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October 14, 2010 5:12 PM   Subscribe

League of Legends is an indie game inspired by the Defense of the Ancients map for Warcraft III.

Two teams of five champions fight towards the enemy Nexus in three lanes of spawning minion waves. LoL has received awards from GDC, Gamespy, and IGN, and they recently launched their First Season of ranked play. Thought it's been criticized for being intensely competitive and unauthentic compared to Heroes of Newerth, the community has guides for builds, items, runes, and the growing number of champions, like recently announced Swain, the Master Tactician.

Oh and did I mention it's free to play?
posted by Soup (36 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, you're going to do a post on this and not mention that Valve just announced DOTA 2?
posted by empath at 5:16 PM on October 14, 2010


I made a poster for above my computer that says "You have thirty seconds until minions spawn" on it. Keeps me on my toes.
posted by iconomy at 5:18 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thought it's been criticized for being intensely competitive and unauthentic compared to Heroes of Newerth,

Uh. All DoTA games are rip-offs of one another. Some even have the EXACT same heroes from DoTA. Also, HoN is widely known to be the more "Hardcore" of the two (LoL and HoN) and far, far more hostile to newbies.

That said, that's why I prefer LoL. Playing HoN is like watching a football game with those dudes who SCREAM AT THE SCREEN FOR HOURS. LoL is more like playing pick up in the park.

Still, Valve just announced DotA 2 for release next year which will probably render this whole debate moot.

And I'm not one to criticize other people's FPP, but making a DotA post without mentioning IceFrog and the recent controversy surrounding him is a little narrow.
posted by GilloD at 5:19 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, I'm having a little difficulty untangling this - what's the tl;dr on ice frog an DotA 2?
posted by Artw at 5:23 PM on October 14, 2010


what's the tl;dr on ice frog an DotA 2?

The Truth About Ice Frog.

It sounds like sour grapes bullshit to me. Everything I read about the DotA scene makes me want to avoid it like the plague.
posted by empath at 5:28 PM on October 14, 2010


I can only hope these games drain all the DOTA players off of battle.net forever. DOTA is like an angry elitist grey goo that spread through a once-thriving casual games scene.
posted by Spacelegoman at 5:28 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


i hit the /doto_and_lol link and no dont want download, have to redirect and im here
why is that thank goodbye
posted by clavdivs at 5:30 PM on October 14, 2010


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dude can i be ur bud in ff? U seen me right captain brutewarrior. I was in forsaken valley and I said did U get a nano mission. and U said no I completed all the missions. SO I might know U

also if u wanna friend Captain Zerocrazy, Sir Sugarbot, and Nina Argostabyss u can go on my Comments and go thru some of the pages of Comments i have and Ninas Youtube name is Marvin569 and Zerocrazys is Shadowmario168, and Sir Sugarbots one is Fusionfallfan

ROFL AT PETER CLIMBING IN CHRIS BED XD
posted by Brocktoon at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


League of Legends is a very solid game. I've spent money on it - something I've done with almost no other "free-to-play" game.

When they release a new hero, it is basically always overpowered. Their ranked game system fixes this, as if it is too good people will ban it from play. (When the game starts, the captains of each team ban two heroes each out of the possible list of 60ish.)

When I was working at Wizards of the Coast, there was a huge, huge group of DOTA players. I wanted to join in, and they were welcoming. I got crushed -- not just by them, but by others. DOTA is like Starcraft/Warcraft at this point -- if you didn't start playing a long time ago, you are very, very unlikely to build up the skills to be able to compete. LOL gave me that chance, I guess, since I started at roughly the same time as everyone else.

And, by the way: are those two posts above me irony, sarcasm, or irony-sarcasm? ("You have been slain.")
posted by andreaazure at 6:00 PM on October 14, 2010


Umm, Dota?
posted by ryoshu at 6:08 PM on October 14, 2010


In all honesty, as much as I love playing LoL / Dota / Heroes of Newerth, I have never recommended it to anyone. The skill curve is just way too brutal, they'll get beaten up and their face punched in repeatedly online, and yelled at and abused for being bad and for making their team lose. It takes about 200 hours of gameplay for a new player to get a feel for the game. Why would I ask anyone to go through that just to start having fun?

