League of (not so) Legends

Color me surprised as anyone else to say this, but for the past week I’ve been dipping into the cool waters of League of Legends and finding them delightful.

I really hadn’t planned on returning to LoL following last April’s brutal indoctrination, but several members of my Guild Wars guild was moonlighting in LoL on a daily basis, so I decided, “Why not?”  The best part is that we’re not doing the PvP stuff, just PvE matches against bots.

I know, it seems counter to the “spirit” of the game to do so, but for me it’s made all the difference.  I’ve never been shy in saying that, to me, PvP is stressful and it is rarely fun.  I’ve given it quite a few tries across many platforms, but it’s never stuck.  The combination of rude players, the much faster pace of combat, and the pressure put on your team to “win” makes me hunched over and nervous.  In real life, I rarely like competitive activities either, much preferring cooperative endeavors.

So it is certainly welcome that LoL has a PvE option, and spending a few nights experiencing it with my team has really warmed me to the game.  I’ve always liked League of Legends’ look, its sound, and its “attitude,” if you will.  It’s charming in a World of Warcraft-type of way and I can dig it.  Being part of a team that’s trying to back each other up and accomplish a great task is almost heady.

It’s also proven to be more relaxing as a learning environment.  I’m still figuring everything out, but it’s not so life-and-death as the PvP atmosphere cultivates.  I’m trying to master the newbie basics — don’t die, earn gold, help push, harass enemies, etc. — while researching how best to build and play characters.

I’ve purchased a few, but right now my favorite is Tristana.  She not only rocks in the cute/attitude department, but I like fighting at range, her abilities are straight-forward, and I’m actually starting to take down bots and stay alive more than I was doing with, say, Nunu or Annie.

It’s a good time to get into LoL as well, since Riot just gave out free 10-win IP boosters (IP is an in-game currency that you can use to purchase characters and stat-building runes) and has something planned for its two-year anniversary on Thursday.

15 thoughts on “League of (not so) Legends

  1. Kevin Bates October 25, 2011 / 12:31 pm

    A cool read from someone who’s just starting out in LoL as well. I will say that the community seems to be much better than other pvp genres (like console FPSs) or even other games within the genre (like HoN for example) There is actually not so much raging within the low level solo queues, and many people are polite, and willing to provide help or feedback.

    I will definitely agree that vs AI is the best way to learn. It provides a low stress way to learn a champ or two, and try out their item builds. I’d recommend checking out the reddit section for LoL, or SoloMid for some good tutorials and community.

  2. Snafzg Snafferton (@Snafzg) October 25, 2011 / 12:36 pm

    Glad you’re having fun in the bot matches. As a PvP nut I sometimes overlook that this can be a very fun and interesting team gameplay experience from a PvE perspective.

    PS. I’m on a self-imposed 2-week hiatus from LoL because it has really started frustrating me lately from a competitive and community perspective. I’ve been playing terribly and feeling very frustrated with my allies lately, so it’s time to take a break and enjoy some less stressful hobbies.

  3. Dont October 25, 2011 / 2:08 pm

    Good luck! Yes, the PvP can be quite frustrating and there’s usually rage at higher levels, but I’d recommend you to try the PvP aspect out via Dominion – more casual, shorter games and no farming / feeding, people won’t really care if you do bad.

  4. Max October 25, 2011 / 3:19 pm

    I am very surprised to hear that PvE oriented players would even try LoL. But apparently even pve players can play versus bots and kinda enjoy it (e.g. tobold gave it a try earlier too)

    At its core LoL is one most brutal and competitive pvp games out there (lots of tourneys, real money involved). With ruthless rude and abusive community. All that on top of relatively complicated game mechanics and steep learning curve.

    So if I was recommending someone a game to ease into PvP LoL would probably my last choice. And I agree dominion mode would probably be better mode to start playing in and learn champion mechanics (albeit its very fast paced )

    Now there are some aspects I think would appeal universally- such as interesting champion designs , colorful skins and good lore (well I personally enjoyed as a side dish, even though its irrelevant to core game)

  5. bhagpuss October 25, 2011 / 3:23 pm

    I had no idea LoL had a PvE option beyond the tutorial stage. I remember reading Tobold talking about it, vaguely, but I thought that after a certain point the PvE option ran out and it was PvP or nothing. Obviously I haven’t been paying sufficient attention!

  6. SynCaine October 25, 2011 / 5:35 pm

    Your approach to gaming and mine are so different it’s scary. You literally could not pay me to play LoL vs the bots. Beyond teaching you horrible habits and stunting your growth, how you can enjoy beating bots in a PvP game like LoL is beyond me.

