A returning player’s perspective on League of Legends in 2018

league of legends 2018 header

I used to play a lot of League of Legends back in the day. Like… A lot. Way too much. As I’m sure happens for many people, it became a bit of a problem, and I had to dial it back in order to get my life back in order.
I did this gradually, and eventually quit and didn’t touch it for years… Until a week or two ago.

A friend of mine messaged asking if I wanted to revisit it, and I thought “Hey, I’ve got my life in much better order now. Why not.” and boy, its hooked me right away.
It’s hard to say what it is about this game, but heck, I love it. I find it massively addicting. I suppose it’s the sense of always having someone better than you. The skill-ceiling is tremendously high, way out of sight of nearly everyone but a select few.
Those Godly folks in the Challenger tier. I’m not exactly jealous though, those people have to dedicate their entire lives to playing this game in order to reach that level of skill, and sure, most of them also play professionally, which is really damn cool, but that’s just not for me.

I’ve never been much of a serious player, but I did play a lot of ranked back in my time, and let me tell you, ranked in this game is taken so very very seriously by 99% of the players you’ll run into, it is so stressful.
Whether it be due to unfair disadvantages such as players leaving or refusing to play seriously because “**** you” and “**** that“, it’s not often you end up with a rank that is fairly representative of your skills. It’s because of this that I’m currently avoiding ranked and simply enjoying my time in normal modes.

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Anyways, to the new stuff. I was surprised to see just how much has changed. Seriously, they overhauled this game like there was no tomorrow.
Firstly, the launcher. It’s totally different to what I knew and was accustomed to three or four years ago! It’s now super sleek, with everything you could ever want or need handily in one place. Assuming you can find it, that is. Menus are hidden under menus, under.. Menus.. Under menus. You get used to it, but it’s a wee bit confusing.

Another big change I’m seeing is the lack of the Gold currency. It’s completely gone. Kaput. Missing.
In its stead, is something they’re calling “Blue Essence”. Now, I don’t fully understand how it works, but from my understanding, as you level up, you receive chests (which are also a new thing) and in those chests is Blue Essence, among a scattering of other things.
Such as character.. Shards? And keys? Um.
From what I can tell, character shards are used to reduce the price of.. Well, characters, or skins to which they match up with.
And keys… You collect three and can then open a chest to get more stuff. Probably more keys.
… It’s a lot. It seems like a fairly deep system, which is nice, but by heck is it confusing.

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Getting into game is now either better than ever, or just as bad as ever.
And by that I mean… Blind pick still exists. Why? Why?!
They’ve completely overhauled draft pick, making it better than blind pick in every conceivable way. You can now select a primary and secondary map position, and you’ll be matched up to a game according to your preferences. By default a feature called “Autofill” is enabled, which will fill you into any open position should your desired game take too long to find. You can of course turn this off though.
You’re then thrown into the character select lobby, where each player now first declares the champion they wish to play, without actually locking anything in. Simply a way of letting your teammates know who it is you want to play, as next you’ll each be given the opportunity to ban a character.
The key here is not to ban someone your teammates want to play. Trust me, they will not like you very much for that.

To me though, this feels like what should be the default system in place of blind pick.
I tried out a couple games of blind, and yeah, it’s as chaotic and argumentative as ever. Everyone rushing into the lobby to type out their lane, it’s silly.

Around the time I stopped playing, the newest character I remember was Illaoi. She wasn’t terribly exciting, and my interest just kinda wavered.
Coming back now and seeing all the new characters they’ve added is hugely exciting. I’ve been having a blast going through them all and reading up on their skills.
My favourite of the new ones I’ve tried is Xayah, an ADC champion who works best when paired with her boyfriend champion Rakan, a funny concept. Though I’ve so far been playing her in the mindset of having broken up with him and angrily taking out opponents by herself. I was honestly worried that she’d struggle without him, but thankfully she’s still a very viable marksman.

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Another character I messed around with was Zoe, who is… Very, very difficult to play. Like what the heck am I doing, firing things behind me and then forward and ooh my head. Absolutely love the character design though, so I may attempt to play her again in the future.
Someone I most definitely won’t be trying again any time soon though, is a literal earth-bender named Taliyah. Let’s just say… Her moves don’t make a lot of sense to me and I did not make my teammates very happy. Not one bit.

Overall though, the core game and gameplay is unchanged, apart from a bunch of things I still don’t fully understand, such as a.. Mini baron.. Bug, fella? And the appearance of several dragons?! I dunno what’s going on there.
Scattered around the map are a bunch of useful plant things too, it’s neat.
There are a lot of small but very useful additions, such as the ability to alert your teammates to your current ping or amount of gold in-hand without the need to type.
Little things like that really show that the devs know the game, and what should be added to make it a more pleasant experience all-around.

I’m definitely back into the game, it’s super good fun. Plus with the addition of the KDA skins, those are.. Those are really something.
I’ll likely tire of the game again in time, but for now, I’m going to take it easy and enjoy it in small bursts when I have free time.
I’m happy to see the community still booming, and the actual game keeping fresh and exciting.


But what about you? Have you ever played League of Legends? And if you have, what do you make of the recent changes? Good? Bad? Somewhere in-between? I’m genuinely curious to hear!

Published by

Ryan McCarthy

I write about games a lot.

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