“DO YOU play League of Legends (LOL)?” This is perhaps the most commonly asked question among male university students. Over the years, LOL, the most played PC game in Korea has become an essential part of their lives. Some even claim that LOL is a prerequisite for having a sound social life and that those who do not play the game are likely to become outcasts. Likewise, people nowadays often form social connections through LOL, and thus non-gamers are compelled to learn how to take part. What exactly is LOL? How does it work? What makes it so special? Stay tuned to find out the answers!
How LOL works
Simply put, LOL is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) in which each player takes control of a character called “champion”, and is matched with and against other players in teams. Before the game starts, users are randomly grouped into two different teams according to their rankings. Then, the players can choose one champion from 117 available options, each of them suitable for different roles and strategies. Once the game starts, the champions are first placed at “bases”, where they resurrect and can purchase items with their gold. Depending on the individual characters they chose, players have to take different paths that connect one’s base to the enemy’s bases, and these paths are also known as “lanes”. In the case of the primary and most popular map, Summoner’s Rift, three lanes are featured: top lane, middle lane, and bottom lane. Usually, tankers (champions that specialize in defense) go for the top lane, AD carriers (champions that specialize in offense) and their supporters (champions that heal or look out for other champions) roam in the bottom lane, and nukers (champions with an above average burst damage) are positioned in the middle lane. The rest of the champions wander around the “jungle”, an area between lanes where neutral monsters reside.
During the game, players can increase their characters’ level and earn gold in several ways. First, they can kill enemy champions or minions. Minions are computer-controlled soldiers that march down each lane toward the enemy base, attacking enemies they encounter along the way. Moreover, players can choose to destroy turrets, which are defensive structures that automatically attack whenever opposing forces are within attacking range. These powerful structures guard each lane at even intervals, so players can destroy them on their way to the enemy base. Lastly, they can hunt neutral monsters for additional gold and special “buffs.” As their name suggests, neutral monsters do not attack before they are provoked, and players hunt them to gain “buffs,” or special status effects that temporarily boost champions’ performance. Then, what should a player do to win the game? At the heart of each base lies the nexus, the structure that periodically generates minion waves in each lane. Once a team has destroyed the nexus of the enemy, the game is over, and that team is declared victorious.
The reasons for LOL’s popularity
Anyone with no interest in this game might wonder, “Why is it so popular?” There are several reasons for its never-ending popularity. To begin with, players are not disadvantaged even if they do not spend any real money on their characters. Most online games in Korea compel gamers to spend a considerable sum of money, since it is extremely difficult for players to further their characters’ growth without cash items. Hence, people are constantly urged to purchase additional items while playing those games. On the contrary, LOL users do not have to spend money to secure the fun. There are some items that can only be bought with cash, but they are not crucial for victory, freeing gamers from the pressure.
Furthermore, the diversity of LOL provides many variables, rendering it all the more entertaining. There are more than 100 “champions” whose roles users can play for each game, and they are equipped with unique sets of skills. In addition, they are all fit for different tactics, making the gameplay even more exciting. Players should constantly be in a state of alarm, for they do not know which enemy champions might pop up at any time and which skills they might use.
Finally, LOL involves a 5:5 battle. Like other games that had once dominated the Korean game market, LOL is all about team play, inviting the players to a large scale battlefield. Such grandness adds more fun to the game, as the bigger the fight, the more vibrant it becomes. Additionally, since so many players are grouped as one team, they feel the need to actively cooperate with each other, and in the process, comradeship blooms. Accordingly, it is enjoyable to play LOL not only with friends, but also with strangers.
Ways to enjoy LOL
There are several reasons why some people do not enjoy playing LOL. First of all, the game is too difficult to play, as there are so many different champions fit for different strategies. Moreover, Korean LOL users tend to swear a lot throughout the game, which could be disturbing for some. Hence, in order for people to be able to enjoy playing LOL, they should keep in mind the following rules.
To begin with, players should grasp the champions’ unique characteristics, and comprehend the tactics that suit each of them. There are so many champions, all with completely different characteristics. Knowing the champions’ strengths and weaknesses is crucial, since users would then know which items would maximize the characters’ potential in battlefield. Thus, understanding the champions’ features beforehand facilitates people’s gameplay considerably, enabling them to be part of the “LOL family”.
Furthermore, people should always feel grateful to their teammates for successfully playing their designated roles. A brief “thanks” would be very effective in boosting the fighting spirit, which might even lead to victory. Even if someone on the team makes a mistake, the player’s teammates should give words of encouragement, rather than swear words. Swearing does not improve one’s performance; on the contrary, it can sometimes make one feel less confident, ultimately leading to the team’s defeat. Accordingly, players ought to be more considerate with their words, if they truly care about winning.
* * *
LOL is a game with many attractions, and it is a good stress reliever. Players can also learn more about getting along with other people and building social connections. Hence, playing LOL is like catching two birds with one stone, with so many benefits to reap. Nevertheless, too much LOL can result in severe addiction, which might in turn cause serious social problems. Thus, individuals should always beware of LOL’s potential hazards while enjoying the gifts that moderate gameplay provides.