Hi, I’m Ethan, a League of Legends noob, welcome to the first installment in a seven-week journey of learning League of Legends. In this, I hope to do two things. The first, learn to actually play the game so I can feel better about myself. The second, to immerse myself in the professional Esports scene in time for the 2020 LCS Summer Split. Now I know this will not be an easy journey. Yet I am filled with immense passion and motivation. I have been fascinated by this game for too long and dammit I will learn it. This journey will get me to the point where I can at last understand what the heck is going on.
Part of the reason for my wanting to do this series is because I am incredibly nervous about trying League of Legends. I had heard that the game was very difficult to get into. There were so many little parts to it that made it very different than the majority of the games I had played in my life. Yet what set me to really give it a go was a video League of Legends put out a few years ago. Seeing so many fans be so passionate about this game I had only heard of made me take notice. It made me want to get involved in the scene myself.
I then thought that I am likely not alone in my anxiety regarding the game. There may be other noobs like me who may want to play and watch but are unsure of how that may go. Thus inspiring me to start this series in time for the upcoming Summer Split, for all other noobs out there.
To start things off though I did have to download the game. Really a logical first step. Step two however would involve convincing the only other friends I have with League experience to help me. Which is where the journey truly begins.
Turns out step two was way easier than I anticipated. Starting off I talked to a friend of mine named Patrick who I knew to be an avid League fan (he claims his favourite team is Dignitas). He is a person with a history with League, mostly that he used to play a lot. Some may say too much but to each their own. Knowing this I thought he could help me. Now at this point I had done some preliminary research into the game. Watched a few videos, read a quick little guide, etc.
I thought I would go big right off the bat. I suggesting I should begin by playing what sounded like the coolest position, Jungle. In my mind that sounded awesome and I assumed fun. I said to Partick “I want to play Jungle”, and promptly he laughed in my face. In a manner of speaking, we were on discord but it still technically was in my face although he did leave the screen for a moment to collect himself.
Still I was not sure why he would be laughing this time. He soon stopped laughing, gave me a friendly smile, and said “no”. I will be completely honest I legit did not know why he was laughing, again I am a big noob here and I didn’t understand that this position was the most complex and tricky to play. Especially right as you are starting to learn the game.
We then dragged another friend named Bryan into this little escapade. He is a person who plays a vast variety of games with League being a particular favourite. A devoted Cloud 9 fan he is reasonably well versed in the game and its Esport scene. Now that the crew was at least partially assembled, it was time to play. The first thought that came to me as I started the tutorial was actually a small but kind of significant one for me. I had to change my finger placement on the keyboard. I primarily play Overwatch so my fingers instinctively go to that “WASD” figuration.
For the first time on PC I would have to rework the way my hands are on the keyboard. This may seem a weird thing to focus on. Yet, to people who are familiar with other games this was somewhat big. In addition this also meant that for the first time my movement in a PC game would not be controlled by the WASD configuration. Instead controlled by the mouse. Honestly this felt strange and yea this game is hard. This was the first stumble to overcome. Once that was sorted I felt at least a bit more physically comfortable in the game. Comfortable but no more skilled. Just more prepared for the first night.
I say again this game is hard. Really fun, but hard. The amount of things you have to keep track of is overwhelming most of the time. You don’t just go out and click heads, there is a lot of clicking because that is how you move but rarely on actual heads. Everything from earning gold, to items and their various uses.
Visually the game entices a noob like myself who is easily wowed by bright colours and things that go boom. Sometimes it does feel like it is way too much to try and grasp, but then you eventually beat some robots in a game and you feel great. Real people on the other hand is a different story. Jokes aside there is clearly a steep learning curve and the game rewards patience as much as aggression. Which is one lesson I learned in the two nights I played this week.
The first night we played a total of five games. After a few hard losses things kind of started to blur together. Four of these games were against actual human beings. One thing that became apparent is that the moment things start looking bleak, say the teammates who were not in my group, were quick to call for surrender. As a new player it saddened me to see. The desire to want to end it and just start over is understandable to a degree so I wasn’t mad just disappointed. I had built up this game in my head for a long time and was excited to learn it. I still am and I will not give up. Frankly I didn’t even know surrender was an option. In short to quote Galaxy Quest “Never Give Up, Never Surrender”. So even though to some more experienced gamers it may seem a rude move, we never surrendered. We would continue to soldier on into night two.
Night two found us just playing three games. Two vs the robots. One vs people. Against the robots we faired really well. They put up a good fight to be fair but in the end we were able to claim victory. Settling into learning just one champion, for the time being, was a really smart move. Initially I floated around a couple of different ones with diminishing results each time.
The people were not handled and we eventually lost. Heartbreaking for sure yet not that surprising. For the majority of the games I began to play Tristana. I was able to eventually grasp at least a basic sense of how to play her. Essentially I will be checking my inbox for contract offers. The lesson from night two: Patience may be a virtue but sometimes you just have to hit them.
Next stop the Pros!
After the first few days of playing the game I am honestly not sure that I love it yet. It is very different from so many of the games I have played over the years. That’s not to put it down in any way, just acknowledging the difference. During this time I also watched a documentary on Netflix called League of Legends- Origins. Watching this and seeing the excitement and passion that people have for the game though has me wanting to keep playing. To keep searching for my own reason to love the game.
The Summer Split is fast approaching and the next step in this journey is to find a team to cheer for. I just don’t know who to choose yet. There are many teams that have caught my eye in my initial research. Teams like recent champs Cloud 9 or their opponent Flyquest. Wouldn’t mind following an underdog team that is still competitive. One that could take it all against all odds. The basic idea I am fully aware but I myself am rather basic so it all checks out.
I am still very much a noob. A couple of nights playing a couple of games is not going to change that. Though it was fun trying despite some hiccups. The journey has just begun!
Follow Ethan on Twitter @EthanButler for all your Vancouver Titans, Overwatch League, Valorant and Esports needs.
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