Showing posts with label League of Legends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label League of Legends. Show all posts

Saturday, May 05, 2012

DOTA2 vs League of Legends

For a bit of background, I have a few hundred League of Legends games under my level 27 summoner's belt on both the classic (DOTA-like) map and the new Dominion (capture the flag) map.  I have about 20 games under my belt in DOTA 2.  I do not play ranked matches in either game and mainly rely on public match-making via the solo queues.  As fair warning, I am not a DOTA 2 or LoL expert.  These are my observations from the view of a casual player. 


LoL offers stylized (aka cartoony) graphics which hold up over time.  DOTA 2 features more "realistic" fantasy visuals.  If I had subcategories, I would give DOTA 2 the nod for excellent attack/spell animations.  LoL would get a bonus for it's cleaner graphical play which makes spectating games easier.
Game Client:

DOTA 2's client is a glorious thing to behold.  It is a one stop shop for the digital DOTA 2 consumer featuring games to jump into and spectate, player profiles, news, hero information, and more.  LoL's game client is serviceable, but is split from the actual game.  It is based on Adobe Air which I've found to be less than reliable.  However, Riot Games has continued to improve the LoL client.
User Interface:

The UI of each game is almost the same.  Both work equally well.  I'm a bit disapointed that neither game has opened their UIs up to modders, but I suspect that is in an attempt to keep UI mods from giving unfair advantages.


While LoL's user interface is perfectly serviceable and almost identical to that of DOTA 2, there are far, far more customizations that can be made to DOTA 2.  DOTA 2 player's can save their configurations instead of having to set them by hand each game as is needed in LoL.
Map(s) and Game Types:

LoL offers three different maps with three game types to DOTA 2's single map and game type.  One of LoL's maps, The Crystal Scar, offers completely new game play mode with a capture point game type (the other two LoL maps are still Defense of the Ancient (DOTA) ).  Some may say DOTA-like games do not need any more maps, but I would strongly disagree with that after having played many games on The Crystal Scar in LoL.


While I like a lot of LoL's hero designs, I can't help but gawk at DOTA 2 for the sheer audacity with which some of the heroes are designed.  There is completely broken-in-normal-game heroes in DOTA 2 and it's all part of the design.  DOTA 2 features a lot more unique and definitive play mechanics and the attack animations are much better. 

At the same time, LoL has a much better grip on balance for the casual player.  It is much clearer why a player or team is dominating a match with a certain hero.  The hero designs are also much closer to one another making it easier to cross over and play something else.


I think LoL's items are a) simple to understand and b) in the same shop.  DOTA 2 may have great items, but its daunting for a casual player to keep track of some of the more intrinsic items.  DOTA 2 also has regular and secret shops, with recipes to make items and couriers to bring items from the shops to the players.  This all leads to making DOTA 2's items a very frustrating experience at times.
Overall Game Play:

LoL offers more variety than DOTA 2 in regards to game play experiences.  The multiple maps are the start, but Riot Games has also pushed to open up all aspects of the game for the majority of their heroes.  Jungling is a real possibility with almost any LoL hero these days.  LoL also stepped away from some things such as the secret shop and denying, both of which still don't make much sense to me in DOTA 2.

DOTA 2 is still a very, very solid game.  It's distinct enough to offer a separate play experience from that of LoL.  However, Valve is clearly leaning towards the hardcore players and sticking to the true DOTA experience for DOTA 2. 

From a casual perspective, LoL is the better option.  From a "complete package" perspective, DOTA 2 has the better shot and it's still in BETA!  Interestingly, LoL can fix its "not a complete package" problem where as Valve has all but stated that DOTA 2 isn't going to relent on the design aspects that make it less-than-ideal for casual players.

At the end of the day both games still offer a hell of an experience and both are Free 2 Play.  I recommend anyone interested check out both before making a decision on which one to commit to (well that is if you can get into the DOTA 2 beta).

Saturday, February 04, 2012

DOTA 2: Steam's killer App? Killer FREE App?

