Greedy Goblin

Monday, June 10, 2013

League of Legends: easy as newbie

The game League of Legends is all over the EVE-player community. It seems EVE players play it a lot, probably while waiting for a fleet to happen or the ore hold to fill. I looked it up long ago and found it a pretty childish twitch game where your progress is defined by your reaction time and memorizing which champion counters what and so on. No thinking or strategy, the job is well known, the winner is the one who executes it better. Clearly not for me who left World of Warcraft raiding for becoming "dancy".

Recently TMC published an article, how horribly hard this game is for newbies, because they are faced with veterans on their second-third account. If you can't make yourself read that steaming piece of crap, I summarize for you: as a newbie you'll be totally farmed by veteran opponents, giving them gold and XP, making them stronger, therefore losing the game to your team more than you'd do by being AFK. For this and other reasons, your team will hate and mock you and you can't even quit since that's bannable offense. This will go on for 100-300 games, each 30-50 minutes long.

What made me download this game and play it about a week is the extremely annoying "EVE-ego": the article literally claims that learning the Oh-my-God so hard EVE Online and simply being here for longer than 3 months is a huge badge of commitment and valor. Yeah, because alt-tabbing every half-an-hour to empty your ore hold is soooooo hard that being able to do it places you to the gaming elite. The frigate-lolling impoverished punks being smug simply for having an EVE subscription annoys me. So off I went to disprove this punk.

So here I am, complete newbie, having slow reaction time, no intention to learn even the names of the champions (units in League of Legends), not to mention their abilities, neither the item builds, practically no experience in playing RTS games, I'm not even liking the damn game, so please guess what my kill:death ratio is.

According to the article, a dedicated but new player is chainfarmed, finishing as "1-12-3" (kill-death-assist). I must be worse than that. And in a sense I am. If I'd be pitted in an empty arena 1v1 by random League of Legends players, I'd be in the bottom 5%. So if you'd guess 1:10 to 1:20, you'd be forgiven.

After a few days of complete sucking, I figured out how to play. Since then, my kill-death is the best in the team in 90% of the games. Only absolute veterans who carry the team all alone can get higher winrate. In the last 6 games it was 3:1. Want that? Want to be the one who call the others "dumb feederx"? Want to be the one who tell the years old veterans to just stay in the base or be reported for intentional feeding? Want to harvest "teamwork" and "honorable opponent" instead? Here it is how it's done:
  1. You play a jungler. The game site tells you the names of the champions if you type "jungler" to that empty field. Warwick and Nunu are very cheap.
  2. Your masteries are all in the defense field, except 2 in offense, the NPC killing one. All your runes are "magic resist at lvl 18", "defense at lvl 18" and "health at lvl 18"
  3. Your spells are smite and teleport
  4. At the start buy "Hunter's machete" and a bunch of health potions. Ask your teammates to help killing the blue monster, it's a big golem giving mana regen buff. Use your smite ability to deliver the killing blow when it's below 500 HP.
  5. From there you just patrol your jungle (and after some experience, the enemy jungle) and killing the 5 monster spawns.
  6. From time to time return to the base for item upgrades: upgrade the machete into a "spirit stone", get a pair of boots and start building "Sunfire Cape".
  7. If you find a monster camp missing, having only one small monster in it, the enemy is intruding your territory. Buy Sight Wards and place them at the blue and red monster. When he comes again, he'll be ganked.
  8. Your teammates sometime spam "jungler why no gank ffs", just ignore them. When your ulti is up and you are near a lane, visit it and use it on some enemy to harass them, but don't go out of your way for a gank. Sitting in a bush for 30 seconds cost you more than the time spent dead for the enemy.
  9. By the time you get Sunfire Cape, your teammates reach the end of their attention span and start leaving their lanes to "gank" (running around pointlessly and getting killed). When you see an empty lane, go there and with the Sunfire Cape, AoE the minions down. Lot of XP and gold. Don't get far from your tower, if the enemy minions are pushed back by your efforts, get back to the jungle.
  10. At lvl 10-11 you can solo the Dragon for gold to the whole team. Get the more expensive Vision Ward and place it front of the dragon lair. It will show the enemy wards, destroy those if there is any and run away, come back for the dragon later.
  11. Keep ignoring the "ffs jungler why no help i report u" and "ffs come teamfight" requests. You can not be banned for playing as you want unless it's feeding. And you aren't feeding, you don't even have a single death.
  12. Watch for besieged turrets! If the enemy minions and especially champions fight near your turret, go there (use the teleport spell if far) and kill them. Enemies can't kill you near towers because the tower kills them first. Here is where you get your hilarious kills, because they "haz skills" meaning they memorized how many hits they need to kill you before the tower kills them. Except your masteries and runes are defensive so they die with a "wut" on their face.
  13. From time to time return to the base and get item upgrades, all defensive, except the last one. Spirit Visage, Runic Bulwark, Frozen Heart are my favorites. Put Sight wards to the last slot and keep busy placing them.
  14. When your are 2-3 level and 1-2 items above everyone on the field, you can go bold and join the teamfights, with hilarious effects. While your damage is crap, they can't kill you, but they focus on you since they got used to your champion being offensive. Remember, it's not platinum league, it's just a bunch of mentally 12 years old trolls, they won't look up your items and think.
  15. At lvl 18 and having your items, you can attack towers head on and tank their damage while your teammates kill it. You can do the same with the Baron monster.
  16. Get home, sell the wards and the Sunfire cape, get a Wit's End and a Bloodthirster, and march into their base, if they haven't surrendered yet!
Look at this 4v5 victory (the last guy went AFK after being farmed):
While Tristana and Master Yi were classes above me, I wasn't useless feeder, but a defender of towers and tank in the teamfights.