And in case anyone thinks HoN is exactly the same game as Dota - it's not. Cosmetically it looks identical (even down to the exact damage values of towers, the exact placement of trees - tree for tree in some cases! - to replicate the juke spots) but the game has been (deliberately) changed to favour a ganking style metagame. DOTA is more about farming your lanes well and growing strong and building powerful items and beating the opponent is a straight fight. HON is faster paced - it's more about leaving your lane and ambushing other lanes or assisting in ambushes against your own lanes, swapping lanes and pushing towers early while opponents are tied up elsewhere. Games end quicker, they're more exciting to play and watch, it's overall a far superior experience to DOTA imo.

Watching the ELO style matchmaking raises an interesting question, wonder if anyone here has thoughts on this). All players start at an arbitrary rating (in this case 1500) and gain / lose rating after each match depending on the outcome and what other players ratings were - it's a zero sum game, so the sum of all ELO ratings in the end have a mean of 1500. (say two 1500 players play, the loser ends up with 1485 and winner with 1515).

The funny thing about this is that the arbitrary starting rating is not only the "average" rating (say 50th percentile of skill - not strictly correct statistically but it will do) but is also the "total newbie rating" of someone who has no idea how to play (and should be 0th percentile of skill). Then this newbie gets absolutely destroyed over and over, resulting in so much rage from teammates, until they lose enough matches that their rating drops to their "true" position - maybe 10th percentile in the population. But I know many newbies give up before they get that far and start winning again.
posted by xdvesper at 6:43 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I kind of want to try out League of Legends once the Mac version is released, but the stories about the caustic community and its newbie-hostility always bump me back into "Meh, don't care" territory.

It would be nice if DotA2 smoothed out the learning curve (if anyone can pull this off, it'll be Valve) but I'm sure the existing community will scream about the game being "dumbed down".

And man, doing matchmaking properly is hard. Microsoft put a massive amount of research into designing TrueSkill. StarCraft II's ranking system is also fiendishly complicated. Just throwing Elo ratings at something at calling it a day is almost as bad as purely random matchups, IMO.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 7:08 PM on October 14, 2010


And even for all that effort the Microsoft "Trueskill" calculation still sucks.

I am by no means a slouch at computer games: throw me into any game and I'll rank in the top 10% at least playing casually, and if I take it seriously top 2% isn't hard.

But I once played DOW2 (using Games For Windows Live) which had a Trueskill based matchmaking, and I lost my first 12 games straight before I either got good enough to beat someone, or got matched against someone bad enough that I could beat them.

I ended up with a very decent Trueskill rating once I learned the game, but man, those first 12 losses in a row were discouraging. Most people would have quit by the 8th straight loss or so.
posted by xdvesper at 7:18 PM on October 14, 2010


Valve's DotA2 plan sounds disastrous enough for the IceFrog drama to be accurate. The last thing this genre needs is another clone: but Valve is in a unique position to build a new game from scratch which builds on the good aspects of DotA while mainstreaming it sufficiently to reach new markets.

Instead, their plan is to xerox the game and add guides to the UI and a "mentor" system. Sounds like crap to me.

For the record I think LoL is the best game in the series so far. HoN has an atrocious community of oldschool DotAers which makes for a generally miserable play experience. LoL's levelling system provides a learning curve the other games sorely lack. And then you can play LoL for free and spend as you please, which an awesome business model more games should copy. I bought my Uncle Sam Ryze skin just so I could go around electrocuting people for my country.
posted by mek at 7:19 PM on October 14, 2010


As for those you attempting parody, Valve has beaten you to it.
posted by GilloD at 7:26 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Too bad they didn't make any more Whores of Warcraft (oblig 'wouldn't "World of Whorecraft" be a better name?') episodes.

It seems a *lot* of people confused that production with the more common sense name based on old p2p, torrent, and usenet searches
posted by porpoise at 7:50 PM on October 14, 2010


In Go, the saying is that you should lose your first fifty games quickly.

People who quit after eight games just don't have the proper spirit of determination.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:57 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a question. I guess I can make an AskMe thread, but I think it's specifically relevant here.

How do you moderate the chat in Dota-like games? Dickish behavior has always existed in online pickup matches, but there is a particular brand of shit talking in Dota and its clones that is insufferable. For example, there's hardly a game that goes by without someone calling another player "jew" or "nigger" or "fag".

