LoL

What’s In a Game? League of Legends

Some of you might have heard of Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) – a mod for Warcraft III that essentially fathered all modern MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas). This week on What’s In a Game?, I explore what is arguably the most well-known of the MOBAs spawned from DOTA’s popularity. League of Legends.

As always, let’s get the important-but-boring stuff out of the way.  League of Legends is rated T for Teen on the grounds of Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco according to our friends at the ESRB.

Now, if you’ve never played a MOBA before there’s a lot to learn.  For instance, you don’t level one character to max; you instead level your account to unlock perks to use across a variety of champions.  At current tally, there are 117 champs to choose from, ranging from psychotic-but-fluffy scouts to the Sheriff of Piltover to an evil Ice Queen aiming to take over the world and everything in between. Among the SR101 Staff, favorites include (and I’m not 100% these are still accurate…) The Mouth of the Abyss, The Megling Gunner, and The Fallen Angel. Those links will take you to some of the champions I’m talking about, and from there you can navigate through the wide world of options.  I’m getting a bit ahead of myself though.

Where to begin.  I guess the obvious choice here would be game-modes. Generally people play MOBAs to face off with other players, but options are available to fight an AI if you are so inclined.  Put simply, you can play against people or bots.  Should you choose to play against people, you have a few options available.  You can play on teams of 3 or 5.  Within the 5 option are “Classic” games played on the Summoner’s Rift map, or ARAM (All Random, All Mid) played on the Howling Abyss.  With an ARAM, the game chooses the champion you will be playing – you have no input whatsoever. ARAMs are a great place to learn about the various champions and how to play with/against them.  In my personal opinion, ARAM makes good players better.  I remember being thrilled when Riot introduced ARAM as a playable option, because it’s a great way to unwind while improving yourself.

I won’t get too far into champions and their roles today (that’s an article and a half on its own!) but the general roles are as follows:

  • Support: Generally has a kit revolving around strong Crowd Control (CC) or grants sustain (Healing). Generally plays bottom lane.
  • Marksman (Previously AD Carry): Builds Attack Damage (AD) and mainly uses auto-attacks for damage.  Strong poke and harass to de-lane opponents.  Generally in the bottom lane with the Support.
  • Mage: Strong Ability Power Caster.  Brunt of damage comes from spells, meaning juggling cooldowns is a must. Generally plays middle lane.
  • Top: Usually a Bruiser (tanky, but with decent damage); can be a mobile caster.  As the name suggests, they go to the top lane.
  • Jungler: High-mobility, high-CC.  Their job is to “gank” or sneak-attack-and-kill enemy players.  They roam the Jungle (meaning anywhere not in a lane) to gain their XP.

Here’s what the League of Legends Wiki has to say about Summoner’s Rift.  There’s a map about halfway down the page to clear up some confusion about where everyone goes (hopefully).

Throughout the game, the champion you chose will level up from 1 to 18, unlocking another point in a skill at each level. Your abilities are bound naturally to the Q, W, E, and R keys.  R is always the “Ultimate Ability” and can only be unlocked at levels 6, 11, and 16.  The others can be unlocked at any time.  Moving your character around is done through right-clicking on the screen (a major change from WASD that many games rely so heavily on).  Winning is simple; just knock down the enemy team’s turrets and break their Nexus and victory is yours.

Overall, League gets a high score in replayability.  It’s a lot of fun to experience the same game through such a multitude of champions on such a regular basis. Considering it’s possible to play without spending any money (real money can be spent on novelty skins to change a champion’s appearance or to more quickly buy champions), it’s an easy A.

Unfortunately, the community leaves a lot to be desired and is inhabited primarily by trolls.  These problems are amplified in Ranked Matches as people attempt to climb the ladders, but Ranked is restricted to accounts at level 30 (max).  People yell over small mistakes, but there is a means to mute each person individually, much like an Ignore List. Graphically, the game is improving almost every patch.  Through Visual Upgrades and reworks, each champion is being brought in line with the current visual standards for gaming, and the spell effects are beautiful.

If you would like to play a game sometime, or even just try it out, leave me a message in the comments with your Summoner Name (NOTE: Summoner Name and Login Name are DIFFERENT.  Never share your Login Name with anyone!) and we’ll try to work something out! Something I missed or didn’t explain well enough?  Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do!  Oh, and here’s my referral link for League, should you try it out.

Happy New Years!
–John

(I need to offer my apologies to John and all of the readers of our site. I haven’t been keeping up with it as much I should over the past few weeks and his post has been ready to go for about as long. I hope you all enjoy it and hope you’ll be sure to check out his next WIaG coming soon! – Stephen)

 

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