Friday, May 7, 2010
It's the article you've all been waiting for!
Okay, so it isn't really. But I've been playing League of Legends for a while so I figured I'd talk a little bit about it.
So what made me suddenly want to play this game? Back when I got Warcraft 3, I played quite a lot of online games, but what was really fun to me was the power of the map editor that came with the game. Unlike the Starcraft editor, you could fully customize units to the point where you could still include the original units in the game! This allowed for some very interesting games to pop up on Battle.net.
One such game type is Tower Defense, which I'm sure you know how popular that is outside of Warcraft 3. Another game was one called Aeon of Strife, where opposing sides had computer controlled armies, while players controlled their own hero units to attack the defenses of the other side. This type of map was built upon further, and coalesced into something amazing when the Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne editor was released.
You see, you could make your own skills with the editor. Never before had Blizzard made something so powerful for one of their games (at least, that I could remember), and the enjoyment of Aeon of Strife allowed for a successor to come, Defense of the Ancients. The map was so popular that it became one of the most played maps on the Battle.net service, even more-so than the original game it used the engine from!
Of course, this spawned individual games, independent of the Warcraft 3 client. You see, Warcraft 3 is a fairly old game by today's standards (and its lore is firmly rooted in World of Warcraft) and the client left more to be desired as far as customization was concerned. You see, there wasn't a reconnect option, for one. Even with the Internet as good as it is today, nothing is ever perfect, and a disconnect in Defense of the Ancients is pretty much a firm stab into the strategy of your team.
So other games were made. Demigod uses the DOTA formula, but rampant piracy caused a lot of problems for their servers, however it is an awesome looking game. For something a little more friendly for older computers of a more cardboard box variety, there are two such competitors, Heroes of Newerth, and League of Legends.
Heroes of Newerth looks like a pretty fun game, but it is in beta testing right now, and boasts a very competitive community that is very hostile towards newer members. As it is said on the Internet: "In HoN, you're either a pro, or a scrub." Also, when the game goes gold, it will have a monthly fee, and since I am against such subscription mentalities except for the case of necessities, I had to decline.
However, League of Legends has a different sort of pricing option. Riot Games, the small company of people who made the game (who were involved in the popular DOTA-AllStars map), has a cash shop. I know what you're thinking, Cash shops are the staple of Korean grind MMOs, but in this game's case, it's either to quickly unlock new heroes (which can also be done just by playing the game, except you get the side effect of getting better) or to use skins other than the default one (of which a free one is given if you become a fan on facebook, which I did). The skins are pretty whimsical, and while not all of them are good, there are some that really stand out (for a wolf character, there is a grandmother costume, also one character can get a maid outfit).
If you like games like Defense of the Ancients, and are looking for a community that isn't so hung up on early playstyles (though there are still a few bad apples, like every community has), you should definitely check out League of Legends. And if this game does appeal to you (and you like this review), please contact me (that is, if you know me, I can understand wariness around a random internet personality) so I can refer you, I believe Riot rewards us both, so there's little reason not to!