League of Legends

Has anyone seen the HBO Real Sports clip on the League of Legends World Championship finals?

I was amazed. I know I am out of the target age group of video games, and I grew up in the age of atari, pac man and asteroids, playing games for a quarter a pop in a mall arcade. Now, these multiplayer interacting internet games are booming into what is being called the next major sport. And it’s hard to argue, after seeing the show.

These kids are earning in the low to mid six figures ( the very good players, of course… But still amazing to me), and the games on-line draw on average approx. 4 times the viewership of an NHL game. That blew me away. Playing video games is one thing, and I see the appeal of playing, and actually do play some games on my playstation. So I’m not completely out of the loop. But I never heard of LOL, and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that now.

Does anyone out here play LOL, and do you know what I’m talking about? Did you know your game is now so popular, you sold out the Staples Center in minutes to watch other people play for the championship of this game?

The show is eye-opening for another reason. The guy that was the main focus of the clip was William Lee. He quit college 6 credit hours short of his degree so he could play LOL full time, and it appears to be paying off for him financially.

My big question is this. For people that play these games, don’t you get bored after a while? I know they are hard to play at the master level that these teams play at, but how long can LOL be relevant before people want to see another game, or LOL becomes stale? I would imagine once that happens, the players who practice 14 hours a day playing these games will have to start over and learn something else… Or is that the old model of gaming, and things like LOL will never die?

I hope there are some LOL players out there who can shed some light on this. I saw some of the game briefly, and it just looked look a fantasy shoot 'em up kind of game, with monsters and castles, but nothing so exciting that I would go watch other people play at the Staples Center, or watch a game on-line. I realize I don’t have a feel for this game at all, but I can’t think of ANY game I’d want to watch other people play, at least not for hours in an arena with 20,000 other people. I don’t mind watching my nephew play at the house, but that’s it.

And are there any other games like LOL that have a major league set-up, where teams from all over the globe are playing and being paid real money when they win?

Before I answer, let me make two points: 1.) You could make this argument about popular sports that have existed for decades, and 2.) LoL introduces new characters regularly, each of whom have unique abilities. Considering there are over a hundred characters and matches consist of 10 of these being used there is a staggering number of potential combinations that LoL enthusiasts can say will all play out in subtly different ways.

But to answer your question, yes, the game gets boring pretty quickly. There are other DOTA ripoffs that are fundamentally the same as LoL, like Smite, that have an abundance of match types (including one-off novelty match types that they introduce regularly) in order to keep things from getting stale but the devs of LoL would rather have one thing (even though they do have a few other game modes) that they do really consistently well than a bunch of modes that are more difficult to keep balanced.

I’m the same way, but then again, watching people play anything, from baseball to Super Mario Bros, is boring in my opinion.

I agree with your points. The fact that people are defining this as a sport is fine with me, although it required me to stop and think what a sport actually is. It has an amazing following… quite frankly it enjoys a global audience that any traditional sport would be envious of. It is just a different way to think of a “sport”, but it doesn’t make it any less valid because my traditional mentality doesn’t get it. Someone into LOL could make the same statements I made about baseball, for example.

I love baseball, and played it half my life, but in today’s world, i can see how a kid would be bored with it. Watching it can be sleep inducing, and playing it can also be boring if you aren’t the pitcher, catcher, or batter. There is precious little action from pitch to pitch except for these three players. This hasn’t really changed much at all since the game was invented, so yeah… I can see the boredom argument having validity.

However, the people that play LOL at the world-class level play 10-14 hours, on average every day. As much as I love baseball, i couldn’t dedicate this kind of time to it. Because of what you said, however, with 100+ characters with different behaviors, i would imagine the practice time is required if you want to get everything down.

Does LOL have a set playing field, where you can memorize the area? As an example, I’d give GTA, where the city is the city. That’s it. Once you memorize the board, you know where you are at all times. Has LOL had the same playing field, or does it change also?

I’m sorry, but what does DOTA stand for?


Dota stands for Defense of the Ancients, which is the name of a modification to the popular real-time strategy game Warcraft III by Blizzard Entertainment. It was original created by Guinsoo, who went to found Riot Games and create League of Legends. No one is sure how popular Defense of the Ancient is now, but at one point is was almost the most popular game in the world. League of Legends is taking a large chunk of that player base though, since League of Legends offers the same things that made Dota so popular (free, runs on any PC), but adds modern features and smoother gameplay.

