18 Oct 2012

I watched the World Tournament Final.

It's been a long season, and we do not have much time left. My friends and I watched the League of Legends World Championship Final together- staying up all night to watch the excellent show. We were accompanied by well over 200,000 fans who tuned in to watch it on stream.

I'd totally sell this badboy on ebay.

The end of the season 2 certainly didn't let any of us players down. Both tournament finalists, team Azubu Frost and Taipei Assassins- displayed exemplary skill and some brilliant plays in four games to decide the victor. Despite this outcome, the true victors of the tournament are Riot games. They made this arguably brilliant game; they've kept the servers up and running (for the most part), and hosted this high budget championship that should now be considered a sport.

League of Legends has certainly come a long way since they were at the bottom of the free to play totem pole. A year ago, you could play AP Ashe and win every game purely by outplaying everyone you came across. Now, unconventional builds are just an unwanted risk. Everyone who plays LoL has improved to the point that getting 20 kills every game isn't possible. Riddle me impressed, I never could of imagined that such a cult following would continue to learn, improve and play for this long.

Such an amazing crowd, so many people for an online game!

Ultimately, AF had a promising start by crushing the first match. However after that TPA kicked their game up a notch and just kept on winning. What confuses me is how Azubu Frost seemed to change their gamebreaking team fighting style after the first victory, which is what I believe caused them to lose the subsequent battles.

Regardless of the outcome I am inspired to tryhard and win more often because of the astonishing levels of teamwork and masterful displays of League of Legends finesse. Not only this, but the event in itself was just so big, so phenomenal, I can't help but want to prove to myself I can play that well.

The stage has three lanes, wow.

Most of the audience are satisfied with Taipei bringing the cup and $1million home, almost everyone seemed to be rooting for them and many chants were started in their honor. It's entirely possible that this favoritism was elected by the questionable cheating committed by Azubu to get to the final.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event, Riot really threw out all the stops to make the tournament something to remember. I can't imagine how they'll top the performance in season 3. Fireworks and explosions are probably the only way!

11 Oct 2012

Why is League of Legends so addictive?

So a friend recently exclaimed the oddity that me and many of my companions still played League of Legends. Our replies were all similar. LoL is a great game for many reasons, and we'll always go back to it when we've got nothing more important to play.

This conversation made me think. There are so many reasons to play League, and many more to keep you playing. So I've decided to tally a list here of what keeps us hooked. Take a look and see if it's the same for you, and comment if you think I missed anything.

Anyone can play. It's amazing how easy it is to get started on League of Legends. You can introduce a friend to it and get them enjoying it in a matter of hours. With up to five people per team, you can always make space for an extra friend or even make a custom game if there's too many.

You can enjoy it alone, or with friends. Many a time I haven't had anyone available to play with me, so I just start up a game by myself. It's still a pleasure, albeit harder to win. Playing with friends however, is amazing fun.

Every match is different. No two games go exactly the same, there is so much diversity when it comes to building your team, even if both champion lineups are the same everything can change. Summoner spells, rune pages, play style, and more provides a guarantee that you will always see new things.

You can play casually and seriously. Once you've played plenty of games, it's very possible to play a normal game or dominion very nonchalantly, or a draft pick/ ranked when you feel like putting maximum effort in.

People you meet play. I am no longer surprised when I meet somebody new who already plays LoL. I just ask them to add me and we'll play sometime. It's amazing to meet somebody out during your daily business and discover they play the same game obsessively like you.

There is nothing pushing you to use the cash shop. So many MMO games have been ruined for me because of a game breaking cash shop. It's even worse when they rub it in your face, with a pop up every 10 minutes mentioning how you need to buy something. Riot games want you to know that you can play and access everything without spending a penny. If anything, that's more incentive to buy a skin.

You can always learn to play better. In a match with so many opportunities and a plethora of strategies to employ, you're guaranteed to notice how many chances you had to grab a kill or dodge some damage. It's rare to finish a game and think to yourself 'I played perfect that game, I couldn't have done anything better'.

Losing makes you want to try harder. We've lost plenty of matches, and afterwards we jump straight into another one with more determination to win. When you put on the tryhard boots, it can lead to some really intense games.

There is a lot of theorycrafting and lore. For those of you who love to read lore, there's enough to keep you busy. For the budding strategist, you could spend months planning team compositions, evolving your battle tactics for every possible situation. The meta is always changing, and keeping up is hard enough- never mind setting the trend.

