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
I’d like to think of Pokemon as a post-apocalyptic world where most adults have died and kids go around enslaving sentient, but mentally limited creatures that “evolved” out of the nuclear fallout.
- some Kryptonite Sherpa on OKCupid
That’s why your main character and your rival don’t have fathers. They died fighting in the nuclear war.
The women of the family remain, and Professor Oak, unfit for war due to his old age. Oak continues his research by harnessing you to do his work for him - to collect information on every single Pokemon. His research is funded by the government, and the end-goal is to find the strongest Pokemon for the military to use. Professor Oak does not support these ideals, but must comply, or he would be begging on the streets. His grandson knows no better, and aggressively attempts to carry out the government’s mission thanks to propaganda pamphlets sent to his home. Thus, Oak must rely on you to do his research; your mind has not yet been tainted.
The towns are small and desolate, and fresh water costs more than chemically engineered potions for your Pokemon due to irradiation and pollution. A large gang (Team Rocket) has become a huge presence in the land, and the police force are not able to stop them due to limited resources; many of their officers were also drafted into the war and did not return. Gambling is unregulated and the police make no move to eradicate this issue because, honestly, they gamble too; it’s their only escape from reality, but they don’t want to admit it so they half-ass their missions and tell the media that they try. You are the only one that really bothers to do anything about it because he hasn’t fallen into gambling addiction yet.
Lavender town’s Pokemon Tower houses the dead pokemon, the ones that were salvaged from the wreckage after the war. Their ghosts remain, for their lives were wasted. Team Rocket wishes to use these ghosts to bend the world to their power and tries to harness their souls for their work with brute force. You, however, can communicate effectively with them with the Silph Scope because you lost your father in the same pointless war; you don’t even have a grave for him. Together, you share an unfortunate bond in war and tragedy. The spirits of these dead Pokemon attempt to rebel against their destinies; they refuse to accept that this is their end, and try to push back by possessing the grave-tenders, but realise its futility when they are defeated in battle. They let go of the material world and move on upon the conclusion of their last struggle.
The gyms are for proving one’s worth with Pokemon, and they have replaced schools and real jobs. Each gym leader is a war veteran, training the younger generation to be able to survive and fend for themselves in case another war erupts, and the Elite Four are the warlords that have finally made peace after understand the damage they have done to their home. Still, they possess the seats of power and, like Team Rocket, continue to advocate using Pokemon for battle and domination. It is your duty to subdue them. It is your duty to remove these power-tripping “leaders”, break the system of using Pokemon for war, and rein in those who treat their Pokemon recklessly. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to defeat them all in a battle; in a post-apocalyptic world, academia won’t get you anywhere, but brawn and brains will.
Kanto is scarred by the war, and will be for generations to come.
“Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”
“It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.’” Jean-Luc Godard