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Killing is a mean, not a goal – a rant on League of Legends 2017 (season 7)

If you are new to this game, I recommend reading my P.S. part first. There I try to explain the game and its terminology as short as possible.

 

League of Legends is a game I gotten into for years now and am probably playing way too much in comparison to other titles I still have to play. The thing that hooked me for this game was the clear feedback on all actions. High damage abilities will have the visual and aural cues to notify everyone it will hurt. They even tweaked their oldest champions to communicate some aspects of their kit more clearly (e.g. Annie’s next offensive ability stuns a foe after she’s performed 4 abilities. Before, you only had a visual on the character communicating this, now there is a meter underneath her health bar showing this too). It is also a game which is constantly evolving. Not playing for a couple of months might throw you off guard because recent changes might have an impact on your way of play.

One thing which is bothering me lately, is the focus on killing by the majority of players. A round of League of Legends is always won by destroying the Nexus (the main structure). Kills are means to achieve this goal more easily, but not necessary. Theoretically, a match of League of Legends can be won without ever killing any of the opponents.

Turret diving
You attack an enemy even though the high damage output turret has started to target you. I see a lot of people doing this just to secure a kill. While the turret maybe needed only 3-4 hits for it’s destroyed. This is absolute bullshit that a lot of greedy players fall for. The results of not taking down that turret might result in the greedy player dying without ensuring the kill. Giving the enemy gold and leaving the allied team with one less player. All for getting that one kill which might very well fail.

Blind for anything but kills
I have had people being mad at me for not having many kills. Although I took down most of the minions and turrets. I once had an ARAM (all random, all mid – a game mode with one lane where all players are assigned a random champion) match where I acquired an S rank on an ADC (attack damage carry) character. A fellow player called this bullshit as my score was 2 kills, 2 deaths and 25 assists (assists are kills where you also contributed damage, but didn’t do the killing blow). He said I was useless. For some reason he didn’t notice that I took out most minions, all turrets, the Nexus and even contributed to killing 25 enemy kills. They only thing he could see was my low kill count. I was actually glad to see my efforts were reflected in my rank to prove him wrong.

Ranked players
Oh how I can rant on ranked players for pages and pages of material. But I’ll stick to the relevant info here. To give you an idea on how much I detest ranked players: I played a ranked game once. ONCE. This experience was so horrible, I decided to never play a ranked game ever again.
As I play mostly ARAM, you can get matched up with ranked players too (ARAM is unranked). You can see their ranking based on the border of their champion at the loading screen. Most high ranked players are single focused on killing other players instead of helping allied players or going for the objective.
They are the crybabies that start surrender votes after an opposing team got 2 early kills. They stop playing all together when they get butt hurt.
Many ranked players are meta (what the community considers optimal builds and playstyles) sheep that start to harass you if you don’t play according to the meta. They “know best”. You strategically move the game forward instead of trying to increase the kill counter for the sake of getting kills and not for winning the game. Most ranked players make rookie mistakes as they consider non-ranked matches ‘not real games’ and the only thing they want are kills, kills, kills.
Ranked players mostly are the hardcore devoted players, so that doesn’t help in shifting the focus back to strategy instead of men vs men.

ARAM
One of the key differences between ARAM and classic LoL is that returning to your base does not grant you HP regen. This means health recovery is very important resource in ARAM. There are health pickups which spawn once in a while, but late game, that amount is peanuts. So a strategic, logical way is to invest in health recovery items. Yet I see bunch of people who only invest in damage output. And they then don’t realize that going all in on an enemy to secure a kill, might leave them with low HP and therefore almost useless for the rest of the team as they will have to stay back if they want to survive or end up dying at more crucial moments in the game because of their kill mindset.