I haven’t played League of Legends, but I’m very sure that the game is static and the only thing that changes game-to-game are the heroes that people choose to play. It’s surprisingly easy to learn the abilities of every hero, since you don’t need to learn 400 individual skills. Many of them are just minor variants on others, so you only need to learn 30 or so concepts.

I’m the kind of person you’re asking about in your first post. I watch about 10 - 20 hours of video game content per week, depending on how many events are running at a time. That’s divided between professional matches and more casual gameplay streamers. I watch for what I assume are the same reasons anyone watches any kind of “sport:” interest in the players’ story lines and drama of an unscripted outcome. I also watch hoping to pick up tips and tricks that I use to make my own play better.

The main place people go to watch this content is a site called twitch.tv. You can find all of the popular games there, such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Starcraft 2. Those are definitely the big three titles right now. Each one has teams and players who are paid salaries, endorse products, and travel the world to play in tournaments.

Is it totally strategy or do you also need to have good reflexes?

Perhaps somewhat controversially there is only one main map that the standard LoL match is played on (there is another map that’s used for a much less popular game mode that LoL also supports). There are some people who wish that the devs would release more arenas but they have no intention of doing so (different “skins” for the existing arena are a possibility, however), ostensibly because they want to focus on the competitiveness and consistency of the game which they feel contributes to its worth as a “sport.” I can’t be bothered to explain it as well as the developers have and you can find those explanations if you dig around for them. You’d think that regularly releasing new characters would be counter to this strategy in the same way that new arenas would be, but, well, that’s what keeps it from becoming too boring.

As Palooka said, Defense of the Ancients. DOTA was originally a fan-made game that was played within Warcraft III, an online real-time strategy game like Starcraft. DOTA introduced the basic elements that are present in LoL, Smite, and other MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games (such as lanes traversed by weak computer-controlled combatants that players must cover - the goal is to reduce the ability of the enemy covering your lane to defend against these guys).

The latter.

You don’t need good reflexes, but they can come in handy at times. I play on west coast servers from the east coast all the time. The 100ms disadvantage is inconsequential, especially compared other twitchier games like Counter-Strike or Call of Duty.

It’s far more important to have a solid strategy, teamwork, and situational awareness.

Palooka and AClockworkMelon, thanks for the answers so far. In just your posts, I think i have scratched the surface in what little I know.

Forgive a rather academic question. On the HBO show, they showed guys playing on a keyboard and mouse, but there is a video game show that sort of looks like SportsCenter that announces and describes the action on the game being aired, and it’s logo is an outline of a hand controller, something that looks a lot like a playstation controller.

Is LOL played completely on a pc, with a keyboard and mouse? If so, is that harder, easier, or about the same in difficulty to a controller?

Also, i noticed two things about the crowd and the players. I didn’t see one person that looked over 30, and I saw very few women. The HBO reporter estimated 1 woman for every 15 men, but that seemed high to me. Is that your experience, or do you think the ration is higher or lower?

As for the age, i understand why there aren’t many older people now. But for you all that play the game now, will it be possible for you to remain interested in it as you get older? Maybe that’s impossible to know. But i can see the advantage of leaving the game as constant as possible to keep fans interested in it over time, as the older and busier your life gets, you may not have the time to invest in it like you do now, so watching it will not be as fun if they change the playing field or the look and feel of it much.

This is a fascinating topic to me. I have always sucked at video games, and now kids are making 6 figures playing them. That amazes me on one hand, but on the other, I see a parallel with something like the X games, where kids on skateboards became athletes and money machines when it became mainstream. Maybe this is on the same path. Although I confess, I can’t see this being an olympic event with gold medals being awarded, stranger things have happened.

It’s a very twitchy game. Not to the extent of most first person shooters but if you’re slow you’ll get torn apart by even mediocre players. There’s a non-trivial amount of people who exclusively play matches against computer-controlled enemy characters because of how difficult it is for them to keep up with your average human opponent.

I’ve never heard of anyone playing LoL with a controller. Like with any PC game it’s possible to use a controller because of button-mapping but I doubt there’s any significant number of people who do it.

1 in 15 comes out to 6 or 7 in a group of 100, I guess that seems right. It’s an overwhelmingly male-dominated game.

Did I interpret what you said correctly? Are you saying that really good human players are faster than the computer?

That may actually be true. Based on the HBO story, anyway… They used an estimate of 6 keystrokes or mouse clicks per second.

