I felt compelled to pop back into League of Legends over the weekend. It seems to be one of those games for me that I'll play pretty compulsively for a week or so, then get tired of it and drift away, only to come back a month later. I hesitate to even use the words "get tired," since it's not boredom so much as just "losing the shine." I consider it a good thing that, a month or so later, it apparently shines back up for me. I'm not sure what you call this on-again-off-again relationship with a game, but I would say it's uncommon for me. Generally, I'm a play-through kind of guy. Focus in, beat the game, and then move on.
LoL is unique in that it quenches both a desire to "level" and the urge to PvP. I like that I can pick it back up again and have new stuff, but also not feel completely out of practice. In short, it's a great game to play casually for an extended period of time. You don't really ever fall behind like in an MMO (though you may need to shake some initial rust off), and it doesn't require a whole lot of what I'll call "controller re-acclimation" like an FPS (soooo frustrating not to be able to headshot like you used to, amirite?).
Anyway, popped back in to find a new ARAM map. Now, if you're a casual player like me, you'll have to look up to learn ARAM stands for "All Random All Middle." Apparently, this was a custom game setting that was popular enough to have a special map created. I have to say, I'm finding the game mode rather fun. It really emphasizes team play, and puts you behind the controls of an (often) unfamiliar champion. The result is that play is just a little bit sloppy from time to time, and if you're quick to learn, you can gain an advantage.
To me, it feels like a fast-forwarded normal mode game. That is, we're just going to skip the early level-up game and jump straight to team battles. Makes things a little shorted without feeling totally frenetic. It also takes away a lot of the "sneaky" strategies, as this is pure frontal assault across a bridge. Not a whole lot of room to hide or strike and escape.
I feel like the ARAM mode is a great place to try out new champions. You don't get to pick, sure, but not-knowing how a champion plays isn't a complete disadvantage here. It's a different kind of challenge that might lead me to adding a few more champions to my regular rotation.
Yesterday I got stuck with Soraka. Basically, she's a healer/support (though you can build a variety of ways, I'm sure). Regular readers probably know... healing is not my default setting. Because it was random and my team was depending on me, however, I went with it. I healed the crap out of everyone and well full-on support build. It was great. There is no place to heal in the ARAM map, so having a healer is huge. I think we were up like 10-0 before I'd blinked an eye.
I may pick up Soraka if she goes on sale. Might be nice to have a support healer for team play. And playing a healer wasn't as bad as I'd feared. It's not like in WoW where you have to spam heals and hope for the best. You have to be able to juggle some offensive support as well, since things are going to be on cooldown. It was a fun little change-up, which I suspect is why the ARAM game mode has become so popular.
If you're like me and haven't popped into LoL in a while, maybe check it out. It is, after all, free to play.