  7. Carson October 25, 2011 / 6:53 pm

    I also didn’t realize that LoL had a PvE option beyond the tutorial stage! Is it at all challenging? My memory of playing the tutorial against the bots is that it was so easy that even though I was brand new to the game (and had never played that style of game before) and had no idea what I was doing, it was still basically impossible to lose.

  8. hordemaster October 25, 2011 / 9:44 pm

    OMG! I am trying out LOL as well. And I also felt discouraged after losing many matches in the pvp mode. My friend suggested I try the bots and it has made me enjoy it more than I did initially. It’s a good game. I still enjoy the wide sandbox feel of mmorpgs like EQ2, but LOL is a good diversion on the off nights and days.

  9. Thomas Gilliam October 26, 2011 / 12:32 am

    I’ve also played LoL only against the bots and have found it really fun. I wish you could play Dominion with bots as enemies too because the one game mode/map gets a little tiring.

    Maybe its just the kind of people who mainly play bots or the community as a whole but LoL players dont seem to be all that bad to me from my experience playing matches vs bots with people.

  10. Isey October 26, 2011 / 9:09 am

    I have played a few matches. Not comfortable yet to let a team down by actually playing, but going to make the jump soon.

    As Syncaine alludes to above – I used to play Blood Bowl, and spent a lot of time playing against the bots there too to get ‘comfortable’. The real game in BB didn’t start until I started playing real players, and everything I had learned by botting it was a complete waste (besides comfort with the UI).

    I’ll take my own advice with that soon in LoL.

  11. snickeringcorpses October 26, 2011 / 9:50 am

    Also playing LoL against bots. I’ve done a handful of PVPs. One big discouraging factor for me on PVP is the lack of view rotation. You can’t see squat on purple team in PVP, which makes playing ranged from purple miserable. I’ve been killed far too much by turrets or enemies I couldn’t see.

  12. Rikker October 27, 2011 / 10:15 am

    Interesting comments… and actually, I prefer the purple team’s view now… something about top down is way easier for me.

    Regardless: I started on bots, but as soon as I started getting into pvp games, I realized that vs. AI games had taught me a whole bunch of bad habits (like… Bots generally don’t commit suicide to kill you, and sometimes get away with it!). In the end, I suppose it’s good that you’re checking the game out, but it will get boring very quickly, so you might want to take a look at PVP. That said, like Max? said… it’s a pretty harsh culture out there. Be ready to be raged at. As long as you’re ok and can shrug it off with “eh, I’m new at this”, then you’ll do fine and have fun.

    Good luck!

  13. muckbeast October 27, 2011 / 12:24 pm

    My wife and I have gone through numerous stages where we played LoL somewhat seriously. Every time we quit because the people in general in LoL’s community are terrible. It is the worst community I have ever experienced in any online game.

    Trolls, haters, rude jerks, people who flame you for ANY tiny perceived mistake, it just is miserable to play. Even when you win, half the time your own teammates are such smack talking jerks to the other team that you feel dirty about it.

    Co-op though, as you mention, is much better. This is especially true if you have 5 friends on your team and don’t have to grab any randoms. Sadly, if you have random people on your co-op team, you’ll get the same jerks on your team doing things like sprinting over to kill steal jungle mobs from you and other insane crap.

    I feel like Riot is missing out on huge $$$ by not developing their PvE/co-op side of the game more.

    Some things I’d really like to see added to co-op:

    1) The ability to fill my co-op team with some bots as well, so I never have to play with strangers. If my group only has 1-4 people, we should be able to fill in with bots rather than other players.

    2) The ability to deliberately play with a smaller team on my side, and still earn IPs. If you play a custom game with less people on your side, you earn 0 ip for it being an “unbalanced” match. They should let you choose to play a man or two down if you want, to increase difficulty.

    3) More champions to play against. I think they have 10 total champs available as bots in co-op. They really should get that to 30+.

    4) Co-op dominion. This would be awesome.

  14. Thomas Gilliam October 29, 2011 / 1:08 am

    I do wish when playing with bots the bots had a bigger selection of champs to choose from. It seems they are only allowed to pick from the few that are offered free by Riot at the time. If you start playing vs people it would probably be good to have a general idea of what a lot of the different champions do.

    The community is pretty awful. I played my first game with other people today and it was like WoW pvp people and in a lot of cases just plain worse.

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