August 18, 2013
League Of Legends: First Impressions
As one of the most popular online games today, and the favorite of many of my friends, I picked up League of Legends a little while ago, and boy has it been a journey.
League of Legends invented the gaming genre known as MOBAs (Mobile Online Battle Arena). Essentially, a MOBA is to real-time strategy as Action RPGs are to Turn-Based RPGs.
In these games, each player chooses a single champion to control. Then, two teams of these characters are assembled and put onto a map where each team has a base on opposite corners of the map. Between the bases are lanes along which each team has turrets on their side. In the space between lanes lies the jungle, where players can defeat monsters for quick experience, gold, and power-ups (called ‘buffs’). Weaker NPC monsters called “minions” spawn from each team’s base and travel along the lanes to destroy the other team’s turrets and ultimately push into their base. Other MOBAs include Heroes of Newerth, Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle Earth, and Dawn of the Ancients.
As the game progresses, players level up their champion and earn gold by killing minions, turrets, champions, and monsters. With each level up, the champion’s stats increase and the player can choose an ability to level up. Abilities can have a wide range of effects. Some simply do increased damage to a single target, while others can slow down targets, shoot a projectile, heal and apply buffs to others, and all sorts of things. This allows each champion to be unique and have their own play style.
Even more customization is allowed with the meta-game features. While in a game, you have a champion starts at level one; outside of individual matches, you have a Summoner Level, which tracks your progression and success in matches. Each level up gives you one Mastery Point, which can be spent in a Mastery Tree that increases your champion’s stats in game. Runes are another feature that serve a similar purpose, but can be bought from the store with the in-game currency.
That being said, the wide range of champions, abilities and items is the hardest thing to keep track of in this game. There are currently 115 champions, each with their own passive and active abilities, so learning how to play as and fight against each one of them is a daunting task. As a matter of fact, the game doesn’t even let you play against other players at first, and you’re required to play bot matches until you reach a certain Summoner Level.
Now, for my personal experience. First things first: This game has a HUGE learning curve. If you’re not willing to spend hours learning techniques and terminology, as well as trying to find a champion that you’re good with, then just stop right here. But, if you choose to step in, you’ll find yourself hooked on the rather addictive team-based gameplay. If you have friends to play with, definitely get a team together and play this game; you’ll have a blast. Trust me, I suck at this game and I still have fun with it.
Secondly, let’s cover the community. This game’s community is just as welcoming as its learning curve. People generally aren’t very friendly to new players (all the more reason to get friends to play with) and will scream at you and steal your kills in a second if you show a bit of incompetence. I don’t know what it is, but something about this game causes experienced people to just end up this way. (I’m guilty of it as well, even when I’m not that good.)
All in all though, League of Legends is a great game, despite the learning curve and less than friendly community. It has received tons of rewards, as well as set records for most played PC game in many parts of the world. To put this into perspective for a non-gamer, the U.S. regards League pro-players as legitimate professional athletes. At any rate, it’s definitely worth a try.
Image Credit: Riot Games