“Yup! That tasted purple!” – A tale of denial and addiction

While I enjoy playing games, there has never been a game that I would consider myself ‘addicted’ to. There are games that I put many many hours into over a fairly short period of time (80 hours into Fallout 3 over the space of a month one summer, for example), but none that I felt compelled to play day after day. I was also one of those people who accepted that ‘addiction’ to video games was a possibility, but it would ‘never happen to me’. Hah. 

As noted in a previous blog post, I’m not an MMORPG person. Most of the games I play are single-player ones that I can go through at my own pace as and when my schedule allows me time to play. That changed in November of last year when my contract at work ended and I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time. I ploughed through a couple of my 360 games til the end of 2012, then decided to find something new for 2013.

For a number of months (if not a good year or so), I had been prompted to try League of Legends by a number of my friends. I declined- mostly because I thought it wouldn’t be ‘my type of game’. I had never had much interest in games like DotA or StarCraft, because they required too much time to learn, get good at, and to get through a game.

But now I had all this free time, I downloaded LoL just to give it a go. Free-to-play? What did I have to lose, apart from a few gigabytes of space on my hard drive?

That was the first week of January. I now play at least 3-4 times a week for several hours at a time. I also watch a lot of eSports streams of professional and ‘average Joe’ players playing the game in an attempt to learn new tips and tricks. Anyone who’s seen my Twitter feed over the past couple of months is probably fed up of reading near-indecipherable posts about games I’ve watched or played.

So what is it about this ONE game that has drawn me in so deeply?


Well, when I moved house I had two and a half weeks with no internet connection. While that meant I wasn’t able to play the game, it gave me plenty of chance to think on it. 

Let’s start with playable characters. There are one hundred and ten of them, with a new one being released every three to four weeks. And yes, you have to ‘buy’ them with in-game currency earned through playing (IP or ‘Influence Points’) or by paying for RP (Riot Points); but that big a pool of characters means there is something to match every play style. I have always preferred playing ranged characters to melee characters in every game I’ve played, and LoL is no exception. There are plenty of ranged characters for me to choose from, so if I don’t fancy one there are others I can choose.

The fact that the game is pure online multiplayer means that it is high-maintenance and requires regular patching and updating. Which for me is another draw; the things I find I don’t like going up against in a match can always be countered, and when something is OP (overpowered) it often gets altered in the next patch (or some other item/champion is altered that can be a good counter to it). You don’t get bogged down with a sense of ‘oh god I hate *insert champion here*, I’m fed up of everyone playing him, I’m giving up’. 

LoL is a MOBA, a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. This is a double-edged sword. Online multiplayer has allowed me to play with friends hundreds of miles away, as well as countless other people from EU West- a big plus. But this is the Internet we’re talking about. Like all online games, LoL suffers from trolls and ragers. While I’ve not experienced as toxic a community playing this as I have in other games, there are still times when that one guy on your team insists on bad-mouthing you in All-chat. But for every one of those guys, I’ve come across at least five great players that are friendly, work well to boost the team, and even offer polite tips and suggestions. 

Tactics can play a huge part of the game too; I grew up playing RTS games like Command & Conquer and have a fondness for the tactical elements in everything. But even outside the matches, tactics play a key role in how you play. You work with different Masteries (skill trees, in essence) for various situations and choose which one you want to use when you join a match. Runes are expensive, but boost base stats and things like mana regeneration and the amount of gold you gain per second. Clever choices in Runes and Masteries can make all the difference between winning and losing. 

Then there are the countless items to buy in each match. Some are considered ‘core’, most are hugely situational. You are always on your toes thinking “What do I need when I go back to buy next? More health, or can I pick up something to boost attack damage?”. The game is reactive on all levels, and this adrenaline-fuelled gameplay is definitely a factor in why I keep coming back for more.


So- while I apologise for the huge amount of LoL-related Tweets I’ve posted recently, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of me stopping playing any time soon. And while it still surprises me to say so, I am well and truly hooked.


~ by Tegan on March 17, 2013.

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