I’ll admit it upfront, I love playing League of Legends–and yet, I’m not sure why.
Perhaps it’s the near Poke’mon level of data that you need to know to play well. Perhaps it’s that the game has good feedback and is something I can just sit down and play when I need a brain break. Perhaps it’s just that I miss playing Diablo2 competitively and this scratches the itch better than Phantasy Star Online/Universe. And while it does certainly sate my MMO craving quite nicely, I don’t need to actively play nearly as much as say, World of Warcraft. Granted, I spend a good part of my waking time at least unconsciously playing. I read blogs and the forums. I pick apart games I’ve either watched or played and try to figure out mistakes. I theorycraft almost constantly.
Obsessive as it sounds though, this “inactive playing” allows me to do other things, like have other hobbies or pursue my Masters while still playing a game that requires a pretty steep investment to play at a decent level. If I was still playing PSO/PSU or Diablo2, this style of playing would certainly not be the case–there would only be farming and grinding. With LoL, I can still improve even when not sitting on the client and in a game.
That’s actually a point that’s always sort of bothered me about MMOs. Even when you carry a large burden of knowledge, much of it isn’t really all that useful. Even if I know that ratios on a monster’s drop table, or how ofter they’ll show up in an area, it isn’t really like knowing that changes anything about the game. The system is still in control. I mean yes, I still need to invest hours into League to improve mechanically. However, I can spend four hours a day, half thinking about how to play Alistar and still get other things done and still improve whereas if I was playing WoW or something like it, I’d have to have played for four hours to show any real improvement–the game depends more on levels ground and gear farmed than knowing how to combat a specific enemy.
I put in for a DoTA2 beta key, but haven’t heard back yet, so I don’t know if its just LoL or if the entire MOBA genre is as enjoyable for me to play. I do know however, that I couldn’t juggle two of these games. It’s bad enough I can still remember every move on every pokemon from Ruby/Sapphire and back–I don’t need to clog up my brain with any more extraneous datas.