It's a culture that's habitually reinforced by adolescent "leet" players, training the younger, newer ones to think that berating someone for dropping the ball with some obscure aspect of the game is the proper way to act. Meaning that being an asshole is encouraged, as a means to an end, to force new people to step-to. But it is pointless, most of the haranguing is over the most trivial things. A lot of them see it as being somehow enhancing their persona, that being a dick is "edgy" somehow.

One possible solution I see is making the mute for a player a lot easier. The mute on chat in Dota is tricky because you have to write out a command and spell the offending player's name exactly, and sometimes they're stupidly long, in the middle of a usually heated match. Or perhaps instituting moderators would be another solution, or maybe a script banning idiotic slurs. Just something to help steer the culture in a better direction, to stem the tide of douchebags.
posted by ishmael at 8:22 PM on October 14, 2010


Ishmael you can easily ignore players with /ignore etc ingame.

I like LoL since it has tried to do something new with dota. Mages scale much better late game and it's done away with last hitting which was just a by product of how the wc3 system worked.

Also http://leaguecraft.com/ is a great site to look up builds and other players which I really can't recommend enough.

AllanGordon is my ign and would be happy to help out if anyone is interested.
posted by Allan Gordon at 8:54 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome - something to help soothe/amplify/reward my insomnia!
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:01 PM on October 14, 2010


ishmael: HoN deals with it pretty well in a police state sort of way. You pay $40 and you get one account with exactly one identity. Every game you ever play is recorded in its entirety online for anyone to view. You can be "reported" for abusive behaviour - a mod will view the game, and hand out anything from a warning to a suspension to an outright ban.

It will cost you $40 to get another account.

This is a point of contention in the real world (police state surveillance omg) but people really do behave better when they know every single word they type and action they take is recorded online for anyone to see. You can pull up every single game I've played since release and fast forward / rewind to any point to view the chat.

I can't recall the last time anyone used offensive words like nigger or fag in my games of HoN... then again I do tend to play in the higher brackets where "leet" players are a bit more respectful. I found an interesting trend where the abusive players and shit-talkers are mostly found in the 0-60th percentile. The "best" players in the game usually don't say a word even when provoked... it would be rare to see a 1700+ rated player using abusive language for example. My friends and I have a laugh about it because my friend is sometimes quite bad at the game and he always finds its the players who are low rated (in fact even lower rated than him) who will abuse him and call him named while the truly good players never criticize his play.
posted by xdvesper at 9:05 PM on October 14, 2010


What the hell is dota? I clicked on the LOL link and it just made me more confused. This post is way too inside baseball for a general audience.
posted by smoke at 10:08 PM on October 14, 2010


Here, watch HD Starcraft commentate a game of HoN, that should give you an idea.
posted by empath at 10:22 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you empath, I would watch HD commentate a game of Connect 4. Love that dude.
posted by smoke at 10:26 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


DotA (Defense of the Ancients) is a highly popular modification of Warcraft 3. It's been one of the main drivers in the continuing play of that game to the present day, and is radically different from the basic game. It focuses on two teams of heroes trying to destroy one another another's bases with each player controlling one hero. There's an item and power system that gives it very crude RPG elements. The computer aids each team by spawning "creeps", computer controlled soldiers who constantly stream towards the enemy base.

DotA is a fan-modification that is free so long as one owns a copy of Warcraft 3. It's probably one of the most popular fanmods of a game of all time (along with Counterstrike, a Half-Life fanmod). As a fanmod, it's shifted hands several times. It also has several copies / clones that vary slightly from the basic DotA - Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends are two of the bigger ones.

A guy calling himself "Guinsoo" built the original IIRC, while "IceFrog" is the current developer. The controversy appears to be that "IceFrog" has worked at several game companies prior to being hired by Valve to work on DotA 2.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:39 PM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like these games, and probably play LoL five hours a week or so. I don't mind trashtalk. Upsetting the enemy psychologically (and avoiding being upset yourself) is an expected, if not nice, part of the game. What really irritates me though, and I've seen it dozens of times, is in-team trashtalk. With the exception of active griefing, there is nothing that Player A could possibly be doing that is worse than the team in-fight that Player B starts by criticizing Player A. Nothing. Player A almost always retaliates, Player B escalates, and both of them are distracted and basically half-lost to the team for the rest of the game, probably causing us to lose when a simple kind word of support or "don't worry about it, you'll be OK" or "need backup?" could save us. This particular behavior pattern, more than any other, makes me want to give the game up.