Steam, as a platform, benefits from having as many users as possible.  Every user is a potential game sale or series of sales.  Valve, the developers of Steam, have come up with many, many ways to get users to buy into the platform.  First, Steam is free to install.  Second, they have great sales.  And over the last year they have moved into the free 2 play realm bringing F2P MMOs to Steam and even releasing their own Team Fortress 2 as F2P. However, even with Team Fortress 2 being popular, I can't help but feel that Steam is missing a killer app that defines it.  Steam needs a completely free app that will drive a massive rush of new blood to it's shores.  The more I think about it, the more DOTA 2 is shaping up to be that killer app.

DOTA 2 is in beta and Valve has yet to announce it's planned business model.  Other popular MOBA games on the market, such as Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends, are free 2 play.  The developers of both make money off players paying to unlock access to champions/heroes and for other non-game affecting bonuses (such as alternate skins for avatars in LoL).  At the same time, each week, a small pool of champions/heroes is always available to play, meaning a player could play LoL or HoN completely free of charge.  Now the big question is whether Valve will follow suit. 

At first I felt that it would be crazy for Valve to not follow the successful model that LoL has laid down.  I didn't (and still don't) think DOTA 2 can be as successful as it can be if there is a front-end price tag attached.  DOTA 2 needs to be free 2 play.  However, the game play of DOTA 2 does not feel suited for the LoL model.  DOTA 2 shines by having all the heroes available for every player for every match.  DOTA 2 will not work with a rotating pool of free heroes each week.

So how does DOTA 2 go the free 2 play route?  Simple.  DOTA 2 will be just that: free 2 play.  I mean 100%, unobstructed free 2 play.  Outside of mailing Valve a wad of cash with a funny note for Gaben, there would be no way for player's to spend cash on the game.

Sound crazy?  Maybe, but I think Valve can justify the costs associated by the sheer volume of players it could bring onto Steam.  Each Steam user is a couple clicks away from becoming another statistic on Valve's already impressive sales charts.

There is more to it than just bringing new users to Steam.  Because not only would this move promote Steam,  but it would promote Steamworks -- Valve's game developer tool set -- which further ties games and gamers into the Steam platform.  Oh and Steamworks is 100% free for developers to use.  If DOTA 2 turns into a smashing, world-wide sensation (it clearly has the potential) with Steamworks doing all the heavy lifting, it will further propel Steamworks into the game development limelight.

The stage is set for Valve to shake things up with DOTA 2.  Does this mean a completely free 2 play DOTA 2?  I believe so.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

DOTA 2 isn't a game; it's an interactive experience!

Ever hate a game before even trying it, only to try it and then realize you may be in love with it? That is exactly where I am at with DOTA 2.

Since starting to get involved with League of Legends I have spent a lot of time learning about the history of DOTA and the MOBA genre. Defense of the Ancients, henceforth DOTA, was a mod to Warcraft III that featured teams of five players battling it out with NPCs and towers before destroying the opponents "Ancient". From those simple beginnings, DOTA grew to become massively popular. It's probably responsible for more Warcraft III sales (you need a copy to play the mod) than the actual RTS itself.

When I first started looking into DOTA there was a bit of misconception on my part (and most of the Internet apparently) about how popular it was. The numbers are highly disputed and even harder to nail down. Due to it being a mod, not officially supported by Blizzard (though they like to think it's their property), there is no press releases announcing its player numbers. However, through the website, the DOTA lead developer Icefrog noted that approximately 7-10 million players have grabbed the game. And as that's not tracking China, there is speculation the real number is somewhere nearer 20 million. Originally I had come to the conclusion that there was about a million DOTA players worldwide.

So I suppose there is no time like now to admit I was wrong about DOTA's popularity considering I was invited to participate in the beta for Valve's DOTA 2. I may also need to retract my statements where I said DOTA 2 wouldn't be very popular. After playing the beta I'm absolutely floored at how smooth of an experience DOTA 2 is. It's one of the best beta tests I've ever participated in and there is so much more going on than just the game itself. The game is great, but the entire package it's wrapped in is what sells the title.

