Developer: Riot Games
Publisher: Riot Games
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
Platform: Microsoft Windows
Released: October 27, 2009
Minimum system requirements
OS: Windows XP or higher
Hard drive: 2GB free
Graphics: Any DirectX 9.0-capable video card
Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games have always been popular on the PC platform, with their traditional adherence to the keyboard-and-mouse setup along with a more tactical approach to gameplay that requires both meticulous planning and split-second decision-making.
With the modding community always tinkering around with new and exciting games to vastly expand on the game’s potential, it was no surprise when a game like Defense of the Ancients (DotA) was built with its own fusion of tactical RTS and action role-playing game (RPG) tropes.
What people did not expect was for it to become a roaring success that practically invented the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre and spawned many clones, each with their own unique qualities.
The popular online game League of Legends is one of those games that – while setting itself apart from the rest of the competition – carries the DotA DNA and adheres to it quite well.
Created by DotA veterans Steve “Guinsoo” Feak and Steve “Pendragon” Mescon, League of Legends is a game much in the vein of the game it draws its inspiration from.
The basic objective of the game is simple – two teams composed of three or five players each battle it out over a set map in order to infiltrate the other’s base and destroy their primary structure, the Nexus.
Each side chooses from a list of 104 characters with their own unique passive abilities, roles, powers and ultimate moves. The game supports a free-to-play model, with a set of characters being cycled almost every week, while the others remain locked.
If you fancy playing with a character of your choice, you’ll either have to purchase them with the in-game Influence Points gained from completing matches, or spend some real-world cash to acquire Riot Points.
Choosing which character suits you best in the given situation is crucial to victory, because competition gets intensely fierce as the battle progresses.
The standard PvP mode will be pretty familiar to those who have played DotA before. There are three major lanes to every base, each guarded by a set of towers called towers/turrets.
Players are required to destroy turrets in order to make progress, which they accomplish with the help of allied units called minions/creeps. Players will actively have to defend their turrets from enemy charges and use teamwork to charge at opposing structures and push into the enemy base.
The sheer exhilaration of jumping into a team fight and barraging your abilities with precision in order to take down a hero is truly matchless. In addition to the opposing team, there are plenty of neutral monsters within the standard map to challenge, which provide either gold or temporary buffs when vanquished.
The item shop for the game categorises its inventory, based on varying factors such as attack speed, damage, health regeneration, consumables, etcetera. It also displays a list of recommended equipment for each hero, along with a branching tree for different components needed for each item.
League of Legends also offers another team mode called Dominion, which basically serves as a capture-and-hold style of gameplay. In this mode, players compete with each other to capture five specific points on the map that help in destroying the enemy Nexus.
This type of game is more action-packed, with little emphasis on tactical mastery and more focus on direct hero confrontation. It also tends to be much shorter than the regular mode, with matches going up to 25 minutes on average.
Dominion mode is played on a circular map called the Crystal Scar, and several gameplay properties such as character levelling and item builds have slight variations to them.
The game client gives you plenty of options to play around with. You’ll have access to your Summoner profile, where you can view your recent stats and check up on your catalogue of champions.
You can also invest points in passive abilities and perks, called Runes and Masteries respectively, as your profile levels up, and check up on any Ranked Teams you’ve joined. Play modes include the standard PvP and a Co-op vs.
AI mode, along with a tutorial for newcomers. Players can use the game’s fairly-good matchmaking system to set up matches, or create/join games and invite people on their friends list. The system has recently added an Honor system, whereby you can award players points for teamwork, friendliness, helpfulness and impressive skills on the battlefield post-game.
Sights and sounds
From a technical standpoint, the game does a great job of looking and feeling right. Character models are highly detailed on the battlefield, and the action moves at a steady clip, depending on your computer specs and connection speed.
The sound department could have used more work though, as the music, effects and character voices do begin to get monotonous after extended periods of play.
Latency is generally fair if you have a good connection and choose to play in a region closer to home. Beware though that the game has a strict policy of dealing with players that quit games or idle too long, often temporarily suspending their accounts for play.
As a game that stands as a clone of another game, League of Legends does a pretty good job at following the formula correctly and making enough improvements on the original to mark it as a strong title.
With constant improvements and regular updates to the game’s formula, along with incremental changes to the backend and gameplay, it stands out as the next step in the evolution for the popular mod that has taken the world by storm. If you’re looking to take your game to a global level, consider investing some time into this gem of a title.