So I’ve been playing League of Legends (or LoL, as it’s often called, which I just find fantastic) quite obsessively these past few days. A friend recommended it to me on the basis that it was “very similar” to the cult Warcraft 3 mod Defence of the Ancients. To be honest, the only reason I gave it a download was because it sounded a bit like Warcraft 3 and… well it’s free to play.
I’ve been graciously rewarded for my choice. League is a very simple, yet addictive game that works like this. The player picks a character to play as, or a “Summoner” as they’re referred to in game, which is basically a hero character that you play as. All of these characters have four magic abilities and a basic attack that varies from punch or cast. Then you’re placed into a game with 9 others (5 Vs. 5 games) and the game begins. The basic premise is each base is defended by towers and waves of units which guard the main paths leading to your base. In the centre of each base is a building that must be destroyed to win the game.
So the premise is deviously simple, yet in practice it becomes this surreal game of fantasy tug of war. See, these towers are pretty powerful so you end up relying on the waves of units to act as human shields in order to push forward. Your summoner can level up to a maximum of level 18 in a single game, gaining more powerful levels of their abilities as you progress (as well as gold to purchase ability boosts) which means that what starts off as a quite relaxing game of click- to – kill – minions ends up as a furious war between ten completely different magical beings, all of them mercilessly slaughtering each other in an effort to just… destroy… that… one last… tower…
It becomes a death match, near the end. Once you hit level 5 it’s no longer about killing the minions. It’s about getting a positive kill streak by chasing down enemy summoners for a huge XP boost, as well as attempting to aid your minions is progressing… you get the idea. It’s a simple concept, but strikingly complex in practice.
Of course, the beautiful thing about this game isn’t the fresh and addictive nature of it’s game play or the quite frankly gorgeous visual style. No, it’s all in the fact that you don’t have to pay a penny to play it. Sure, there are additional buffs and enhancements you can buy with real money, but if you play enough games online you’ll earn enough “Riot points” to acquire them without ever having to touch your debit card. Even better, is the fact that the developers bring in a new set of summoners every wednesday in order to keep the game fresh and exciting. If you become attached to a summoner, you have the option of purchasing him or her (with money or riot points), meaning he won’t disappear from your list of available characters come next wednesday.
In conclusion? I’m in love, and addicted. There’s so much more I’ve missed out, like a powerful ranking system, fresh maps, character skins, runes. The list goes on and on. This is as good as it’s going to get for free to play games people, so I’d highly recommend you download right now.