Of course you won't always win. The normal games have a ranking machmaking trying to keep you around 50% wins, so you'll lose. You can tell you lost if you have AFK-ers, childish arguing over who goes mid solo, general bitching. As a general rule, always vote yes for surrender, because if you decline, the one who started it will purposefully lose anyway. Start surrender vote yourself if the game isn't going well. But even a 3v5 is no excuse for bad kill:death:
Jungling also let you abandon a failed game without abandoning: being AFK is bannable, leaving is bannable, feeding is bannable but jungling in a quiet corner is not.

The picture below is very important, as it's the obvious proof that "teamfights" are pointless until you are powerful enough to win decisively. The upper half shows mid-game, you can see that both Draven and Fizz have awful lot of kills and good kill:death ratio. Still, they have less levels and cheaper items than me. Enemy kills are simply not cost-effective compared to minion farming because you die and lose time. On the bottom you can see the end result and the reason why people insist on killing enemies: if you don't die, it's great. Draven finished with 1.5x more gold than me, because after I started tanking, he had just one death but 5 kills. But to do so, I needed gear I couldn't get if I get into fights and farmed as the rest of the newbies:

Another 4v5 victory and you can see how: since the enemy was busy trying to get kills while we were busy farming, we simply outgrew them:
The last picture is the damage recap. You can see how little I did to enemies, but was instrumental to the victory, exactly because of that: I farmed in early game and tanked in late.

This is the mentioned last 6 games, with 3.8-1.2-8.3 average performance, proving that the above results aren't cherry-picked battles, with my strategy you can consistently have good results:

The solution for a smooth and rewarding newbie experience in League of Legends is exactly the same as in EVE: stay in highsec, earn money, ignore PvP and go for objectives! Remember, League of Legends games are won by destroying the Nexus, not by killing players. You can theoretically win a game without any kills on your team.

PS: I'm not sure if I continue playing as the game is clearly not my genre and my point is proven!


Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

Let me just point out that your victory strategy involves 16 steps, utilising every facet of the game and showing restraint in engaging in more "fun" aspects of the game until you victory is more or less assured.