Before we get too far, let me back track. A lot of people assume my hate of DOTA 2 was coming from my long-standing support for League of Legends. I like League of Legends (LoL). LoL has taken the DOTA formula and made many improvements to it. LoL has done many, many things right and like DOTA2 it spent a lot of time on delivering the "complete package" rather than just the game play. LoL is a resounding success (to the tune of 30+ million accounts). LoL is also free 2 play, which makes it even more amazing as anyone can give it a try.

Now I could spend a lot of time detailing the differences between LoL and DOTA2, but I won't. The important thing to know is that LoL sought to create an update and refreshed version of DOTA while DOTA2 has only sought to recreate DOTA in a new graphics engine (Source) and tie it to a unified platform (Steam). When I had first heard this, I was very disappointed.

DOTA has many frustrating mechanics imposed on it due to the fact it was restricted by the Warcraft III engine. And as DOTA2 is a clone of DOTA being put into a new graphics engine, all of these mechanics were going to be copied over. As DOTA2 has progressed in development it has been very clear that DOTA and DOTA2 are aimed at being the same game. In fact, Valve hired on the lead DOTA developer, Icefrog.

To me that didn't make sense (and even now doesn't make much sense). Why free this game from the shackles of the WC3 engine only to keep the ball and chain? LoL was a smashing success because it dared to be different enough from DOTA while maintaining the classic game play everyone loved. Valve seems to have no interest in improving the experience of the DOTA game play. To them, why fix what isn't broke? While I'd argue that it may not be "technically" broke, some things are just kind of stupid from a design perspective.

But don't let me get off on tangents here. I was hating on DOTA2 because of Valve's seemingly unwillingness to improve on the DOTA experience which I had classified as the game itself. I was being ignorant to the fact that the game play of DOTA was only half the package. The exterior features were just as important and OH MY GOD did Valve hit a home run here.

The first time I logged into DOTA2 I was blown away at how slick the interface was. To my left showed me active users broken down by geographical area. A news feed scrolled the center. And most amazingly, live games that I could log into and spectate were on the right. A click later and I was watching a scrimmage match between some of the best known DOTA2 players in the world along with 200 watchers.

While there are live streams from top players for League of Legends and DOTA, there is nothing that compares to what Valve has put together. The spectator in DOTA 2 is actually in the game, clicking around, directing the camera, pulling up the scoreboard when they want to see it, and they are having a wonderful interactive experience.  The difference is that of watching TV (streams) vs playing a video game (DOTA 2 observer mode).  I've never enjoyed being a spectator of a video game until I spectated a match of DOTA2.

And in reality that is the point I'm trying to get at: DOTA 2 isn't a game, it's an interactive experience. It's true digital content for the digital consumer.  League of Legends is to a degree the same, but it's not built-in (yet!) the way DOTA2 is.  If and when LoL is able to build in some of the "digital consumer" features that DOTA2 features it will be equally as stunning (and IMHO LoL is an easier game to understand and spectate than the sometimes overly complex DOTA2).

DOTA 2 isn't perfect.  It still has a long way to go to get all of the DOTA heroes added and kinks worked out (and by kinks I mean high skill level type stuff that 99% of the playerbase doesn't notice). The underlying tech is there and the game is solid as it is for the general populace.  Yes, some annoying mechanics are going to exist in DOTA2 and that may or may not change with Valve at the helm (as I doubt 2 is going to diverge from the original anytime soon).  The only real questions for DOTA2: when is it releasing and will it be free 2 play?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The New Jungle - League of Legends patch 11/29

Riot Games updated League of Legends today with controversial changes to the "jungle".  For the uninformed, the jungle in LoL is a series of neutral monsters that players can kill to gain experience, gold, and buffs during a match.  It is an optional path, but in competitive play there is almost always guaranteed to be a "jungler" on the team clearing the jungle.

Some really good information has been coming out now that the patch is a few hours old.  First up is a numbers post on Reddit covering the new respawn times and camp values based on time of clearing during the match.  They are not set in stone yet, so check back for updates (the Reddit LoL community is great for fast digestion of patch changes FYI).

