Why I love League of Legends

Alright, so Nicolaus wanted me to be his main League of Legends writer since like October or something, and I really dropped the ball on that, so… my Christmas gift to you, Nick… AN ARTICLE!

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That aside, there was an article written on here awhile back about someone’s view on League of Legends and wondering what the fuss was about.  I figured I might give a bit of insight into some of the things that draw players, myself included, in such a way as to allow League to be the primary and almost sole source of entertainment you might wind up with.  I started playing League of Legends because I couldn’t afford to pay Blizzard any further money for World of Warcraft, as much as I liked the game.  Even then, I didn’t pick it up immediately so much as I kept hearing about it or references to it on other forums I meandered across doing unrelated things with almost nothing to do.  After a month or so, I said, “f*** it” and looked up the game and downloaded it.  The main character I kept hearing about was Cho’Gath, the Terror of the Void, the creature being referenced on other places as, “The Mo’f***’in’ Cho’Gath!” so I tried him immediately, after the tutorials of course.  The game originally struck me as a sort of like Diablo II, having never been able to try DotA, the progenitor of the MOBA genre, and after a few games of learning curve, I was becoming a huge monster slaughtering my enemies… and I was hooked.  I realize I haven’t really gotten into many reasons yet, but I figured a bit of background on where I came from might help people understand where I am coming from on some of my points.   So, without further ado… the reasons!

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1.  Free-To-Play not Pay-To-Win: League of Legends costs NOTHING to play whatsoever, no one-time play forever purchases, no ‘pay to unlock this character ability or that character item’, no “that race is unavailable without paying us money”, and no ‘Free players will notice a significant price markup at vendors when compared to subscribers… (~coughtheoldrepubliccough~).  Everything that will impact your actual play mechanically is free and costs nothing but your time and dedication to the game.  Spending money can reduce the time needed by a bit, but is truly unnecessary.   The things that can only be bought using money are cosmetic upgrades which can be considered a tip or a thank you to the creators, or a good gift for a friend who really enjoys the game.

 

2.  Casual gameplay that is easy to learn, yet difficult to master:  This game is actually fairly easy to pick up and play for gamers… while the genre can be challenging for some, I was able to pick it up and go in having NO knowledge of the MOBA genre or how it worked and play effectively at the lower levels(effectively meaning I could get ridiculously strong and slaughter multiple people at once by the ends of some matches), while as I reached higher levels of play I discovered I still was truly a ‘newb’ at the game and getting crushed by more experienced gamers.  In this aspect League is more akin to Checkers than Chess, despite using the Elo ranking system originally devised for Chess.  The most minor bits of understanding can transform your view of how the game works and allow you to control the flow of things organically.

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3.  Progression without mindless grinding:  While it is true it can take awhile to earn the Influence Points(game currency which is acquired by simple virtue of having played a match in League, win or lose), each match is an entirely new game, making it difficult to become stale due to the sheer number of permutations of team compositions and equipment load-outs.  No two League of Legends games will be identical unless 6-10(depending which map is played) people decided to MAKE a pair of identical games, and even then completely identical games are nearly impossible(recreating every event from the first game would require more coordination than just playing a new match).  Given long enough, one could become bored, but it’s taken me over a year to get even close to that point… I normally reach that point within a month or two with a typical $50-$60 game, and League is completely free and gave me 12 times the replay value before I felt any need for a more significant break than a couple of days.  Adding to the progression are Ranked Matches, which are a slightly different game mode than the traditional ‘normal’ games, which rates your wins/losses on the Elo system(as modified by Riot to suit team-based games over chess).  LoL has seasons and at the end of each, if your Elo is sufficiently high, you can net rewards that cannot be acquired any other way, even IF you are willing to shell out cash.  These rewards are cosmetic/pride-based items and defer no in-game advantage, but are very nice bragging rights when going into a match.

Season 2 World Champions Taipei Assassins accepting their Championship Prize cup, preparing to celebrate their million dollar winnings.

Season 2 World Champions Taipei Assassins accepting their Championship Prize cup, preparing to celebrate their million dollar winnings.

4.  League of Legends isn’t just a game, it’s a SPORT:  Just like Football, Soccer, Baseball and others are all ‘games’ children play, they are also multi-million dollar franchise sports which draw individuals who play the game professionally, complete with tournaments and spectators.  As mentioned in a previous article Nicolaus Miller wrote, League of Legend’s Season 2 World Championship had over 3 million internet viewers, not to mention those who paid for tickets to watch the games live in a stadium in California.  Did I mention this tournament’s grand prize was one MILLION dollars to the winning team?  Did we cover the fact that the teams get sponsored and the professionals can get paid merely to play and stream their gameplay onto the internet for thousands of people to watch them play in the hopes of improving or just to hear their commentary?  One can make a living playing this game if they are sufficiently motivated, which goes back to point #3 a bit, but bears mentioning.

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