The eSports Effect: League of Legends Part I

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Updated: March 1, 2014
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By: Micahel J. Poropat

It’s no question that eSports wouldn’t be where it was today without WarCraft 3 and the original DotA (Defense of the Ancients) mod. League of Legends’ effect on the industry is insurmountably more prominent than that. Riot! Games was founded in 2008 with only a handful of employees and was the first company to make a standalone version of the DotA custom game from WarCraft 3.

The genre (now classified as a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or “MOBA”, after a previous dispute between Valve and Blizzard over the name DotA), started gaining some momentum after Starcraft 2 was announced and the production of League of Legends and DotA 2 had begun. Riot! Took a more inviting PG rated look to the game, but masterfully crafted the characters to be fearsome yet lovable, powerful yet adorable, and above all balanced.

Riot!’s incredible support behind their game and passion to make the best game possible has made great success of not only League of Legends, but the eSports injury as a whole. Their innovation throughout the injury is unmatched.

 

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League of Legends is, by far, one of the easiest games to learn yet still maintains a high skill cap and allows for deep strategic play.

While there are well over 100 champions as of the writing of this article, new payers only have access to ten (or twelve if you unlock Alistar and Tristana for free). So they aren’t bombarded with tons and tons of champions at the start of the game.

Furthermore, the champions only have 4 abilities each and the other two abilities you have (summoner’s spells) you can have the same for every champion. Even more helpful is the recommended items list that Riot provides for each champion at the store.

This way, even if a player doesn’t understand what items are by to get, they can still get decent items and compete well enough to make it fun and enjoyable. All of this, of course, comes with a downside.

For example, the ten champions you have are rotated each week, unless you buy more, which removes any stability players have with the game.

Additionally, a very large portion of being good at League of Legends is understanding what the opposing champions can do to you, which means that with each new champion you face, you have to relearn their abilities on the go and react to them accordingly.

Overall, this is one of the easiest games to learn and is a great example of a game that is competitive at all levels of play.

 

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Gameplay in League of Legends is deep and strategic with a very high skill cap yet can be simple enough to be enjoyable to anyone.

At a low level mindset, the game is as simple as destroy the other teams turrets and eventually their nexus while defending your own. At a high level, the game can be as complex as making split second decisions on which items to buy based on the other teams composition of both champions and items, and strategically timing out specific events to complete objectives when the opposing team is least prepared or able to combat it, or baiting complicated ganking sequences for champions who are doing especially well or being over zealous.

The wide variety in items builds for each champion plus the high skill cap and incredibly deep strategic play makes this one of the best game in terms of gameplay. Itself fun to play alone and with a team of friends, while still being competitive in both a team and solo format.

 

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League of Legends has a lot of variety in multiple areas. For one, there are multiple roles to play in the game, each incredibly different than the other yet all of them equally important.

Additionally, there are over 100 champions to choose from all with unique abilities and styles, suitable for all types of players and almost all of them can be played successfully in at least 2 roles.

To add more permutations, there seemingly unlimited number of feasible options for items to build on your champions throughout the game. Your choices for items will be influenced by the your teams or your opposing teams composition as well as their items builds and even the score of the game.

I fact the only thing that doesn’t add variety are the maps. While there is a 3v3 options as well as a 5v5 option (and, of course, custom games), there is only one map for each of the two game types. This does not, however, take way from the variety of the game.

 

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A mentioned above, there is only one map per game type. However, the maps are very well crafted and fair. Even if each lane was completely equal, it wouldn’t really matter for two reasons.

First, since its symmetrical and unbalanced lane would be compensated by its counter part (unless its the middle) and second, its a team game and balancing the lanes in your favor is part of the strategy. Regardless, there isn’t too much to talk about here so lets move on!

 

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Balance is one of the msot important issues in an eSport and League of Legends doe it just as well as anyone else in the business.

Even considering the insane amount of variation there is to the game, including over 100 champions to choose from, Riot! Games does such a good job keeping it all in balance.

The best way the accomplish this is by user feedback and there is no better way to go about balance than feedback from the very players who play them. Then test their champions out with not only common users in the public beta server, but also with the professional players.

This quality time spent with the newer champions allows players to find strategies that would otherwise be too strong for competitive play. But pre-release feedback is not enough in and of itself.

It also requires constant monitoring and the developer must make tons of tweaks and changes to items, champions and gameplay to accomplish perfect balance. While no game will ever be perfectly balanced, League of Legends has done one of the best jobs of making their game the most balanced it can be.

This Friday at 9:30pm the second (and final) part to this article will be posted. Please tune back then for more on League of Legends, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

This post was brought to you by CompetitiveGamer.net. Where eSports means business.
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