Prior to this patch, jungling required choosing one of the few jungling champions and a specific set of masteries, runes, and summoner spells.  In this patch the jungle was made "easier" in the aspect that the monsters are now a bit easier to kill and are less likely to be able to kill the player.  However, killing brain dead monsters wasn't exactly a challenge to begin with so saying it got easier is more in regards to the fact that far more champions with more diverse builds can now jungle successfully (instead of just as a joke).

Maokai has been a recent jungle star even prior to the patch due to some play by some top LoL players, so he is a good champ to show off some footage of the new jungle.  If you are not a hardcore LoL player, you may not notice any difference in this footage from the old jungler.  However, the differences are there as Maokai comes away with a very fast and efficient jungle run before emerging with level 4 after clearing the camps.

The new jungle is just the tip of the iceberg for this patch. Many other balance changes came down the pipeline aimed at making the early part of classic LoL games more aggressive in nature which should speed up games and make it a better spectator sport.

Personally I have been playing a lot of Dominion (a different game mode without a jungle). Dominion has faster games and focuses more on champion vs champion combat on a capture the point map. I like the faster game times and the more aggressive play. If this patch cuts down the average game length and increases the action in classic LoL, then I will probably return for some normal solo queue action.

Anyone else have thoughts on the new jungle? On the patch? Share in the comments.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Gaming Deals #blackfriday

At Least 50% Off Over 150 Great Games
Rotating hourly/daily deals in gaming (varies based on time, check in often)
PC game specific deals


Check each day for new sales.  Recommended that you only buy games on the daily deal and then on the last day if they never come up on the daily deal.

Reddit post detailing hidden Steam deals that are overshadowed by the daily deals.

League of Legends

Sign up to play for free
League of Legends boxed bundle
Champion skins that will be on sale

Sasquatch Nunu
Nottingham Ezreal
Blacksmith Poppy
Masquerade Evelynn
Scuba Gragas
Spectacular Sivir
Mr. Mundoverse
Toxic Dr. Mundo
Swamp Master Kennen
Hextech Sion
Yellow Jacket Shen
Red Riding Annie
Leopard Nidalee
Dragon Knight Mordekaiser
Sonoran Kog'Maw
Kingpin Twitch
Professor Ryze
Shamrock Malphite
Highland Tryndamere
Pharaoh Amumu
Badger Teemo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last Hitting (and denying) in DOTA-like MOBA games

Last hitting in DOTA-like MOBA games is completely against the idea of a competitive player vs player experience.  It restricts players by making them spend more time looking at minion health bars than competing against the enemy players.  Not to mention the idea of denying, whereby players attack and kill their own minions to deny the enemy from doing it.  Both are unintuitive left-overs from the Warcraft III engine and its disappointing to see games such as League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, and DOTA 2 sticking with them.

There are better solutions that would allow players to focus on each other instead of minion health bars.  For example, there should be a radius around the minions in which gold is gained when the minion dies.  This way the focus for the player is to zone (aka push) their opponent out of the minions gold radius without having to then immediately stop focusing on the other player and return to health bar duty.  If players are unable to push each other out of the “gold radius” then they stay on par with each other.

Not only is this solution good for encouraging player vs player interaction, it also helps balance champions/heroes.  No longer does the speed of attack animations have to come into account for the sake of last hitting.  Also players can try new characters out without first having to spend practice games mastering attack animations;
which means the average player can more competently play more characters.

Removing last hitting also helps to speed up the rate at which gold is “farmed” which in turn cuts down the rather boring farming phase of most DOTA games.  This would then help cut down the length of the average match as players more quickly achieve their goals.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Steve Jobs and the League of Legends

I'll make no bones about it: I didn't like Steve Jobs.  There has been and are far more influential people in the tech industry that will never receive the amount of attention that Steve Jobs has garnered.  However, most of all I dislike Steve Jobs because he's a lot like me (give our take a billion or so dollars) and I know I'd dislike me if I wasn't me.

