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What People Look For in a Guide

Creator: th3BlackAngel July 5, 2011 11:11am
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th3BlackAngel
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So, while beginnning to make my guide yesterday, I remembered how clueless I was on what to write about during the making of my first guide. I had no idea what people wanted or needed in a guide to call it good.

In order to help newcomers (or old forum users who have yet to make a guide) here is a guide about writing guides. I will also add information that seems pertinent to good guides from other people's suggestions.

Requirements of a Good Guide

  • Relevance: Simply put, keep your guide updated. Keep it as relevant as possible to the CURRENT metagame. If you have a big paragraph about how to counter roamers, and then the metagame shifts to AD carry+support bottom, put in a new chapter emphasizing the dominance of AD+Support instead of roaming.
  • Explanations: Explain every single choice you make, from your items to your masteries. People always want to know why this > that.
  • Organization: An unorganized guide is messy, causing trouble for the reader, therefore making it less likely he/she will understand/like your guide. A general set-up for a guide goes as follows:
      1. Introduction
      2. Pros / Cons
      3. Summoner Spells
      4. Runes
      5. Masteries
      6. Skill Explanations + Skill Sequence + Unique Skills + Skill Combo
      7. Items
      8. Farming / Jungling
      9. Gameplay
      10. Summary
  • Detail: Go into detail about things that seem vague, like tips on how to use a certain skill or what not. This shows the reader that you know the champion really well. Going into detail about the map the guide is written for, is also a good idea.
  • Format: Having a good format to follow, and not having everything lying around is key to a good guide, it makes your guide easier to follow through. Good formatting includes using coding like Columns, Lists, and Font Effects to emphasise or draw attention to importan aspects of your guide.
  • Focus: Don't go off on tangents when writing your guide. Try and keep all of the information in your guide relevant to the main topic or champion you're explaining. Don't go on a huge rant about warding when there are several detailed warding guides for that purpose.
  • Originality: A good guide is original. Sure, you have the core items and such for each champion, but your explanations, descriptions, situational items and even skill sequence have to be original. Having the exact same build and guide as a top rated guide doesn't mean yours is good. Be original, show that you actually know the champion by putting some of yourself into your guide.

Improving Your Guide

  • Images: A picture is worth more than a thousand words, so why not show instead of tell. Using images (jungle maps, skillshot examples) helps the reader understand things that are hard to explain with words. Screenshots of recent scores acquired with your build will also boost confidence and trust in the reader towards your guide.
  • Videos: Videos are even better than pictures for a guide. A jungle video with the best route, or the best ward placements, or the best way to use a certain skill is excellent and will help your guide a lot. A simple video showing a game where you dominate as a champion isn't a good illustration of that champion's performance. If you have a trick you describe, try to have a video showing the trick and how it's useful in a game. If my Amumu guide says what "bandage juking" is, I should link to Stonewall008's video showing an excellent bandage juke.
  • Using Icons: Icons allow the use of tooltips, which explain a Skill, Champion, Rune or Item, in some detail. Read how to implement icons with tooltips.
  • Divided Sections | Sub-Dividing Sections: Doing this will bring more organization to the guide and break up unnecessary walls of text. Sub-dividing sections is wise when you have multiple sections related to the same topic.
  • Including Alternatives: Alternative Rune setup, Mastery setup, hell even an alternative skill sequence will make your guide much better. This allows your build to be used for multiple setups. Whats more, it helps having alternatives because not everything always goes as planned, and sometimes you have to use a certain mastery point or a certain rune setup to counter a pick (for ranked mainly). For example, if your team doesn't have any DoTs (damage of time abilities), and the enemy team has a Dr. Mundo or Vladimir, changing your standard summoners of Exhaust + Flash to Ignite + Flash will shut down those champions in a teamfight, as both rely on their self-healing abilities.

Additional Aspects of a Good Guide

  • Tips & Tricks: People generally know how the skills of a champion work. If they don't, they can just roll over it. If they still don't, that's why you include a brief section in your guide explaining the mechanics of each skill. But what's REALLY valuable are tricks and nuances to playing a champion a certain way that people may not know immediately. For example, Flash + Powerball on Rammus is extremely strong, and not many people pick up on it. For Amumu, maybe mention that ulting before you throw your Q when you gank someone is usually much more reliable, since it's easier to stun a rooted target. These tips aren't immediately obvious to newer players and need to be pointed out, and are what many people consider valuable information in a guide.
  • Variety: Try to have some change of character during your guide. Add some humor, to make it fun to read, not just an essay. The most dedicated players will be fascinated to learn more about a champion but many readers are simply reading to get a good foothold on their playstyle. With some humor or color/images/videos, the reader stays interested.
  • Use Resources: Take advice from others about your guide, and consider any changes they suggest. Take a look at other guides to see where yours is lacking, and feel free to include links to other relevant guides in your own if it will help your reader. If you don't want to go into detail on jungling or warding, include a link to a good guide on that topic. If you want to make a great guide, focus on helping your readers.

