Have You Played… League Of Legends?

Lols in LoL

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

A little while back I recommended one of the big-name MOBAs in this Have You Played… stream. Now it’s time for another – League of Legends.

League of Legends is generally billed as a 5v5 lane-pushing game where you pick a champion, join a team and do your damnedest to knock other the other team’s nexus building thingummy. There are other modes but this is the one which you’ll see in pro play and which people are generally referring to when they speak about LoL.

It might seem slightly odd recommending something which, according to Riot, already has 67 million players logging time every month but that’s actually part of why I’m suggesting it. There’s a massive community out there to tap into, so if you end up liking the game there’s a whole bunch of other material – hyperspecific Reddit discussions, cosplay, tournaments… – to enjoy. There’s also a thriving pro scene. In terms of what’s to look forward to in 2015, North America and Europe are both getting two additional team spaces in their top tier leagues (the LCS) next season, plus Riot have used the off season to make a bunch of tweaks to the existing game, particularly to how the jungle works so it’ll be fun to see how that impacts play at the highest levels.

But that’s all peripheral to the game itself. The main reason I’m recommending League of Legends is simply that I enjoy trying to figure it out and have fun playing it with friends. I come from a Dota background where the general perception is that LoL is an easier thing – more straightforward and with fewer ways to play with the systems. Sometimes that feels true (no pulling and stacking, you say?) but it also makes you think differently. The idea of winning a lane without stacking and pulling and last hitting was one I needed to turn over in my brain a few times before it sank in and makes me play slightly differently – same thing with the lack of a courier and the whole recall functionality.

League won’t be for everyone but when I play it I generally have fun. If you’re worried about being overwhelmed I remember there being a whole bunch of tutorial time at the start which should help you with the basic mechanics. If you’re worried about being flamed perhaps see if you can get four friends interested and try it out together. GLHF!

42 Comments

  1. SpacemanSpliff says:

    P2W

    • Apocalypse says:

      Nope.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I wonder what makes you say that. Have you played League? If not, what have you heard about it?

      • Bishop says:

        I’m not the OP but I heard you have to unlock other characters through grind or money, while I’m sure it’s pretty balanced I can see people thinking a certain locked off character is OP.

        • FadedCamo says:

          Definitely there’s a grind at the start to get a good champion pool. Most of the newer champions are better than the older champs, and thus more expensive to get with in game currency. But you can unlock champions fairly regularly if you play the game a bunch and it forces you to try out all sorts of different champs and playstyles every week with the rotating free champs. To be truly good at the game you need to know the mechanics of every champion and the system they set up is a great way to learn them. Also, realistically if you really want to get into this game, I’d suggest paying the 30 some bucks for one of the champ start packs. It comes with a lot of great champs to get going and fills out every role. From there you can generally just play and unlock the rest as you go.

  2. Catweasel says:

    It seems so contradictory to me how the game absolutely requires teamwork, but is so against having voice communication. I couldn’t imagine playing CS:GO with no voicechat ever allowed, and it’s just as important in this.

    • airmikee says:

      Is there a reason one of the many voice chat apps, like TeamSpeak, Mumble, Ventrilo, Skype, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo IM, Google Voice, or Raidcall won’t work?

      • Dijeangenie says:

        Very clever, because the game is only ever played in pre-made 5 stacks right? and there is never a need to voice comm with random people like you can in Dota or CSGO.

        • Apocalypse says:

          I would not play the game if there would be voice chat with random dicks. I don´t like to have those dicks in my ears.
          LOL is just as toxic at times as dota, maybe even more so. If people mute everyone anyway, what would be the point to add voice chat?

          You want to talk with your friends? Use whatever you usually use with them and don´t play with strangers.

      • Premium User Badge

        artrexdenthur says:

        As I think Dijeangenie is implying, yes there’s a reason those voice chat apps won’t work necessarily, and the reason is that they must be set up between all users beforehand, which is impossible in a random pub match. Obviously this is not a problem for (a) people who only play with friends and (b) people willing to organize ad hoc teams via their public chatroom of choice, but I think there are plenty of people who just want to play a game with zero setup hassle and don’t have friends who are LoL regulars at hand.
        Besides, it seems an even more relevant complaint given the pervasively bad nature of the community (at least, as far as people say). Voice chat wouldn’t do too much to fix the problem, but I think it would help, and Riot have shown willingness to take steps to improve the community. And the only systematic problem with voice chat would be if Riot were dumb enough to implement a voice chat system without the ability to mute others.

        • airmikee says:

          Apocalypse summed up my feelings on the subject in reply to Dijeangenie.

      • DrBomb says:

        Have you tried curse voice? It’s brilliant.