Steve Jobs' greatest achievement was giving people what they needed instead of what they wanted.  He literally had no technical breakthroughs with any of the things he was involved with.  He simply ignored everything customers and critics ever leveled against him and forged ahead with his vision.  For him it worked because he controlled the vision; viciously.

The Steve Jobs approach.  The giving communities of people what they need instead of what they want.  This.  This is still a very valid and increasingly needed approach to all products.  Actually, its an excellent barometer to use when comparing forces in other markets.

The more I become involved in the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) community, through playing League of Legends, the more I like to look at what has happened in the (MOBA) market and what is coming up.  What I see reminds me a lot of the Steve Jobs Apple.

The three big players in the MOBA mareket are: DOTA (the original Warcraft III mod), League of Legends (from Riot games), and Heroes of Newerth (from S2).  The 500 lb gorilla in the room, currently in beta testing, is DOTA 2 (from Valve). 

The current king, by all measurements, is League of Legends (LoL) which boasts 15+ million accounts on its Free 2 Play model.  Heroes of Newerth (HoN) in comparison had approximately 400,000 accounts when it was a standalone boxed game, but it recently moved to Free 2 Play model and new player numbers are not available yet (regardless, its still well below LoL's numbers).  There is no reliable way to count the number of DOTA players due to the fact it is still a mod, but estimates are over a million players for the original DOTA (again well shy of LoL).  Valve's DOTA2 did attract over 500,000 beta requests and goes into full scale testing soon.

LoL is considered a simpler version of DOTA and it's developers, Riot Games, actively support this notion as they designed the game to be easier to learn and have produced a non-DOTA game mode.  HoN is a near clone of the original DOTA.  DOTA2 is the literal clone of DOTA and is exactly the same game, but with Valve's Source Engine and a focus on more community features.

Even with DOTA2 spinning up and Blizzard threatening with their own official DOTA flavor on the Starcraft 2 engine, LoL is dominating the market.  And to me LoL is the Steve Jobs of the MOBA genre.  LoL by no means does what it's players want.  It does what the players need, whether they know it yet or not.

If you ask LoL players what they want you will inevitably come to the conclusion that LoL players want:

1. Replays
2. Spectator Mode
3. A better game client/launcher

Riot Games has been slow to develop any of these.  Not to say they haven't worked on any of these areas, but if you spoke to the LoL faithful you would quickly think that Riot hates their core community.  It's practically a crime at this point that LoL doesn't have replays, or spectator mode and that players are still forced in to the Adobe Air game client (FROM HELL!).

Funny thing is, all of these items are things players WANT (seriously, they won't shut up about them), but in no way is it what a MOBA game NEEDS.  MOBA games, especially those inspired by DOTA, have a reputation problem.  The original DOTA community sucks.  It's intolerant of new or bad players.  While DOTA offers an incredibly deep and competitive experience, the community continually keeps the vast majority of new players away.  Replays, spectator modes, and game clients can not fox that problem.  A MOBA game can not be successful on the DOTA model without dealing with the community.

As LoL players screamed for the listed items above, Riot Games focused on other endeavors, one of which is an absolute key to their success: The Tribunal.  The Tribunal is a community polcing tool.  If a player acts the fool in a game of LoL, players can easily report them for various infractions (most often, verbal abuse).  These reports are then later reviewed by players who get to say yay or nay to whether the conduct reported was detrimental to the community. The recommendation of the players is then forwarded to Riot Games who makes a final call on the punishment.  More times than not if a random selection of players votes that someone was being a jerk, Riot agrees and warns (or bans) the account.

LoL and Riot Games have taken this to the bank, millions of times over while their competitors (mainly HoN) tried to simply redeliver the DOTA game.  To no one's surprise, the bad community vibe followed right along to HoN.  Now that HoN is Free 2 Play, its easy to compare the two communities.  HoN is terrible.  LoL is no picnic all of the time either, but there is satisfaction to be had knowing that fellow players will be judging the retards who can't keep their fingers off the /all chat key.  Overall, LoL has far fewer problems because of the Tribunal.

