Strangely, our two main points of criticism for League of Legends aren’t actually about the game itself and instead have to do with the confusing launch and the attitudes of some members of the community. It’s not exactly fair to let circumstances outside of the developer’s control influence our overall opinion of the game design but they still have to be considered to the extent that they’ll influence the fun you will (or won’t) have if you decide to try the game.
We just came off the recent disaster of the CrimeCraft launch, and it looks like we’re in similar territory here. Whether motivated by the publisher’s schedule or financial necessity, League of Legends was released before it was ready. Some features are missing and some features that are currently part of the game will be removed and then sold in the game’s store, which launches on November 17. The idea that players are enjoying features that they will have to pay for at a later date is almost as obnoxious as having to play the same map over and over again in multiplayer. We know there are more in the game, but why aren’t we allowed to play them?
Things are even more aggravating and confusing for players who bought the thirty-dollar collectors edition and are now playing with the exact same feature set as players who simply installed the free version. The differentiation is sure to become more apparent when the store launches, but until then, the fact that the publisher is charging people for a game that’s available for free is pretty dodgy.While it might be fair to lay some of the blame for the open beta feel of the launch at the feet of the game’s creators, it’s impossible to fault them for some of the more unfortunate attitudes in the community. The problem is that League of Legends is built around a popular mod for a popular game (which itself has a notoriously hostile community), so there are a lot of players who hit the ground running with a solid understanding of the mechanics and little patience for newcomers. This is especially true given the relatively long length of the individual matches. Matchmaking should solve this to a certain extent but if the system can’t find players of the appropriate level, it becomes less and less discriminating.
Again, neither of these issues really affect our overall opinion of the game design, but they are matters that may drastically impact your actual enjoyment of the game itself, particularly if you’re not already familiar with the tricks and tactics of Defense of the Ancients.
There’s a lot to like about League of Legends. The game design is enjoyable and there are tons of great champions with nearly limitless customization options. The strategy elements are sound, and it can be fun to just pick a lane and start chewing through minions as you work your way towards enemy towers and champions. But sometimes it feels like League of Legends throws too much at the player, both in terms of the number of champions and the general confusion of the larger battles. While that’s not enough to dampen your enthusiasm of the game, the vague status of the launch and the more-than-occasional hostility of the community just might.