League of Legends is a somewhat unique FTP MMO that combines MMORGP and strategy elements into a fun and visually pleasing gameplay experience. Developed by Riot games and designed by two of the developers that created its predecessor, the game offers a very familiar scene for players who enjoyed the Defense of the Ancients map in the popular Warcraft III.
What It’s All About
The game is visually pleasing and offers an almost comic style feel. The general premise is two teams fighting against one another, and each player has control of one of the game’s champions. Winning a game will grant experience points that can be used to help level your summoner. The summoner in this game is essentially the central focus and this is where you will make your biggest decisions. From the summoner, you will choose your champion, select two spells to help you in combat, and select the runes that will enhance your champions. New runes can be found throughout the game.
Just Getting Started
When you first log in, you will be given the option to play the game’s tutorial. This is highly recommended. Once this is completed, you can hit the play button and then opt for Solo or Arranged Team, depending on if you are looking to play with your friends. From here, the game will randomly choose a battle depending on your skill and experience level.
Once a game has been found, you will have around ninety seconds to choose your champion and prepare him or her for battle. New players will find recommended champions, who are easier to control in battle, though there are over forty to choose from (many only become available with a certain amount of influence points or experience). Surprisingly, all forty champions are quite different from one another, and with added spells and runes, it is possible to play through hundreds of different options. Learning each champion’s skills can help you find the best fit for you.
Getting to the Gameplay
Once you have chosen and customized your champion, you will be ready to play. The game takes place between two teams of five players, all of whom start at level one. You can level up in the match by killing your enemies and their minions, and each new level offers higher stats as well as a skill point that you can use. A match typically takes between half an hour and an hour, and leaving mid-game can result in a loss for your team.
Choosing where to put your skill points can be difficult. Each champion will have four different skills, and learning your champion’s strengths as well as your own playing style is essential to proper point placement. You should know which skills are going to offer you the most benefit before making a choice.
The Spoils of Victory
Winning games in League of Legends offers you experience for your summoner. Gain a level and you will also gain a Mastery point. These points provide account wide upgrades to every champion you choose. There are three skill trees to choose from, much like in World of Warcraft’s talent trees, and you can put points in Defense, Utility, or Offense. You can choose to arm yourself heavily in one tree or disburse your points to create a well rounded player.
Buying Your Advantages
Of course, Mastery isn’t the only way to make your champion better. When you earn gold in League of Legends, you also get gold. You can earn this in many ways throughout each battle, though landing a killing blow offers the biggest rewards. When you have enough gold, you can purchase items from the game’s Item Shop. You can find defensive items, magic and attack items, movement items, and consumables such as potions. The game will also recommend certain items depending on the champion that you are using, which makes it harder for new players to buy items that will not benefit their chosen champion.
Why Teamwork Matters
One of the most important elements of gameplay with League of Legends is teamwork. Without it, your team will see few victories. Because of this, trolling and fighting with teammates can cost everyone a great deal of time and frustration. A single bad player can be enough to cost your team victory, and bailing early in a match should be saved only for the direst emergencies.
The Learning Curve
There is no doubt that there is a learning curve when it comes to League of Legends. With so many champions, learning all of the abilities and which runes and spells to choose can take months or even years. While the basic mechanics are easy, more experienced players are simply going to have a significant upper hand. Thankfully, the matching system built into the game selects teams based on skill level to help prevent frustration and uneven games.
The Final Word
League of Legends is a fun MMORPG with a unique play style. While experience certainly offers long term benefits to your chosen champion, every battle is an event unto itself. The team you play with now will be different in the next fight and you are free to choose new champions, spells, and runes with every battle. The variety of champions and enhancements keeps gameplay from getting dull, and the ease with which you can pick up the game is balanced by the difficulty of mastering it. Overall, the game is one you will want to play over and over, and with great graphics and numerous options, it is also a lot of fun.