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Monday, August 6, 2012

League Of Legends: My First True MOBA Experience

I've never been shy about the fact that I'm not a big competitive gamer. Sure I'll play the occasional round of Call of Duty multiplayer or a World of Warcraft battleground here and there but when it comes right down to it I'll always go for the cooperative multiplayer options over the competitive.

Because of this, I was naturally not very interested when I first heard of this new phenomenon called "MOBA" (multiplayer online battle arena) that was sweeping the gaming world. However I was admittedly somewhat intrigued by the amount of attention games such as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth were getting but I knew that I'd probably never give them a go myself because of their emphasis on competitive play.

I remember reading articles such as Joystiq's weekly column The Summoner's Guidebook in which author Patrick Mackey discusses various elements of League of Legends and being spellbound by his usage of terms like "last-hitting", "jungling", and "AP Mid", mainly because I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

Up to this point, my direct experience with MOBA's had been nearly non-existent. I tried Rise of Immortals, another MOBA that focused a bit more on progression and PvE, but even after slogging through the opening tutorial the game just didn't click for me so I promptly tabbed out of my first match (it was a training match against NPC's) and uninstalled the game.

A few days later I happened to stumble across an article on Gameinformer.com titled "A Beginner's Guide to League of Legends." After reading the article and watching a few LoL Youtube videos, I started to get a rudimentary idea of what the game, and the MOBA genre in general, was all about. Figuring I had nothing to lose since, like most other MOBA games, League of Legends is F2P, I decided to give the MOBA genre another go. 

The very first thing I noticed after logging into League of Legends for the first time was how much is more polished it felt than Rise of Immortals. A helpful narrator guided me through the basics (most of which I already knew from the Gameinformer article but hey, nothing beats hands-on experience) and soon I was in my first practice match against bot opponents.

And it was freaking great.

Leveling up my champion, learning new abilities and buying new equipment, traveling up and down the three "lanes" as I skirmished against the opposing team's champions, I was absolutely stunned at how well the game managed to blend a simple format with complex strategy so seamlessly. The number of different roles a player can fill at any one time is large enough that there's something for everybody but small enough that you don't feel overwhelmed.

Now, to be clear, my good experience with League of Legends doesn't mean I'm now a die-hard competitive player or anything, but as far as engaging and addicting MOBA-style gameplay is concerned, consider me a believer.

A Beginner's Guide to League of Legends

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