Category Archives: League of Legends

League of Legends: why Team Builder scares me

I played two games of League the other night.

The first was  in Team Builder. The other was a normal Blind Pick.

In the  Team Builder game I picked  Morgana support. I was the last to arrive and we went straight into a game.

It soon became clear that my team knew what they were doing. They were timing buffs, they had a jungler who was actually jungling and they took Dragon. I’m the first to admit that my Morgana is not brilliant. She’s not my favourite champ, I find her functional rather than fun and I’m still getting used to her skill shots and cooldowns.  I ended up laning with a Twitch who snapped at me a couple of times for missing shields and it felt pretty pressured. We finished winning, I found myself soloing their nexus ( I’ve no memory of where everyone else was) but throughout the entire game I felt I was running to catch up with the rest of the team in skill and knowledge.

Afterwards, I checked their profiles. All were level 30, I’m level 29. Three were playing ranked (Bronze but still); everyone had won more than three times the number of games I had. I was outclassed.

In the second game, I decided I wanted to try jungling on my newest champ, Amumu. I’d read some jungling guides, watched videos and practiced with bots. I was ready to go! The team composition was fair. We had a top Jax, Twitch ADC, Katarina mid; and a Teemo…as support I guessed. Everyone seemed fine with Amumu wherever he was going.  However once the game started no-one seemed to really care what anyone was doing. Teemo started to roam almost immediately. I started off ready to jungle, full of enthusiasm but it soon became obvious that the other team had no intention of jungling and their Pantheon and Yi were going to stay top. So, with a little sigh, I sold my Quill Coat which I’d already bought and stayed top with Jax.

No-one flamed though Teemo had some trouble,  complaining at our Kat, largely because at one stage she pegged it leaving him to die, I’m not too sure who to, because I was legging it alongside her. Sometimes to stay is to die. For some reason Teemo had decided that Kat was the one responsible for keeping him alive against all odds, and now demanded that she be reported. He ignored my contribution in his death, maybe because he didn’t know what Amumu was.  After that, Kat received a couple more similar complaints but seemed to find it amusing rather than anything else. Poor Teemo lost heart at this stage and kept putting up surrender votes which were largely ignored and insisting that we vote YES because we were going to LOOSE!!!!!

We didn’t. The other team surrended instead (their Nidalee was afk).

I looked up Teemo’s profile when we’d finished. It was like a small glimpse of insanity. Every game they’d played Teemo. Every. Single. One. Row after row after row after row of that inane, chirpy, grinning face filling their match history……worrying.


Teemo aka Satan. Cutest Champ in League. Small, fast; deadly with poisonous invisible mushrooms. It’s said that if the Great Old One Cthulhu had an alternate form it would be Teemo.

So, one Team Builder game stressful with players above my level, the other Blind Pick; with players pitched just about right, yes, even the Teemo. I’ve found this before. The TB matchmaking isn’t quite right; it’s separate from Blind Pick. The more games you play, the better it gets, but that still means there’s a time when you’re likely to be playing with much better players with specific expectations of you in the role you’ve queued in. The worst behaviour I’ve seen in League has all been in Team Builder with higher level players raging. It makes me wary of playing Team Builder unless I’m playing a role I’m confident with on one of my comfort picks.

League of Legends: EUW has a new server!

On the 10th June 2014, during the early hours, the EUW server was brought down for maintenance. It stayed down for over 24 hours (with only a few brief wobbly re-appearances in between time) Something had gone terribly wrong. Three days of match history, in-game purchases and league changes were missing.

By last night it had been fully returned to us in working order, though still requiring a few tweaks here and there.  Oh dear though, it all caused so much gamer outrage! Ouch. The LoL gaming population were divided between those who just stared blank-eyed and frothing at the blank screen, only breaking to pour out their indignation all over reddit, and those who went and did something else and were fine. An argument, I’d say, for ensuring one has a wide and varied game portfolio (I heard the ‘something else’ may even have included not-gaming but  I’m not so sure about that because that’s weird).

