quickly comment on your guide and use that first comment to write down changes.