Friday, February 11, 2011

2010 Games of the Year #1 - League of Legends

With apologies to Chip, League of Legends is my Game of the Year.

League of Legends, developed by Riot Games, is one of a few successors to the classic Warcraft III custom game, Defense of the Ancients (DotA). When my brother sent me a link to the game over a year ago, I was intrigued, but not enough to really sit down and give the game a good run. But a few months later, when several friends started playing, I returned to see a game that had developed considerably.

The basic concept of the game is a glorified arena. Two teams of three or five players meet on a battlefield. Waves of troops pour out of two bases, pushing towards the other base. The players each control a champion who joins the battle, trying to turn the tide of combat.

The sheer complexity of skills, and the potential for great teamwork is what keeps me coming back to the game. They release a new hero every couple weeks, and while I'd really like to see a new map (hint hint Riot), the new heroes keep things fresh enough.

Oh, did I mention the game is free to play? There are hundreds of items you can buy, such as champions, skins, runes, XP boosts, and other useful items, but you don't have to spend a nickel to play. Furthermore, Riot has taken an admirable stance and insisted that "power" would never be sold. That is, any item that increases your champions abilities can only be bought with Influence Points, an in-game currency that you accumulate from playing. So while I can't use the Nurse Akali skin unless I pay for it, I can always buy runes to boost my damage and kill any Nurse Akali I come across.

The game isn't without its flaws. Their servers are sometimes inconsistent, particularly with regards to friends lists and chat, but they've settled down the gameplay servers. It's also pretty frustrating at times, since you're matched up with and against complete strangers fairly often, and a lot of them can be terrible/rude/stupid. But you'll get that cross-section no matter what game you play.

In the end, it's a well-made game that's a lot of fun, and into which I put a great deal of time in 2010. Congratulations League of Legends. Victory!

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