A few years ago there was this one night where a bunch of my friends and I were playing Super Smash Bros. Melee, the go-to game to play if you had people over. It was an amazing fighting game that filled the room with fun times, laughter, and even yelling over cheap moves, Melee was the perfect multiplayer game to my young eyes. After I laid down some devastating combos my friends, they all quit and started to unplug their Gamecube controllers and pull out their laptops. I asked them what was up and they said “We’re playing League wanna join?” I said “Sure, why not”. It was like signing a contract with the video game devil. Soon after that I was experiencing a time-stealing realm of micro-transactions and toxicity.
It may seem like I’m being too harsh on League of Legends, but you’ve gotta understand that I’ve put a lot of hours into this game – too many – and I’ve seen the worst it has to offer. I have a tricky relationship with the game, I hate it, but I also find myself playing it regularly, which leads me to my first point: the procrastination.
League will consume a lot of your time if you’re a procrastinator like me. I’ve spent countless nights postponing homework, projects, and meet-ups with friends, all because of that horribly alluring Summoner’s Rift. I found myself saying “Just one more game” after almost every game I played, creating a perpetual loop of procrastination. I didn’t even notice the loop for the longest time, I just kept queuing up for matches trying to get a higher rank. League draws you in, and then it traps you in it’s game client. It might be due to the no clocks, no windows, casino-style ambiance the game has. Once you’ve found a match the game client becomes fullscreen and your whole desktop is gone. Your files, homework tabs, and desktop clock are all gone. It’s just you and League of Legends. This environment also entices players to buy unnecessary in-game content, like different skins for playable characters or decorative palette swaps. While I was neck-deep in League’s weird world, another one of it’s flaws surfaced; the ranked game mode.
The Ranked Mode:
The first issue with ranked is the false hope it grants the players. There are seven tiers in League of Legends ELO-based ranking system: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Challenger. The weird part is that over 90% of the player base is stuck in the first 3 tiers, meaning that a Bronze player is playing a completely different kind of game when compared to a Diamond player. Because of the RNG aspect of teammate selection, you never know if you’re going to get people who want to troll or people who are just going to go afk mid-match, but if you’re in Bronze or Silver (which is the bulk of the playerbase), even if you’re playing to win, the chances of you getting someone like that on your team is exponentially higher than if you were placed in a higher division like Platinum or Diamond.
I’ve been in Platinum for the past couple of seasons, but when I started the game I was placed in Silver, and boy can I tell you first-hand that it is a completely different experience. One time I was playing as a support in Silver and I asked my Attack Damage Carry (basically my partner throughout the match) to come help me out so we could finish the game, and my ADC didn’t help me, responded to me with a combination of five different slurs, intentionally died to an enemy, and then we lost the game. In lower divisions the majority of the time it doesn’t even feel like it was your fault for losing, but once you get a higher ranking, you’re granted way more responsibility for your wins and losses. That sense of responsibility only applies to the players who aren’t sucked into the League of Legends community hive-mind, though.
The number one issue I have with League of Legends is the community. While there are some extremely nice people, they’re hard to find. You’re more likely to meet people who seem to be having a bad day everyday. And I’m not talking about their skill level – I’m not that good either, but the general mentality they carry just isn’t cool. Toxic is the only word that comes to mind when I think about it. Having played with countless amount of players, I get to see habits that seem to be natural to most League players.
The first habit is dodging all responsibility, or the “I lost because of my team” way of thinking. Commonly found in Bronze or Silver, it’s a pretty sad thing to hear. It’s sad because there’s no possible way that player didn’t contribute to the loss, and the fact that they have the gall to absolve themselves and place the entire blame on their team, probably means they realize they messed up somewhere, but don’t want to get blamed out of anger.
Another community issue is the rapid blaming of Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, for literally anything that goes on in a match. “Dude, that teleport was broken”, “There was a glitch and I died”, or a “**** Riot” are regularly heard in matches. Sure, some people may be saying it as a joke, and others may have actually found a part of the game that is broken, but the sheer amount of players saying something around those lines is ridiculously high. Riot Games isn’t my favourite company, and I don’t agree with a lot of the things they do, but the community’s collective bashing of them isn’t solving anything. The only thing it’s doing is bringing more light to the League of Legends community’s lack of culpability or liability – they don’t take fault for anything.
I don’t want to seem like some sort of League of Legends saint, because I’m not. My goal is just to highlight the everyday issues the game has because I’m sure every player has experienced or vaguely noticed them. Sometimes I fall victim to these things, and sometimes I’m the perpetrator. The only thing that separates me from a large chunk of the League community is that I’m willing to take blame for my poorly thought out in-game actions, and the fact that I can recognize and actually see these common problems that plague the game. I just wish that somehow, in some weird semi-transcendent epiphany, every League of Legends player would collectively realize all of these things, and slowly start to create a better community for the game. But… that’s never going to happen, so I might as well log back onto the Summoner’s Rift and get called an idiot by somebody I don’t know.