Monday, July 23, 2012

LoL - Graduation

I hit level 12 late last night. This was exciting for me, because it opened the spell "Flash." It's a short teleport spell. From what I've seen, it's going to be incredibly useful. I had been running with the mana regen spell and Ignite (for a finisher). I'm going to keep Ignite.

I've also apparently graduated to the next level of LoL play. I say this based on my experience being matched with random teammates. I'm not sure if there are brackets, or how exactly the matchmaking works, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that there's roughly a 1-10 bracket.

Levels 1-10 are characterized with several unique things. First, there's not a lot of strategy. Sure, you get the occasional mouth smurf (a term a learned that seems to mean a high level summoner that has re-rolled an "alt" if you will). But in most cases, you're all newbs. People pick things up at different rates, and have different gaming backgrounds. You're just as likely to get a team that completely stinks, or blow the other team out of The Rift.

The 1-10 bracket is a bit more forgiving. It seems like a lot more folks are feeling out their champion. You can wander closer to the fire without getting burned. You can make mistakes and not always pay for them.

Sometime after 10, I noticed a distinct uptick in play. All of a sudden, people were calling "dibs" on lanes. Rough strategies were outlined. Terminology was used. You'd actually see someone "jungling." None of this is routine until you "graduate."

I'm typically pretty quiet when I play. I like to let my playing (or lack thereof) do the talking. Instead of typing things in, I'm more likely to ping the map. In this respect, I'll bet some folks have suspected me of not speaking English (Spanish speaking players seem to be decently common). I'm just an introvert. It happens.

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm most at home on a mage-type AP carry champion. Morgana is my favorite. I did pretty well on Brand this weekend. I stink up the house on anything melee.

I'm learning that my type of champion is generally assigned to "solo mid," which puts me in the middle lane, alone. It is also a highly sought-after spot. Whenever there are two AP mage-types, the other one is generally quick to "call" mid. And they get real touchy if you encroach on their territory.

There's a lot more intra-team bickering in this second level of play. People enjoy e-peening more. (Hence how I learned what a smurf is.) There are certain players that like to dictate when to do what. For the most part, I'm happy to oblige, but sometimes I suspect they wish to use me as a sacrificial lamb so that they can mop up the kills. That, generally, does not fly.

It's also somewhat humorous when one of these talkative types makes a mistake. It's obviously your fault for not bailing them out. I usually respond with a neutral: "What would you have had me do?" Generally, that is met with silence, or something super-constructive like "don't suck."

I found the "block" button this weekend. Bring up the scoreboard. It's on the right. Little crossed out chat window icon. Very useful.

I also reported a feeder this weekend. We had a player go off the deep-end into a nerd rage, frothing about how awful we were. He/she/it was playing on Ashe, and proceeded to spawn and run straight for the enemy base. Ashe did not veer, did not attack, and just died. Over, and over. And after every death, the summoner said "nice." Obviously, we lost, but I have a hunch a few more people learned about the block and report features, too. Even the other team got in on the reporting, because feeding is no fun for anyone.

It would be unethical reporting if I didn't point out that these asshats were the outliers. I played a good smattering of games, and each game generally with 9 other players. Out of the perhaps 100 or so players I played with this weekend, there were two that I blocked and one that I reported. That's not a bad rate for a PvP-centric game. Heck, that's not a bad rate for any game.

All in all, I've really been pleasantly surprised at the whole League of Legends community. Riot seems to understand their fans, and the fans appreciate the game as presented. People are generally helpful, which is always neat. So, if you notice that I'm on a LoL kick, here... that's why. It's a lot easier to play and write when you feel warm fuzzies about the game and community. This isn't to say the other games I play have deficiencies, just that I'm unabashedly enjoying my LoL time.

Which brings me to my final, newb-tastic question: What is "elo?" Can one of you vets explain it to me? If not, I'm sure Google can...


  1. ELO=Electric Light Orchestra, silly!

  2. From memeory ELO is taken from chess terminology. In LoL it's basically your rating ( just as in WoW arena). You have 3 "brackets" each counted separatly: 3v3 team, 5v5 team and solo queue. You start at 1200 ELO and go from there (around +/- 20 points for win/loose).

  3. Not sure if you know this, but I figure I might as well explain it to anyone else that might be interested.

    The middle lane is the closest path between both bases. Incidentally enough, because of this, it's also the lane that offers the quickest leveling path. AP casters generally have powerful ultimates. For this reason, it is extremely beneficial for teams to have their AP caster in the middle lane hit level 6 first. Not only that, but once they hit level 6, it allows them to affect the outcome of other lanes: You can go to the top lane or the bottom lane to help neutralize the opposing team's champions if your opposing middle lane is not present.

    Remember to try to steal their enemy team wraith camps if you get an opportunity to for that extra gold/experience.

