A little introduction to League of Legends(LOL) must begin with my early middle school years. At that time like any other twitch style FPS player, I was into counter strike, COD 4: MW and scoffed at the games that others played. I instinctively remember one such friend, who I shall keep unnamed, engrossed in front of his heavy CRT style monitor for hours on end. What confused me the most however was that most of the time he wasn’t even playing, but rather sitting patiently like a Pavlovian dog conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell. At that time DoTa, or Defense of the Ancients, was just early in its infancy and lacked proper match making, meaning individuals had to find and join their own lobby matches. Little did I, or most others know that this originally player made mod would become and spawn the crux of what some would say is a billion dollar esports industry.
League of Legends (LOL) along with DoTa, and its successor DoTa 2, have enjoyed most of the success in the multi-player online battle arena formula. LOL is a popular free to play combat game that was originally released in 2009 by Riot Games and is the game that has captured the hearts and minds of many of my peers. In fact in 2014, there were over 27 million players that logged on to play each and every day(Sheer, 2014). So what exactly are these individuals just so excited about?
While there are many theories that I will talk about in future posts in this series, it is undeniable that sometimes games are played purely for excitement and entertainment. Check out this montage of highlights from popular Korean team, Samsung White.
GANK! Carry! FEEDER! These are the words that I hear every night from my screaming roommate and while to me they don’t carry any significant meaning, they are the battle cries of the leaguing elite. In these cooperative style team based matches, players choose from a multitude of champions to control and fight one another on a set arena map. The objective of the game itself is to destroy the base of the other team. Guarding the base exists not only the champions of the opposing team, but defense towers, and minion creatures. During a single match, champions can get money and experience from killing minions, towers and other champions to buy equipment to improve their skills and level up to gain new abilities. You can see how the added complexity of multiple champions, different champion types, skills, abilities and equipment can quick escalate into a strategic nightmare. To some this is a beautiful nightmare and to these individuals LOL is more than a game, its a lifestyle.
Sheer, Ian (January 27, 2014). “Player Tally for ‘League of Legends’ Surges”. Wsj.com. Retrieved January 31, 2014.