I’ve been meaning to write about the famed (even notorious!) League of Legends, a free MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) for about three weeks now, and I’m finally publishing this awfully long post.
I want to voice a few (possibly unpopular) opinions regarding some parts of the game.
One of the topics that always comes up is the complaint that Riot, the developer of LoL, oversexualises female characters. But what about men?
A couple (male) friends of mine have argued that men are created with bodies like this to represent strength, whereas women are curvy because it’s sexy. But in the end, it all boils down to this: these characters are made as exaggerations of beauty standards in American media. Indeed, I find that both genders are sexualised. For example, characters like Varus don’t really have bodies built for the standard of strength. His body isn’t the body-builder type; it’s lean and the coverage of his nether regions begins as low as possible without exposing anything. It’s about similar to the amount of coverage some women get (although not quite as little as some others like LeBlanc). Still, there are a good number of female characters without super sexy/slutty outfits, like Lux, Leona, and Kayle. (Also Anivia, but she’s a bird.)
Fig. 1: Varus vs Leona
So Varus here is basically not wearing anything, whereas Leona is armoured up. Sure, she’s meant to be a tank, and she has got a great body, but she’s not standing around being sexy; she’s displayed as a pillar of strength.
In other words, if people are going to complain about how sexualised females are represented in LoL, then they’re going to also have to complain about the men, too.
Now, let’s talk about the participants of the game.
This game is free to play. That means there are a lot of players that have multiple accounts, and the entry barrier for playing is nothing for anyone with an internet connection and a working computer. Thus, there are millions of LoL players, and even more accounts. The population of players is huge.
That also means that there is a lot of trolling and flaming. People are rude. They’re especially rude online. Without the need to face the people they’re talking to, without the need to connect the “Summoner” name to a face, people forget that they are talking to other real, live people. Thus you get a lot of name-calling and rage-quitting and tantrum-throwing — and all you can really do is report the guy and hope he gets some sort of discipline.
Fig 2: someone who will add you to their friends list just to call you a fag.
Speaking of rude people, reading through Tribunal is like trying to mop the floor while wading knee-deep in manure, hoping that it won’t leak into your boots.
Tribunal is a place where reports get handled. Registered players get to vote on whether or not someone gets punished for their actions. To counteract people clicking randomly and messing with the “legal system” of the game, players who participate in the Tribunal do get a reputation rating based on the outcome of the cases they’ve voted on.
At least it’s amusing.
There are so many users saying ridiculous things besides the rude and bigoted insults and slurs. The most common ones I see in games include calling someone a “bronzie” or a “bronze baddie” - a player ranked at the lowest (bronze) tier. Calling people “noob” is pretty common too, but that seems to be present in any online multiplayer game.
So why do I play this game? Why do I put up with all this crap?
I have friends who play this game. It’s become a social activity for me; I don’t really enjoy the game when I play it by myself. The game also has an incentive with the “first win bonus” for “influence points”, also known as IP. That is the free currency of the game, used to purchase characters and “runes” for different character builds. It is, admittedly, a good method to keep people coming back to the game even when they don’t feel like playing it; people hate missing out on free stuff.
This game is addictive. The thirst for victory is in every human being, and pride comes with it. Sometimes, I refuse to stop until I win, and I know I’m not the only one. After a win, you want to play another, to continue the win-streak, to keep the good feeling of winning. You want to fill your match history with wins. Who doesn’t? It looks good. It feels good. It seems good. And, if you have self-control, it can be good for you because it’ll keep your wits sharp. Thus, the game is also successful in most of its aspects: effective but not pay-to-play cash shop, ways to keep players coming back, and new features and modes.
On the topic of new features and modes, Riot continuously updates their game. This is both a good and a bad thing, because Riot is notorious for awful code. Their dedication to keeping the game from becoming stale shows, as new characters, character skins, and game-modes are constantly developed and released. Because of this, there are bugs everywhere in the game, from invisible spells to players getting stuck. At the very least, Riot’s programmers are also always attempting to fix whatever bugs show up. Some characters even get changes in their spell set. It keeps us on our toes. It’s always the same game, but it doesn’t get stale because of all the changes going on.
Honestly, this is the only MOBA that I’ve consistently come back to, and I’m not really a big fan of these sorts of games. I almost never play the regular MOBA mode; I generally play their “feature” modes because they’re sillier and often quicker. I find regular and ranked games stressful so I avoid those like the plague, but that’s just me; a lot of my friends enjoy ranked because of the pressure. That’s something nice about the game - you do get to choose.
I’d upload some more screenshots but I honestly don’t have any that are worth looking at. I’ve got only this one that is from gameplay (ARAM mode) and it’s got this buggy “send a message” dropdown stuck on the screen. And I’m so sorry but Tumblr compresses these images to the tiniest size ever.
Fig. 3: ARAM (All Random, All Mid) mode in-game screenshot.
Alright, I think I’ve written enough about LoL for now. And I bid you welcome to the League of Draven. :P