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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Review: League of Legends

Posted by Paragus1 Monday July 19 2010 at 7:44AM
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Review: League of Legends

League of Legends is a free to play RTS / RPG hybrid that originally released in the latter part of 2009, but recently launched it's "Season 1" patch which introduces the start of competitive play with ladder rankings.  While I normally don't write too often about non-MMO games here, I feel somewhat compelled to talk about this game for the sole reason that it has been getting a tremendous amount of playtime by me and many in my guild these last few weeks.

All I knew about LoL is that it was the same type of game as DotA and HoN, two games I had no interest in paying money for.  I can be a stubborn bastard when it comes to picking games I invest time into, and my guild literally had to drag me kicking and screaming into trying it.  The only reason I ended up trying it was that the price tag was free and some of my guys were looking for something to help kill time for Starcraft 2.  The irony in this situation is that part of me likes this game better than SC2.

For those of you who have no experience with the likes of DotA, HoN, or LoL, I'll try to give a brief overview of the gameplay.  Games are divided into teams of 5 vs 5 or 3 vs 3, and start in opposite corners of the map in a team base.  The object of the game is to destroy the center of the other team's base.  Each map is divided into "lanes" or paths that lead from your base to the enemy's.  Waves of weak NPC minions spawn and advance down all the lanes in short intervals, and try to push guard towers and ultimately into the enemy base.  Players choose a "champion" and fan out to help advance their minions in the lanes which ultimately leads to PvP battles with the enemy team.  As the game goes on, players earn exp and money for killing minions and others players, which are used to buy better items to try to overpower the other players.  The average game usually lasts between 25 minutes at the minimum, and it is not uncommon for games to go as long as 45 minutes or longer.  At the end of the game, IP and EXP are awarded to all players accounts (with the winning team gets more than losing team).

IP points can be cashed in at the store to on a variety of things, the main being access to new champions.  League of Legends currently features 55 different champions that all have their own unique abilities and stats.  All of the different champions are suited for different roles in the team, such as tank, DPS, support etc.  At the start of your career, you own no champions and have no points, but there are certain champions that are freely accessible to anyone for a week.  Once that week is over, another batch of champions are selected from the list for free access in a never ending random rotation.  This gives you the ability to try a variety of champions for free on any given week to get a feel for different playstyles.  Once you opt to spend your IP on a champion, he is yours to play with forever.

In addition to unlocking champions, IP may also be used to buy runes for your account.  Rune slots are unlocked as your account levels up, and each slot may be socketed with a rune of the matching type from the store.  Runes offer a wide array of bonuses to whatever champ your using and range from things like adding max HP, Crit Chance, Dodge, Cooldown Reduction just to name a few.  This allows players to customize their bonuses to fit the playstyle they want for the champ they are using.  The interface also has multiple pages for you to have 2 different rune layouts.  You may want more caster oriented runes for one champ, while you have have another page set aside for tanking.  Rune pages are selected at the start of every match after you pick your champion.

As I mentioned earlier, the other reward for playing in addition to the IP, are experience points for leveling up your game account.  Your (League of Legends version of account start's at level 1 and can level up to 30.  Every level gained on your account unlocks rune slots and rewards mastery points which can be spent on talent trees.  Points can be allocated into offensive, defensive, and utility tress which are self-explanatory.  Like runes, these bonuses are applied to whatever champion you use and help to add another layer of character customization and tweaking, especially when combined with runes.  You can respec your mastery at no cost anytime you like, as much as you like.

Once your account reaches level 20, you become eligible to participate in the official ranked ladder matches that recently kicked off in the "Season One" update.  One of the main differences between the regular games and the ranked games is in the pregame section where champions are selected. In regular games champions are blind picked so that the enemy team has no idea which champs you are playing until the game starts, and all characters are allowed.  In the ladder ranked matches, there is a new draft mode that allows each team to ban 2 champions from the list that neither team can play.  Players then take turns picking their champions and both teams are able to view selections in real-time.  This gives teams a chance to counter the build of the other team by picking particular champs that may prove better against certain match ups.  The final difference in the ranked matches is that once a champion is picked, it becomes off limits for anyone else to play on the other team, where in regular matches the same champ can be played by opposite teams at the same time.