  4. @Bud - Well that explains why I don't know what mine is. Never played for that band :-).

    @Anon - Ah, so it's simply rating. Here would be the relevant wikipedia entry: Interesting. I suppose I thought it stood for something game specific. Apparently it is simply named after a Hungarian Chess wizard.

    @Matt - Right. I was totally on the same page as you until you mentioned stealing "enemy wraith camps." Is that stuff found in the jungle? I've not done a whole lot apart from laning, so the jungle is still pretty much a mystery to me. I kill the dragon when someone pings it and says "let's kill dragon." I have no idea why. :-)

  5. Dragon gives 190 gold to all your teammates, much like towers give 150. The wraiths are the closest jungle monsters which by the time you take down the first mid turret you should be able to use your W to take all 4 down. It gives you some xp and quick easy gold in addition to your laning.

    Something you might want to start asking for right away at the start of the game(only if you have no jungler) is for the blue buff. This comes from the ancient golem in your jungle(top side blueteam, bottom side for purple). The blue buff give you a ton of CDR(cooldown reduction) and MP5. Basically at 1:55 into the game the golem spawns. Be there waiting and let your teammates get it low in health and then finish it off for the buffs.

  6. Yeah. That may be the *next* level of gameplay. Maximizing buffs and jungling. I'm pretty sure that most of the people I'm paired with at the moment are clueless (like me). Still, it's good information and something to keep in mind.

    Part of me could really get into the competitive nature of this. I'm not sure if that scares me. I don't have time to be competitive :-D.

  7. For some reason my work computer won't let me reply. For the competitive part of the game I have no clue. I have been level 30 for 6 months now and have yet to play a ranked game. I think I would try it if I had a group of people to play with regularily with some type of vent or teamspeak(typing and pinging sucks at level 30 when trying to run back and forth/harrassing/ganking).

    Most of what I learned was from reading the mobafire guides(not just the top portion, but the whole thing) and practicing the strategies. Realistically it's kind of like learning a raid fight in WoW. You learn what to watch for to move/dodge incoming hits, learn where to stand, when to run in and out, and even which order to use your skills.

  8. Yeah, I'm picking up a bit at time. Some through trial and error, some through research. My theory is to tackle one aspect of the game at a time and master it. First was how to level. Second was how to gear. Currently I'm working on learning lane assignments. That is to say... if I'm solo mid, what do I do? If I'm paired top or bottom, what then? How can I win my lane?

    Probably next is how to use the resources in the jungle to my advantage. So far, I've not ventured much off the beaten path.

  9. Well if you look at each match in 3 parts(early, mid, and late game) you can see how each match generally plays out. Much like Matticus pointed out mid lane is all about leveling as fast as you can. Experience is split by how many people are there. Since mid is solo most of the time your goal early lane is to level fast, last hit minions(takes good timing) for the gold, and as with all the other lanes you need to push your opponent back. Even if it is just an auto attack on them to make them run back to their tower. The further away from the minions they are the less xp they get and the less gold from last hits.

    Mid game generally happens around level 7-10 and normally one tower is down for both teams or at least one team. This is where if your opponent is not in lane with you then go gank either top or bottom. Morgana hits hard, but she can be one of the best supports in game(q snare, w lowers magic resist, e to absorbs an AP casters damage or help tank block cc, and her ult to snare and possibly stun). Although kills are nice, focusing on helping your team get a kill comes first. Just don't die and get those assists!

    Late game comes around level 14-18 and the goal here is to finish the game, even if you are losing don't count yourself out. 1 ace or a winning team fight with 1-2 escaping can get 2 minion waves and up to 2 towers down. Make sure at this point your team runs as a pack of 3 at a minimum with the other 2 close enough to help in a pinch. My mistake while leveling was wandering on my own and getting ganked by 3-4 enemies.

    Top and bot lanes are the same strategy, you'll just level a bit slower(or faster sometimes if it's a good lane combo). Just focus on getting those minion last hits and harrassing the enemy team as much as possible to push your lane.

    This game has so much to take in, but it's all very manageable once you get used to each aspect of it.

    Oh and pro tip, buy wards. at 75g a piece they seem pricey but warding the river bushes(especially in mid) can keep you from getting ganked. Always remember to ward the blue buff side of the river if you see an enemy jungling(they almost always use smite as a summoner spell).

  10. Wards and potions are another feather I should start adding to my cap. I've pretty much just geared so far, and I like to think I've gotten pretty good at that. I'm not wasting any trips to the store, and balancing dealing damage with staying alive depending on the flow of the game.

    Otherwise, it seems that I'm mostly doing my job right. I'm starting to get used to the flow of the game. And I feel I'm way better at getting assists that kills. I don't always break double digits in kills, but in assists it's pretty much a sure thing. I figured that was a good thing (until I got yelled at. See today's post. But I'm pretty sure he was an idiot).