Modern game design considers this level of gameplay close to "mastery" level.

While you are technically a newbie at a specific game (as defined by playtime), your play doesn't fit the newbie profile.

That being said, it is an exellent guide and i do think that playing like that not only is a great way to start off some early wins, but is also a good way to learn the fundamentals of the game.

For the Starcraft people - "Pylons and probes" :D

Rylinks said...

As someone who plays League of Legends but not EVE, here are some ways to make those steps better:

In step 4, if you can convince your teammates to nearly kill the blue monster for you, you can save your smite for the red monster, which lets you get experience and gold faster.

For step 5, wards let you know when to run away if you're farming their jungle (people sometimes ward their own jungle and come kill you if you're spotted by a ward as you enter).

If you kill the small minion when you invade the enemy jungle, you can time when the monster will respawn and be there to take it again. The blue and red monsters respawn 5 minutes after they're killed, the dragon is 6, and the baron is 7.

In 8, not ganking pre-6 as warwick is a good idea, you hit the mark with that one.

For 10, if you successfully gank bottom lane, pinging dragon like mad to get you teammates to kill it is a good idea.

Once people start hitting higher levels, towers become less effective, especially if you have fewer numbers. Don't count on them to always protect you (although warwick is one of the hardest champions to kill under a tower).

Item build comment: Don't buy spirit of the ancient golem and merc treads, you waste gold because they provide the same non-stacking cc reduction.

I'd say your ability to win games without memorizing counters and developing twitch reflexes demonstrates some strategy in League, but it's true that those things are necessary at the highest levels. People better than me tell me that mechanics really start to matter in the top 10% or so.

Anonymous said...

Your understanding of the jungling role is very limited. The purpose of the jungler is to have someone roam around and snowball the other lanes by ganking for them. You get significantly less gold as a jungler, so the role is usually reserved for champions with high mobility/sustain/crowd control so that they can farm safely in the jungle while at the same time being useful through utility since they will most probably lack the gold to buy big ticket items.

Warwick is a terrible jungler. Without your ultimate, you can not pull of a single gank unless the enemy is braindead. You also shouldn't use your ultimate to harass, especially as Warwick considering the extremely long cooldown. A good opponent will realize that your ult is down and that your team will have no threat of a gank coming from the jungle for the next minute or two.

Another important role for the jungler is objective control. You run smite because it helps secure Dragon and Baron Nashor with ~1k true damage(ignores mitigation via resistances) during hectic fights.

Nunu is a very good jungler because he basically has a miniature smite that heals as an ability. He is good for peeling your carries so that they can survive and do damage.

Your steps will lead to failure for anyone who isn't playing against complete newbies. If you don't gank for your lanes, the enemy will, and death prevents you from farming and getting experience in lane. At early levels, keeping up with the enemy laner is crucial for trading damage, otherwise you will lose the lane hard unless your jungler comes and helps you out.

I can probably write mountains of text to tell you what else you're doing wrong, but figuring that out yourself is half the fun in the game. Also, I feel as if I have written too much already.

Anonymous said...

You've got your wards confused there.
"Vision Ward" (in your step 7) should be "Sight Ward".
The "brown ward" (in your step 10) should be purple (this is the "Vision Ward").

Gevlon said...

@Maxim: "fun" is out of the question for a newbie as he is pwned if he faces PvP.

@Rylinks: if you can convince your team to keep their pants on their legs and not on their head, that's a great thing. I wouldn't attempt any more complicated.

Warding their jungle is expensive and usually unneccesary as I can see them boldly marching on the minimap. Remember, it's not Platinum league.

I especially tell members NOT to help killing the dragon, as I can solo it and they are more useful keeping enemies away from me.

The mercury threads was a one-time mistake, I buy boots of mobility for ... mobility.

@Anonymous: the dynamics of low-level play is very different from any serious play, which is the point of the post. I don't question that my strategy is bad for high level play. But for newbies it's better. You can't really gank because the laner doesn't/cannot help. You earn more income as they are too busy running around wasting time trying to gank. You need to play differently if you play in the kinder garden.