Along with ranked games, there is advanced stat tracking so you can keep track of how well you are doing in a variety of areas, and break down the data by champ to see which ones have been performing better for you.  Season one also allows you to the ability to click on your friends from your buddy list and examine all their stats as well.  I think my only gripe about the stat tracking is that there really isn't any for the unranked games after the season one patch.  I think it would be nice for the data to be available for the non-ranked games because it would give people under level 20 a way to monitor their own performance (only your win total is tracked).

Overall League of Legends offers the same sort of service with their as I saw with Starcraft 2 and  They feature interactive friends lists, a matchmaking system, and ladder rankings for competitive play.  Starcraft 2 comes with a $60 price tag (but includes single player campaign) while LoL is and will always remain completely free to download and play.  A lot of free to play games come with a catch of a cash shop where you can spend real cash for goodies that can give unfair advantages against non-paying people, but this is not the case here.  While the option is available for you to spend real money in their shop, the only thing in the online store that requires real cash in order to purchase are different skins for your favorite champs to make them look different.  Everything else in the store can be obtained just by playing the game for free.

In conclusion I would definitely recommend League of Legends to anyone looking for something to play.  It's free price tag, fun gameplay, and competitive ladder matches make it well worth the few minutes it takes to get it up and running.  The number of champions combined with the various item build, rune layouts, and mastery specializations help to add several layers of customization that theorycrafters will sink their teeth into.  I find it funny that my guild originally started playing this to kill time for Starcraft 2 and now many of them prefer this game.  If you decide you want to check it out use THIS LINK and maybe I'll see you on the battlefield.

Paragus Rants
Co-Leader of Inquisition

spades07 writes:

Decent game, and very good model behind it. I think a lot of people have tried as 1m people viewed its trailer or something, but those who haven't its well worth their time trying. (as it is free..)

Mon Jul 19 2010 9:00AM Report
NakedFury writes:

Great game, amazing easy to learn hard to really master gameplay. Free. Graphics almost any computer can support. Great customer service. Every week you get to "feel" new champions so you can test them before buying any.

Mon Jul 19 2010 9:37AM Report
bonbonblanco writes:

Spot On on!!!......i agree with your review....the game is fun and have friendlier community compare to DoTA and HoN the community in the game far more forgiving then DoTA and HoN....PEACE ~OuT~

Mon Jul 19 2010 10:14AM Report
Athcear writes:

I've been playing this for a few weeks now, and it's a lot more fun than I expected.  The only thing it's really lacking is maps.  There are only three, and one is just a ducplicate of the other with snow.  Still, the champions are varied enough to keep it interesting.  I recommend this game.

Mon Jul 19 2010 11:19AM Report
Costa88 writes:

I love how you posted your Ref link there at the end to get people to give you bonus' ;P

Mon Jul 19 2010 11:23AM Report
Xianthos writes:

Isnt my beef :P Sticking to HoN.

But yep its more newb friendly compared to two others. For my taste a bit too much. Requires less player skill (no creep deny / a lot of bigger HP pool).

Mon Jul 19 2010 11:44AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

@ Athcear - The map thing is definitely a valid point.   I am fairly sure Riot announced plans for some new maps that are in the works.  While I never played DotA, from what I heard that was only one map.

@Costa88 - Referral link provides me with a way to hook up with members here who try the game from reading this.  We are always looking for more fresh meat to play with.  The rewards are pretty much impossible to get considering the number required and most of them are forum titles anyways.

Mon Jul 19 2010 12:05PM Report
Inktomi writes:

/bump for awesomeness.

Hey para, Ive been looking at LoL for awhile now. Never did the Dota thing either, but played Demigod for a bit. These guys had a great following back then and are doing just as well now.

Great writeup! 

Mon Jul 19 2010 1:13PM Report
Costa88 writes:

Not entirely. The IP boost for every 5 players alone is very tempting hehe ;P And it doesn't take many referrals to get the Medieval twitch skin ;)

You can find me on there as "Fobia". Been my account since Beta.

Mon Jul 19 2010 2:14PM Report
Limitations writes:

Well, you beat my review by a long shot. :( Good job

Mon Jul 19 2010 3:28PM Report
gordunk writes:

Is that a referral link I smell?  Trying to get a fancy Twitch skin or a trip to riot games studios are we?  :p

Mon Jul 19 2010 4:06PM Report
Tbkrulez writes:

Im playing this game since 3 weeks with 3 friends and all i can say, its amazing.

