Steam is a sometimes sober mechanic who enjoys no walks on the beach, writing, racecars, and most importantly video games. Sometimes when he's really lucky, he gets to mix all those things up! He also feels weird writing this in the third person.
So over the past couple of months, I've taken the plunge into the foul-mouthed piranha-pond that is League of Legends. I had tried it many moons ago, and walked away from it grumpily, but once again, I've started fresh and gave it another shot. My main motivation was that it was picking up with my friends, and where I was off playing Hawken and MWO, they would be running around Summoner's Rift without me. It was time to find out what I was missing out on. So I decided to start off with one simple thought process...
I know shit about this game. I am going to suck. I must learn as much as I can and be open minded.
Thankfully I had (some) help in the form of my brother, who is one of those folks who plays a ton, has a team, and rabidly watches the LoL Matches on Twitch TV like the rest of my family watches football games. I never understood this... watching other people play a videogame that I could be playing myself. But more on that later.
My brother went about explaining to me the basics, things like Last Hitting, where you earn gold from getting the killing blow on monsters and minions. He pointed out the difference between Attack Damage (AD), and Ability Power (AP) and how that related to champions. And then-
-yeah there's a lot of freaking LINGO up in here. It took me a while to get all this. The people who talk about it throw this stuff around like crazy, leaving us new people to stand slackjawed on the sidelines wondering what gutterspeak they're spewing.
Now I know how people feel when I talk about cars...
Anyway, I was going into this the same way about school... except I actually have fucks to give, unlike Calculus... so I have tried my best to learn how all this works, so I understand the inner workings of this beast. I wanted to know where people went, what they did, how the team tactics worked. ALL THIS STUFF.
I played some Bot games. These would be a game of people versus the AI. I did okay, it helped me learn. But my brother gave me one simple phrase to live by for my immediate future, “Don't Die.”
Don't Die. Okay. I can do that.
Spoiler alert! Its kinda freaking hard. All of these gamer instincts are still stuck in my brain, to be aggressive and to win. Well the game has a pacing, and a certain ritual to follow. You have the 'Laning Phase' of the game, which is when you stick to one of the Lanes (Top, Middle, Bottom), teamed up against the enemy champions, and try and Last Hit minions. BUT! You also have to deny the enemy getting those hits. So you have to POKE them. Another bit of lingo that makes me giggle.
Okay. So I'm supposed to stay in my Lane. Last Hit Minions. Chase the enemy Champions Off. And more important than anything else DON'T DIE.
Oh, and stop playing against Bots, because you're not going to learn anything playing against Bots. You need to play against other people. PVP.
“PVP?!” I say in a sound of abject terror. “Other people?! You're MAD!”
He was mad, but he was right. But with the rumor of LoL's community floating around, I expected to log into a match and immediately get yelled at by everyone for buying the wrong boots or getting killed... or my CS was shitty.
Oh... more Lingo. CS is Creep Score. It keeps track of your Last Hits on Minions.
But anyway. I had these friends I played with! So I dove into a few games with them, against Real People(!), and tried Not to Die. For the most part, I did alright. I did turn off the All Chat, because it was just too distracting, and I really don't deal well with getting harassed while I'm trying to learn things. And learning happened!
The first thing I learned is that until I played (and lost) more, because I didn't have an ELO score, I was going to have to deal with a common problem in the LoL world. Smurfs.
LINGO ALERT. Right so ELO is a rating system from Chess that basically keeps track of your Win/Loss record in order to hook you up with players of similar skill. Since I didn't have an ELO score yet, it throws you in with other people that don't have a score yet. Some of these people are Smurfs. Smurfs are skilled players who make a secondary account to play 'Easy Games'. Since on their main accounts they actually have to Try to win, they make these throw away accounts to murder newbs and yell at people for sucking while they're trying to learn. Take note, there are apparently a lot of Smurfs.
The first Smurf me and my friends ran into got Fed, (which means they killed their lane enemies enough that they had more XP and Gold than everyone else in the match, and were a lot more powerful than everything ever). This SINGLE PERSON was then powerful enough that they murdered the lot of us without seeming to try.
This was also the point where I discovered the concept of Surrendering. At 20 minutes into the game, you have the option to Surrender. Good Game. On to the next one. Sometimes its really obvious that you're getting your ass kicked, so rather than playing a losing battle for 15 more minutes, you can just surrender and move onto the next game. As someone who doesn't have a lot of free time, my time is kind of important to me. So this is something I certainly appreciate. The problem is, those people you play with who are unwilling to see what's written on the wall. Surrendering is voted on, and in order to succeed it has to be 4/1 in favor of giving up.
This has led to some serious hair-pulling for sure.
But despite my complaints and bad games, I've had some really good games as well. When you have a good team, and its a close fight, you start to understand why people really like these games. There is a great sense of reward when you manage to defeat someone as a team. I've had some amazing games, and I've been steamrolled far more than that.
I've hit level 18, where Max is 30. More and more I'm starting to run into high level players, and the fights are certainly getting harder. I win some, I lose some, but most of the time I'm having fun. I say most of the time. In random groups you'll inevitably get that asshole who immediately locks in as Akali screaming MID in the first half second of the match.
Expect this person to be a douchebag. Trust me.
Nowadays I'm actually finding the random people in AI matches to be more abusive than the PVP ones. I'll play an AI match in order to learn how a new character works or to practice things. Being screamed at the entire match how we DON'T NEED A JUNGLER against Bots is rather... well, yeah. Calm heads and patience don't typically persevere in these situations. But at the end of the match there is a lovely little Red Button next to the offending player's name. Make use of this.
I still don't know a lot, and I certainly don't think I'm good. But damnit I'm trying to learn, and hopefully that fact stops me from devolving into the profanity spewing types that try and ruin other people's games. If you have any tips for me, or want to see how much I suck, hit me up in game. My ID is TheSteamdriven. Any tips would be appreciated!