Why I’m considering leaving League of Legends.
By choice. Last time I was forced to due to life.
Recently John and I expressed our displeasure at the state of our gaming lives. We were raised on the NES with The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros (1-3), Duck Hunt (we had a laser gun, yes we did). Eventually along came an N64 and I got a Gameboy Color (yes, I, the younger sister, was given our first hand held). I played the shit out of some pokemon, enough that when we moved a couple years ago and I dug up my cartridges again I was devastated to learn the batteries had died and all save files were lost to the aether (they can’t be saved to again, either). Blue, Silver, and Crystal. And I had a max level Dragonair on all of them. I bought them from the Team Rocket casinos, spent hours farming up those coins, raised them all up and never let them evolve to Dragonite, because he’s ugly as fuck. Despite our family’s financial situation we always had friends who were much better off and we got to play Halo, Counter Strike, Left 4 Dead, the modern stuff. We were also into WoW for quite a time; John more than me because he had the money to keep up with a monthly subscription, I was not as successful an earner. WoW, however, I left for more reasons than money but I’m not here to give Blizzard a slap or tell ActiVision I hope their company fails catastrophically one day.
The point is everything has become social. John and I are not social creatures. We’re totally pumped to play with our friends, that’s great fun, but most games these days force you to play with people you don’t know and who are, very often, complete and total douche fucks. Because that’s how the internet (and the world) rolls.
Having to play M/MO-anything is like going to a big party. Usually when someone says to me “hey, there’s a party Saturday night” I’m like “… are you going to try to make me go?” A party is rarely my idea of fun. If I know it’s a small party of mostly my friends with a few people I’m most likely going to get along with, I am 100% down. Otherwise, gtfo. The main problem with League and WoW and GW/2 and LotRO and DOTA/2 and all the other M/MOs is that their premise is cool and they have nice attributes, but they’re a dick friend that shows up randomly at my house with 50 random people and pushes their way inside to start a kegger.
“Man, I just need to stop playing games that involve other people.” is one of the exasperated things John said to me.
Now, all this time League has had something going for it over all other M/MOs: The Summoner’s Code. Riot essentially implemented a code of conduct so that you can report someone for being a jackass and have them do something about it. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes you can nail a scumbag to the wall and remove their toxicity from the game environment. But Riot can’t always be the manners police, and sometimes mostly decent players go bad and make your experience horrible. League also has another thing going for it: The Low Elo Community. People who take the summoner’s code seriously and think you should strive to be a classy player no matter what game you’re playing. I got into this, I met a lot of great people that I like playing with. Unfortunately, the great people at Low Elo are about as common per person as decent people are in the whole population of League. There are still idiots and jackasses who manage to skate by. To the point that while I still like the good ones as people and will continue to stay in contact with them, and the podcast is totally baller and I’ll keep listening to it, Low Elo is not enough to make me want to stay around.
Enter a new challenger: The Banner Saga by Stoic Studios. I am a kickstarter backer for the project and the core of the game is a single player campaign with a similar choice system to Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and SWTOR (because the guys who founded Stoic worked closely on SWTOR) with a turn-based chess-like strategic combat system. Because the KS was so wildly successful and they’ve been able to expand the game so much, they’ve decided to release the combat system (called The Banner Saga: Factions) as a free to play game where you gain Renown for playing (like IP in League) and can also purchase in game currency for upgrades and unit purchases and whatnot (like RP). However, Stoic has specifically stated that there will be no item, unit, upgrade, or any other consumable that will not have a Renown price. You should be able to play the game without paying a cent and get everything someone with money has access to.
I got into the 1st phase of the beta this weekend (closed to backers only, at the moment) and can I just say: winning and losing are equally as fun. All the sprites are hand animated, the backgrounds are digital paintings, and the music is done by Austin Wintory (he did the music for that Journey game, right?). I am incapable of being angry even if the enemy just killed my two Varls and my axemen and his whole team is chasing my archers around the area. And you know what else is great? I am my team. It’s just me, and I am never forced to be on a team with any one else (allied teams I believe are a feature to be added later). And my opponent? Given that this beta is closed to backers only right now and this is a turn-based strategy game, I have yet to find a single troll or unintelligent being that doesn’t call gg, complement tactics, or even share knowledge mid-battle. I know this likely won’t last, but the best thing about being the single leader of a team is hiding the chat box and completely ignoring unclassy communication from a scumbag enemy.
There is no doubt I am going whole hog into TBS:F throughout this beta and into release.
I think the one thing that may keep me in League is the new rework of 3s. A mutual League-playing friend has fallen in love with the new map and John and I are down with playing since it would be a team full of friends playing a quicker game. If I continue to play it will only be 3s and only with friends (LE e-bros might be able to talk me into a summoner’s rift with them every now and then). And if I stick around long enough to get my account to level 30, we will likely only play normal and ranked 3s together as a team; no matter if Riot decides to never publicly recognize this portion of their game like they do 5s in the multimillion dollar world championship way, we will only play 3s. Honestly, since there’s no money commitment I’m far less compelled to leave League like I did WoW, but one of the reasons I’d like to leave is the same between them.
I hope more games like The Banner Saga: Factions come out and companies will stop trying to force private nerds into being mainstream extroverts. You won’t (and don’t) like us when we’re out of our comfort zone…