Since yesterday saw an unscheduled intermission (I was tired), I made up for it tonight by playing two matches. Although my session threatened to finish before it had even started. While waiting to begin a co-op vs. AI match, and waiting several years for one player to connect, my ping suddenly sky-rocketed and I found myself back at my desktop. After trying several times just to get back into the client, I eventually made it and found myself in the same game I’d initially joined. So nice of them to save a spot for me.
By now, it’s pretty clear that Summoner’s Rift is really the only map in the game. It’s the only one available for co-op vs. AI games and outside of that no-one seems to care for the others. I honestly don’t see where the lasting appeal lies in a single map, but I guess 11 million people can’t be wrong…
That first match was relatively fine, though one key element was different; someone else on our team had chosen Ryze, leaving me with approximately sixty seconds to decide on a new champion. I eventually chose Graves, ‘the outlaw’. I warmed to him almost immediately, with his gravelly voice, flowing cape and shotgun as tall as himself. For his first run, he proved fairly effective, with a kick-ass buckshot that, once fully levelled up, could take out a line of minions in one hit. He could also fire a smoke grenade and what appeared to be a giant meteor that proved particularly effective against champions. It’s a wonder the latter made it out the barrel, though.
My stat sheet showed a small improvement from last time, too, with a 1:1 kill-death ratio and several assists. I still haven’t got the hang of using the map’s tactical assets to my advantage, such as the bushes that conceal you from sight and supposedly set you up to ambush other players. That said, keeping my champion on a leash isn’t too much of an issue anymore. Clicking more really does seem to help. And just to top everything off, I took out the nexus single-handedly.
As I glance over the match overview, a notification springs up. Craig, my former lackey, and my flatmate Caithan have invited me to a match. Only this time, it’s player versus player. No bots.
Time to play League of Legends the way it was meant to be played.
<Forty-five minutes later>
Even with my friends by my side, and despite slipping back into Ryze’s familiar shoes, I went scoreless with 0 kills and 11 deaths. Oh, we won, but I didn’t exactly feel like celebrating. For when it came to direct confrontation with another champion, I never survived longer than six seconds. It seemed liked all of them had attacks that would break off half my health bar in one swift stroke. By contrast, I could barely bring them down by half after throwing my whole arsenal at them. I pretty much resorted to becoming a minion, only one who knows when to run away when sh*t hits the fan, i.e. when a frickin’ ghost centaur shows up.
A dramatic reconstruction of the latter half of my first PvP match.
No multiplayer game is fun when you’re losing, but I’ve never felt more like I’m letting my team down than in League of Legends. Partly because of my general incompetence and partly because my mistakes are allowing the opposition to level up and outclass us. In the match’s early stages, I often confronted an opponent also playing as Ryze in the middle lane. He won every single encounter. He wasn’t exactly a good sport when his team lost, either, calling us out on the text chat as a ‘noob team’. To be fair, one of his team-mates told him to shut it. I’d heard…sketchy things about the LoL community’s attitude toward new or struggling players going in, and though I’ve now seen a sample of that, it was a relief to see there were also those who showed courtesy in defeat.
Control is no longer LoL’s main issue; with the right guidance, you can adjust. No, the main issue now, at least for me personally, is one of longevity. One notable map and one notable game mode (there exists another, Dominion, which also takes place on its own, separate map, though what it entails remains a mystery to me) for a game that is free to download is fine, I guess, but it amazes me that the number of people that play League of Legends, a number which, you’ll recall, now exceeds that of the world’s largest MMO (a game with substantially more content), keep coming back to follow essentially the same game plan in match after match.
Then again, maybe I haven’t found that drive yet. I’m certainly not going to if I keep getting trounced by other humans like I did today. Do I still like it at this stage? Yeah, but like Minecraft before it, even after several hours of play, I’m still waiting to be hooked…