Imagine what it feels like to fall into a pit. Like one of those poorly hidden ones you see in movies, where a blanket of leaves and twigs covers the entrance and you are too stupid to see the difference in foliage. You fall down maybe twenty feet, and red clay surrounds you. There is nothing to hold on to, nothing to boost you up. You scratch helplessly at the walls and get dirt in your eyes. This is what it feels like to be a new player in League of Legends.
I started playing this wretched game about two and half months ago. But I was really confident that I knew what was going on because I have watched my SO play for far longer. So the knowledge I started with was this:
- There are lanes (top, mid, bot)
- There are turrets that don’t like you
- There are minions that don’t like you
- People are very sensitive about their ability to play
- There are champions, and each has some unique abilities
- When you die you go to your base and buy stuff
- The first team to destroy the giant crystal thingy wins
So I started out by playing against the computer, or bots, as the champion Ashe. She was on free rotation and I liked the bow and arrow. My SO always played with me and insured that I got a chance to try to succeed before I was brutally murdered.
Here are the ways I learned you can die:
- Minions- Stupid tiny monster things that shoot at you, and can gang up on you if you aren’t paying attention
- Turrets- There is a circle that you aren’t supposed to go under alone. If you attack an enemy under it, it will shoot a beam at you that doesn’t stop immediately after you leave the circle. I have died many times right outside this circle.
- Champions- They can use whatever abilities they have to ruthlessly murder you. But the bots tend to me generous in letting you get close without necessarily engaging you.
My experience playing bots would be that I would die, a lot (and you stay dead longer every time you do), but the rest of the team would join together for a win. I found though, that when changing levels of bots (there is intro, beginner and intermediate) I would get worse. The game gives you less hints and the enemies get engage you in fights more. I found myself in a pattern of trying a new champion in intro bots, then moving up and getting better after several attempts and lots of help.
But one day, my SO didn’t want to play against bots. So I took a chance and played ARAM (all random all middle) where all the players are real people, the computer chooses what champion you play, and everyone is in one lane. I still died a lot. But I managed to stay behind everyone and avoid a lot of the fights. We won my first game against people.
I was feeling pretty confident too. I was doing pretty well with the champion Sona, and in the random selection of ARAM I got a champion called Leona who I ended up being pretty good with. So why not try a normal people against people, three lane game?
I was playing Sona again. And I thought that she was a very good character for me because I died a lot and she had a healing ability, and a speed ability that could help me run away from danger. She really counterbalanced my game personality, which included me getting really close to the enemy, expending all of my abilities, and dying because I couldn’t run fast enough. We won my first normal game against humans!
However, my second normal game against humans was not as successful. My SO wasn’t in the same lane as me, so I was working with a stranger who got annoyed at me for not playing as well as he thought I should play. I died a lot more than usual, and we lost. At the end of every game, it gives you various statistics to see how you measured against your teammates and the other team, and mine clearly showed that I was the worst…the most deaths, the least kills.
Since that game, I have no been able to win again. The strangers that play on my team always get mad at me for sucking. It is really a horrible feeling. So I had to figure out why I sucked, and these are the things I concluded:
- I do not fully understand the differences between the champions. I know some are melee fighters, and others long range. I know some are fast and some slow. But I do not know how to look at the enemy, and buy items to enhance my abilities against them.
- I do not fully understand the different items that you can buy, and how to figure out what item is best.
- I haven’t grasped the concept of creating combos with the abilities my champion has.
- I need to play on a bigger screen so I can distinguish between myself and other players while everyone is in the same place fighting each other.
But I have learned that this phenomenon of choosing a champion, getting really good with them and winning a lot, leveling up, then being disastrous with the same champion is a normal occurrence among the League community. And I haven’t quite figured out a way around it other than to switch to a new champion every time you start leveling up. There is really only so much you can do as a new player. You can read the New Player Guide on the official League website and play some tutorials, but that experience is far different from playing against other people. You can watch YouTube videos of other people playing, but it is kind of hard to tell what is going on at any one point in time. There is the more intensive studying regime where you learn every single detail about the game, but that can be a complete overload or just boring.
In the end, you can easily spend your time playing against robots and winning everything. But you will have to stick with robots, because the real world levels will beat you incessantly. OR you can take the time to figure out how you learn best and try to absorb everything about League that you can. I have chosen the more torturous route of reading a little then playing a little. But no matter what I do, it still seems like I do not know enough and I will always be at the bottom of the pit getting rained on.