The Best Of Free Online Gaming: League of Legends
Welcome to the very first in a fortnightly series of articles that is to hopefully become a record of The Best Of Free Online Gaming*. We here at The Reticule know that not everyone has the spare cash to spend on every AAA or indie release, or to sign up to monthly payments for all the latest MMO’s. Trouble is, if your looking for some free gaming there are literally hundreds of titles taking up the free-to-play structure nowadays and trawling through them all to find ones that are worthwhile can take up a lot of time. Over the weeks I aim to bring you some mini reviews on a variety of the best free-to-play games the internet has to offer, saving not just your money but also your sanity.
*Disclaimer – Games included in ‘The Best of Free Online Gaming’ are entirely chosen through opinion of the writer. This is coming from a guy who likes Broccoli and Robbie Williams, so please feel more than free to disclose your disgruntled disapproval in a long-winded comment below. Better yet let me know why your game of choice should be included in this list.
League of Legends
This week we will be starting things off with a giant not just in the free-to-play world but also in the MMO universe. League of Legends, or LoL as it’s commonly known as (funny that) was developed and published by Riot Games in California. It was inspired by the much loved and replicated Defence of the Ancients map for Warcraft III. With over 32 million registered users and around 1.3 million people online and playing right this minute League of Legends is certainly one of the biggest F2P games around. Released late in 2009 this action, real time strategy for the PC has proved extremely popular since it’s release. Every year contests are held around the world and are attended by teams of professional LoL players competing for huge sums of winnings ranging into the thousands.
“But what is it all about?” I hear you ask. LoL pits you and your team of Champions against other players or AI in a RTS battle to the death. Each Champion has different stats and different strengths and weaknesses, for example Ahri has less health but can attack strongly from a ranged position where as Volibear has more health but will need to get into melee range to deal the most damage. These battles can be 3v3 or 5v5, ranked, normal or against bots and can be entered solo, duo or with a fully premade team. The aim of the game is to guide your chosen Champions to defeat the other teams nexus, which is essentially the home base. You start at opposite sides of the map and can choose from a variety of different tactics in order to best take on your enemy. Each character starts off at level 1 but can gain levels by killing enemy Champions and minions.
Beginners are encouraged to start off against bots while they discover their favoured tactics and Champions to use and then move onto playing against other players. If your confident enough and, have raised your rating high enough, you can even play in ranked matches. The aim here is to build up your rating by defeating players who have the same or higher rating than you do. These games are considered the competitive alternate to the normal game type and have a few differences including being able to ban the other team from choosing certain champions.
If you enjoy any kind of RTS whether it be single player, co-op or another MMO then I urge you to give this game a try. League of Legends is very enjoyable and can be played with friends, solo, competitively or just for fun depending on your mood. Being free-to-play is a great incentive and it holds it’s own against other games such as DotA and Starcraft. If your interested to see more take a look at the gameplay video linked here.
3 thoughts on “The Best Of Free Online Gaming: League of Legends”
Thanks everyone for the email suggestions. Will be looking into these games asap!
I started playing LoL in late August of last year- we were going to have old college gaming buddies back in town, and almost everyone BUT me played the game. I thought I’d train up a bit before they came so I wouldn’t be totally worthless at the game…
…and this is the problem. You need to put crazy hours into this game to get the most out of it. I decided I liked it enough, and I put in a minimum of 3.5 hours a week to it since, and I’m still in the learning curve phase. Imagine the tactical and control issues of an RTS with knowing all the characters and what they do like in a vs fighting game (x10 in a single game, and a new one comes every couple of weeks!), and all of the teamplay skills that you’d need in any real team sport. Everyone on your team is required to know these things if you’re going to consistently have fun, because a combination of poor matchmaking outside the ranked queue and experienced players playing on alternate or “smurf” accounts.
Do I have fun playing with 4 other friends on the same team? Sure. Do I have fun playing with strangers? Not during the times of day (evenings and the wee hours) that most of the hardcore players are on.
Even if you’ve played similar RTS games before it can take 5 or more matches for the system to work out your initial rating and skill level. So you can be put in some unfair games against tough opponents until that is sorted out. Before that you are usually encouraged to play a few games against AI and non ranked games to get to grips with everything. So yeah initially it can be a lot of work to learn and improve in the game. The best way as you say is to play in a team with friends. You will all know each others play style and advance and improve together, avoiding possible bad team mates and unlucky draws you would get in solo.