Title: League of Legends
Genre: Online Action RTS
Developer: Riot Games
Publisher: Riot Games
Retail Price: Free
Release Date: Available Now
Having only ever watched games of ‘Defense of the Ancients’ from Warcraft III, I wasn’t really caught up in the buzz of the game but early last year I was told about a game that had been inspired by DotA and so my long torrid love affair began with League of Legends. This is an overview of the game coupled with this writers opinions, opinions that I have formed after a year of playing and nearly over 1,000 matches played and won (let’s forget my losses!).
Rich in lore, steeped in competitive play, dozens of characters and multiple strategies for victory, the League offers so much to players, new and veteran.
For those not in the know, League of Legends is an online Action RTS (real time strategy) game, developed and published by Riot Games. First announced in October 2008, the game was launched the following year on October 27th 2009. Since then the game has grown, expanded, updated, patched, it has become an online gaming sensation with over 32million registered users (November 2011) signing up to take part in the League.
So what exactly is the League and why the hell is it so bloody popular? Well simply put it’s popularity in my opinion stems from three key areas:
1/ Competitive play
2/ Updates and patches
3/ Player Service
League of Legends pits a team of five or three champions against an enemy team. You can play against real people with friends or form a random team or just challenge Bot champions. In the game you take on the role of a summoner and control one of 97 champions, your job is to destroy the opposing teams ‘Nexus’ while protecting your own. Champions range from Tanks, Support, Melee, Jungler, Ranged, Magic and can be custom built utilising runes, masteries and items and equipment bought during matches.
There are currently two different modes of play: Summoners Rift and Dominion.
In Summoners Rift players charge lanes aided by minions and allies in an attempt to kill enemy champions and conquer the turrets before making it into the enemy base and in Dominion teams compete for control of towers that lay waste to the enemies tower.
Playing since March 2010, I’ve experimented with every type of character, I’ve found my strengths, realised my weaknesses and disturbed a part of my gaming psyche I didn’t realise I possessed but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The game is updated fortnightly with patches that improve champions or nerf them, a new champion is introduced nearly every two or three weeks and overall the game is pleasant to look it, with clean graphics (that are getting a boost this week!). The game is engaging, with a fantastic practice utilised by developers of listening to players needs and wants, rewarding good and fair players and leaving the fate of ignorant and troll players up to the community.
As a player you begin at level 1 and by playing more matches you gain experience that increases your summoner level opening up more runes and masteries options. Playing games will also reward you with ‘Influence Points’, with the winning team earning more, these points can be used to unlock new champions or purchase runes for your champion builds. The game is free to download and play with no subscription and players can choose to spend real money to purchase ‘Riot Points’ which can be spent on champions but also allow you to buy different outfits or ‘Skins’ for your favourite champions.
Beginning in the League is daunting, it all seems like so much to get to grips with but after my first few matches I had the basics down and I already found myself settling into a comfortable niche of characters favouring Ranged and Magic based champions over brute strength or colossal health. The game does not get boring… ever! You can find yourself sinking hours of a day into match after match, not to accumulate experience or points but purely for the rush that comes from the game, the competitive streak in gamers is really played on here and while it is one of the best elements of the game it also causes huge problems.
The community on League of Legends is unlike any other online game I’ve played. We’re all well aware that the internet is a breeding ground for trolls, people who get off on making others online experience a nightmare all while hiding anonymously behind a computer screen but you throw in the element of competition and some dark traits begin to rise.
I’ve openly admitted to being a fairly competitive gamer, I like to win and when I don’t I’m not happy, I’m usually angry. In the League you will often find yourself playing with people from other countries, it’s not always your own mates, so you are relying on the skills of a stranger to help carry your team to victory. Not everyone is as good as you, some people are better than you and this all combines to form a seething monster of rage-filled outbursts, torrents of badly worded insults, game leavers, troll players and reveals the weakest part of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, not everyone who plays the game is a menacing monster out to ruin your day, the vast majority of players are funny, well mannered people who may throw a good timed barb at you now and again but I myself have been reported for my behaviour, unable to control my game rage.
League of Legends is a fast paced, clever and all together brilliant game. I’ve spent hours playing, reading lore and experimenting with champion builds. It’s not perfect, the competition is fierce, it can bug out some times but the positives outweigh any and all negatives, we can find with the game.
A while back we asked if you’d like the Arcade to cover the League more frequently and we’re happy to tell you that we’ll be covering the League in a fortnightly piece detailing champions, highlighting some of our best and worst matches and looking at updates and patches.
The League is growing, so it’s about time you got your head into the game! You can sign up to League of Legends for free today, just click the link below!
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!