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April 15th, 2013

Of Legends… And that is not just the name of the game, in this case you really can become a Legend! But before we go in to that let me first start going back into the history of this game.

League of Legends is  a PC game released in 2009 by Riotgames. Officially it falls under the category of MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) or “ARTS” (Action Real-time Strategy) So it’s actually a new subgenre of the  (RTS) genre.

To explain this briefly; You basically have  two teams of players compete with each other, with each player controlling a single character through an RTS-style interface.  The big difference between traditional RTS games and League of Legends is that in League of Legends there is no unit construction and players control just one character.
In this sense, it is a fusion of action games and real-time strategy games. League of Legends emphasizes cooperative team-play where players select and control one “Champion”, a powerful unit with various abilities and advantages to form a team’s overall strategy. The end objective is to destroy the opponents’ main structure with the assistance of periodically spawned computer-controlled units that march towards the enemy’s main structure via paths referred to as “lanes”.

In League of Legends a player controls a single powerful in-game unit generally called a Champion. When a Champion stands near a killed enemy unit or kills an enemy unit, it gains experience points which allow the Champion to level up. When the Champions level up, they have the ability to learn more powerful skills and abilities. When Champions die, they have to wait a designated time, which increases as they level up, until they revive at their base.

Each player constantly receives a small amount of gold per second from their base. Moderate amounts of gold are rewarded for killing hostile computer-controlled units and large amounts are rewarded for killing enemy Champions.  Champions need gold (from what they gain) to buy a variety of different items that range in price and impact.

League of Legends (or LOL) is inspired by  Aeon Of Strife (AoS) an old map from Starcraft.
A Warcraft 3 modification called “Defense of the Ancients” (DotA), was one of the first big MOBA titles which quikly gained a big playerbase, big enough to get noticed by Riotgames to pick it up and create a standalone game of the hyped MOBA genre.

Below you can see a overview of how a MOBA type of gamefield looks like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now that we now the basic outlines of this game’s genre, let’s take a closer look and see if it’s worthy enough to eat up precious bytes on harddisk.

First of all, the accesibility of this games recieves a ten right here and now for 1 simple reason; It’s Free! Yes you read it right, this game is a free game supported by microtransactions which means you can go to This page where you quickly register yourself after which you can download the game within minutes.

So after we have installed the game and load it up we have a few options to choose. You can start with the ingame tutorial, which I would highly recommend if you haven’t played any of these type of games before. The other 2 options are PVP and Co-OP vs AI.

Co-Op vs AI is a mode where you team up with 4 other players against a computer controlled team. This mode is used by players who have finished the tutorial but aren’t quit comfortable going up against other players yet. And then we have PVP which is the real deal; 2 teams of 5 players who duke it out in the arena. Every time you complete a game with other players (vs AI or versus another team) you recieve experience points and riot points according to your performance. These experience points let’s you level as a summoner (the player who controls the champions) so you can keep up with other players. The game also automaticly puts you against teams of the same level and skill that you are at. The riot points are used to unlock your champions. You can also put money into your acount to recieve your champions faster and buy new skins for them, which are the microtransactions I was talking about.

And I have to say right here; it’s NOT neccesary to put money in this game to gain the “edge” which is normally true for other so called “free games based on microtransactions”. So basically you only have to spend money if you want new skins for your Champions. When you start out in LoL you don’t have a single Champion (of the 122 available) unlocked, BUT every week you can choose from out 10 Champions to play with even if you haven’t unlocked them yet. These champions rotate every week, giving you the chance to get to know them and try them out before you even might considering spending your hard earned points to unlock that Champion. So even when you first start out, you actually have 10 champions to choose from which you can use to play games and still start earning points to unlock your own.  I was very pleased myself with this feature since it allows me to keep my money in my pocket without other players gaining advantages over me just because they are richer ;)

By making the game free, and creating a good accessibility Riotgames has released a very popular game in which skill, dedication, and even raw talent makes the diffrence between winning and losing on the high end games. Whatever mode you play, you will either love the game right away, or hate it and probally never return to any MOBA game again. While I say this game is very easy to learn, I also have to point out that it’s extremely hard to master. To understand this you would have to play this game yourself, and for you pro-gamers out there; you know what I am talking about ;)

From my own experience:

When I played my first few matches (which was also against players who just started out) i quickly noticed that fast reflexes and a good map awareness are key in this game.  When you first look at the game, it looks pretty simple, and in the pure basics and objectives this may seem true. However as you progress and end up against better players you quickly notice that there is more to this game then just killing other players (which is still the most fun thing do to). Players who only focus on killing the other players will most of the time not be aware of where most  the action is going on, or what else besides player versus player battling is happening on the map.

It’s kind of hard to explain but basicly I can put it this way; The game’s main objective is pretty easy and straightforward (killing the enemy nexus) but the means and ways of getting there (and getting interrupted) are very diverse. When you go into a fight to fast or go to deep into the enemy bases where there are turrets that do great damage against you also fireing at you while you fight another champion you will die, feeding the opponent extra gold and experience. So you will be behind on him on the next fight. Then you have the jungle, which is all the space between the lanes, where various Ai monsters hold out and give out buffs when slain by Champions.

