An Awfully Good Game: A Defense of League Of Legends And My Return To It
Posted On April 17, 2019
I have returned to League Of Legends. To my sponsor Sean I’d like to apologize to you. You’ve worked really hard to keep me clean of this evil game and I’ve failed you and myself. Insensitive addiction jokes aside, I have picked up a videogame I haven’t played in a long while. League Of Legends still to this day is one of the most widely played games in the world as well as one of the most prominent competitive gaming scenes in the realm of Esports. I fell in love(lust) with the game back in college and played mostly during my time in college. Giving it up as I become a semi-productive member of society. So let’s cover, what is League(of Legends), how I came to be playing it, and why I came back, and why I’m kind of keen on staying!
Let’s set the scene. Ahem. It was a crisp fall day, leaves rustling back in the month of October, of the year 2012. The Fitchburg State Dormitory of Aubuchon Hall was stale with the smell of day old Cheetos, a subtle yet stink huaft of marijuana, and a faint chill from the lack of heating being on and it being a seasonably unpredictably cold day in New England. I had recently befriended the gentlemen of the 3rd floor, while my dorm room was on the 9th, and I slept on the 10th floor. My roommate on the 9th floor didn’t shower and was gross so I crashed with my friends on the 10th floor. No one questioned it then, and I’d appreciate it if none of you questioned that now. So back to the coldish October day. I went down the elevator to go and see what the guys were doing because I wanted attention. 2 of them… ??? 3 of them! Were in a suite room playing on their computers. I entered and asked what they were up to. Low and behold they were playing. League of Legends, it’s almost like this is a blog post about that very game. It was then they explained to me the simple premise and that it was free to play, a concept I greatly appreciated as a broke ass college kid. So I began playing with them, I was awful, I still am pretty mediocre at the game itself but I did and do still enjoy it. I learned about the nuances of the game and this game has a lot of bullshit nuance. I learned about its competitive scene and watched that. Mostly I played Because my friends did, it was a nice bonding activity we did! Because outside of that I do not know how people got into this game. And I will explain why.
League of Legends is a game that has 2 teams of 5 whose main goal is to break down the defenses of their opposing team and destroy the core or Nexus of the opponents base. You are given the choice of like 140+ champions(player characters) to choose from with each having their own unique abilities, strengths weaknesses, and back story. Ultimately your team works together filling in 5 positions on the proverbial field. In League, they call their field “the rift” which is super nerdy. These 5 positions are Top Lane, Mid Lane, Jungler, Marksman, Support. You traditionally need one of each of these in each game. Ok so far you now know like 1 percent of league of legends, and it undoubtedly already sounds moronically confusing. Because it really is. That’s fine by the way, complex and hard to understand is not always bad or unenjoyable. But it is a hard sell for a lot of people. Which brings me back to my original point not understanding why anyone got into this game on their own.
You see League doesn’t just have a steep learning curve. It’s also pretty famous for its impressively toxic community. For those unfamiliar with online gaming, when I refer to a toxic community I mean that the players are commonly
Mean and cruel and say horrendous visceral often racist, or homophobic in some nature. Uncaring and apathetic to the communities growth or improvement Sexist and misogynistic in both words and behavior Stupid, just super fucking stupid. Very elitist and riddled with gatekeepers Gatekeeper definition And League was all of these things. It was and is a fun game and there were good people on it, but good golly miss Molly, were there some awful people on this game. Some people who perpetuate this kind of toxic hahaha doing it for the lol it’s all just my dark sense of humor took pride in this quality of League, I personally made a game out of antagonizing the enemy team with my words. I mean nothing visceral and no slurs but I teased people. I think because I come from such a privileged background I was able to ignore a lot of the red flags of League, I’m an able-bodied, white, straight, cisgendered man, and while I may have my own struggles I come from a significantly privileged place in my perspective. So it was easy to ignore the awful people and calling them out wasn’t all that hard, the game allowed for reporting of toxic behavior. Regardless, League of Legends was plagued by these troubles and then around my graduation Overwatch a now very popular game entered the scene and began cutting into League’s market. I was graduating and it just felt like it was time to slowly phase the game out. For reference back then the average league of legends game was like 45-50 minutes. Could be done as early as 20 minutes with a surrender, but on average were very long. This length made a lot of teenagers and college kids look like real millennial assholes who couldn’t be pulled away from their computer. Seriously when you’re 30 minutes into a game and your mom asks you to take out the trash and you respond “ok when this is done” you’re kidding yourself if you think that exchange doesn’t end with your sudden yet certain execution.