It later emerged that the complications had arisen during the (long awaited) EUW server transfer to Amsterdam. Long awaited since it had seemed before, that almost every weekend was marked by the Frankfurt server crashing and games being lost. An upgrade had been needed for some time.

So overall, it was a good thing. But Riot. Next time anything like this is planned; warn your players!

Riot! Hire that woman!


League of Legends: I have a green ribbon! I don’t have a green ribbon

Easy come, easy go.

Or rather not not so easy come, far too easy go.

I’ve been playing a lot of League of Legends recently.

Now the LoL community is famed for being toxic. Riot, the developers, have done much work trying to figure out ‘the psychology of the toxic player’ and how to reduce toxicity in the game. They’ve got sticks; a tribunal system where players vote on the behaviour of their reported colleagues and decide punishment (though the tribunal is currently suspended pending a rework) and currently a series of chat restrictions. They also have carrots; the honour system. After a game you can choose to honour your colleagues in a number of categories: helpful, teamwork and friendly. You can also decide to honour opponents under the honorable opponent category.

After you have received an unknown number of these in an unspecificed number of games, you get a ribbon, a different colour for each category; some ribbons requiring honours in a mix of categories.

Green= Teamwork, Blue = Helpful, Yellow = Leadership, Red = Honorable Opponent

Green= Teamwork, Blue = Helpful, Yellow = Leadership, Red = Honorable Opponent

And I got a green ribbon for teamwork! It just appeared one day. It was a little ribbon across the corner of my champion profile, it looked so nice and so green. It was lovely. But then, it was gone. Just like that. To keep it, you need to consistently keep getting honoured over a number of matches. If you aren’t, for instance if you start playing in pre-mades (honours from friends count for less), it goes.

I can understand this. You might be a ribbon wearer and go bad, bringing all your fellow ribbon wearers into disrepute. But it would be nice to have some record that once, you had a ribbon. Something you could look at and remember it by.

Otherwise, Riot is in a way punishing it’s honourable players by giving them something and then cruelly snatching it away. You get your ribbon, but then, you know, it will all inexorably end in sorrow and loss as your little ribbon disappears and you finish with; Nothing. Maybe it was all a dream.

This was Me!

This was Me! Then it wasn’t

League of Legends; learning more, building and support

So far most of my games have been against bots.

Now it was time to try real players. I decided to carry on playing Dominion mode since it seemed easier so far. In my first game, I used my trusty Goin’ Around tactic with Alistar and went around, and around and around, back a bit, across a couple of times, then back to going around. And it worked a treat. We won.

Then a clanmate decided to haul me into a couple of games on Summoner’s Rift, I’d only played this twice against real people, with one victory. To my surprise we won both games. I played Alistar, mostly bumbling around in the bottom lane.

I learnt a bit more, when I played another couple of games, this time against Intermediate bots, with more Clan. By this time I’d finally worked out how to build one item from another. I’d been too generally bewildered before to think about it. So, if, say, you bought a ruby crystal giving you 180 health for 475 gold (your starting amount), you could later upgrade it to a Heart of Gold; 250 health plus an extra 5 gold every 10 seconds. However, the cost of the ruby crystal counts towards the cost of the Heart of Gold.  When you buy it, your crystal disappears from your inventory. Overall, this means you can build up to more expensive and powerful items, but still benefit from less powerful ones in the meantime.

I’d been using Doran’s ring and Doran’s shield and hadn’t understood why people on forums seemed to be sniffy about them, they’d seemed good items. Well, I was told, it was because you can’t build from them. You can only sell them outright, and at a loss.

I played Alistar as a support, so I learnt about that. As a support, he protected his carry allowing them to farm by last-hitting minions (the player that delivers the killing blow gets extra gold) and getting the kills on champs. Carries need the gold to buy items that allow them to give maximum damage (they are the squishier dps deliverers). Once Alistar had Heart of Gold, I found he could buy what he needed anyway. My final score was 0/4/17 (kills/deaths/assists), alright or not; no idea! I really wasn’t sure if I was doing anything useful.