    • Faxanadu says:

      So many games have this problem. Even WoW refused to have its own voice chat servers until what, WotLK? And they were so bad I think they removed the feature.

      As for LoL: SOLDAT ( link to youtube.com ) but more boring? Or, WoW but in 2D? I do not understand. The gameplay just looks reaaally boring. The objectives are pretty simple, the goal is pretty simple. Where does the actual fun balancing between things come from? The occasional encounters between players where you can, MAYBE outwit your opponent? Or do you need insane amounts of intricate knowledge about the game, like Natural-Selection 2? Why not just play a game that has that and so much more.

      The not-so-little elitist in me is screaming “this is just call of duty for fantasy type people”. :D

    • noobule says:

      League was thrown together basically overnight in order to beat the enormous glut of Mobas that were about to pour into the scene. Even as the world’s biggest game (or at least close to it, I think it’s been overtaken by a couple other asia-focused f2ps) it’s missing quite a number of ‘surely they’d include that?’ features that exist in every other comparable environment. There’s no replay function either, for example. The reason there still isn’t because with such a massive playerbase, getting such fundamental changes out and stable is enormously difficult and shit takes time. The visual update of the map has been playable for a full year before they released it properly.

      The other issue that’s halted voice chat as stated by Riot is that the Tribunal system is necessarily text-based. Player behaviour is monitored in large part by chat records. If you gave everyone easy voip you’d lose that record. Now, given that the tribunal hasn’t functioned on any server in a few months now, and that they’ve added more automatic systems, maybe they’re moving on from that but I don’t know. But that’s part of the reason they’ve given previously.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Honestly the ping system is robust enough without needing voice comms. There was even a Chinese pro team who were second in the world championships with 2 Korean players and a language barrier who relied on a lot of pinging. Especially in pub games it is probably a better system than opening up the potential of some ranting little shits over voice comms.

  3. Rollin says:

    I don’t play LoL anymore, but the game is good, it’s just the community that screwed it up. Removing silly things like last-hitting on your own team’s creeps and focusing more on fighting players than dull farming made it a much better MOBA than the original mods. Riot should really branch out into other games though, they really feel like a one-trick pony at this stage.

  4. montorsi says:

    If you’re worried about getting flamed, either mute everyone or play another game. League isn’t all that toxic the majority of the time but I find it very helpful if you can laugh at the odd rager here and there and make a wry remark about how mad they are, so they know you don’t care (I genuinely could not give less of a shit) and that they can’t get under your skin.

  5. satan says:

    Never heard of it :P

  6. Pantalaimon says:

    A few months back I almost got round to playing League, but I got to a point in the installer process where it wanted to install some subcomponent app, and after researching it I found out that the app itself had since been taken over by some dodgy types and was now basically a trojan. Riot were told about this on their forum multiple times, claimed they would update the installer but had never done, at the time I checked. Quite incredible really, you’d expect a developer to hack this stuff out of their installer within hours or pull the thing entirely.

    I was pretty disappointed. The aesthetic of the game is a massive turn off but I had wanted to try the gameplay, since I’m sure it’s solid and enjoyable enough in short bursts, much like Smite.

    For all I know, it’s still part of the install routine, so be careful out there RPSers.

    • liance says:

      It’s been removed – for a few patches now, I think. So you needn’t worry about installing the game for that reason anymore!

  7. coeco says:

    So.. You’re making this article, recommending League of Legends because of the community?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  8. coppernaut says:

    I played LoL a long time ago, took about a year off and got into the Dota 2 beta and never looked back. There’s just something more satisfying and involving about the Dota 2 experience.

    • Apocalypse says:

      If they would move the camera 30% up in dota2 I would be totally playing dota2 instead of lol. But I can not stand this narrow perspective.

      • Pantalaimon says:

        I’m sure it’s pretty jarring to adjust to things like that, but honestly, it’s for the good of the game. With a narrower perspective, everyone has a reduced amount of information available to them, so because a lot of action on the periphery is not visible, it aids in focusing players on their current task. At the same time, it allows many more dynamic game moments to unfold around them because of this lack of vision. It also thirdly means that map control, vision, and game awareness are stronger tools, so although you see less, if you keep aware of the game around you, you’re actually more powerful than you would be if everyone had the same zoomed out viewpoint.

        Dota includes a lot of these elements (slower movespeed, longer cooldowns, larger mana costs, less scaling abilities etc etc), versus other games like League, which could be seen as restrictive in a direct comparison, but actually enhance the particular strategic gameplay that it’s going for.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          I disagree, it’s the one thing that actively makes me not want to play Dota. Getting hit ALL THE TIME from outside of your viewable area is, imo, bad game design. The fact that the UI covers about a quarter of the screen just compounds the issue and makes it incredibly unenjoyable for me.

