Gaming My Way

11 May

League of Legends – Don’t Let Losing Get You Down

Note: Much of this piece is just me writing stream of consciousness about some frustrating experiences playing League of Legends. If you’re looking for the advice, it’s at the very end. But be warned, it’s short, and very much untested right now. If it works well for me, I’ll likely write another piece about how it went. Otherwise, I may or may not, depending on if there’s anything else to say at that time.

I started playing League of Legends recently. It’s the first moba style game I’ve ever played. It’s been a very humbling experience. I’m used to fighting games, where I typically clean up amongst my friends. Never had the chance to play online, as the only online fighting game I have is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the matchmaking system has never had anyone on it waiting to play since I’ve had the game.

So, I fired up LoL, and jumped into the tutorial. Went through it quickly, everything was nice and easy, and I thought this game was going to be a piece of cake. Then I tried the beginner bots, and got creamed. That was demoralizing. I realized I was out of my league, and started reading about some strategy. This carried me through to the point where I could win the bot games, and moved onto some team games, knowing I wouldn’t drag my team down too much. I still die way too often, which gives the other team money, but even knowing what I’m supposed to be doing to not die, I can’t seem to execute it. Last hitting being the primary source of income is probably the most annoying mechanic I’ve ever come across. Makes it a lot harder to do other useful things, like zoning out opponents, when you also have to be eying the health of every stupid little minion. Still, I know it’s part of the game, and therefore something I will need to get better at.

Of course, I see people writing on the forums about the stats to strive for, and they’re so far out of my reach currently that I wonder how I’m supposed to actually get to that point. 100 last hits by 15 minutes seems like I’d have to be last hitting a minion with nearly every attack I make. Yet I’ve seen skilled players do it, so I know it’s possible. Just don’t have the timing for it. I’ve never been good at exact timing, it’s all about the strategy to me. In fighting games, I just compensate for a lack of timing with mind games, but there doesn’t seem to be an effective way to engage those in a game such as this, at least none that I’ve found yet.

Still, against beginner bots, none of this hurts too much. Play the game, win the game, collect xp and ip, play again, and have fun.

Then, I hit level 10, and tried the intermediate bots. Whole new story. Apparently, those deficiencies that are no big deal in easy mode basically make it impossible to win against the intermediates. The only wins I have in this mode are ones where my team has carried me to victory. In which case, they may have had better luck if I just sat and did nothing, since then I wouldn’t be giving the other team extra gold. But hey, you only learn by playing, so that’s what I have to do.

I think the hardest thing about the intermediate bots is that you never really recover from an early death (say, before 6th level). Which means once I blow it the first time, I don’t get to try new things and see if they work for another 30-60 minutes, because I’m still committed to the game, but I’ve already made a fatal mistake. So instead, I spend the rest of the game trying to play catchup and getting killed every time an enemy sees me. I’m sure there is a way to recover, but I haven’t found it yet, and everything I’ve come across essentially boils down to “stop dying noob.” Which isn’t helpful, because it’s not like I would be if I knew how to avoid it in the first place. Again, I’ve read some tips on how to avoid dying (don’t overextend, let tanks initiate, etc.), but I’ve been unsuccessful putting them into practice. Usually because I’m trying to juggle farming gold via last hits with not overextending and not getting nailed hard by my opponents (who seem to always hit me harder than I can hit them, something else I need to figure out). Combine that with trying not to get zoned out of farming, and it seems like it’s all mutually exclusive.

I still haven’t gone into a full PvP game, as every time I’ve attempted it, I’ve sat around waiting to be matched with a team for over 3 minutes with nothing, so I just head back to the player vs. AI in order to get back to playing almost instantly. I assume matched games are easier to get into above level 20 or at 30, but for now, I can still use all the help I can get against bots anyway.

So far, it sounds like I’ve done a lot of complaining about the difficulty of the game. And it’s true, I find the difficulty frustrating right now. Then again, the same was true when I first played Monster Hunter Tri, but that also turned out to be an excellent game. Mostly, I’ve written all of this out to clear my head, calm myself, and work out what I need to do to get better. Now, I have a list, set by basic priorities.

1) Learn to not die.
2) Learn to farm gold via last hitting.
3) Learn to zone/harass.
4) Everything else, because I’m not sure where to put priority after this.

I think, now that I have some experience playing the basic game, that I’m going to try some 1v1 custom games to practice the not dying part, then move on to more players until I can do it in 5v5. Then I’ll go back to the beginner player vs. AI until I’m consistent there as well, then move on from there.

By all means though, if anyone has better ideas, let me know in the comments. I’m certainly not the expert here. And for those in my boat, don’t let losing get you down. Pick yourself up, and keep practicing to get better. After all, it looks like there’s a great game here, and it would be a shame to miss out on it due to some early game frustration.


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