I also found out about Dragon and Baron which I’d seen mentioned. I’d hoped that they magically appeared at random from the sky but they don’t. They’re just a couple of the neutral mobs on the map that are harder to kill but give extra gold. And I learnt about using wards which reveal hidden enemies; useful against ganking.

But while all this learning and serious business was going on, of course Berath’s Brain Burps had to bring a certain amount of confusion and foolishness to the table. Spells and skills are mapped to various keys on the keyboard. There is a spell Recall, that automatically transports you back to the start of the map after a time delay, seen on a progress bar. This is mapped to ‘b’, as I discovered. The team communicated using Mumble. My push-to-talk key is was ‘b’. Everytime I tried to say something I started to teleport back to the base. As a result I. could. only. talk. in. very. short. bursts. At first the others though it was lag or my mic cutting out and were concerned. Eventually they understood.

League of Legends Dominion mode: Goin’ Around, pro l33t tactic

It’s been a while since I’ve played League of Legends, I’ve been distracted by TF2 and Highlander and Super Monday Night Combat. Anyway, I decided to have another go the other evening.

Last year, Riot introduced a new game mode to League of Legends, Dominion mode. Rather than pushing lanes and getting kills, this mode focussed on capturing and holding areas, very much like on a TF2 5cp map. Each team of 5 starts with 500 points. The team that holds the least number of areas starts to lose points. The team that reaches zero first, looses. All over the map there are buffs and health packs to help you on your way. It all seemed more straightforward than the conventional League of Legends with all it’s talk of Dragon and Baron, laning and jungling; slightly less daunting for a newer player. I thought I’d try it.

Map from above

Once I’d selected a players vs bots game, I found I could select between beginner and intermediate levels, for playing either Dominion mode or Summoner’s Rift. I wasn’t sure that that had been there before. Whatever, it felt reassuring.  I selected Beginner and my fave champion, Alistar, the tanking minotaur.

The game was a disaster. I was confused. One of my team mates was floundering too. He announced it was his first game ever and that he was French. I said bonjour and we commiserated (with our newness, not his Frenchness). However out of the other three players, one at least was obviously an L33t uber pro. After we lost badly, he cursed us and called us noobs. I said we were. Beginner game + vs bots + level 9/10 matchmade game = new players. Not difficult.

But anyway, first game; Defeat. Second game; Defeat. Third game; Defeat. It wasn’t going well. Alistar was slow, it was hard for him to reach areas. I felt I was always running to catch up  and leaving myself isolated and vulnerable to ganking. So I decided to change to Tristana. Tristana is a ranged carry; basically ranged dps with reasonable movement speed and with her, I won my first victory.

It was also during this game, that everything suddenly clicked, it helped that this was the first team I’d played on where people actually seemed to be working together, and I developed my pro Dominion tactic; Goin’ Around. To briefly explain:

  • You stick with at least one other member of your team. This is important. Sticking with a member of the opposite team would be less effective.
  • Together, you ‘Go Around’ the map, from point to point, capturing  each one but remembering you only need to hold 3/5.
  • As you Go Around, avoid the other team unless there are lots of you

And that’s about it!

Now, full of confidence, I changed back to Alistar; and a string of Victories followed. As a pair, Alistar and his chosen champ could protect each other. We used the mini-map to watch for ganks, but also timing our own and moving out to support others when needed. There were some lovely moments when Alistar used Pulverise to throw back a bot closing in on a low health ally then topped them up with a healing Triumphant Roar, giving them just enough space and health to survive and escape. Then Alistar and/or another could step in to finish the bot off.

Even though they were only Beginner bots, it was good.

And the less intense environment gave me an opportunity to explore some of the items and learn some of the basics of skills and teamwork.