Problem is, LoL players feel cheated because development efforts went into the Tribunal, which most players felt was just a waste of time (after all, we should all just accept terrible communities because there are mute buttons  AMIRITE!?!).  Players WANTED replays. They wanted LoL, the then second generation of DOTA, to fill in features that DOTA had, but could not capitalize on due to being tied to the Warcraft III engine.  Riot put their head in the sand and said NO.  They pushed on what they knew was going to make their game a success.  They made LoL accessible and policed the 12 year olds (in 30 something old bodies).

This is not a blanket "Riot did everything right statement."  Riot has made it's share of mistakes.  Riot was right though and delivered to the needs of their players.  Players were the DOTA-like game's worst enemy and they essentially fixed it while making LoL accessible.  Had they made the game accessible and not fixed the community, the game wouldn't have survived.

Moving forward, DOTA2 is coming down the pipe line.  We don't know if it will be Free 2 Play.  We don't know what Valve is doing to tackle the community problem.  However, we know DOTA2 will have replays.  DOTA2 will have spectating.  DOTA2 will have a lot of what the players WANT. My concern is that DOTA2 and Valve may not be focusing on what players need.  However, Valve has a stubborn history themselves.  All one needs to do is look at the history of Steam itself to know Valve knows what players need well before we even know we need it.  Let's hope Valve is ahead of the curve with DOTA2.

Friday, September 02, 2011

It's MOBA, not ARTS

MOBA - Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
ARTS - Action Real Time Strategy

It annoys me, greatly, that games such as League of Legends (LoL) and DOTA2 are referred to as ARTS.  The term action does NOT fit with the term strategy.  Strategy infers some form of logistical component to the gameplay.  None of aforementioned games feature any form of logistical management.  They very much focus on the action, aka tactical, gameplay elements.

MOBA, on the other hand, describes the games perfectly.  They are multiplayer games that feature battles in arena-style maps.  Sure, the DOTA model has lanes, creeps, and towers, but don't be fooled.  DOTA is still about killing the other team.  DOTA just adds objective-based gameplay into the arena (and objective-based gameplay long ago took over straight up death match).

So next time you are out at the pub talking up the latest dime-a-dozen MOBA coming down the line, please remember this post.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why I don't play League of Legends anymore

In a funny turn of events, I spent $18.33 to buy the "League of Legends box" and then promptly stopped playing the game. The box is a decent deal compared to the individual micro-transaction prices for the items it includes and the main game is free to play.

I had all intentions of continuing to play LoL for a good long while. The game play is solid, the graphics excellent, and the community is not the nightmare it's been made out to be. I enjoyed playing LoL while I was active. LoL had all the action and player conflict that I was looking for in a game, wrapped in a pretty fantasy setting.

So why am I here writing up a post about why I no longer play League of Legends? Because I have a blog, that's why.

The main reason I don't play LoL anymore: the matches last way too damn long. The average match in LoL, for me, was approaching 45 minutes. Best case scenario is that one of the two teams dominates and the other forfeits at the 25 minute mark. Worst case scenario, it drags on for an hour. Fortunately going past the hour mark usually results in the dominos falling and one team becomes overwhelmed.

While I play plenty of games in one hour chunks, I don't think I've played any game that has as much "busy work" as LoL. Every second of a match past the first minute in LoL is important. Every action must be thought out and guided in execution. The players that take a back seat and auto hit creeps or lag behind getting to a team fight are the one's losing or getting farmed.

This is NOT a bad thing! LoL is popular because it DOES require constant attention and DOES require player skill. However, it directly adds to my non-enjoyment of the length of matches. Let’s break down a normal 35 minute match for a carry (aka a class that is "carried" to the end game before becoming important):

I have to maximize every creep wave for up to 25 minutes while on and off again harassing my opponent in my lane. However, I am not attacking the creeps unless I am going for a last hit. This means I have to constantly dance back and forth to prevent auto attack from screwing up last hits. At the same time I have to watch the health meters of each of the creeps to judge when to hit to get the kill.

In between creep waves I may be calling out missing champions in my lane or returning to the store to click through a half dozen windows to buy gear. When not returning to the store, I am probably diving in and out of the tall grass watching out for ganks.