Characteristics of Bad Guides

  • Walls of Text: They are unattractive. People will literally not read your guide if it contains even one HUGE Wall of Text. This is why images and videos help the guide. They reduce the need for words. As long as the text is embedded with coding, colour and an interesting style of writing, then the reader should stay interested.
  • Grammar mistakes: I'm not saying there can't be a typo here and there, we are all human. But to make your ideas clear for the reader, you have to present them in the best way possible.
  • Inconsistency: Keep the parts of your guide looking similar, in a format that's simple to read. Don't just shake things up halfway through - it makes the work look shoddy and patched-up, and can confuse the reader. If you stress a certain point in the guide, do NOT contradict yourself later.
  • Complication: Unless it's necessary (like if you're explaining a difficult mechanic or trick), you need to keep the guide as simple as possible so as many people will understand it as possible. This applies to SO MANY THINGS, including items, runes, skill order, masteries, et cetera.

    On 95% of the champions in the game (barring jungle champions), you generally cannot go wrong with the following:

    -Some kind of 21/9 mastery setup, with 21 points in one tree and 9 in another.
    -Standard 9/9/9/3 runes meant to optimize certain areas.
    -Standard QWQEQR (to level 6) skilling order with R>1>2>3 for the rest of the skills. In short, max one skill first, then another, then another, getting ult when possible.
  • Redundancy: It's annoying to read something in a guide that's being repeated over and over in several different sections. There's repeating a point for emphasis, and there's saying the same thing as if it's a brand new idea.

Contributors:

Jebus McAzn
th3BlackAngel
Bryun
PsiGuard
jhoijhoi
Nidalee - Olympic Gold Medalist Guide <-- Recently Updated
Thanks to JEFFY40HANDS for this amazing sig

What People Look For In a Guide
Trophycase
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Very very helpful.
Check out my Swain, Taric, and Ashe guides!
No guides currently in progress!
If I helped you at all, give me a +Rep please, thanks!
Also check out my stream!
PsiGuard
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You could add that coding like Absolute Zero and Flash makes a guide more readable, as well as giving access to a tooltip. Icons, colour, divided sections and strategic paragraphs also help to break up walls of text.
Thanks to Hoppermh for the sig!
th3BlackAngel
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Updated
Nidalee - Olympic Gold Medalist Guide <-- Recently Updated
Thanks to jhoijhoi for this amazing sig

What People Look For In a Guide
PsiGuard
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By the way, I think this would be a perfect thread to sticky. A lot of people come to this part of the forum looking for ways to better their guide, and often lack some of the aspects you've outlined.

I hope more people will post some of their ideas on how to create and improve a guide. This is a great tool to fall back on whether you're experienced or just created your first guide (like me). It's like a rubric: always good to check before publishing.
Thanks to The_Nameless_Bard for the sig!
th3BlackAngel
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Precisely what I thought of when I decided to make this thread. I just hope, like you, that more people (and indeed people who have some of the better guides) post their ideas on this.

As for the sticky thread, I'll see what I can do about that; since I'm not a vet or anything I don't think it is my place to do that, so I have to figure it out.
Nidalee - Olympic Gold Medalist Guide <-- Recently Updated
Thanks to jhoijhoi for this amazing sig

What People Look For In a Guide
Lugignaf
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inb4 Jebus creates paragraphs in this thread because he though of this quite a while ago.


Thank you to jhoijhoi for the sig, and all the dividers in the guide.

Bryun
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  • Format
  • Positioning (Text, Pictures, Videos, etc.)
  • Grammar (Biggie.)

th3BlackAngel
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Updated

@Bryun: could you expand a bit on the positioning, I'm having trouble putting the idea into words.
Nidalee - Olympic Gold Medalist Guide <-- Recently Updated
Thanks to AlexanPT for this amazing sig

What People Look For In a Guide
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Stuff like, Karma and other carry-like people should not be at the front lines of a fight. I bring Karma into this because, her Tether, all about positioning.
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