League of Legends (with a sprinkle of Super Monday Night Combat)

Well the League of Legends dabbling continues. I’ve even won a game now playing against real people, hauled into the game by a fellow WDGer, determined I should see a victory. I played as Alistar. As usual. He’s tanky and he heals and can stomp a bit, I mean what could be better?  Everyone took carries of some sort (carry = damage dealer: ‘carries’ team to victory, weaker in early game, stronger in late game, as far as I understand it), so I decided to go tanky to protect my co-laner (is that a word?) and let them build up with gold and experience gained through kills.

I’ve no idea if I did this. At first I died a lot. This is bad. If you die, the other side gets points and money which allow them to build..good for their carries. My team informed me of this. And they did this nicely. And I was nice too. They also told me nicely to use the map. And to stay in the bottom lane and hold it. And finely to just stay by our nexus (base) to defend it. Whilst they destroyed the nexus of the opposing team up the other end in a fierce battle. At the finish they told me I defended well. I think they were impressed.

Anyhow, League of Legends is known as a MOBA, a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, game. The learned Readership will be able to identify key elements of these games in the description above; player character levels up fighting alongside others, all assisted by NPC units controlled by the game AI.

Super Monday Night Combat is another MOBA.  I’m in the beta at the moment and just getting to know it. On the first attempt, again I played with WDGers (3 of them) and we were steamrolled. We had no idea what was happening, though by the end we had worked out how to get ourselves into the same team and how to tell who we were fighting against which was progress I thought and good, being a beta certain aspects lack the clarity they should have. By the second go, playing on my own, I’d actually worked out the game was an MOBA and I needed to play it like LoL, before I’d looked at it as an fps. I practiced with bots, discovered how to buy and increase skills, then it was into a game. And my team won. I played a gunner, the pro I feel most at home with at the moment. Guess what. He’s tanky and he stomps a bit. Doesn’t heal though.

Trying League of Legends

I quote: A good ratio is 150 creeps by 20-25 minutes, If I get a good lane when I play AD carry (MF <3), I have around 175-200 by that time, which equals around 220 AD from full AD builds. If you get the metagame rolling (meaning an actual good toplaner like Garen) everyone should have that farm, even the mid, theres no excuse. Jungle gets a freebie, Support will get a /ignore when he exceeds the 30 J

It’s an extraction from a thread on the WDG  forum about playing League of Legends.

And it’s incomprehensible (sorry Karthus).

So it was obvious that I had to give it a go.

LoL is f2p, and the nearest thing to my current playing experience, is PvP in LOTRO or Rift. Basically you control a Champion with various skills/spells/attributes/items. And you fight, on your own or with others, either other player-controlled Champions or bots; you can fight with bots as well.  The Champions are reinforced by a number of NPC minions who carry out most of the basic fighting. Your goal is destroy enemy turrets placed in paths, called lanes, and eventually the enemies Nexus, all the while gathering gold and experience points.

But of course there is more to it than that.

I worked my way through the two tutorials. Then decided to try a co-op game with all bots. Except I didn’t. I first cottoned that they might be real people alongside me, when they seemed to be in discussion, and only the opposing Champions were called Something-bot. I was playing something called Fiddlesticks that appeared to be a kind of undead thing, chosen at random and in slight panic in the few seconds we were given to prepare at the start. And I seemed to be in the wrong lane. Fortunately, having done the tutorial, I knew what one of the others meant when he said

‘Berathe, you need to go to the top lane’

I might be clueless, but I was obedient too. So I went.

After that, things happened but it seemed to go. I was with another Champion; we sort of managed with the help of the first player, who ever so often left his lane to wade in. I clicked buttons, bought random items at the shop and died a lot.

Two champions, one turret, lots of minions

We finished victorious (I suspect this is usually the case against bots). My associates gg’d (good gamed) each other, so it seemed my total ineptitude hadn’t ruined the game.

Anyhow, for the next few games, it’s been all bots. I played one co-op with WDG people which gave an indicationof what the game’s potential and one where we went against other players; we lost but it wasn’t particularly well-matched, our levels were all over the place. I’m still working out my playstyle; in MMOs I’ve tended towards tanks. So far, it seems to be tank/heal/support.


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