Anonymous said...

You rely on the fact that the opposing jungler will, most likely, have no idea how to gank.

A jungler that perma-farms will, of course, be more effective than a jungler that tries to "gank" but fails horribly at it.

However, a jungler that ganks effectively will give lanes an advantage that they can then snowball without further jungler intervention.
If your top lane gets a l1 first blood with a well-timed double buff gank, that lane is over. You shove hard into tower, and by the time the enemy gets back they'll be L1 against your L3 teammate, pinned against tower, and horribly shut down all game.

Samus said...

It is ludicrous to claim the the current most popular game in the world is "too hard for newbies" and "only the elite like me can survive." The person who wrote that article is an idiot. Obviously League of Legends is incredibly newbie friendly and easy to learn, otherwise it could not have attracted so many players.

You can simplify your low level guide into 2 points:

1. Minions and monsters are where the gold is at, not players.
2. Don't do anything ridiculously stupid.

And really, #2 is optional, because as you pointed out, if you are terrible the matchmaking system will simply put you up against other horrible players until you win 50% of the time.

Andru said...

Ah, the old: "Tank trash mobs with a Siege Engine" tactic from Tol Barad.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy said...

>> "fun" is out of the question for a newbie as he is
>> pwned if he faces PvP.

It may surprise you, but a lot of people out there find losing in a spectacular way to be fun.

Leaving those masochists aside, though, jungling is simply inherently less fun of an activity than hunting other players.

Jungling and then winning is probably more fun than hunting and losing, but it takes more than a newbie to understand this "second level of fun".

Anonymous said...

"@Maxim: "fun" is out of the question for a newbie as he is pwned if he faces PvP."

which was the point of the TMC article...

Anonymous said...

The game isn't completely twitch based. Warwick is a decision champion and he isn't the only one. Knowing when to go all in and when to back out is the trick to playing him, you don't need impressive mechanics.

The build you are using wouldn't work higher up with him though as people inevitably learn to avoid the tank and outside of his ult he has no way to peel for the carries, so you need to find a balance between survivability whilst still being a threat which is one of the reasons he isn't considered a great jungler.

Anonymous said...

Basicly, you are using result of matchmaking system in LOL. If you play horribly from first match on, you will be matched equal skilled opponents. Starting game with 10 match losses in row is sure thing to meet the crappiest players in LoL. Its possible and pretty frequent to carry those matches even if your whole team feeds alot and get all the kills.

Just some tips. Before lvl 8, noone has either exhaust or ignite and flash is on summoner level 12. That means champions with a escape or capcloser skills are very safe. Life steal rules too here. Thats why your 4v5 matches may so successful.

Using IP to buy runes before summoner level 20 is bit waste. Tier 3 runes are more or less permanent what you will use, so if you buy tier 1 or tier 2 ones, you have to rebuy them after lvl 20 or use rune combiner with random results. On low skilled people, right itemization matters way more then tier 1-2 rune setting so its normally smarter just save IP and buy them on summoner lvl 20.

General idea, dont feed, works best. Even if you dont gank, you will not feed. In other words, even if yo dont give positive results, you wont give negative ones either. Focusing on right targets and not wasting time on spanking tanks is another very useful idea.

If you are matched against bit skilled people, 3 kills on early stages will make them unstoppable. But anyway, before you get summoner level 30, everything is translated as training matches to get used with a game and mechanics.

Hazger said...

The guy that said "lol is hard for newbies" is a complete retard.