Approaching the last 10 minutes of the game, team fights start to break out across the map and I have to be able to immediately drop what I'm doing and join in. Being a few seconds late to a team fight can be critical.

Approaching the end of the game I am now either in the opponent’s base pushing down the last towers/inhibitors or if we are losing, desperately trying to get out of the spawn area to maybe push a lane and make up some ground for the rare come-from-behind victory. However, this means I am back at step one optimizing the farming of creep waves.

If I find myself dead during any part of the match, one would think I could step away for a little breather. While I certainly could, its wasted time and I'm missing the golden opportunity to look at the opposing player's builds and also determining my gear path to counter my opponent.

This series of events only describes what I would be doing as a carry. There are different sequences of events for tanks, support, etc. Again, NONE OF THIS is a knock against LoL. This is what people love about the DotA-style game. My problem comes in at the length at which I need to keep up with the busy work and the fact that I can't look away for a brief intermission.

To add onto the problem of match length is the situations where teams are blatantly mis-matched and everyone is just waiting for the 25 minute forfeiture mark (or maybe its 20 minutes now). Nothing is more frustrating than waiting nearly 20 minute to just throw in the towel and gain little to nothing for the effort.

So LoL just doesn't fit my play style, but I still enjoyed the game while I played it. Being free to play, I will probably stop in every once and a while for a game or two. I think there are some definite improvements that could be made to help with match length, both in time and "busy work":

1. Decrease the length of the laning phase by allowing them to be pushed faster. Start by spawning creeps the second the match starts instead of half a minute later.

2. Encourage meaningful player combat instead of harassment. Harassment is annoying and can completely eliminate a player from the match early on leading to a "leaver" and lopsided match.

3. With 1 and 2 in mind I think team fights would increase in frequency and importance. Also the sooner team fights begin; the sooner teams are free to really push towards a win.

4. Automate the damn store. Let players set templates that they can 1-click for the next item. It’s terribly annoying having to manually click through the store.

With all of this said, I wanted to make it clear that these changes are recommended for MY enjoyment of the game. They are NOT an indictment against LoL. LoL may just not be the game for me and I need to be looking at something like Bloodline Champions where the matches are less than 5 minutes and focus only on team vs. team combat. I just wanted to get this posted for my sanity, as justification as to why I've abandoned LoL.

Friday, December 10, 2010

First game of League of Legends

Here are the results from my first multi-player match in League of Legends?  I think I did fairly well.  We won the match even though we had one player AFK nearly the entire match.  I played as Ashe, who I am liking (following this guide).

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Yes, I am playing League of Legends

NOTE: If you are interested in playing, please sign up via my referral link.

If you've been following my Raptr stream, you may have noticed that I've started playing League of Legends (LoL).  LoL is a strategy game based on the concepts of the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) map from Warcraft III.  Players pick a champion and battle an opposing team and their defense towers, NPC minions, and an NPC filled "jungle".

However, one sentence is not going to describe this game adequately.  It took a 48 minute long video for me to finally grasp the possibilities that lie within this game.  And there is nothing like a crazy British person to introduce you to a game with the acronym LoL:

With the video out of the way, here is my pertinent info:

Ingame name: heartlessgamer

Now, I've only played practice matches up to this point against AI bots. The community from all reports is unforgiving of newb players. The game is designed so that a bad player really hurts a team. A player that repeatedly dies without accomplishing anything is in reality "feeding" the other team and allowing them to increase their power and control of the game.

I suspect that I will be coming out of practice mode soon, because there are some things I won't learn until I am playing the real game. Also, I need to climb the leveling ladder to 30 which will never happen just running practice games. Leveling is a player's learning period, so I need to take it serious instead of just rushing to 30 because a level 30 newb has no excuses as to why they don't understand the game.

Oh and did I mention that the game is completely free to play?  No?  Well it is and most of the extra parts of the game can be unlocked for free as well by just playing.  The items that can be purchased in the cash shop are cosmetic or allow for players to skip past a bit of grinding in game points to unlock the various champions.