Thursday, February 3, 2011

League of Legends (The Good, Bad, and the Downright Hideous)

Recently, I've been playing a lot of League of Legends. I wouldn't say that it's my new favourite indie game, but it's way up there.

Seriously, as free* games go, this has to be one of the best I've played. If you like DotA and DotA like games, and can't wait for the highly anticipated release, and what could possibly be the most groundbreaking and innovative 'DotA' of all time that is DotA 2**, give this a try.

League of Legends has a bunch of things going for it. For one, there are so many heroes to choose from it's virtually impossible to not find one that you like. It has a 'rune' system, where runes increase certain stats like critical strike chance and mana regeneration (and many many more) letting the player customize their character however they want to, and that is enforced even more with the Mastery system, which is essentially WoW's talent tree system but worse.

I was hoping to segue into that with a bit more finesse. Hmm.

Well, let's get right to it - League of Legends is nearly a perfect game if it were not for these two limitations.
A) Trial-and-Error is the only way to tell if a certain hero is to your liking, and when games can take up to 45 minutes (or more) to complete, that's a lot of time for you to call yourself stupid for not choosing Tryndamere (or whatever your preferred Champion is).
B) The 'Mastery' system is stupid, because the stat boosts are pathetically small to make any kind of difference.

Remember the old telent trees for World of Warcraft? Remember how you just bypassed talents that increased your chance to hit by a measely 3% at the highest level because you considered it a waste of everyone's time***? Well, half the talents in all three Mastery trees are exactly that kind of talent - pointless wastes of time because you would much rather spend your well earned talent point on something that actually improves something. Or more importantly, visibly improves something.

Increassing my attack speed by whole 4% after putting four points into the talent (1 point per level) just doesn't sit well with me. Who the hell is going to notice a 4% attack speed increase? And niether does increasing my damage output by 5% after putting roughly 20 points into the tree itself. After 21 levels, all I have to show for it is a 5% increase in damage?

What's perplexing is the Rune system already has the whole 'stat increase' thing completely covered, so why the developers for League of Legends thought to even include the Mastery system in the first place confuzzles**** me.

I would do one of two things - either remove the Mastery business entirely or renovate it. If you're going to make it look like the WoW talent tree, you might as well keep up with the Joneses and make each tree less about improving stats and sometimes giving you useful stuff and more about specifically improving your character.

I've been thinking about this for a bit, and I may have a solution*****. Replace the 'Utility' tree with the 'Magica' tree, and make that ree al about mana and ability power. Make the 'Defensive' tree all about armour and blocking damage, and make the 'Offensive' tree all about critical strikes, dealing damage, etc.

Then make the 'Utility' tree a "sub tree", that acts more like a Trait system- hang on, just bear with me here.

At level 1, level 5 and every 5 levels after, you would get a point to spend on the Utility tree. The Utility tree contains things that would benifit any player; things like gold aquisition, effectiveness of items in one way or another, and cooldown of summoner abilities, and other bonuses.

Doing something like this would be really good for the 2.0 patch. And if the guys at Riot Games are planning on doing something big like this for the 2.0 patch, could they also retcon Fiddlesticks out of existence? I hate that guy.

* Free to play, that is. So for, I've given them $10 USD for Riot Points, the game's other currency.
** You could smell the sarcasm, couldn't you?
*** I sure as hell did.
**** Being "confuzzled" is like being confused, but also being puzzled. It's twice as worse as either.
***** Remember, you saw it here first.