Game Updates
Riot (the developers) haven’t really helped with this perspective on the game either. Over the last updates, they heavily focused on damage dealing. Character reworks have resulted in more damage output. They ditched ALL aura items (aura items are items that give buffs to all nearby allies).
Support champions have suffered the most in these updates. In the latest masteries (a bunch of perks you can choose in a tech tree) rework, there is only one top mastery left for support characters. And it is only targeted at healing or shielding. So any other support champion has no pure support top mastery to choose … Before, you had a dedicated support tech tree. Also, I see in a lot of normal games (Summoner’s Rift) support characters lag behind 3 to 4 levels on all of the other champions because of mastery changes. Before you had a mastery that boosted your XP gain if you were lower level than one of your nearby teammates. In “normal” play, a support is assumed to never kill minions or champions so the carry can earn the most gold and rapidly buy the items he needs to do lots of damage. This means for a support his XP and gold income are low and there are no real mechanics any more to counter the lack of XP gain, making a support a number one target for opposing teams as you will be low level compared to them. So playing support has become less appealing.

My main character is Zyra. A squishy mage/support that has to rely on plants she can spawn by combining buds and abilities. In her ‘old days’, she had limited access to her plants. Due to her cooldowns, having a bunch of them at once was a calculated move. And even then, you were limited to only 4 plants at the same time. This meant using the plants was a strategic move.
After a rework, they kind of destroyed this whole philosophy. They gave her much more plant power (aka she can now deal a lot of damage and can be played more offensive oriented). She now spawns the buds every X seconds. So being in the same area for a while leaves a decent amount of buds around. You are also not limited to 4 at a time anymore. This means utilizing her plants in well thought through circumstances now has been reduced to a plant spawn fest where the only thing you have to watch out for, is running out of mana.

Wrap up
League of Legends in its core is still a strategy game where you have to destroy the Nexus. You don’t win by racking up the most kills. If you want a team battle focused game, check out something like Bloodline: Champions. But stop thinking a player is only good when he has lots of kills. It is not what wins you this game. Please leave Runeterra if kills are the sole thing on your mind.

Thanks for reading and maybe I’ll see you on the Rift! My player name is VegaDI

 

P.S.

League of Legends is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). This is a genre which originated in RTS (real time strategy) games. A lot of MOBAs are statistics heavy and have a steep learning curve. You will have to invest an ample amount of time to learn all the intricacies of such a game.
Many of the MOBAs have a top down view, originating from their roots, but there are a couple of games out there with a different perspective. In most games, a player controls only one character. In League of Legends, these are called champions.

The goal is to destroy a main structure of the enemy. The game is a push-and-pull game: sometimes you need to push, other times it is more wisely to pull back. You have lanes leading up to the main structure. On these lanes are structures that prevent you from running to the main structure directly. You need to clear a lane of these structures before you are able to access the main structure via this lane. Most of these structures are turrets: high damage output structures that target you when there are no other allies around or you start to attack an enemy while near it. Also on this lane are minions: NPCs (non-playable characters) that do damage, but limited. The game releases them in waves every X seconds. When your minions are near a turret, you can start attacking that turret without it targeting you. Minions will also attack turrets and are capable of destroying them. In most MOBAs, minions are a way of earning XP (experience points – to level up your character) and currency to buy items and upgrades from the store to improve your champion. Killing enemy players also earns you XP and currency, but of course a lot more than minions do.

Most MOBAs have 3 phases:
1. Early game (laning phase): All players choose a lane an play in this one lane.
2. Mid game: player’s need to start to play more as a team, staying in a lane is not the right strategy anymore and team battles start to emerge.
3. Late game: most players will have a lot of their items and the balance will start to tip in the favor of one team. Most player encounters at this points will be team battles.
A player has basic attacks and abilities. Abilities are special skills specific for each champion that go on a cooldown after using and in a lot of cases consume mana (a pool of points to perform abilities) or something else.

In most MOBAs you have 5 types of roles you can play (and there are a bunch of cross breed roles):
a. Basic Attack: deal a lot of damage without having to rely on abilities.
b. Tank: able to soak up a lot of damage.
c. Support: supports other team members by buffing (increasing stats), nerfing (deceasing stats) enemies, shielding, healing, etc.
d. Mage: relies mainly on the damage of their abilities.
e. Assassin: these are champions that have a high burst damage output. When they string their abilities correctly, they will be able to take out a single enemy quickly.

Players who are key to tipping the balance are called carries. Mostly these are basic attack damage dealers (called ADCs, attack damage carries), but other roles might carry the game too.
Each champions has a s kit: this is the combination of all the abilities that defines the playstyle of a champion. It is what differentiates similar roles from one another.

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