Friday, February 26, 2010

Played Lately: League of Legends

  • I begin a startling number of these blog posts pointing out my personal gaming shortcomings. This post will be no different. Since I never enjoyed real-time strategy games, I never bought a copy of Warcraft III. Therefore I never had the opportunity to learn about, much less play, Defense of the Ancients. I assumed it wasn't a game for me and I happily dismissed it. I'm ready to admit that was probably a mistake.

  • Lucky for me, Riot Games helped me correct my error by releasing the League of Legends, a free-to-play DotA-style game. For those of you who, like my prior self, don't know a DotA from an MMO from an FPS, here's what you're missing. The game is played between two teams like a real-time strategy game. But instead of the players controlling an army, you control a single hero unit. You and your team shepherd your minions toward the enemy base, attack opponent heroes, and try to destroy their central barracks structure. Essentially, it is an amazing mix of Warcraft and Diablo.

  • The cool thing about the game is how well balanced the ebb and flow of the game feels. There is no way to rush the ending of the game, even if you are dominating the early skirmishes. The forced pacing means that there are plenty of opportunities for a team to switch up tactics and strike back. And even with pacing mechanics, the game never goes on too long. An ending to the fight is inevitable, only which way it swings is under your control.

  • The least cool thing about the game is that one player disconnecting mid-match essentially ruins the chances that side has of winning. I've been in matches where a team that is down one can hold its own through superior play. But game is balanced around even numbers of players, so the larger force will almost always win just because of greater numbers. Even if the player reconnects, they will be behind in levels, making them less effective and an easier target. Letting a bot take control of a disconnected player might keep that team in the match longer and make sure they don't fall too far behind in experience. Or maybe a bot would suck so bad they actually help the other team will by granting easy kills. How knows which is better?

  • While League of Legends is free-to-play, I was more than happy to dip into the cash shop and unlock a few champions. Now if Riot would finally release a new skin for Janna, I'd be ready to spend more.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Great job on the Shut Up We're Talking podcast, was a nice surprise. And thank you for the blog of the week mention that was a huge surprise too!

  2. @ Jayedub - Glad to do it. You deserve the recognition.