BLOGS

A day in the life of flash.

Flash Reviews: League of Legends.

Rate this Entry
Hello everybody, flash33 here and welcome to my next review, this time of the game called League of Legends (often abbreviated as LoL), a MOBA (Massively Online Battle Arena) game developed by Riot Games Inc. for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X & rated T for Teen by the ESRB rating system for blood, fantasy violence, mild suggestive themes and use of alcohol & tobacco (though not very much mind you). First announced on October 7th, 2008, it was later released on October 27, 2009. The game was inspired by the popular Defense of the Ancients map from Warcraft III and it is also a free-to-play game supported by micro transactions as well.

Story

From the League of Legends website:

Quote Originally Posted by LoL Lore
The League of Legends

Until only twenty years ago, Runeterra was on a collision course with disaster. As quickly as Runeterra’s denizens would band together in ancient times as tribes, opposing tribes would war to settle their disputes. No matter the era, the preferred choice of warfare has always been magical. Armies would be enhanced or decimated by spell and rune alike. Champions made the most of magical items forged for them as they led or supported armies. Summoners – often the de facto leaders of Valoran’s political forces – would unleash mighty magical powers directly against foes and their holdings with little regard for consequence. With such an abundance of raw magical power at their disposal, there was little motivation for summoners to explore more environmentally-friendly forms of warfare.

Within the last two hundred years, however, the dangers of unchecked magical warfare began to expose the fragility of Runeterra to everyone residing in Valoran. The last two Rune Wars drastically altered the geophysical landscape of Valoran, even after magical energy was focused on restoring it. Violent earthquakes and horrific magically-fueled storms made life on Valoran challenging, even before factoring in the horror of warfare on the populace. It was theorized that another unchecked Rune War would tear the world asunder.

As a direct response to the world’s growing physical and political instability, Valoran’s key magicians – including many powerful summoners – came to the conclusion that conflicts needed to be resolved in a controllable and systemic way. They formed an organization called the League of Legends, whose purpose was to oversee the orderly resolution of political conflict in Valoran. Housed in the Institute of War, the League would be given the authority by Valoran’s political entities to govern the outcomes of the organized conflict they would administer.

The Institute of War



The League resolved that all major political conflict would be settled through the use of specially prepared arenas strategically located throughout Valoran. Summoners representing a particular political allegiance would each call forth a champion; the champions, leading mindless minions generated by novice summoners manipulating a nexus, would fight to achieve the objective of the arena they were in. The most common victory condition of a battle arena would be to destroy the opposing faction’s nexus. These arenas are collectively referred to as the Fields of Justice.

While all major political conflicts were being funneled through the League of Legends, physical conflicts between warring political entities were not completely eliminated. For example – the strategic choice of the League to build the Institute of War directly between the constantly warring city-states of Demacia and Noxus stopped almost all direct confrontation between them, though military skirmishes continue to break out. Instead, the warlike Noxian High Command has turned its ambitions of conquest offshore. Even still, all political entities abide by the governance of the League of Legends. No wise regent would be foolish enough to rail against a vast cabal of immensely powerful magicians, summoners, and champions.

The fights in the various Fields of Justice over which the League presides are not only of great political interest to Valoran, but also of great social interest. The League magically transmits the sights and sounds of the action as it unfolds to specially built arcane receivers located in key settlements throughout Valoran. Watching a fight in a Field of Justice is one of the more popular entertainment activities Valoran’s denizens engage in.

The League of Justice is supervised by a council of three powerful summoners, known as the High Council of Equity. Each summoner has been on the Council of Equity since the inception of the League of Legends except for its newest High Councilor, Heywan Relivash; High Councilor Relivash’s ascension took place five years ago after the mysterious disappearance of the previous High Councilor, Reginald Ashram. The Council of Equity is responsible not only for the leadership and guidance of the League, but also to act as the highest court of appeal for adjudication of Valoran’s political entities.

