Surprise! League of Legends is Actually Fun

LolWallie

For a long time I looked down on League of Legends. I suppose it started in college when my roommate’s then-boyfriend would talk about it and play it all the time. I really didn’t like him and a lot of the other stuff he played, so I transferred that sentiment to League of Legends as well. As the game gained more buzz online and began filling stadiums for tournaments, I continued to brush it off because of the infamously toxic community. Why would I ever want to even try to engage with a community that treated each other so cruelly? Why would I want to participate in a game full of those people? Especially after my previous experiences with Dota 2’s players, I never thought I’d get so far as downloading League of Legends.

I’ve now been playing League of Legends for about three weeks now. It’s incredibly fun and I’m absolutely hooked.

With the first Guild Wars 2 expansion looming on the horizon, I wanted to sink my teeth into a different game so as not to burn myself out on GW2’s mechanics and styling before the new content hit. I still wanted a multiplayer game though and after writing that last post about Dota 2 I decided to give it another try. The tutorial was definitely upgraded and actually managed to give a good feel for how games go, however I felt like I was drowning in a sea of items and micromanagement. Dota 2 feels like it has a million things you need to be carefully considering at any given time. Ethelros, a friend of mine who plays quite a lot of League of Legends, decided to try Dota 2 out with me to see how it compared. Even with his MOBA experience it was confusing and we didn’t even bother to finish our first match with and against AI.

dota-2-gameplay-image

Instead he convinced me to download League of Legends, insisting that it was simpler, though he couldn’t quite put into words how. Eventually I relented and started the download. “Who am I even?” I asked myself as I set up my account.

Ethelros was quite right, though. Comparatively League of Legends is simpler and feels more fun and less exhausting. But it’s not even just that League is easier to play than Dota 2 – League of Legends surprised me by being really genuinely fun. The champion play style and cosmetic variety, easy muting, and simplified champion selection are all key components of what makes League of Legends fun. And of course, playing with friends is a huge part too.

In League of Legends, most champions look and feel quite distinct from one another. Sure, champions of the same type often have similar moves, there’s no denying that. But usually there is some underlying theme to each that makes them unique. For example, two champions I’ve been having a lot of fun playing are Morgana and Lux, and I usually play them both in the support role. They both have a snare/bind crowd control skill and an AoE field that slows. But even those skills that mostly operate the same have their unique points – Morgana’s AoE field damages overtime while Lux’s damages when you hit the skill again or when it times out. And of course visually the two are total opposites – Lux fulfilling the traditional ‘pretty support lady’ archetype while Morgana is a fallen angel with long claws, dark wings, and flowing purple hair.

morgana lux

It’s not just the base visuals that get me either. In League of Legends there are extra skins or looks you can purchase for the champions. In Dota 2, skins were just slight color, texture, or weapon changes. But in League you get full palette swaps, entirely new themes and colors, and even new skill colors and animations. There’s even holiday themed skins so you can turn your favorite champion into a Christmas-y mess if you so choose. Regular followers of mine know that this is nearly 100% of what drives me in games and so they know it has been very hard to refrain from buying any skins.


“Who am I even?” I asked myself as I set up my account.

Another thing that has surprised me thus far in League of Legends is the community. Granted, I have only been playing three weeks and have only been doing games against bots with other people, but there has been surprisingly little trash talk. I usually see more negativity in GW2 PvP! But even if I do feel like I can’t be dealing with the nonsense people are spouting in the chat, it’s incredibly easy to mute other players. All you have to do is hold down TAB and click the little volume icons next to each player. At the end of a match you can also award other players Friendly, Helpful, and Teamwork ‘honors’ to indicate that they were one or more of those things during the match. Definitely good to see positive traits like those encouraged that way.

Playing with others on the whole has been easier than I expected, too. We all know that playing with friends in multiplayer games makes it way more fun. How many MMOs have you quit because your friends no longer play? How many games have you picked up just because all your friends were playing it too? It’s a big part of why we play games at all and it, unsurprisingly, holds true for League of Legends. But one key thing about League of Legends is that it’s easy for friends to pick up and play whenever. I love playing MMOs with friends but one big drawback is that if one person doesn’t have as much time to play as the others, they can quickly fall behind whether in levels, gear, or just generally keeping up-to-date with new mechanics. In MOBAs patches come and go, but the core mechanics are generally the same. Balance fixes and new characters to play, sure, but there’s not usually big sweeping changes like you sometimes see in MMOs. With League of Legends, I can hop into a quick 20-30 minute game with my husband and he doesn’t feel like he’s playing catch up even if I’ve played a twenty matches with other people since the last time we played together.

The free champions from a few weeks ago.

The free champions from a few weeks ago.

The way League of Legends gives you access to champions makes things simpler for new players, too. In Dota 2, hero select is one big scrolling line of over 100 heros in alphabetical order. It’s quite overwhelming. League on the other hand gives you access to some select beginner-friendly champions to start with. After your account has a few levels under its belt though, you get access to the regular free rotation of champions. Every week they have a selection of the 130+ champions available for everyone to play for free. This gives you an opportunity to try champions you haven’t used before and the points you earn while playing (IP) can then be used to permanently unlock champions. It’s a good system because it eases you into things rather than just throwing you into the deep end.

As I said, I’ve only been playing a few weeks, so who knows how my feelings about the game will change as time goes on. For now though, I’m still surprised at how much I’m enjoying the game. If you want to add me, I’m (unsurprisingly) Cithryth on the NA server and the Oceanic server.

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