Saturday, December 4, 2010

A look at League of Legends

Who likes free games? Me! And it's not just a boring browsergame either, it's a legit game: League of Legends.

Inspired by the Warcraft III scenario Defense of the Ancients back in 2005, League of Legends has become a stand-alone game but still works by the same basic principles. You control your own hero, or Champion, and try to keep the opposing team from destroying your defense towers, while also trying to destroy their towers with your team. Simple, easy, fun! Even though strategy games usually aren't my area of expertise it was easy enough to get into League of Legends and win a reasonable amount of games. The learning curve really isn't as steep as is it the case with some games in the strategy genre. After a while you are familiar with the biggest nonos and basic moves to ensure victory.

However, there are also a bunch of things that WILL get on your nerves in League of Legends. Thus I compiled this short list of tips for successfully getting started with the game:

First: Don't ever listen to anybody who starts yelling noob. Only the stupidest people use that word, there is absolutely nothing you can learn from these players. Ignore them completely, no matter what they are trying to tell you. Unfortunately a lot of people are like that until you reach, say, level 10. On the other hand they are easier to ignore than a bunch of raging teenagers over microphone as you might encounter frequently in games like Left 4 Dead. Fortunately since League of Legends doesn't support voice unpleasant people are easy to ignore.

Second: Don't start a game if you don't really have at least half an hour of uninterrupted gaming time available to you. It's hard to tell how long a game of LoL will last, my average is somewhere between 35 and 45 minutes. If you join a game, you should be able to play without interruption as much as possible to not let your team down. Even one missing person from the team makes it almost impossible to win the game, so kindly think of your teammates.

Third: Pretty much connected to the second fact, don't leave the game. Once the game is running nobody else can join, so your team will suffer a harsh loss when you leave. Plus, once you join the serious games, every leave will be counted in your profile and when you're in the lobby of a game waiting for it to start people are able to see that, which might result in them kicking you from their game.

Fourth: Finally, an actual gameplay tip! Always be careful, try to keep minions between you and opposing Champions. Not dying has the highest priority at least in the beginning of the game, because a kill will earn the other team money to equip themselves with awesome new items. Even if you feel like not much is happening in the beginning of a game, not dying should be considered a great achievement already!

Once you take heed of those basic rules there is not much to stop you from enjoying the game. Within every game you will level up your chosen Champion to level 18 and you earn gold by killing enemy Champions and minions. With that gold you can buy a variety of equipment. If you don't know which ones to choose, there are always items suggested individually for your Champion but as you level on and become more experienced you might choose different items altogether, finding new ways to effectively play your chosen Champion.

There are 65 different Champions to choose from to date. Per week you can however only choose 10 of them for free. They're always on rotation, which is actually a nice feature since I am still relatively new to the game and haven't had a chance to play all the Champions I wanted to try out yet. You can also unlock Champions in the shop by either using Riot points (which can be bought with cash) or Influence points (which are earned by playing games). So even if you want to unlock some Champions you don't have to pay any money. You have to pay money for special skins for your Champions however, but I'm fine with buyable alterations to games as long as they don't give the player who spends money a notable advantage over the player who doesn't.

Overall League of Legends is a very fun game and considering that it is absolutely free, it's very nice that they do keep adding new Champions and new content. You can play the game completely free of charge or you can choose to spend your money on little boosts, a big selection of Champions and fancy skills. It's a great game to play together with your friends because communication and teamwork can very much tip the scales in favour of victory! If you've got some time to kill, I definitely recommend checking out this fun little game.

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