Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ARAM
Ugh. A full month between blog posts has passed. This is the sort of trend that things like “steady employment” does for one’s creative flow.
Honestly, it’s all my own fault. Back on February 19th I wrote about how I sucked at League of Legends. Then I started playing it again. Then a friend started working at Riot Games and I saw the Riot HQ in Santa Monica. With new-found enthusiasm, I’ve flung myself to the wolves of the digital battleground and joined the horde of internet trolls playing League of Legends on an almost daily basis.
I might even say I don’t suck anymore. I wouldn’t say I’m good at the game, but constantly getting better. Like anything, from specific hobbies such as Magic: the Gathering or playing sports or making art, if you do something everyday you get better at it. This probably rings true for things like sports, art, or anything at all: constant exposure and repeated activity in the field leads to more success and building of your skills. This is true for video games.
It all started with one satisfying experience. I’d been playing intermittently and saw some players do great things with a particular champion that looked like fun to play: Hecarim, a ghostly centaur with a tanky-melee play style. He’s still on the newer end of champions available, so I saved up Influence Points (points earned in game by accomplishments that can be used to purchase things like champions and power-up runes) to get this new, shiny toy. The day finally came and I got to play a game with Hecarim.
The usual suck proceeded.
Undeterred by one game, I played a few more. Hecarim gains bonuses to his damage output when he his speed is boosted, so I looked into making him faster with certain items. Then I played one particular game. A game where I moved everywhere I wanted to at super-human speeds, initiated team fights (and survived!), and helped even the odds when my team mates were getting overwhelmed. People were typing things like, “thx Hec” and “nice gank” to me. TO ME.
I think I played Hecarim exclusively for a week. But then I expanded and started finding out what the other champion’s play styles are like. I purchased the champion bundles that Riot offers back in 2010, so I had many champions available to me that I had never played. I learned what Support really is with champions like Janna & Sona where I might get 1-3 kills a game, but 30-40 assists while buffing my team. I found out what it was like to shrug off everyone’s attacks and gank people from behind with Garen or jump out from a bush with Jax to slaughter everyone in sight. I played weird and difficult to learn champions like Karthus, Kassadin, and Zyra (and found that I don’t like those very much, but I did try at least ).
Then the last week of ARAM (all-random, all middle) came along as a part of the Freljord event. You enter a game, get a random champion that’s available to you, and the two teams square off in just one single lane. You can’t choose your champion, so you can’t rely on just knowing the tricks with one. And the whole game is a big team fight, so one person can’t go off on their own – everyone has to work together. It’s genius in that it’s also incredibly basic. It forces players to adjust bad habits. Since the entire enemy team is in the same lane, no singular player can dive out ahead and slay them all – they’ll die and earn ridicule from their own team. ARAM is about poking at the enemies, being patient, and capitalizing on your enemies’ mistakes.
It’s a ton of fun. Two memorable games stuck out for me: one where I was Alistar(roving Minotaur tank, what’s not to love?) and never killed anyone I was aiming for (but put my team on my shoulders for nearly 50 assists), and one where I was Teemo (little rodent scout), a champion I had never played with before, but during the course of the game my own team mates got mad at me. I had never before been accused of being a kill-stealer (never had the opportunity before), nor had I ever heard complaints from my own team about how my champion is OP. I rocked my first-time Teemo and couldn’t even share that with my team – the troll accusations would have flooded the whole of the internet. It is known.
So this, unfortunately, is where a lot of my free time has been going. 😉
I should probably do an Iron Man review, as I have particular views on this “trilogy” as a whole, plus I’ve had some really unique experiences lately with the Tarzana Post Office and being Adam Sandler’s stand-in for Grown Ups 2. For the moment, however, I’m logging back onto LOL for another game.