The structure of the League is focused around internal organizations that lead their various goals. Each city-state is assigned an Emissary of the League – a diplomat who serves as an on-location political representative to enact the will of the League. The Adjudicators are the arbiters assigned to a given match in the Fields of Justice. The Council is the body of high-ranking summoners which rules over political outcomes once a battle arena match has been resolved.
The story actually varies between each character in the game, known as champions (currently there's over 113 of them at the time of this review with a new one on the way). From a sad mummy looking for answers of who he is and who his parents are to an ice witch wanting to bury/cover the world in ice with help from a group known as "The Watchers", the lore is very well written and makes each champion unique.

Gameplay

Maps & Modes

The gameplay depends on the game mode and map (maps are called Fields of Justice in this game), but the most common one, Classic, is as followed.

Players (known as Summoner's in this game) group up into 2 teams of champions, consisting of either 3 or 5 members on each team (i.e. 3v3 or 5v5 matches). On the Summoner's Rift and Twisted Treeline maps (the 5v5 & 3v3 maps respectively), players begin on opposite sides of the map in a Spawning Pool, near what's called a Nexus. Players run down pathways called lanes trying to get to the enemies Nexus, which when destroyed, grants the destroyer's team victory. In order to destroy a Nexus, players must get past Turrets, which fire on approaching enemies that get in range of it. At the 1:30 (one minute and thirty seconds) mark in a game, minions start to spawn from each teams Nexus. These are NPC's that run down each lane trying to get to enemy nexus, stopping only when an enemy champion, minion, turret or inhibitor blocks their path.

Players start at lv.1 each game & gain experience and gold via killing enemy champions and minions. There also consists of a jungle, filled with neutral monsters (i.e. monsters that don't attack unless provoked/attacked first) that also grant killers xp, gold and in some cases temporary buffs as well. Gold can be used to purchase items from the item shop which can be accessed when you're at your teams base (you can carry up to 6 different items at any given time, and some items build into stronger items as well, so keep those in mind).

In the Dominion game mode, which is played on The Crystal Scar map (another 5v5 map), formerly the mining village of Kalamanda, turrets and inhibitors are replaced by 5 capture points stationed around the map, which when captured, turn into turrets and can start spawning minions for the capturers team. If your team currently holds more capture points than the enemy team, their Nexus starts to decrease in health, and once it reaches zero, it's game over for them and victory for you. This Capture-and-Hold style game mode is meant to encourage more fast-paced gameplay and as such, the matches usually/generally take around 15-25 minutes average to complete as opposed to Classic's average of 30-45 minute games.



In the ARAM (All Random All Mid) game mode, previously played on The Proving Grounds map but now played on The Howling Abyss map, gameplay is similar to that of the gameplay found on SR and TT, with main differences being that there's only a single lane to go down and that the champions for everyone are all chosen at complete random, so you'll never know which kind of champ you'll get until you enter champ select.



Champion pick/select modes

There are 3 kinds of champion pick modes: Blind (everyone picks a champion and you can't see what the enemy team picked until you get to the loading screen), Draft (the team captains ban 3 champs each, then the teams each take turns picking and choosing champs. Both teams can't have the same champ, and once picks are done, teams can trade champs between themselves if they so choose to do so) and Random (champs are chosen completely at random and everyone can see what champs everyone got (both allies and enemies; trading champs is allowed here as well). Note that when making custom games, if the teams are uneven (i.e. if team 1 has 3 members and team 2 has 1), then no experience or influence points shall be given from the played game, so keep that in mind.

Champions

The characters that you can use in-game are known as champions, and though each one has a different & unique personality, story and moveset, some aspects are pretty much the same.

You all start at lv.1 & can go up to a max of lv.18. Champions have 5 abilities: one passive/innate ability, 3 normal/regular abilities and one ultimate ability (some champions have more than 5 abilities so keep that in mind). The passive ability is with you for the duration of the game and activates once certain conditions are met (i.e. for Zyra's passive, Rise of the Thorns, upon death she turns into a plant and can fire a ranged-line skillshot that deals true damage (true damage can't be blocked by armor or magic resistance so keep that in mind) to any foe/target it passes just by simply activating one of her other abilities within a certain time frame before the death timer shows up and starts counting down to her revival at the teams summoner platform). Normal abilities can be learned at any level, usually have 5 ranks in them & require you to activate them & meet certain conditions, such as being in range of the target, before you can use them. The ultimate ability is arguably what defines a champion and can usally be learned at lvs. 6, 11, and 16 for a grand total of usually 3 ranks (some champions can learn their ultimate abilities earlier and/or can put more points into their abilities so keep that in mind). These generally have very long cooldowns so keep that in mind when using them.

