Almost every game that has come out recently has tried to have both an epic storyline and exciting player vs. player combat. Games like “Portal 2″ that stick to the story and use the mechanics to develop an extremely strong single player and co-op experience have become a welcome treat. Then there are games like “League of Legends” by Riot Games that focus solely on PvP content. To justify this narrowed view, Riot has brought to us a solid base-control game that can be played against both human and computer players.
“League of Legends” got its start humbly in the old “Warcraft 3″ game modification “Defense of the Ancients,” or DoTA for short. The game involves two teams that battle to destroy the opposing team’s base. Players take on the role of a summoner, and for each game you can pick one of up to 75 different champions. As a summoner, you have access to two abilities that you can utilize during your matches, such as a healing spell for mana and health, a teleport, a shield, etc. Each ability combination benefits a different play style. As you level up through winning matches you can also use level points to give your chosen champions benefits during games. Some benefits are defense-oriented, some damage-oriented and some support-oriented. The customization available for just your summoner persona allows for widely varied gameplay, and that doesn’t even take into account the 75 different champions to pick from for each match.
The matches move rather quickly, with my average game lasting around 40 minutes barring the occasional blowout. Throughout the match, players earn gold by killing enemies and enemy units. Minions continuously spawn throughout the match, and the method of winning a game is to kill your enemy’s minions so that yours can advance farther into enemy territory. To more effectively accomplish this, your different heroes have access to a store to buy different items for different situations: weapons for more damage, shields for armor, potions for extra health and so on. Each match is a miniature RPG that you play through and evolve your character. I am fond of using “Zilean The Chronokeeper” and spamming his time bomb attacks on groups of enemies, which is very effective.
The other interesting thing about “League of Legends” is how the different champions are unlocked. Every week there is a pack of 10 heroes that you are free to choose from, and the lineup changes weekly. To permanently unlock a hero, you must purchase it with one of two types of points. Riot points, which cost real money, allow you to purchase each hero with an average cost of around $3 or 500 to 900 riot points. Influence points, on the other hand, are earned through winning matches. The price in influence points for champions ranges from 500 to 6,500. This duel point system allows the game to be free but offers people who are a little bit impatient the ability to purchase a champion they like.
“League of Legends” is a fun free computer game. Yes, you can pay for extra heroes, but if you are skilled with heroes provided in the weekly pool you can purchase a new champion every few days with the in-game currency. If you were a fan of the old DoTA games on “Warcraft 3,” give this game a shot. You’ll find it strikingly similar, mainly because some of the developers of the Mod made this game.
This article was originally published by the Kansas State Collegian on May 6th, 2011.