Quitting does not have to be permanent. Once you decide to stop playing, you can leave League for months at a time. There's nothing demanding that you play for at least an hour a day, like a lot of current MMO games that require a certain amount of dedication. You can stop at one game, and not worry that you missed out because you didn't play ten.

You will never master every champion. Take this from me, I've played over 2000 games now and I'm proficient with every character and even exceptional with quite a few. I've only perfected my play on a handful. Trust me, you will never master every champion. Not even the best players in the world are arrogant enough to say that.

The meta-game is always evolving. With a new hero to play every two weeks, patch changes and player trends, the highest level of League play is always adjusting. No single champion will persistently be overpowered, since when it becomes popular- the counter for it will also become popular.

Although I'm sure this doesn't attribute to all the reasons I play LoL, I currently cannot think of what else to add. I think I've demonstrated a good multitude of reasons for my continued decision to play. Make sure to comment if you have something to add, or just if you agree!

Pulsefire Ezreal screenshots

Even the recall is different.

With my earlier post on Pulsefire Ezreal, I thought I'd follow up with some screenshots of his animations. This skin is very well animated and I think you'll like them if you haven't seen them already.

Don't fuck with Annie.

All of these images were taken in one match, it was a good game but we still lost to a fed Skarner and feeding Tryndamere. I really enjoy playing with Pulsefire, but I might stop until they fix the last hitting issue.

Upgraded Pulsefire looks more like a cyborg.

I really want to see more skins with custom animations like this, it really inspires people to buy them more. Clearly we should all spam Riot forums demanding more stuff like this, it worked for Pool Party Ziggs.

The dance is clearly the best part of the skin.
The dance as seen above is the best part by far, and I even use it to face check bushes for me, despite it pissing people off and usually getting me killed (if you have Pulsefire try it, and see how they focus you all game because of it).

If you like the skin, leave a comment and tell us why!

10 Oct 2012

Pulsefire Ezreal

I've been playing a lot of Ezreal recently, one of my favorite champions. I've played him so many times I couldn't guess the total. The face time he's had at the season 2 tournament has demonstrated how truly powerful Ez can be and also managed to reestablish my motivation to play him.

A friend of mine bought me the Pulsefire skin upon release, due to it being half price. I love playing using it, although it feels a bit like boasting and puts me under pressure to do well every match. I do, for the most part.

The cannon seems a little bigger than ingame.

The morphing upon grabbing a new rank of your ultimate is really awesome, and I do hope Riot introduce a few more skins with the same amount of effort.

One issue I've noticed is once in a while a last hit appears not to go through only whilst using Pulsefire. This seems to be a minor issue but if people are truly missing a few last hits each game and precious gold, it is something that should be fixed immediately.

I feel kinda stupid having two skins for one champion.

I may or may not also own Frosted Ezreal as well. But I guess if I would have more than a single skin for a character, Ezreal would be my choice.

Anyone else share the love for our homo Ez? Or do you hate him and his stupid anime face?

6 Oct 2012

Are 1v1 matches a good way to determine who is the better player?

I had this discussion with a couple of friends today, and it was a very contested debate. Some of us believe that under the right conditions, a one versus one game can dictate which player is superior. Whilst on the other hand, this evidence is not entirely definitive, it's possibly the best way to make a judgement on whom has the higher skill level.

In my opinion there is a way to have a feasibly close contest; albeit not entirely fair. First, both players choose the same champion. One that they both feel comfortable playing and confident on. Once you have selected this character, proceed to a game using your own decision on runes and summoner spells. I feel it would be a better competition if both champions are confined to one lane, just to make sure both players are consistently in contest with each other.

Since one match won't guarantee a certain result, the best of three to five games is ideally the best way to decide who is the overall winner.

My question to everyone reading this post is: what do you think is the best way to solve a dispute between two players? How would you stage a competition that would reliably prove which person is exceptional, and which is a baddie?

5 Oct 2012

World Championships

So the season two World Championships are well under way with several matches already over. I watched a little of the games, some very high levels of play going on. I'm not really interested in these tournaments, but I suppose they warrant at least one post.

Here are the Group A scores so far for those interested:

I'm surprised SK are doing so bad, I thought they were better. With the final worth $2 million, everyone is going to be putting on their tryhard caps.

Each team has a very pretty logo, you can even represent them with your summoner profile online. I wish I had more to say about the World Tournaments, but sadly I'd rather play myself instead of watch other people.

So what squad is your favorite?

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