League of Legends: Better to Visit than Stay

Earlier this year, I began playing League of Legends, a free-to-play massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game (or MMO RTS, if you will). I played it for a while, and had a good time with it.

The premise for LoL is simple: you choose a Champion to play as. Each round has you defending your base and going after the enemy’s base, ultimately to destroy their center or power, or “nexus”. Each side’s Nexus generates minions, units that follow a basic AI and attack enemy units. Each side also has a number of turrets located along three lanes that automatically fire on enemy units. Each base also has three inhibitors. Destroying just one of these allows your own Nexus to spawn stronger minions, although the destroyed inhibitor automatically respawns after a certain amount of time.

As you play each round, and defeat enemy minions or enemy champions, you gain Exp. and gold. Your champion starts at level one each round, and, as you level up, you unlock special abilities. Gold can be used to buy items, either to equip or use.

LoL offers quite a long list of playable characters, though the vast majority have to be unlocked with either points that you earn after winning a lot of battles or by points that you purchase with actual money. Each week, though, a number of characters are placed in free-to-play rotation. This list is changed out, for the most part, each week. It’s a good way of testing characters to see if they match to your play style.

The neat thing about the roster of playable characters is that each has their own four unique abilities. No abilities are alike between the roster. Abilities may be similar, but they are each unique. There are two main play styles for characters: one depends on ability, the other on magic. You get familiar with the differences the more you play.

Anyway, that’s an overview of how LoL is played. I started playing the game earlier this semester, encouraged by friends at Uni. Along with playing in team matches (3v3, 5v5), I also played a lot of practice rounds, where I went up against computer-controlled bots.

Eventually, I got to a point where I realized a major difference in how I was playing the game compared with how friends played it: I was playing the game just for fun, whereas my friends were deconstructing the game in terms of stats and playing on a meta-level. They were critiquing each character’s stats, special abilities, optimal builds, and throwing around all sorts of specialized terminology (such as feeding and spinning-to-win), and I had no idea what they meant. They were (and still are) obsessed with the game, and playing matches with them has lost all sense of fun.

So I lost interest in LoL, in favor of everything else going on in my life. I’ve not played a game of LoL since early April. I still hear about the game, occasionally, but I laugh at how obsessed they can be.

In the end, LoL is fun and all, I’ve just grown weary of it. By the time I stopped playing, my summoner level was around 13. It’s a fun game, though.

I’ll end this before it devolves into a diatribe wherein I deconstruct my own playing style and extrapolate out a comparison of all the various game play styles I’ve observed among people.

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