Review by VinnyDaButcher
LoL: The Fun Train Does Not Stop At This Station..
I've been playing League of Legends regularly since around the beginning of this year. The group I play with are leftovers from a World of Warcraft guild who were looking for something FREE to play, where we could all play together, and have fun with. At first, indeed, we all had big fun learning, experimenting, and recruiting friends to join us. Since the release of SEASON ONE, however, we've noticed that the ability of the CASUAL player to enjoy the game has disappeared. So bad in fact, that I joined GameFAQS to offer my first review in order to help others see things from a casual gamer's (and honestly not the best player) point of view. Keep in mind, the ONLY reason we have played this game since Season One is because it is FREE TO PLAY.
Of all the games I've ever played in my 30 years, the sound in this game is blatantly horrible. There are Intellivision games with more exciting and entertaining sounds. Galaga, Pac-Man, and at best Street Fighter, all have better sound than League of Legends. Boring and repetitive while sometimes being annoying to the point that you despise the character the sound is coming from.
Honestly, they might have been better off going with clay animation. The square, uneven, and uninteresting shaded pixilation of Warcraft III or WCW Revenge on the N64 is your prison. The maps are plain and ugly. A rock here, a mushroom there, the water doesn't splash, etc. The trees on Summoner's Rift are very similar to those in Warcraft III. Twisted Treeline is a bit more original with the dead Halloween style trees. There are more visually appealing games you can play on your web browser. Aside from the massive pixilated jugs on the female characters, there's nothing that catches your eye. The majority of characters are humanoid with two legs and two arms which adds to the lack of diversity in graphics.
This has got to be one of the most frustrating and rage inducing games in the history of mankind. Fox News this game is not. The balance is constantly flawed in favor of what players call the "Flavor of the Month Champion". If you are not skilled in (or have purchased in some way) the champs that are doing well during the current patch, then you will most likely be dominated. Some champions are not viable for public PvP games period as they are either situational, nerfed to unplayability, or are old and outdated to the point that they cannot be effective in the current game makeup. Most characters have Ultimate moves that are effective and devastating while some characters have Ultimate moves that you barely notice. This adds to the imbalance greatly.
At the low levels until 10, games are marred with people who leave the game and stick you with a shorthanded team which ultimately leads to a loss. You are stuck in these games for at least 25 minutes before you can surrender and increasingly becomes a waste of time. Towards the mid levels after 10, you get less leavers and more people who have no business being the level they are at. It is inevitable, even if you fail every game, to reach level 30 but that doesn't mean you've learned anything. At 30, you're maxed as a summoner and will be met with the "Ranked Game" system. You can chose to play in the ladder where it's imperative that you are a hardcore gamer and is not meant for the casual player. All in all, there are VERY FEW "Good Games" where it's balanced with honest back and forth. The majority of your gameplay will be either you rolling over the other team or them rolling over you.
Your rank is based on the ELO system. A system designed for chess players to determine their rank in the world. The higher your rank, the better the players you will met and team with and the lower is exactly the opposite. There are many flaws in this system as it can be abused. People intentionally lose (and therefore cause you to lose) in order to drop down to where games are less difficult. And by dropping in ELO, you will play against lower leveled players with less runes and mastery points. Also, many level 30 skilled players will create smurf accounts (Brand new or Lowbie accounts) to abuse unskilled players or for practice with a new character before they buy it. This makes it very difficult for new players to get a fair upbringing and as such keeps them from continuing to play.
I spent many years playing World of Warcraft and dealt with their community. NOTHING compares to this games hostile, hateful, angry, and completely unsportsmanlike following. The harassment starts at the low levels and doesn't stop. You are bashed by the opposing team for being good or lucky or horrible and you are bashed by your own team for being horrible, kill stealing, building your item sets poorly, etc etc. Don't bother engaging this community on the forums. Very, very, unhelpful. If the players don't give you a hard time, the high rolling members will. There have been recorded instances of trolling by RIOT staff as well. Needless to say, if you're having a bad game day: the other players will see to it that it only gets worse.
There are many many champions to chose from but only 2 maps to play with. Collecting the champions is part of the fun. Each week you get 10 free champions to try out and use in your games. If you have a job in today's society, then you can buy Riot Points to pay for champions, skins, or runes for your account. Alternatively, each game that you finish rewards you with Influence Points (IP) which you can trade for Champions or Runes but NOT skins. You can only play practice games against robot players six times a day for a small amount of IP and you are rewarded once a day with a bonus for your first win. IP is very hard to come by and you can purchase Riot Points to buy Boosts to double your IP per game.
Staff Interaction With Players 6/10
I didn't know which category to put this under so I made it all it's own. This is the first game I've ever seen were the people creating the game are in constant contact with the players. Sometimes, this interaction is negative. If enough players get behind an idea, the staff will honestly take a look at it. For the most part, the staff is very good about AT LEAST trying out the idea in the test realms if it has merit. Other times, the idea will get shot down quickly by the necessary staff member with or without an explanation. I would like to see more games do this with it's players.
Server Stability 1/10
This game has a history of being buggy and laggy for days before the servers finally shut down and the game is offline for random lengths. Generally, after a patch, things are bad. It has improved in the last few months but the sudden disconnects, random lag spikes, and other various bugs keep you guessing.
If I had a job, this would be the last game I would ever play. It's more frustrating and annoying to play than it is fun. It's not about losing every game for a week that is the most painful, it's the combination of that with the hateful players, the unbalanced gameplay, and questionable sever stability that dives you insane. We, as a group, have noticed our behavior toward each other get steadily worse since playing this game and we feel it's the hostility spilling over from what we experience in game. I did not write this review to turn you off from League of Legends. Rather, I hoped to inform you of the ugly truth before being exposed to the hostile environment. Thanks for your time and best of luck!
Rating: 1.5 - Bad
Product Release: League of Legends (US, 10/27/09)
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