It’s been a while since Riot introduced us to League of Legends, a worthy alternative for DotA enthusiasts who were frustrated by the limitations of the Warcraft 3 engine. Accused by the competition that it is too rookie friendly and cartoonish, this action RTS rose to stardom in a matter of months. MMORPG fans surely remember how World of Warcraft was initially dismissed to be a “newbie friendly” title, only to shatter more records than any other video game.

DotA followers have a reason to rejoice, knowing that both Valve and Blizzard are planning to release a follow-up of the popular game, with the former being already in Beta. Still, it is enough to take a look at the numbers to realize that League of Legends still reigns supreme and it will take more that a redesign of DotA to end its rule. Let’s take a look at the elements that made this game so popular and the tweaks implemented by Riot lately to keep players hooked and hungry for more.

What makes League of Legends special

Image Credit: League of Legends Europe

One thing that made DotA so special and addictive was the ability of purchasing a large variety of items from local shops and combine them to outplay the enemy. Nevertheless the multiple combinations and the diverse characteristics of each object, made it very difficult for newcomers to learn them, something that Riot Games took care of. You only have one shop to buy items from and the developers were kind enough to recommend some items that would fit your summoner and enhance its abilities. It is also possible to purchase these objects while you are dead and wait for resurrection and even buy the ultimate item with one click, if you afford all the objects that are required as prerequisites.

Initially there were 40 heroes to choose from and they were divided as tanks, assassins, mages or support units, each one with its own unique abilities to provide the much needed variety. Now, you have more than twice as many heroes and Riot releases a new one with every patch, so you need to be active to keep your collection complete. Much to their credit, the developers didn’t forget about older heroes and they are gradually replacing those obsolete skins with new ones, that are visually appealing.

Internet, the final frontier

While you can play co-op or single player games against AI, the internet is truly the final frontier and the high level of competition is what kept League of Legends popular. Season one has recently ended and with season two, Riot introduced a new ladder system and contests where prizes are above one million dollars. They didn’t hesitate to import features from the competition and those who played Heroes of Newerth probably remember that they’ve seen the draft system there as well.

If this is your first experience with this genre and you know virtually nothing about the game mechanics then you should brace yourself for a violent flow or invectives. The community is not even in the same zip code as friendly and understanding, so each mistake you commit will be highlighted and exacerbated. You’ll be held responsible for losing an ally, a tower, or even the game regardless of the overwhelming antagonistic context and the vastly superior opposing squad.

And justice for all

My advice to you would be to keep focus, try harder and don’t let these comments bring you down or type back viciously. There are of course people who are willing to go to great lengths to annoy others, such as running straight into an ambush to be killed by enemies and provide them with extra gold, insanely press the alert button to signal fictional threats on the map and so on. Still the surrender system , the persistent account showing your stats and the impossibility of leaving an active game are all good additions by Riot. The ever-watchful eye of the Tribunal will punish those who don’t play by the rules and you can take an active role in it and deliver some indiscriminate justice to those who disrespect the Summoner’s code.

Riot Games delivered a delightful product capable of inheriting the DotA legacy, with plenty of new additions to make it instantly recognizable and cherished by fans. Developers did a nice job by addressing those few issues that had a deterring effect on gamers, without cutting down the essential features that made it so popular. The result is a title that brings just enough novelty to allure newcomers, without daunting the savvy players by digressing too much from the original concept.

Here is  juicy trailer for your pleasure:

[youtube width=”550″ height=”339″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzMnCv_lPxI[/youtube]
Florin

Florin

I am an avid gamer and a passionate reviewer, with three years of experience in this line of work. I've worked for Games32 and during those three years, I've written hundreds of previews and reviews for both PC and console games. The website was unfortunately revamped and now offers casual games, but some of my articles still exist on the developers' websites. Before working as a game reviewer, I’ve played competitive Starcraft. I won the Romanian Championship 4 times in 8 editions and I won the Balkanic Cup with the national team. I know what gaming is and I can relate to both rookies and pros.