League of Legends: I am a Predator!
There are a few games that I did not play when they were popular (at least, when there seemed to be a craze around them). With LoL this was the case as well. I had so many other things to do and the game mode did not appeal to me the same way an ordinary RTS or RPG normally would. Over the past few weeks I have been jumping into the world of Free to Play MMOs and among them was League of Legends. League of Legends is what I would call an RPG/RTS Hybrid. From what I read it was initially a Custom Game Mod for Warcraft 3 that has evolved into two major titles, League of Legends and Dota 2. I opted for the options that I was more familiar with (a lot of my friends were playing League of Legends). So, what was it like?
League of Legends: What is it About?
In League of Legends you are Summoner. As far as I understood the Lore of the game, Summoners use champions on Arenas to decide upon the Fate of the World as we know it (in game). You have three different games modes to choose from: Classic, Dominion and ARAM. There is a total of four maps, so if you are hungry for choice there is very little in the Map Department. As I started playing LoL ARAM was added very recently so previously there were only two Game Modes and three maps.
Classic is focused around destroying the Enemy Nexus. There are three “Lanes” that lead from one base to the other, and along these Lanes are the Turrets of both your team and the enemy’s. These turrets are very strong and tough so you cannot Solo them. Throughout the game you will have to clear the way for your minions (by killing enemy minions and champions) so that then they can act as your “meatshield” while you try to take out the Turrets. Once inside the “base” there will be an Inhibitor for each lane. If you destroy the Inhibitor for a specific Lane then each “wave” of minions will spawn with a “Super Siege” Minion on that lane, who is very tough and mildly strong, compared to all the other minions. If you take down all three Inhibitors each Wave will have two of these bad boys. Inhibitors respawn after some time so you can halt the enemy’s super units up until they respawn. The Nexus is protected by two turrets. In order to damage and destroy the Nexus these Turrets have to be destroyed first.
Dominion is the second game mode. Here you play on a map with five locations that may be captured by either side. When a location is captured it will drain the enemy crystal’s “life”, and minions will spawn from the location. There are no turrets, but the “flags” may fire at champions. The side which destroys the enemy’s crystal wins (to do so you need to hold the majority of the locations). You can drain the crystal’s health faster by killing enemy champions. There are power-ups present on the map, so you may choose to move inland to recover them.
ARAM is the newest game mode. It’s a single lane”push” and it is very similar to Classic. There is an Inhibitor and Turrets. However, unlike in Dominion and Classic, you do not have a Spawn area that can heal you. You may only access the Shop when dead or freshly spawned. Once you leave the Spawn area you have to collect “Health Packs” (as I call them) that spawn along the lane. Some Champions can heal your team mates so that is also an option. Oh, and you do not get to pick your champion. Your champion will be randomly selected from those available to you. If you do not like your choice you may try to Re-Roll or swap your champion for another player’s champion.
There were a few important things I learned about League of Legends after just my first few games. You do not want to get killed, EVER. If you die the champion(s) that killed you gets gold. Gold is used to buy items that can GREATLY improve the performance of your Champion. There are “cheap” items that offer weaker or fewer bonuses but if you are determined you can save up for some incredibly deadly items. So whenever you are too injured to continue; Recall back to base, heal up, then head back in. Trying to be brave when left with an eighth of your health will mean your enemy just got an awful lot richer. You get gold in other ways as well. By destroying turrets, minions and neutral creatures (in classic). If an enemy is on a killing spree, killing said champion will grant you a money bonus (up to 500 gold). How much is a lot of gold you might wonder? The most expensive items cost just over 3,000 gold. Since you get 300 gold for killing a champion you need to kill ten enemies to have a single Legendary item. You also get gold passively, and since you are bound to kill minions this is also a way of earning some quick cash (and safer than killing champions).
Your Champion may reach a maximum level of 18, and you will normally have all the possible powers at his disposal by that time. The only exception I read of is a certain Voidborn who can have three out of four possible evolutions (if I understood it correctly). Each Champion has unique powers. For each level you have a single “Unlock” point for their powers. It is important to know which powers to unlock in first order and then which ones will you improve.
For example, Warwick (somebody I will mention later on) may choose one of three different powers at level 1. Hungering Strike (single powerful strike that heals you), Hunters Call (self and local area Attack Speed Buff) and Blood Scent (enemies below 50% health and within a certain range of Warwick grant him a speed boost, very useful when fleeing or ganking enemies). If you had to choose one of these what would you go for? The obvious thing to not pick, in my opinion at least, is Blood Scent. Both Hunters Call and Hungering Strike will let you damage Minions, Neutral Monsters and Champions more. Blood Scent would let you follow a wounded enemy but your early level standard attack is not that powerful. Many classes pose similar dilemmas. A lot depends on your situation and initial plan. Do you want to take out champions or Minions? Do you want to act as support?
Your Summoner (as in, you) will also level. As you level you unlock Masteries, that offer small bonuses to different actions, spells and stats. You can have different Sets of Masteries, which means you can have a different set for each of your Champions, in order to maximize their different skills. You also have two Summoner Spells. As you level you unlock more of them and they range from the simple “Health” or “Mana” boosts to teleportation, speed increase, damaging enemy champions or shielding your own. The choice of these spells is as important as your purchasing of equipment or selection of first abilities. If you pick the wrong Spells you might lose a practical edge against your enemies. There are also Runes, that give small bonuses (you may purchase more powerful Runes, but you need the correct level to use them).
There is the “Free Currency” (Influence Points) and then Riot Points. Both may be used when unlocking champions but only Riot Points may be used to unlock new looks for your Champions. There are also boosters and other actions that need Riot Points but most of them are purely optional, so you do not technically need Riot Points at all. I will tell you though, getting enough Influence Points for the Champion you want can be a drag… On the up note more expensive Champions are not necessarily more powerful, but they sure are cool looking.
That more or less sums League of Legends. It’s not everything but the rough gist of it.