League of Legends (LoL) is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) in which two teams of five players take control of powerful characters and get pitted against each other in a fight to destroy the enemy base. Most commonly played on a map consisting of three lanes with a dense jungle spread between, LoL is both pleasingly simple and immensely intimidating. Simple, because who wouldn’t want to grind your opponents to the ground and tear victory from their grasp. Intimidating, because those opponents are thinking the exact same thing about you.
I played my first games of LoL back in 2012, which makes this my ninth year playing it. Few games have managed to stay relevant for so long. At the moment, the game’s roster consists of 151 unique characters, with more constantly added and no end in sight. There’s always new things to try. Because LoL is played online with other people, no match is the same, and where some games’ strengths lie in story or graphics, LoL is all about the players. In good and bad, you never really know what’s going to happen next. Piecing together the best tactics for each situation and outplaying your opponent—be it mechanically or with mind-tricks—is immensely rewarding.
There’s a massive amount of creative lore assembled around the characters and events of LoL, and while it’s interesting in its own regard, what most persuades me back is the game’s multiplayer aspect. Playing LoL with my friends has often been a great way for us to keep in touch. Even more so in these unprecedented times, it’s one of those nice digital campfires people get to gather around. You can definitely play alone, but I’ve always gravitated towards teaming up with pals to wreck each other’s nerves, and hopefully the enemy. The game does a great job of giving players ways to work together and overcome even desperate odds; combo-ing together the whole team’s hardest-hitting abilities to obliterate the enemy is simply the best.
Because there’s so much to learn, for new players LoL can feel a bit overwhelming, magnified somewhat by the annoying toxicity which seems to plague many popular online games. Trashtalking and griefing are things that every player will inevitably experience, but most can be simply brushed off with a good attitude. Having seen my fair share, I would recommend thinking of toxicity as something that doesn’t relate to LoL or one’s own gameplay in particular. It’s just the mindless jabbering of people who forget to have fun.
Despite the potentially intimidating factors, the utter novelty and constant discovery at the beginning were some of the best parts of my LoL career, and something I’d love for everyone to experience. With a traditional overhaul to one of the game’s core systems coming at the end of the year, I know I will. Once again.
Publisher: Riot Games / Tencent / Garena
Developer: Riot Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Header: promotional picture of the game, https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Banner_T2_Image_tnp3w61gzna8r2n3rojp.jpg
Other pictures: screenshots from the game, taken by the author
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