Cataclysm‘s less than a day away, and this is the time I decide to start playing League of Legends?! Why, you ask? Well, I do have some personal reasons, but let’s say I was tired of having my chilled face pressed to the glass of the DotA community. I wanted in! With several highly popular variations on the basic formula out there already, and even more to come, now is the time to make my mark! Plus, there was some goading by iTZKooPA.
Now, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. I did meddle around with the WarCraft 3 mod in its prime, but shied away due to the high barrier of entry. Like many online games, the competitive collective had already achieved such an impeccable level of skill that I figured it wasn’t worth my time to match them. Coincidentally, I had also played League of Legends… when it was in beta. Despite having already popped my DotA cherry, I still feel shamefully virginal. Needless to say, plenty has changed since then, and my memories are fuzzy, but I did maintain some understanding of the fundamentals.
Each map is made up of several “lanes” and a few intermediary areas with pre-fab monster squads to farm. It’s along these lanes where most of the combat takes place, as you attempt to slowly chip away at your opponent’s defenses and destroy their core. Both sides spawn the same waves of “creeps” — groups of automated minions — at regular intervals, which can generally be used either as a defensive buffer or part of your siege force. If the game were left to its own devices, it would probably exist in a perpetual state of stalemate, neither side ever gaining ground. The whole affair of reminiscent of that old sci-fi/fantasy trope where two equally-matched opponents are firing balls of energy at each other that do nothing more than cancel each other out.
That’s what League of Legends is like; well, until you throw the Champions in. And that — the strategy — is what I still needed to learn. By my estimates, LoL currently has about 65 characters, each with varying stats, abilities, backstories (yes, there’s lore, and lots of it), skins, and difficulties to master. Though the game attempts to pigeonhole each Champion into a set of “roles,” no two play exactly the same, which is what gives the formula its incredible depth. Think of it as more of a sport, and you’re halfway there. The field will always be the same, but the skill and ingenuity of the players is what makes it so much fun to play (and watch). Continue Reading