In addition, to use an ability, one must also have enough resources available. Some champions, such as Lux, Swain and Urgot use mana for their abilities and can't cast them if they lack the required mana needed for the abilities. Some champions, such as Garen and
Katarina, don't use resources for their abilities and thus are only limited by cooldowns (these champions are usually melee though so keep that in mind). Some champions, such as Vladimir and Zac, use some of their own health to cast their spells. While they can't kill themselves with their own abilities, one must be weary and use caution when trying to spam abilities, as if you're not careful you can run out of health fairly easily/quickly and as such be easily bursted down by the enemy team. Some champions, such as Lee Sin, Shen & Kennen, use energy for their spells. This works pretty similar to mana, but generally recharges faster, always has 100 max mana and can't be increased by in-game items (max energy can however be increased by some runes though, so there's that at least). Some champions, such as Tryndamere & Renekton, use fury for their abilities. This is similar to resource-less champions in that there's generally no cost for their abilities, but if they spend fury they can actually empower their abilities, making them stronger than they normally are.

Additional Game Modes

There's multiple game modes as well in addition to the ones mentioned above. Tutorial allows you to learn about some of the basics of the game. Custom allows you to create your own game for others to join (you can also choose to fight with and/or against bots (computer-controlled players) if you so choose to do so). Co-op vs Ai allows players to team up against a group/team of bots on the SR, TT and CS maps. Ranked (available to lv.30 summoners) let's players compete in ranked Summoner's Rift games. Ranked games allow lv.30 players to compete in ranked SR pvp games for a chance to compete in official tournaments hosted by Riot Games. There are multiple tiers of rankings from bronze to challenger (the latter being the best/highest). Players in the challenger tier who do well enough will have the chance to go pro in the League of Legends Championship series. For more information about that, just watch the video discussion/about it below.



Currency

League of Legends has 2 types of currency in the form of Riot Points (RP) and Influence Points (IP). IP can be gained just by completing matches of LoL, regardless of game mode, and can be spent on things like champions & runes. RP is essentially the bought currency of the game and requires a credit card to buy (gift cards are an alternative to this but still). RP can be used to buy things such as champions, bundles and champion skins (different "color palletes" for champions; some even include new things like particle effects and VO's as well).

As of April 30th, 2013, there are over 113 playable champions to choose from (the most recently released on known as Lissandra, the Ice Witch), with each one having it's own unique abilities and backstory as well.

History

From the Wikipedia page:

Quote Originally Posted by Development
Riot Games was co-founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill. They partnered with Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, the previous designer of the popular Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map Defense of the Ancients, and Steve "Pendragon" Mescon, the administrator of the former official support base for the map to develop League Of Legends. Using the original DotA created by Eul (the original Defence of The Ancients map for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos) as a base, Guinsoo made DotA Allstars by inserting his own mix of content, greatly expanding the number of the heroes, and adding recipes, numerous items and various gameplay changes. Guinsoo then passed version 6 of the map on to a new developer, IceFrog.

The idea of a spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients that would be its own stand-alone game with its own engine, rather than another Mod of Warcraft III began to materialize at the end of 2005. League of Legends was born "when a couple of very active DotA community members believed that the gameplay was so much fun and so innovative that it represented the spawning of a new genre and deserved to be its own professional game with significantly enhanced features and around-game services."

Riot Games officially opened its office in September 2006, and currently has about 100 people working on League of Legends, "including their robust technology platform to service and operate the game as well as a team dedicated to community relations."

According to Marc Merrill, when creating the various champions in the game, instead of leaving the champion creation to just a few people, they decided to open up the champion creation process to everyone in the company based upon a template where they could vote on which champions made it into the game.

