League of Legends Review: Why Did I wait so Long!?

To really understand where I’m coming from with this review of League of Legends, one has to go back to where I was first introduced to the MOBA genre, with Warcraft 3. War3 was released at a time when I was getting a little bored of RTS games so I spent a lot of my time trying out all the community created mods for it, one of which was a MOBA mod.

Now this was 8-9 years ago so I can’t really recall if the mod was DotA, some early version of it or perhaps another MOBA all together, I just remember not liking it. There were no instructions, no info, you basically loaded the mod and had to figure it out for yourself. Which is actually no different than 99% of all the other mods in WC3, but since I wasn’t getting into it, I didn’t feel like putting in the time to learn it. I ended up playing a few rounds, but in the end it was confusing and I was getting my ass kicked by players who knew what they were doing so I moved on to another mod and never went back.

Fast forward a few years to when I first heard of League of Legends. I read it was based on a Warcraft 3 mod called DotA and when I saw some of the videos I lost interested instantly. Then a few weeks ago when Riot Games announced it had hit 15 million registered players, I thought, hmm, there’s got to be something more to this game then that War 3 mod I played so many year before. So after about 2 weeks of contemplating I decided to finally download it.

Check out the full League of Legends review after the jump.

Thank god I did.

Off the bat I was a little overwhelmed by League of Legends my first time in. There’s a ton of characters to choose from, spells, masteries, runes and the in-game item shop was extremely confusing.

The store is setup into categories, such as Health, Attack, Armor, Speed, etc and I was confused as to why some items appeared more than once.  Then some items had requirement trees below them, so I didn’t know if I was supposed to craft the items to get them or if I could just buy them straight up.  Then I thought, maybe I have to buy it, but in order for that item to work I have to buy the other items also. After a few matches I finally figured out that I could purchase the lower items first, then eventually purchase the higher end item for a lesser price because I already had the prerequisite items. After that it’s been nothing but smooth sailing.

The Masteries are your basic skill tree system where you get 1 point for every level, with enough points to complete one of the three trees and a few points left over. The best part of Mastery skills is you can reset the points any time you want and as many times as you want. This means you can constantly change your skills depending on what character you decide to play. Players are also able to save Mastery builds and select from them during the character selection process, so you don’t need to go and redo you Mastery points before every match.

Runes are passive buffs you give to your characters such as +.34 attack speed or +5 mana, things of that nature and similarly to Masteries, you can save your Rune builds as well. Runes are purchased from the League of Legends store with Influence points that players build up the more they play the game.

Getting to the actual game, I was a little worried I would find it repetitive with only two maps being available and only one type of game mode, however that has not been the case. It’s not so much about the maps and game mode as it is about the PvP competition, which is top notch and comes in two assortments, 3 vs 3 and 5 vs 5.

Two teams are pitted against each other with the common goal of destroying the other teams tower, which is located in their base.  To get there, teams must destroy turrets along the way to clear a patch for their minions, which are NPCs that aid you during the match. Each team also has 2-3 Inhibitors in their base which don’t do anything until they’re destroyed.  Once a team destroys an opponents Inhibitor, the attacking team starts to spawn stronger minions. Eventually one team will overwhelm the other and the match is over.

Where League of Legend shines is its simplicity. Once you get acquainted with some of the Champions and spells, it’s really all about strategy and outsmarting your opponent. Mastery and Runes come into play, but the game is pretty good at matching up players at the same level, so you don’t need to worry about a level 30 player being matched up with a bunch of level 5 players.

Lastly there’s the Riot Games store where players can purchase Champions, different skins, Runes, boost and other items for their Summoner and Champions. The store uses two currencies, Riot Points, which can be purchased with real money and Influence Points, which are accumulated as you play. Runes and Champions can be purchased with IP, although Champions can also be purchased with RP.  Everything else, such as champion skins, boosts and bundle packages can be purchased with RP.  Nothing that effects combat can be purchased with RP, so it’s not pay-to-win.

League of Legends is one of those games I never expected to like and when I first decided to review it, I really didn’t think I would be writing a glowing review for it. I can see why over 15 million gamers have registered, it’s by far one of the best free-to-play games I’ve ever played and Riot Games has definitely gained a long time player in me. I’ll see you on the battlefield.


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