A Noob’s Review of League of Legends

To say League of Legends is complicated would be a drastic understatement. To put things into perspective, there are almost twice as many heroes in LoL as there are in Super Smash Ultimate!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the basic premise of a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, for all the people who are more nooby than I am). I had a short sting with Paragon back in the day and can fully grasp the concept of fighting in lanes, farming minions, taking down towers, etc.

Since LoL has such a cult following, I was eager to play with one of my friends who had previously been hardcore into this game. Here’s what I’ve learned in the first few hours of gameplay.

There’s a hero for everyone

With 143 playable characters at the time of this writing, you’re bound to find someone who fits your play style. Each hero has unique skills and abilities to help you crush your opponents.

From the few YouTube videos that I watched, you’ll want to pick a specific type of hero depending on what area of the map you like to play:

  • Top: Usually you’ll see one tank from each team duking it out in the top lane. Due to their slow nature, the battles are often a little longer when compared to other lanes.
  • Mid: The middle lane is where mages and assassins will be doing a bunch of chip damage on each other from range in addition to stealthy, close-quarters combat. Again, typically one hero from each team.
  • Bot: Considered a “duo lane”, the bottom has two players from either side. Alongside a support, you’ll find an ADC (attack damage carry) or an APC (ability power carry) champion. The latter heroes do lots of damage against opponents and turrets. They also have higher sustain thanks to the buffs from their support.
  • Jungle: The life of a ‘jungler’ involves fighting monsters in the jungle while ambushing enemy players (AKA “ganking”). These heroes will cover the most ground on the map and switch between many lanes, depending on where their support is needed.

Quick disclaimer, certain characters will be considered “in the meta” depending on what recent nerfs and buffs have been introduced leading up to that season. To the Overwatch fans out there, think GOATs comp.

Season 2019 of League of Legends
It takes a while to learn a hero

I started out with Garen and have used him exclusively through my first several games. 

He’s a very noob-friendly character, with a large health pool and a relatively easy kill combo. Add to the fact that he can heal himself after avoiding damage for a short while and you’ve got a very tanky tank.

Perserverance
Perserverance
Decisive Strike
Decisive Strike
Courage
Courage
Judgement
Judgement
Demacian Justice
Demacian Justice

My first couple of games were a bloodbath, dying many times at the hands of the enemy. After about a dozen deaths, I began to get a feel for how much damage I could output and when I should be running away.

Speaking of which, there’s no shame in running away. I ran away from so many fights because I knew that was the only option for staying alive. Dying at the hands of an opposing hero grants a huge XP boost to the killer, effectively making the enemy that much more powerful.

I’ve played 7 games so far for a total of about two hours. I’ve barely scratched the surface of understanding Garen’s kit. 

On one hand, it’s exciting that I have so much more to learn in my LoL journey. On the other hand, there’s something intimidating about knowing how much more I need to practice to become a competent Garen player. Though, this is not entirely surprisingly seeing as how this game is nearly a decade old!

Last hitting is everything!

Well, not everything…but probably 90% of it.

You know how in most competitive battle games, you want to output as much damage as possible? Well, this can actually work against you in LoL.

Landing the killing blow on minions is the only way to gain experience and gold. Without last hit, you can’t level up or buy items. In this case, you’ll find it extremely hard to kill an opposing hero.

Kinda like being Sniffles, the mouse facing the Monstars

The League of Legends Boards Home has great tips to improve your last hitting if you’re having trouble.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

I’m not sure exactly how many items are in this game, but it seems like there are more items than champions. As crazy as this sounds, there are many guides out there which tell you the top 4-5 items that you should include in the build of your character.

I use an app called LoL Catalyst; it tells you common builds for each hero. Without resources like this one, I’d probably have just given up on this game after a couple rounds. 

Use these cheat sheets to figure out the ideal skill sequence, summoner spells and items to get you out of noob hell.

Try many champions!

This is one case where I haven’t followed my own advice, but this is critical if you plan on having League of Legends in your gaming library. Sure, it’ll be scary…and you will more than likely fail many times as you rotate through characters, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons. 

At a high level, you’ll be able to fill in a hero gap on your team when you see everyone else has selected an ADC. Secondarily, you will understand how to counter certain characters when you have a variety of champion experiences.

PCGamesN has a great list of beginner champions to experiment with in the early days. After getting a feel for the game and earning enough RP or BE – in-game currency, Riot Points and Blue Essence, respectively – unlock new characters to try a different play style.

The final verdict

League of Legends is a masterpiece of game mechanics and resource allocation. Once you get past the shock factor of how big the game really is, you can start to appreciate the thoughtfulness behind each champion’s uniqueness.

By no means is this an exhaustive review of the game. Rather, I focused on the initial things that jumped out to me given my limited experience.

The barrier to entry is fairly high in this game. It must have been almost a decade since the first time I heard about this game, yet, I only just gave it a try after being swayed by a friend.

A ‘quick start’ video of the game will run at least half an hour in length, and this still won’t cover everything you need to know. The breadth of things in the game yields high replayability but will likely scare off casual gamers.

I hope to play more LoL in 2019 and may even find myself queuing in a ranked game one of these days. For me, I’m drawn to the challenge of learning and executing the higher-level strats of the game. 

To conclude, I leave you with my overall rating and some of my recent gameplay!

OVERALL: 9.0 / 10

Are you also a LoL noob? Do you have hundreds of hours of gameplay under your belt with lots of knowledge to share? Leave a message below with your thoughts/tips/tricks!

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