The game was in a closed beta from April 10, 2009, to October 22, 2009. It then transitioned to open beta until release.

In March 2013, Riot Games released a beta version of an OS X client in addition to their Windows client.
Bad

Let's start with the thing that LoL (and really most MOBA games in general) are known for: the community (dun, dun, dun). Though League of Legends can be quite fun & enjoyable at time, the sad fact/truth of the matter is that some of the higher level players generally have little patience for newcomers, so expect to receive some backlash when playing this game, especially if you immediately jump into pvp matches for the first time there. Additionally, some members of the community not only have really foul mouths, but are generally rude & disrespectful to others in general, going so far as to use insults and death threats as well sadly. Thankfully The Tribunal (which will be talked about in the next section) helps alleviate, punish and sometimes even remove these people from the game, but even then they sometimes come back on what's known as "smurf" accounts (lower level accounts belonging to higher level players) and continue their trolling actions as if nothing ever happened.

Additionally, unlike Heros of Newerth, League of Legends doesn't allow the purchase of champion skins with in-game currency (i.e. IP). I understand that they need & require money to keep the game up and running, but I think it would be more beneficial for them in the long run if they allowed skins to be purchased with IP as well as RP (the way I see it, the ones who can wait for IP and are patient enough to play enough games to get that amount can get it with IP, while the impatient ones and/or the ones who may simply just don't have the enough time and/or patience required to get that IP can just purchase it with RP instead).

A few months ago Riot introduced a refund system for champions, runes, skins, etc. However, each account only gets 3 refund counters per lifetime, meaning that once they're gone, they're gone for good. To me this feels like the "good intentions, bad implementation" type of situation, where basically they're intentions were good and I appreciate that, but the bad implementation was only allowing 3 refund counters ever for each account. I understand that it's to make people think wisely about their purchases and/or refunds, but still I personally think that it would be more beneficial for them in the long run to allow players to accrue more refund counters overtime through certain means. Not only would this let people who may have made some bad/mistake purchases to refund most, if not all of them, but it would also keep Riot's goal, to encourage the practice of smart shopping and selling so-to-speak, so there's that at least.

Another thing that I didn't like was that during the recent Freljord event, 3 new summoner icons for each of the 3 Freljord tribes (Avarosan, Winter's Claw and Frost Guard respectively), not only could players supposedly unlock only one of them (I've heard that some players managed to unlock all 3 freljord icons, but that's just what I've personally heard), but to unlock them players were required to win 10 normal or ranked games while using that specific summoner icon as well as having the progress reset if they switched icons as well. Again I feel that this was good intentions, but bad implementation, and though Riot said that they feel it's more rewarding to get it in a pvp match and not a custom or co-op vs ai match, I strongly disagree as there are simply some groups of players out there (like myself for instance) who prefer customs and/or co-op vs ai games over normal pvp games, so to me this just seems like alienation so-to-speak, but that's just me.

Good

While there are some bad eggs in the community (really, which community DOESN'T have them), there are still some kind-hearted, respectful and helpful members in the community who do try to be nice to each other and to also help out one another in times of need, both in-game and on the official forums as well, so there's that at least.

In the last section I briefly mentioned the Tribunal and how it helps eliminate some of the more toxic players in the community, and while that's true, let me explain how it works. Basically at the end of each game, you're given the option to report people who act up in games. You can select a reason to report them from a list of many different categories including but not limited to the following: Verbal abuse, offensive language, unskilled player (only used for matchmaking purposes & thus can never show up in a tribunal case so keep that in mind), negative attitude, leaving the game/afk (away from keyboard) and griefing: assisting enemy team (either by intentionally feeding (rushing head first into the enemies and constantly dying on purpose, thereby making them so strong that they just snowball and take over the game by storm with little to almost no fear of losing) or refusing to communicate with team (various reasons like not responding to pings, not listening to strategies for fights, ignoring requests to stop trolling/cursing/using foul language and ignoring advice when given some). If you choose to do so you can also type out a brief description as to why you feel the player should be reported/punished by the tribunal (max. of about 500 characters so use them wisely).