I don't care about the feelings of the enemy. If you can taunt the enemy into fits of screaming rage, I will applaud you. He is distracted, he may quit, he may start his own blame-storming infight in his team (which is noted above is almost as beneficial as him and one other guy quitting) and accordingly, they will probably lose. But doing that sort of thing in team, in my view, ought to be grounds for banning. I do not want to play with infighters, backbiters, whatever their label ought to be. I'd rather play with people who choose weird item builds or summoner runes, wander over the map, take silly risks, never call out missing enemy, consider ranked games an appropriate forum to try out new heroes, Rambo-charge towers ... anyone except infighters. Not only do they reduce the chances of winning, they directly attack the fun of the game.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:04 AM on October 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've played LoL since early Beta - it was a good game. It's now getting very hostile same as CS once did.

But remember, it's easy to put a "OMGWTF YOUR SHIT!" kind of guy at ease. Simply take 20 seconds out of the game and explain to him that it's a fun game and people are starting to ruin it with childish things. As long as you put it to them in a certain way (dont swear, no "n00b"s, no insults) then they understand, we are all humans and we all just want to get along.
posted by Cogentesque at 4:32 AM on October 15, 2010


Simply take 20 seconds out of the game and explain to him that it's a fun game and people are starting to ruin it with childish things. As long as you put it to them in a certain way (dont swear, no "n00b"s, no insults) then they understand, we are all humans and we all just want to get along.

That's hilariously naive.
posted by empath at 5:27 AM on October 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


After some amazingly abusive ingame chat, I started taking screenshots.

I posted one to the official LOL forum... and got a 24-hour forum ban. "Making someone look bad" is against the rules, even with their own chat.

Now, the best I can do is say "Good luck, have fun, play with respect, and mind the gap." at the start of a match.
posted by andreaazure at 6:33 AM on October 15, 2010


For anyone that is thinking about starting to play LoL (maybe to train for Valve's DOTA, maybe not): some Mefighters are playing it and helping the noobs get used to the obscure mechanics. If you are just starting out, why don't you join the club?
I just started too, after an awful experience with Demigod. This one might work for me: but I'm hoping Valve learns from it instead of just pushing Icefrog's vision.

Protip: before playing online, play some matches against the bots. That also gives you points you can spend on new heroes.
Remember also that in DOTA style games when you die you're actually helping the other team by giving them free money and experience. Try to play on the safe side of things when starting out, and go for ranged heroes.
posted by darkripper at 9:17 AM on October 15, 2010


I'm watching empath's link. Six minutes in, and they haven't even finished choosing their characters? That doesn't look like a very fun game.
posted by fnerg at 7:25 PM on October 15, 2010




The last person who would own the DotA trademark is Blizzard; they made the engine, not the game. Unfortunately they didn't slip enough "we own your ass" legal mumbo jumbo into the WC3 EULA, but they won't make that mistake again: every single SC2 custom map is explicitly their intellectual property. They won't make that mistake again (which is exactly why the SC2 mapmaking community sucks).
posted by mek at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2010


I wouldn't go so far with that mek, there's an excellent mod out called Zerg Hunter which is a very very impressive piece of work for what seems to be the work of one man.
I wouldn't be too upset, the game's only been out for a few months now.

Also FunCom seems to be working on their own version of this. I just got a beta invite for Bloodline Champions that seems very DotA like.
posted by daHIFI at 9:27 PM on October 25, 2010


The last person who would own the DotA trademark is Blizzard;

I don't see them claiming any ownership, just pointing out Valve doesn't really have a claim to the trademark.
"... It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and try to exclusively trademark the term considering it's something that's been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III community up to this point,"
posted by Tenuki at 3:20 AM on October 26, 2010


I love Valve like they're my family. But trademarking DotA is a dumb idea, and seems sleazy. They should change the name.
posted by empath at 5:24 AM on October 26, 2010


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