Wired Wednesday: Why League Of Legends Inspires Legendary Passion In This Fan

 

Photo courtesy of Riot Games
Photo courtesy of Riot Games

You would think that for the same game to exist over four years, the hype will eventually start to die down. But nope, not for these guys at Riot Games. And their continuous growth, engagement, and strong placement in the gaming industry is what makes me admire them so much.

I remember “playing” League Of Legends when it first launched back in 2009. Note that I use the word “playing” loosely; it really means I created an account, played the tutorial, and played a normal game with some friends back in high school. And I’ll be honest, it was plain boring. I had never played a MOBA before, had no idea what was going on, plus my friends weren’t very helpful. After going 0-10 in lane, they told me, “don’t feed.” Yes, best tip NA.

I started playing LoL in early 2011 again, with some online friends, actively…which in a gamer’s dictionary means daily. It still took me a while to learn, but having friends to play with made things plentiful more fun. I remember playing Caitlyn mid all the time, and my friends would say, “That’s not the right way to play her.” Shortly on, I found out about ranked games, solo queue, duo queue, etc., and the wonderful toxic community.

Let’s take a deeper look into my “passion” for League of Legends.

Skins

And then came the new champions and skins. Seriously, props to the staff at Riot Games for making such intricately detailed characters, abilities, skins, and even stories. I, for one, barely ever spend money on in-game content, because the game will eventually die, and it’d just be a waste. But damn, some of the skins were crazy pretty. They’d even have limited edition in-game content that would invoke people to actually make purchases. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty captivated by them as well.

They weren’t cheap either. I’ve seen legacy skins throughout these years that cost between $20 to $30 each. Did that stop people from purchasing? Not even close; in fact, it probably encouraged more people to buy them.

New Champions and Free Champion Pools

Photo: Riot Games

The new champions are always OP…until they get nerfed of course. But regardless, taking the time to create new champions is…well, it requires a lot of time, effort, and creativity. LoL regularly comes out with new and interesting content. What I also love is the free champion pool that gets updated weekly, especially being someone who doesn’t own all the champions. You get a free trial of the champion, and if you can afford it with IP (in-game currency), then you can simply buy it afterwards.

Sales

Photo: Riot Games
Photo: Riot Games

If you’re an active LoL player, you’ll realize that the skin sales they have are actually worthy of buying. It’s not just the “old and ugly” skins that are up for sale, but even popular and new ones go on sale from time to time. I was pretty surprised seeing Winter Wonder Lulu on sale for 975 Riot Points upon release, although it did go back up to 1250 RP days later. But it’s this kind of stuff that makes me pretty happy as a LoL player. They don’t need to do sales, but they do so anyway. It’s not just skins either, but also in-game wards, icons, champions, and other content as well. Yes, you can argue it’s a marketing technique to push us to buy more, but it makes things more fair to players as well, doesn’t it?

User Engagement

Need I say more? So many employees at Riot Games have Twitter accounts, and it’s so easy to follow them, chat with them, and even play with them! They are all so friendly and such a pleasure to play with, seriously. Some of them even stream themselves playing with their followers. It’s just all so cute, and so fun to be a part of. The best part is all the professional League of Legends players have Twitters as well, and they’re pretty friendly with the Riot staff as well. It’s fun reading their tweets to eachother. If you like fan art, or like creating fan art, expect to see your artwork to be shared by LoL players and employees. It’s like the whole LoL community is connected, whether you’re a pro-gamer, casual gamer, fan, follower, whatever. Social media is such a joyous thing sometimes.

Major Tournaments and PAX

Photo: YourTube Theme

You know Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) right? One of the biggest events for gamers; a series of gaming festivals held in Boston (PAX East), Seattle (PAX Prime), and Melbourne (PAX Australia).  In 2012, League Of Legends held a major tournament at PAX – the Season Two North American Regionals, which was probably the year they blew up. They practically took over the entire 6th floor of the Washington State Convention Center. Riot Games gave out tons of SWAG; limited PAX skins at the tradeshow, Teemo hats, Tibbers pillow, and you also got to see plenty of LoL cosplayers. Like hello, you get to meet awesome professional players, teams, and staff, watch them play live, and see exclusive interviews. They even invite you up on to the stage to play. Even if you’re not a LoL fan, it’s worth attending. The excitement is overwhelming and the experience is exhilarating.

Events

Photo courtesy of Riot Games
Photo: Riot Games

A new event means new icons and skins. And everyone gets a chance to unlock the basic bundle by simply playing with friends. If you want to go the extra mile, buy or gift someone to unlock even more skins. I absolutely love how they change their website when a new event rolls around. It complements and emphasizes the excitement of an event so much more (more companies should be doing this). There’s no point holding a themed event if your website’s landing page doesn’t show it. League of Legend‘s most recent event celebrated the Lunar New Year, and the skins were wonderful (I even got gifted Lunar Goddess Diana, and some icons), but the danger here is that people eventually fall into the habit of needing to collect these icons and skins. Heck, if you can afford them, why not right?

Community

Photo: Riot Games

Earlier, I mentioned that LoL has a toxic community, and it really does. Of course, it’s not entirely bad. I’ve met some great people in game, and have had awesome teammates when playing ranked, but oh, it is total hell to climb. If you’re in Bronze, I feel bad for you, because Silver was hard enough. You’ll have to endure a lot of “You suck”‘s, but fortunately, Riot has a “fair” system in banning those who get reported enough. Does it stop the toxicity? Not necessarily, but they try. It’s pretty impossible to eliminate any sort of swearing or arguing on an online game. The mute and language filter options are there for you, though.

And hey, if you’re friendly, helpful, and try hard enough, you can get recognized for your awesomeness.
Not that I’ve seen too many of those recently.

My League Statistics
My League Statistics

All in all, I highly respect the game in many aspects, and not solely the game itself. Yes, it’s fun, and I really want to get to Diamond of course, but it’s much more than that. The amount of effort, time, and money invested into progressing the game and making it better than it was yesterday for players is visible and evident. I mean over 27 million people play LoL per day. Yes you read that correctly, per day.

Congratuations, Riot Games, for making it this far, for gaining so many major sponsors, for being featured in so many places, and for having the privilege of hosting major events worldwide. I’m so proud and happy to have been a part of LoL since 2009 and watching and being a part of the successful growth. The best (or worst) part is that I’m not even sick of this game yet. I’m going to be playing this for another couple years, I’m certain.

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