Once a player has accrued enough reports across multiple games, a case is formed/put together for them ranging from 1-5 games per case (which games are featured are chosen at random so keep that in mind). Tribunal users (i.e. players who are at least lv.20+) read the case which features the in-game chat log for both allies & enemies as well as the player in question teams overall end game scores (the questioned player shows up purple in the chat, allies show up green and lastly enemies show up as red). The number of reports a player got from a specific game as well as the total number of reports in that specific case are shown along with the reason for the report. Once a player has come to a decision after reading through the case they can either choose to punish them, pardon them or skip their case if they're unsure about and/or don't understand what exactly's being said in the overall case. Once enough people have voted on a case, a Riot employee personally reviews the case and then decides then & there if the player should be punished or pardon.

Punishments range from a simple warning all the way up to a permaban (permanent ban) from the game. When a player is punished by the tribunal, they receive an email with a reform card link (this links them to the results of the case that got them punished). The player can either decide to heed the warning & improve their behavior for the better or ignore it and continue being a jerk in the game and eventually wind up being permabanned from the game. Note that the tribunal does not dish out the punishments to players, but rather lets players of the community choose/decide what they think if the players in question should receive a punishment or not and riot then looks at the case and makes the final call on it so keep that in mind.

IP rewards used to be given out, but due to people abusing the system and voting just to solely get IP and IP only, the in-game rewards were removed and the IP voters gradually left and stopped voting in the tribunal, which in turn actually helped change it for the better. Another thing to note is that you cannot see the summoner names of players when doing tribunal cases, only their played champions names, and you also cannot get a case featuring yourself or a game that you reported a player in, so there's that at least.

Another unique feature is what's known as the Honor Initiative. This is similar to reporting except for the fact that instead of punishing a player, you're actually rewarding them for their overall behavior in game. There are currently 4 types of honors: Honorable Opponent (this can only be given to enemy team members in non-custom or co-op vs ai games (it's also the only honor you can give to enemy team members too) and dictates a player that you would enjoy playing with or against in the future), Teamwork/Great Teammate (cooperative & works with teams to secure victory), Helpful/Great Leader (players who helped you learn about something you didn't know before & helped improve your overall gameplay in the process as well) and finally Friendly (a player whose fun to be with win or lose). You can review/see how much honor you or another player has received by viewing the respective profiles, and if a player gets enough honor in a certain category, they can gain a ribbon that appears in the top left-hand corner of their portrait in both champion select and during the loading screen as well, so there's that at least. The ribbon's color depends on which honor category you got awarded for (i.e. red=honorable opponent, friendly=blue, helpful=yellow and teamwork=green). Though you can get awarded for multiple categories, you sadly can only have one ribbon active at a time and also sadly cannot select which ribbon that you want to show, so keep that in mind.

Overall

Despite the bad/jerkish community at times, the game is still pretty fun to play. Riot does try to actually listen to the community and use their feedback to improve the game and you can even see them post on the official message boards sometime as well (if the riot games symbol is at the right hand side of a topic, it means that there's one or more riot posts in it, so keep that in mind when over there). Graphics wise, the game looks pretty good for a free to play game actually, which is no small feat believe me. The different characters & their lore are well crafted and desgined, and even the stages themselves are so very detailed that you can tell that allot of work went into them. For example, on the Crystal Scar map, you can see a drill drilling into the side of a mountain, looking for resources as well as a windmill actually rotating as well.

Overall, I give this game a 7/10 and I definitely recommend at least trying it out for yourselves to see what its like.

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thank for your time & until we meet again gamers, God bless and happy gaming, and I'll see all of you guys later.

Submit "Flash Reviews: League of Legends." to Digg Submit "Flash Reviews: League of Legends." to del.icio.us Submit "Flash Reviews: League of Legends." to StumbleUpon Submit "Flash Reviews: League of Legends." to Google

Updated 05-16-2013 at 01:19 AM by Flash33

Categories
Uncategorized


Comments

  1. Cedric Young's Avatar
    Looks like it could be could be a fun game. I might need to try it out sometime. :P