League of Legends

The latest Inquisition craze is League of Legends (LoL), a F2P game from the makes of the extremely popular Defense of the Ancients map for Warcraft 3. LoL is in many ways DotA 2.0, build from the ground up to support this style of game vs trying to twist the Warcraft 3 engine around to make things work. In addition to the better overall support thanks to the engine, the game itself has many tweaks aimed at make the game an overall better DotA experience. A more complete list of changes for DotA players can be found here.

There are a few standout features that I’ve picked up on so far that make LoL very enjoyable. The first, and most important to me, is the average length of a match. In DotA this ranged between 45min to well over an hour, while in LoL the average game takes 20-30 minutes, and rarely have I seen a game go longer than 40. This is important for two reasons: the first being that committing up to an hour straight can be difficult at times (you can’t pause or take a break), and the second being that if you have a poor game, its not much fun to play only one and then be out of time. With LoL faster games, it’s both easier to get one in and also easier to play a good number of games in one night and feel satisfied.

Another great thing about LoL is the online support. Buddy lists, auto matchmaking, stat tracking; all of the things most professional multiplayer titles have had for years has finally come to a DotA-style game, and it really makes the overall experience shine. Gone are the worries of who hosts, ping checks, bot commands, etc, leaving you to just focus on playing and getting better.

Finally there are the RPG-ish aspects of leveling up, buying minor stat upgrades, and filling out a talent tree. Until you hit the lvl 30 cap, this can of course put you at a technical disadvantage against other players, but once everyone is 30 this will only expend the depth of the game and the possible premade team configurations. It’s also a nice system to reward the winning side with more than just bragging rights. And as someone who, as a level 7, played against a team full of level 30s and won, the overall impact this system has on the game is nothing good teamwork and player skill can’t overcome. LoL is also overall less item dependant than DotA, which not only means one ‘carry’ can’t completely dominate the whole game, but that each team battle is usually more about how well you play together than the sum of all your items. Matches generally go back and forth rather than being decided in one battle.

As mentioned above, the game is F2P, which means cash shop, point bundles, and all the rest. Fortunately the cash shop here does not allow you to buy power, but rather a selection of fluff items (hero skins), ‘skip-to-the-end’ stuff (XP boosts), or additional options (permanently having access to a hero). The last part is important, because every week 8 different heroes are publicly available to everyone, while the rest are locked away and only available to those who have purchased them. The really nice part about this setup is that if you focus on a few heroes, you can easily buy them using the points you earn while playing the game, while someone who wants access to a lot of heroes (with different skins) can pay up and get it. I’m all for this type of payment model, as it means I can play for free and remain on equal footing with everyone else, while also not feeling harshly limited by not paying. And since overall the prices are reasonable (no $25 skins here) and the base game is free, I doubt I’ll feel bad about spending $10-$20 to support a solid effort should something catch my eye.

Definitely an enjoyable game, and being a reasonably sized download and free, it’s hard to not recommend it to anyone looking to get back into a DotA-style game or to anyone who enjoys some quality team-based RTS-ish action. If you are interested, feel free to use my referral link, which could net me some in-game fluff.

Chuck-o-the-day: Chuck Norris did not have childhood heroes, only competition.

10 Responses to League of Legends

  1. Efithor says:

    I never could get into DotA, largly due to other players unwillingness to play with a noob at the game. This looks promacing, however. I will give it a try.

  2. Brad says:

    Efithor:
    The LoL community is a little more noob friendly than the DotA / HoN community is. Partially because with the matchmaking you will normally be matched with people similar to skill level.

    I’d have to disagree on the “no carry” part. Certain champions very much so can carry if they get enough gold, and thus items.

    If you play in solo games, or at the lower levels of play, the games are rarely decided in just one battle. I find with a full team of 5 at the higher levels, a few mistakes culminating in the loss of a team fight can easily be the end of the game. Typically because there’s a larger amount of teamwork and skill at that level of play.

    As far as the length of game goes, while normally they can stay in the relatively short 20-30 minute timeframe, I’ve had many games go for an hour. Some for an hour and a half. Though if you prefer the shorter game times, you can play the Twisted Treeline 3v3 map that almost never goes over 25 minutes.

  3. KaKTy3 says:

    > In DotA this ranged between 45min to well over an hour, while in LoL the average game takes 20-30 minutes, and rarely have I seen a game go longer than 40

    This, and a few other aspects of your review (e.g. carry comment) suggest that you haven’t yet left the ‘noob island’. It gets as hardcore as you expect once you get to mid ELO range and definitely less friendly and more competetive (and unbalanced, with rotating broken FotM champs).

    PS That’s coming from someone with more than 1k played games.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea I’m guessing at that level it gets a bit silly, a lot of games do. Over time it should improve, somewhat like DotA did (although the ‘fix’ in DotA was the drafting mode, not actual changes to heroes).

      Not sure I’m worried about that though, as it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to 1k+ games played.

      • Brad says:

        Well, draft mode gets released next week. Should be interesting.

        • SynCaine says:

          Yup, will be interesting how this works with the heroes-of-the-week thing. Do you block one of those, or some random hero someone may or may not have purchased?

  4. PTD says:

    I think you’ll likely enjoy your time in LoL. I played it to the tune of 400 games or so, but had to give it up as it was turning into just another MMO for me. I get a little too addicted to games like that. I wrote a review of it awhile back, though, if you’re interested.

    http://www.bitmob.com/articles/dota-20-league-of-legends-review

  5. xht says:

    You should check out Heroes of Newerth, a very nicely done dota clone by s2 games (Savage fame).

    • PTD says:

      Sure, if he wants no more than a re-skinned DOTA with a better front-end. A lot of the same issues from DOTA went right into HoN, including the ability of certain carries to dominate, and it’s a very, very unfriendly game if you’re new.

      About the only advantages over LoL are flashier graphic effects (which actually hamper the gameplay – they sometimes make it hard to tell what in the hell is going on) and the draft mode. Which is on it’s way to LoL anyhow.

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