And then there is the fact that there are 122 different champions to play with. So while you picked your first champion and are still learning that unit’s abilities getting aqainted with him/her etc, you will be matched up against someone who uses a different champion that you might not know yet. So you don’t know what to except or how to counter it’s abilities. Of course this comes with experience, but that’s also my point; can you imagen how much experience and time it would consume, only to get aqainted (and thus know what to do against a matchup against that particular hero) with all of the 122 Champions?
Can you see where I am getting at?

For those of you who are not familiar with the term E-sports, well read on because this might become very interesting for you!
For those of you who do,  if you don’t know this game yet, unless you have been playing Starcraft 2, well my friend you have been playing the wrong game!

So what are E-sports ?

Electronic Sports or E-Sports, is used to describe the concept of professional or competitive gaming.

It’s a term that many people find somewhat amusing or weird the first time they hear it, mostly because “sports” is associated with physical activities like football, soccer, basketball, etc. But, we define sport as an organized, competitive, and skillful activity requiring a standardized governing set of rules. The way we consume entertainment and media, the way we interact with our friends, even the connected world of social media, all of it is consistently evolving around us. And so is this entire sub-culture of gaming.

The pure raw skill required to become a world champion at for example Quake Live is probably only really understood by hardcore gamers, but make no mistake, it requires passion, dedication, skill, training, intelligence and lightning fast reflexes to even enter into the pro circuit. If you are interested in seeing what over 5-7 years of dedications results to in a game like Quake 3 arena, take a look at this:

So let’s get back to League of  Legends. As an E-sport this game is in a  League of its own,  League of Legends currently has the biggest prizepool (in history) at competative pro-gaming Events.  Since it’s release $4,420,363.54 has been given away in over 85 Tournaments all across the world. And over 3$ Million dollars have been announced by pvp.net to give away for this year.

In conclusion;

League of Legends is a very addictive and fun game to play for the casual gamers, as well for the hardcore pro-gamers who are looking for a game where you keep getting challenged, and where your time, passion, dedication (and skill) will show you numbers both in game as if you want, you got a shot at filling the numbers on your bank acount as well! And since the game is free you got nothing to lose and everything besides great entertainment to gain!

Graphics 8.5

Accesibility 10

E-sport Factor 9.5

Gameplay 9.0

Sound 8.0

Total score:

9

Comments

  • Neshoba

    Good review, I would like to mention that the community doesn’t deserve as much credit as the game itself, expect to get flamed and reported alot if you’re a newcommer and playing alongside ‘smurfs’. those guys that have played the game for like 2 years, have a max level account and become bored, decide to create a new account and expect everybody to be at the same level as they are. Also within the MOBA franchise there are currently 3 top names: Dota2, Heroes of Newearth and League of Legends. That being said I have to give LoL the title of most female friendly in terms of graphics and cute characters inbetween. Although the average player skillcap in Dota2 and HoN seems te be alot higher. Nonetheless a very nice review and excellent discription of the gameplay and accessibillity.

    • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.verhagen.5 Patrick Verhagen

      Thanks, and i hear what you say about the community. There are indeed a lot of annoying players, who will annoy you in more ways then you already describe.
      But with most things, you will get used to them, and focus your time on the players who you can rely on (if you have any on your team).

  • http://www.facebook.com/kobus.kunneman Kobus Kunneman

    Wow that’s quite a lot of information on different kinds of strategy games, e-Sports, and League of Legends. I might have chosen to separate these in maybe two articles, but on the other hand this one article could be all a reader wants. Look out for lengthy paragraphs, and consider the visual aspect of an article as well; alternating between real short and long paragraphs looks somewhat messy, and so does using single Enter’s in one paragraph. But not complaining, it’s very thorough and informative, a good 4 stars from me!

    • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.verhagen.5 Patrick Verhagen

      Thanks for the feedback, and yes it was a lot of information indeed. I know its kind of a habit for me :) but in this case it was hard not do to, because I intended to let this review be a 2 in 1 article. Maybe next time i could add in a warning for the lenght of the text ;) and the Enters… i’m still having trouble editing my articles. Mainly the videos gave me some troubles, but also some of the Enters i put in where erased after i updated it. Hopefully i get the hang of it soon so i can at least pimp the visual aspects.

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About Epic Dome

EpicDome.com has articles by people who love gaming. And I don’t mean passing-time-on-the-bus kind of games, we’re talking thumb breakers. Games that require everything you’ve got. We love grinding, we love combos and we love playing games on hard mode. Basically, we’re just a bunch of friends who hang out and discuss game related nonsense. Nerd talk.

Our in depth articles contain everything we’d talk about during game nights. Expect reviews, game strategies, history, competitive gaming, e-sports, and everything remotely related to any of these things. We’re critical, cynical, and know-it-alls. Don’t take our sharp tongue and feelings of self accomplishment too serious, we get passionate when talking about games. Like yourself.

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