          There is a very restrictive fog of war in Dota anyway, that should be enough and to me things like the UI and perspective are just throwbacks to a time when everyone was playing on 1024, 4:3 screens that should have been changed by now. They didn’t do this because of Dota 1 players whinging at any and all changes that were made. The fact that most people are playing on widescreen monitors now means that due to a larger side to side viewable area alongside the UI which inexplicably blocks large areas at the top and bottom of the screen, you can see about twice as far at the sides. This means that enemies you can see coming from the side cannot be seen from above or below, to me this is incredibly bad game design, ambushing someone from the south because they can’t see due to camera and UI should not be a consideration, but it is. It should just be taken care of by fog of war, not by camera and UI restrictions.

  9. Smarag says:

    It’s not a MOBA, it’s called AR- oh wait. Carry on actually.

  10. Greggh says:

    Yes I did play it, for almost 4 hours, got the gist, read a few techniques/FAQs etc., and had NO FUN at all in the end – and didn’t find anything apealling, aside from the *possible* social element (thankfully none of my friends play that).

    Am I missing something?

  11. JimmyG says:

    Yeah! I played about 20 normal games on Summoner’s Rift and then about 200 Dominion games on the Crystal Scar. The game isn’t balanced for Dominion at all, but I liked so many things about that alternative map: there’s no boring farm phase; games were 20 minutes long on average, with the longest never topping 30; and constantly fighting for control of 5 different nodes led to constant skirmishes of different sizes.

    I have some really good Dominion memories as Amumu, defending a tower by myself, and taking out not one — not two — but three simultaneous comers with my ult, my lugubrious AoE, and the turret’s merciless assistance. It’s a shame the gametype isn’t played in actual competition. I think it’s much more thrilling to watch, especially for those unfamiliar with the game.

  12. Lachlan1 says:

    I don’t mean to be rude, but using these ‘Have you played?’ columns to recommend Dota 2 and LoL strikes me as pretty lazy. I would love to see the column promote games that don’t have as much visibility so fewer gems are lost in the current flood of games.

    • Jakkar says:

      It does seem more than a little redundant…

      Half-Life is old enough to get away with it on novelty and nostalgia value – a lot of RPS readers are too young to have been PC gaming in the late nineties/early zeroes.

      But modern MOBAs are the pit of copycatting, unoriginal grind, with the most infamously abusive and elitist communities and a huge amount of ‘pro esports’ attention… Just using Steam or talking to other gamers exposes most of us to all the MOBA information we could possibly want >.>

    • Pantalaimon says:

      You might be surprised how many gamers are still at this stage unaware of these two games and the wider genre itself. I think it’s totally legit to enthuse about them, because more players ultimately improves the game.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Lucky we’re doing this “perhaps for all time” then, I suppose.

      If you don’t wish to be rude, perhaps consider not being rude.

      • Lachlan1 says:

        Ok, I’ll put it more directly then. Every second post you write seems to be about MOBAs, no problem. Just the mention of a game here gets people thinking about it. However, posting about DOTA 2 and LoL when you write so much else about the genre is flat out lazy and makes for boring reading. The idea of recommending games is wonderful, but I really don’t see the point of the posts if it’s for games that are prominently displayed anyway.

  13. mpk says:

    I played this regularly for quite a while, but was never interested in ranking or ladder matches. I just wanted to play for fun. Unfortunately it seemed like everyone else simply HAD to achieve perfection in every round to boost their ranking scores, and hearing a long-time internet-buddy turn into a rage monster over comms because our team had a bad game just put me off for good.

    There’s also the encyclopedic knowledge that’s needed to excel at the game. I’m too old for that shite. This is a game for you folks with plenty of spare time, not for the like of me who gets to game fora couple of hours a night.

  14. Whelp says:

    Actually the first game in the *entire* “have you played…?” series I’ve never played.

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    LoL is actually quite enjoyable to play for me. But I do think that the dota genre could do with some shaking up/variety. At least Smite has multiple maps which are actually widely played and HotS has different mechanics. Yeah, LoL has its’ various maps, but aside from the main one they don’t feel that fleshed out, really.

    That, and certain mechanics just aren’t as fun as they could be.

  16. securitywyrm says:

    I won’t get into DOTA/LOL because the games are 30 to 40 minutes long minimum, and quitting means your team is going to lose. It would be nice if there was a ‘substitute in’ mechanic so that if someone quits, a new player takes over their character.

    • Asurmen says:

      I don’t know about Data, but LoL has several different game modes.