We aren’t the champions: Novice gamers struggle playing League of Legends

November 14, 2018 — by Megan Chen and Callia Yuan

League of Legends, or LoL, is a third-person multiplayer online battle arena game, with its most popular mode being 5 vs 5 players. Since its release in 2009, LoL has become one of the most popular PC games, with over 100 million active players a month.

As avid fans of high-quality Facebook mini-games like 8-ball Pool and Endless Lake, we wanted to further advance our expertise in online games and challenge ourselves in the more difficult realm of PC gaming by playing LoL.

The gameplay itself seems simple enough: Players compete as  unique champions that start at the same level and level up by killing NPCs, or minions, and enemy champions. With each level, players can improve their champion’s abilities, becoming more and more powerful as the game goes on.

The goal is to destroy a core structure at the end of the map, referred to as the “nexus.” The paths are blocked by enemy turrets that can attack champions within a certain range, causing most of the gameplay to center around these turrets.

Having learned these basic rules, we each downloaded the game to gain a better understanding of why LoL is so popular.

The game walks new players through a couple tutorials so that they can grasp the basics of the game and try out champions.

However, even with these tutorials, neither of us was confident in our gaming skills. In our first game, we were overwhelmed by the choices of support items available in the store, and still unsure of how to best approach enemy champions. We also died every time we were approached by the enemy champions and had no clue what our champion abilities were.

As a result, we asked experienced players like freshman Andy Chen, also known as Megan’s little brother or “Chendy,” to join our team and help us improve. Although matchups are usually random, players can create teams of up to five people with their friends.

With Chendy’s skill and expertise, we were able to improve tremendously and experience the true greatness of the game.

We also learned more advanced strategies and techniques through YouTube videos from pro-gamers like Biofrost.

After learning about other aspects of the game we hadn’t previously known about, like buying specific items in the shop and using combos, we realized that the game required a lot more strategy and skill than we first thought.

Pressing all the keys at once, like we had done in the tutorials and bot games, wasn’t cutting it, and Callia peaked at 19 deaths in a single game. Instead, we applied what we learned and strategically upgraded our champion skills and items.

However, one criticism we have for the game is its slow pace. Games usually exceed half an hour, and the longest professional match has stretched over 90 minutes.

As we were essentially cycling through deaths and therefore “feeding” the enemies, we kept getting overpowered, and the last half of the games was frustrating and boring.

Then we got smart and read through a couple of lengthy guides on how to play specific champions. This allowed us to return with more confidence and knowledge.

We started being able to survive longer, mainly by knowing the right moment to start running away. With more gameplay, we were actually able to experience what we decided to be the most fulfilling aspect of the game: killing enemy champions.

Although games were still long, our abilities to actually kill enemies made our experience much more intriguing, and we started to understand how the game gained its popularity.

This is not to say, however, that we became good players. Because we were playing with high-level players, some of our team members hinted at our relatively woeful skills and complained about having to “carry” the team.

Even so, we enjoyed our dive into the game and fear more Friday nights will be dedicated to playing LoL instead of studying.