Posts Tagged ‘League of Legends’
MMORPG’s just one thing that I never really got into. I enjoy the community aspect but, in my opinion, it just gets too large. League of Legends is a weird case as far as MMO’s go simply because of it’s set up. It takes the concept of DOTA (a famous Warcraft III custom game) and makes it it’s own style of game, with upgraded graphics, new champions and more maps. This one is actually going to require a little more explanation than usual, so bear with me.
1. What is DOTA?
DOTA was a Warcraft custom game, its an acronym for Defense of the Ancients. The setup is that there are two bases on the map, with three lanes which connect the two, a river runs through them and forests with various paths exist in between the lanes. There are minions that are mindless and travel down the lanes which give the champions (player characters) gold and experience upon killing them. Two teams of five each are split between the two bases and the objective is to destroy the opposing team by killing enemy champions, killing minions, destroying towers (three of which cover each lane) and finally to destroy the opposing nexus, using level ups and items to enhance your champions specific skills.
2. How does League of Legends differ?
League of Legends differs by having different champions than DOTA (although some are distinctly based on the old DOTA champions), different items (although once again, some homages) and new maps (a two lane 3 player map and a control point style map so far).
Now that those two main questions are out of the way let’s get into the review.
The gameplay is, as explained above, based on fighting in the lanes (gaining levels and gold from minions) and team combat . I was always a fan of DOTA back in the day so I was extremely impressed to see how well Riot (the game’s creators) handled this upgraded variant. The new combat is great, with new champions being released and adding new flavor to the metagame, and feels generally quite fair. Of course there are misclicks and what have you, but the game is generally based on skill which makes you feel fantastic when you manage to personally kill all five of the opposing teams human players. The champions are all generally well balanced (although I’ll get into the problems later), the minions feel balanced, items too etc etc. What I’m trying to get across is the game treats all it’s combatants fairly.
The graphics are actually something that distinguishes it distinctly from it’s predecessor. Warcraft III’s engine generally at least attempted to have characters that looked slightly less cartoony. Not necessarily realistic but not amazingly stylized. League of Legends took the exact opposite route. The game has a very distinctive art style which looks absolutely fantastic. Everything from the champion profiles to the in-game graphics to the game launch screen all looks wonderful and very mystical.
Here’s the problem with reviewing an entity like this though, you have to take into account two extra things: community and patches. The community of this game is actually one of the main factors working against it. The community of this game is absolutely toxic. If you happen to start up the game with a solo queue you’ll have leavers (people who leave midgame), spammers (people who constantly type in chat), internet tough guys (people who will threaten you over the internet for various reasons), trolls (people who purposely cause defeats), and more than your fair share of racists. This gets infuriating incredibly fast. Also, they have a habit of absolutely raging on each other, with full game insult streams on chat being a rather common occurrence. The worst part though is that this slowly begins infecting normal players. You see this stuff happening, it makes you frustrated and slowly but surely you become one of them. The good thing is that Riot understands this and has put in a way for the community to judge it’s own in the form of The Tribunal. This is a court where all cases are heard and judged on by level 30′s that have not received a warning or ban notification. What this means is that the game’s law abiding max level players pass judgement on disputes between other players. Not all cases are heard by everyone obviously, but each case is judged by a predetermined number of people. Also, you get a certain amount of the game’s currency for doing it. This is certainly a step in the right direction and has really helped bring some discipline into the League of Legends community, although it’s still pretty bad.
The patches are where things really get interesting. Being an online game, League of Legends has to keep changing to add new and continuous content to satiate the players hunger. Riot puts out new characters and new items all the time but what this also means is that Riot has to constantly “fix” the game. This means they change stat ratio’s to make characters more balanced against each other, allowing for a fairer fight. These patches have caused more than a bit of controversy in the past, one recent one completely rebooted an entire section of the metagame by completely changing the neutral forest minions, but are generally pretty good in my opinion. These changes have helped make the game far more balanced and generally keep things fair. Sure there are fixes I could do without (ripping out dodge the dodge statistic entirely did not sit well with me), but in general Riot does a fantastic job at what it does. One warning though, I have found playing after a new character release to be infuriating because Riot has had a consistent habit of releasing champions that are far too powerful and then rebalancing later that week. It leads to days of constant loses and if you ask any player, you’ll find this a very common occurrence.
Whew, long article today. Anyway, how does the game fare? Well I think it fares very well. The graphics and art style keep the game from looking dated and the concept of the game is something I can truly stand behind as I loved it’s predecessor. The gameplay is amazingly strategic and very deep, forcing the player to always think on their feet. The community is very toxic though, Riot does occasionally perform very unnecessary patches and it overlooks more than a few things. But this doesn’t outweigh simply how fantastic the game is. It’s strategic, social and extraordinarily fun. League of Legends gets a 4out of 5. I say go out, grab some friends and I’ll see you on the Fields of Justice.