The games were too long, the community was too toxic and shitty, the game was too hard. Still to this day I don’t know how it did so well. Maybe because our current digital culture rewards angry hateful behavior, unhealthy amounts or time-sucking binge behavior, and the mastering of difficult frivolous tasks. But the game did thrive. So much so that even in the face of heavy competition from other multiplayer online games like fortnite, GTA online, Final Fantasy 14, any battle royale, and Overwatch, the game still has one of the largest communities. Recently they really geared up their marketing initiatives and that’s what brings us to our next phase. How those rat bastards keep pulling me back in.
I’m writing this on my phone on the elliptical and this sucks very much.
No Godzilla that is not very cash money of me. But let’s get back to my horrid return to League Of Legends.
It all started back this fall. I had seen a lot of advertisements for league of legends and I was like wow this has changed a bunch over the years. Each ad was so cute and animated and they made like music videos and they got you pumped up for the game and the pro scene I used to follow. So with social media, our smartphones, and the internet being one huge conspiracy of algorithmic marketing I saw more ads and promoted content. It really got into my head. Then my laptop died. It was like our Lord from heaven above sent me a huge glaring sign saying “ DON’T FUCKING DO IT” which worked, for a little bit. I didn’t have a laptop this past Fall and winter as you may know and so I couldn’t play league of lasagna, (sometimes I call league of legends league of lasagna). But then stupid me got a new laptop and you know what my dumb ass decided to go and do almost immediately. Download Spotify, I’m not a monster. But then I immediately downloaded League. I even sucked my friend Nick back in as well, and I got my buddy Ryan hooked. I’m a terrible person.
My hand is cramping up from writing on my phone on the elliptical, holy cow. I think I’m dying. Why is being and staying in shape so much work? Anyways league pulled me back in, but how’d it keep me for what is now over a month of playing. Because nostalgic BS should have clocked out 3 weeks ago, and I’m a super nostalgic person mind you.
The game fixed its problems! Big surprise there folks, a game that updates it’s game constantly and had a community problem did things to actively fix those problems!
First off the big problem of League, the toxic community, that was more of an accidental blessing than anything, and also not a complete accomplishment. Because one still a couple of real dickheads on League, but they are way less incendiary! I haven’t heard a slur since I came back, which is like the bare minimum, but if you’re used to online gaming you understand that that is actually a pretty big plus for an online community. Now the reason I believe there are less shitty people on league is that they are off playing other online games, from fortnite to Apex Legends, to Call Of Duty to any number of other large multiplayer games out there, the young impressionable PewDiePie fanboy types are just not on League, which is dope!
Nextly? Secondly! The game length, an average game for me now is about 33 minutes give or take 5 minutes, and I rarely have a game to over 40 minutes. Which is just nice because I work now and in college I could suck in 3 hours to play like 3-4 games but now I can’t and like I can play that many games in half the time, which is really appealing! No more huge time suck, and what’s better about this is, losing a game after playing for close to an hour of time invested sucks and just hurts more than like a 20 minute half hour commitment. This also accomplished by the game pace being faster, which for me makes the experience of playing a lot more fun.
All though, the game is still difficult. I’ve played it for long enough though that after a month I’ve picked up basically all I need to enjoy myself. I even help newcomers when I can by giving friendly advice. You know trying to keep making this community less toxic and more welcoming. Sometimes I get salty at a bad teammate and sometimes they get salty at me (I’m not very good) But at the end of the day, it’s not a bad time. It’s actually quite nice if you have some friends to play with, and I do, so it is!
That about wraps up this one folks, League is a very complicated game with a bit of a learning curve. If you are considering picking it up, I recommend you hit me up! My username on the game is ViperTheRapper, which is in reference to the video below, enjoy!
Oh and here is an ad for league explaining league with visuals one of the ads that got me rethinking the game!