By Nathan Grayson on July 8th, 2014 at 9:00 am.
Ah, the never-ending struggle to make MOBAs understandable to people whose stomachs are too weak to digest 200 lbs of raw, abstract systems. Each year companies like Valve and Riot get a little closer to workable solutions, and the effort is commendable given that they already have 172.43 trillion people playing their games.
Riot’s latest effort for League of Legends? So-called “Intro Bots,” the main goal of which is to make learning more fun. Riot confessed that the current tutorial is, well, kinda crap. “As it stands, Battle Training is undermined by jarring interruptions and nebulous goals, while Beginner bots often proves far too challenging for first-time Summoners.” Intro Bots, though? Right in the sweet spot, apparently.
It sounds like an extremely basic approach to LoL, a 101 class where every book is only pictures, every surface is covered in training wheels. There are, for instance, no trinkets or support items, no combat complexities like last-hitting, and bots don’t hit as hard or react as quickly as they otherwise would. Those intricacies, Riot says, will be taught elsewhere.
So then, what exactly are you getting? Well, it works something like this:
“With Intro Bots, we’re aiming for a more approachable difficulty that gives all new players a manageable first experience. At the same time, we’ve designed many features to be dynamic based on a player’s performance so the mode isn’t a pushover – players quickly performing appropriate actions and behaving like an advanced player will see fewer helpful features and lightly amped-up difficulty. Novice players should be able to enjoy several games of Intro Bots and steadily learn the basics, while more advanced ones will quickly grasp the essentials and move on to greater challenges in other modes.”
“Instead of broad, imprecise goals, we want to provide incremental steps towards power and success, which led directly to the personal quests feature in Intro Bots. Personal quests seek to provide useful, immediately relevant goals that can help new players get a feel for the rhythm of a typical League game, which includes unintuitive things like leaving the battle to go back to base. Since these quests are contextually triggered based on what a player is doing (or not doing), they’re always relevant to his or her situation.”
All the while, you’ll be doing things until you develop reflex and understanding, not simply reading about them and then getting thrown in the ring with killer sharkbots.
Or at least, that’s the hope. Riot’s full post of intent is worth a read. Obviously this won’t remedy every problem LoL newcomers run into, but it’s Riot’s (one hundred and) first stab at making things better. Baby steps and all that. But, you know, with stabbing. Welp, that got dark.
Intro Bots will be rolling out on LoL’s PBE soon, and they’ll hit live servers “shortly after.” LoL fence sitters, think this will encourage you to give it another try?