Mon Jul 19 2010 5:59PM Report
shadout00 writes:

Being a fan of DOTA, League of Legends just didn't hit the spot for myself. I found the game to be slower but it has definite strategy to it. For some reason I just can't get used to the speed of the game and I have realized that I just enjoy Heroes of Newerth better. This is not to say that HoN is better, it just hits the spot that LoL doesn't. LoL is a great game overall and this is a great review. I highly recommend it as well.

Mon Jul 19 2010 6:34PM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:

Good to hear from you again Paragus.  Always been a huge fan.  I myself am playing this game instead of Darkfall to Kill time untill the Expansion comes out and SC2.  My clan has seemed to die off a bit in DFO and gone to other games.  I guess its the same story for you.  But ya I told my guys about LoL and half of them never came back to DFO and still play LoL.  Prob a big mistake on my part but at least they are having more fun.  

Mon Jul 19 2010 8:23PM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:

O and I purchased HoN just to compare the 2 games.   HoN is extremely more identical to DoTA but in a bad way.  I find LoL to have a much better overall experience,  its free, and they have features that provide longevity.  Being able to customize and spec for different builds in the lobby is amazing.  If anyone is having issues choosing LoL or HoN.  I strongly recomend LoL.  

Skill Shots FTW

Mon Jul 19 2010 8:25PM Report
Silver_Leaf writes:

No, use this link (edited OUT the referal). Man I hate people who throw refs around.

Mon Jul 19 2010 8:44PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Hey Beleg, ya I am still around.  Hasn't been too much going on lately so I've been quieter than usual on here.  Should hopefully be getting answers back on the second community Q&A someday lol.

If you play LoL actively and looking for some people to play with, maybe we'll try to hook you up with vent access or something.  i never played HoN so I don't really know what I am missing, but enjoying LoL a lot so far with the exception of some of the people you get grouped with in ranked solo queue :(

Mon Jul 19 2010 9:33PM Report
kalanthis writes:

Great article, good description, good explanation and good screenshots. I did a fair amount of research into this game before ending up there about 2 months ago when I got bored of everything else. Not really an MMO, but as you say a RPG/RTS.

I enjoyed it, and the only thing that moved me on was when Global Agenda went on sale on steam a couple of weeks ago (and dropped it's monthly sub).

GA will probably keep me busy until SC2, DCUO, GW2 and SWTOR come out, but the great thing about LOL is you can play it casual or hard-core. I'll keep it patched and drop in now and then if I get tired of whatever else is on my HD.

Mon Jul 19 2010 10:49PM Report
reni writes:

Got to say that after reading the review here, I finally tried it out.  Very addicting and fun,thanks for pointing it out.

Wed Jul 21 2010 7:37AM Report
miagisan writes:

good game, played it for weeks, but the community was horrid, eventually lost interest in it.

Thu Jul 22 2010 10:05PM Report
TaishiFox writes:

Personally I love this game, been playing it for months now.  I have to agree about the community, though, however, most of them are just immature brats so you could easily ignore them.

Fri Jul 23 2010 11:17AM Report
Axewielderx writes:

This gaame is a joke and so are the developers.The game has like 90's graphics and yet they expect people to pay money for the champions, when the server is down most of the time. In fact, I have been playing a little over a week and the server has been down 5 times!!!

The support is even worse.The website seems to be tied into the game server,so basically the forums are down or slow as hell if the game is down. The customer support page does not display the image so you cannot send them any support questions and the forums do not display correctly(when they do at all, still waiting as i type this entire thing for the forums to come up) Heck you cannot even log into the forums.I tried and it won't recognize the game account I use to play(when the servers are not down).

This last update they did messed everything up,not thing worked correctly and it tok longer than they said it would(10 hrs. was not enough time apparently)In fact, after the update you could not log out of the game.Had to use task manager to shut it down.

The new patch incuded a bunch of nerfs(for champions that people paid for) and nothing that they promised. It cam with the great ability to play NO games.

This game is crap and a waste of time,free or not.

Still waiting for that forum page to load and I type slow. Guess I will find another game with this free time.

Tue Jul 27 2010 4:22PM Report
BelegStrongbow writes:

Your a Troll Axewielder.  Get out.   LoL is amazing.  Graphics are better than DOTA which is the game LoL is based on.  


LoL is Dota reincarnated with systems and development more streamlined without the restrictions Dota has.  

Its F2P,  so what the servers have issues sometimes,  its FREE.



BUMP.  LoL just got updated with more RUNE pages,  which is awesome.


Tue Aug 10 2010 5:14PM Report
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