League of Legends is described by some as the equivalent of electronic basket ball, by others like AngryJoe as “crack”. I agree. This Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), where team work is essential to success has players take control of a single unit in a multi-player match up, with the goal of destroying the opposing teams ‘Nexus’.
A Short History
League of Legends or LOL (though well executed) is not an original idea. In fact it was originally conceived as Defense of the Ancients (DOTA). Based on a mission from Starcraft, DOTA was a custom game created by Eul on the popular Real Time Strategy game Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos. Unfortunately Eul did not update his map, and so others created spin-offs; it was Steve ‘Guinsoo’ Freak who got it right.
Guinsoo created a variant of DOTA calling it DOTA: Allstars. He then put in an enormous amount of work in to adding new champions, items and game features. He later handed it over to Abdul ‘Icefrog’ Ismail who continued his work. At present IceFrog has gone onto become a lead designer at Valve working on the sequel DOTA 2.
Aspects of What League Does Right
Having played both DOTA and Allstars; here are some of the many great ingredients that I believe the folks over at Riot Games have prepared in-order to create this addictively good experience, taking it far out of the shadow of DOTA: Allstars:
- Ultra-fast match making; wait times are often less than one minute so you can easily play game-to-game all day.
- There’s loads of great lore about Runeterra (the world of LoL), giving it shape and purpose for players.
- Completely free to play! Of course to be economically viable, there must be some monetary model. In League of Legends there are two types of in-game currency Riot Points (RP) and Influence Points (IP). RP must be bought with real money and IP is earned during matches. Both can be used to purchase new champions and runes, but it’s often only RP that can be used to buy additional champion skins or certain boosts for faster leveling or IP gain.
- Steam-lined user interface. The hot keys are completely customizable, but are by default set in an logical and ergonomically friendly manner.
- An excellent item purchasing system allowing for quick purchases, and has a recommended item tab allowing new players to quickly find what they will likely need.
- Riot Games has a strong player focus. Interesting aspects such as their tribunal system, where players are selected to act as a jury when punishing players for poor conduct, and hero creation/modification based on ideas suggested by players through their forum are both win-win situations for Riot and it’s patrons. They also have an active YouTube presence that’s hosted by Nikasaur.
- A new hero released every few weeks keeping things fresh.
A Small Aside
The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) community has an infamous reputation for ‘childish behavior’; particularly at the lower levels of play, some call it toxic. Don’t be discouraged though, its a problem which Riot Games and others are trying to address. Honestly I think it’s not enough to stop one from enjoying this great genre; it certainly didn’t stop me or the thirty two million others who play LoL, or any other MOBA for that matter.
End of Aside
So in conclusion, what was the result of Riot Games hard work? In my humble opinion an amazing, highly successful MOBA well worth your time. So what are you waiting for! Go play some League!