That number baffled me, because I got the impression this was a long drawn out game that you could play for hours, not minutes. If you are making 6 moves a second, that’s 360 moves a minute. Or 21600 moves an hour (if my brain math is right). How could you keep that pace up? I’m guessing the speed a computer plays is a variable set by someone, and it could be set to less than 6 moves a second.

I will make the assumption you can pause the game and walk away if you are playing a computer.

Question… In a team vs. Team game, like what I saw for the world championship, how long would a game take to play out?

This isn’t quite true. DOTA popularized it, but the inventor was the map Aeon of Strife for the original Starcraft. I used to play WCIII custom maps all the time, and even when DOTA Allstars was at its peak, MOBA-style games were called “AOS-type maps”.

Also, the original DOTA was made by Eul, Guinsoo made DOTA Allstars which was a followup with more balance and competitive focus. Allstars (and Dota 2) was eventually taken over by Icefrog, who Guinsoo recruited for programming along with Neichus.

You don’t have to be “really good” to be better than the computer. It isn’t just about who can click a button the most: You have to make decisions in real-time and when there are as many different possible scenarios as can occur in a game like LoL a human player is going to have an advantage. There are different computer difficulties but even at its hardest it’s only the equivalent of a decent player.

Don’t worry about this too much. When I played, and I was by no means a good player, even when you’re idling around waiting for your opponent to fuck up and give you an opening you aren’t just standing still, you’re clicking all around on the ground around your character. The reason is because the way the characters move: You click a spot on the ground and they go to it. You always want your character to be moving. This, combined with the fact that you have to click once per attack and you spend a great deal of the game attacking those weak computer-controlled minions I mentioned, means you’re going to be clicking a lot.

No. Even when you’re playing against the computer your teammates are still human, so you can’t just pause.

Every game of LoL is a team vs team game. A game takes about 45-50 minutes on average. A short game where one team completely stomps the other can be over in half an hour. A long, drawn-out match can last a little over an hour.

Thanks for the correction and clarification.

When playing against the computer, a good team can win despite being down a player. On easy, a good team can win despite being down two players. This gives a lot of leeway for a beginner player - as long as you remember to run away before you get killed, you’re not really hurting your team’s chances of winning.

I just had a good game myself, with Darius and Draven in one lane and Garen and Lux in the other. Smack talk was had, and a friendly contest to see who could murder the most bots.

I’m in my early…aw, damn…mid-thirties and I play. Fun is fun, and I don’t think LoL inherently appeals to younger players more than someone my age. The one big thing that stands out to me is (as you noted) the amount of time you can devote to the game. That’s why you see more young people playing it and showing up at competitions IRL. If I were younger, maybe I could be good at LoL, but at this point I know I’ll never be more than decent. So I’ll keep playing non-ranked matches, and I’ll watch the pro streams, as I have time.

And I actually have the opposite opinion from what you post (and what the devs hold, apparently). I feel that there are plenty of champions, and that they are just rehashing the same basic mechanics with new skins. I would prefer more new map types. Sure, keep the pro league to the original map. But I don’t think that adding new playstyles on top of the existing content could alienate me or sour the game for me.

Oh, and one other thing about the pro league: I find that the Riot announcers (the only game stream I watch) are top-notch. You could probably find a dozen threads about “who is the most annoying sportscaster” on the SDMB. Riot, however, has very high production values for its streams, and that includes having genuine talent in the people who analyze gameplay in real time. None of them come across as annoying or clueless.

I’m frighteningly close to 40, and I play LOL regularly. I’ve been playing for a couple of years now, and I can’t say as how I’m bored with it. Of course my play of 5-6 hours a week is nowhere near the pros.

I find the various iterations of the 100’s of champions in a 5v5 player v player match keeps things fresh and interesting. I must say I disagree that there are many champions that are just skins of others, to me the vast majority have respectable levels of difference due to the range of special attacks each have. For me part of the interest is trying to learn and master various different champs.

In terms of reflexes versus strategy, it really depends upon your champion. Many champs have abilities which are captured under the term ‘skillshots’ which are directional and need to be aimed at opponents. As the name suggest they require good reflexes or anticipation to hit with them. By the same token plenty of champs have area of effects abilities, so if you find your natural ability or your poor connection affecting your ability, you can run some of those ‘area of effect’ champs.

Funnily enough I only started playing LOL, when my PC got too old to run the latest 1st person shooters, while I still had a hankering for some online action.

They just added an “All for One” mode where the entire team plays the same character. Five Ashes versus five Nocturnes was fun.