With this out of way your "guide" is VERY GOOD for newbies. Sure this dont work in high levels but you are doing all the basics right.
Not joining stupid fights
Not feeding
Gaining map control and even dragon control.
But the most important stuff you did is MASTER ONE HERO. This is the best tip you can give to a new guy. To master this game you need to know all heroes and be able to play with lots of then but in your firsts matches you dont need to be able to play with the 10 heros of the week buy ONE and master it and you can win 80% of your games alone (unless you get a support one in this case learn another until you are in a level you can trust your team)

I disagre about your " No thinking or strategy" you are thinking(dont join stupid fights, defend towers) and you have your strategy (snowball, dont die early and tank damage for the rest of team) when/if you reach higher levels you will need to start using strategy that involve 2~5 heroes, baiting the oponent to a traps, etc.

With all that said the way you play is better than 80% of the players and if they know the result they would want to play this way to get kilz and have fun. The average Joe want to get kilz but dont want to think how to get kills.
By having a plan you are playing better than they.

Oska Rus said...

Have you tried mechwarrior online ( There is probably no ladder because i can achieve really good K/D and win/loss (around 2). It lost some harshness by removing repair bills but still is appailing by variety of builds you can create and tactics you can employ to dispatch enemy mechs.

IMHO it might be replacement for people who want instant team pvp and are anoyed by WoTs hidden ladder and penetration/crit magick.

I would be very interest of your opinion and possible exploits in this game.

Philips said...

I just see one problem with your analysis, Gevlon, and I'd like you

See, you won some you lost some, but there's the point where you lose 50% of your game and win the rest. You get to that point after losing a couple times.

See, that's the thing. Your victories may be due to that fact, and not your play. Since you lost a couple games before you figured out your strategy.

So, I'd like you to redo this experiment another way.

Create a brand new LoL account, and then start to play with your winning strategy. See if you win more games earlier with it.

Also, I'd like to see you do one with DOTA2. You can get free DOTA2 keys from the DOTA2 Dispenser on Steam.

whatever said...

Everyone ignores why his plan is BOSS while I went crazy and quit League.

He never sacrifices anything to help his punk team "win a teamfight".

There is a reason for this.

Punks think it's funny to throw games by going back to shop after the won teamfight, or chasing Singed after every other enemy player is dead. Or maybe they'll do wraiths.

Sometimes they need to "farm a wave" right before the teamfight at the enemies unprotected inhib.

Isn't that WILD? Aren't people mean for criticizing them?

While winning a teamfight early on is brutally decisive if your team doesn't think it's funny to derp-tard full derp..... the community thinks it's "okay" to do this and the child-like developers support this.

As a result, playing to win is being a fool.

Gevlon's tactics neatly remove this problem from the game.

And Warwick is a very safe clearing jungler thought there are probably somewhat faster jungler clearers.

Anonymous said...

What people like to believe:

"Inexperienced players are easy prey for experienced players."

The reality is more like:

"Players who play however they want are easy prey for those who are actually trying to understand and win the game."

It's the same old story of people wanting to believe their losses aren't their own fault. Anyone who is better must have some sort of unfair advantage.

Anonymous said...

LoL is not hard for newbies. In fact, it's a totally casual game.

1. You don't need to actually learn the theory behind it. Just google the top builds.

2. You don't need good reflexes. Most abilities are trivially easy to use.

3. You don't need to keep a lot of things in mind. You've got 6 abilities (including two items) and two resources (hp and mana).

The game lasts 50 minutes, of which 5 is actually relevant, the rest is farming mobs.

People play it while watching TV, for fucks sake! Try that in Starcraft or Street Fighter. At the same time, LoL is ridiculously complex to pretend depth. It has no depth. It isn't even balanced well or else it would not need "banning" as a legal move. Imagine a SF4 tournament where people would ban Daigo from playing Ryu. The idiocy!

Anonymous said...

The mere fact that you thought about how the game works and made decisions based on that thought process means you aren't a newbie.

To be honest, the mere fact that you bought wards means you aren't a newbie.

Regardless, great blog post. I was linked here by a LoL blog, have never played EVE, and your thought process is simply awesome.

Anonymous said...

Reading this article made me wanna test your theories.
I must say, I was amazed.
Played only 3 matches so far and dominated in all of them, second match I had the best results for all but 1 parameter.
Kinda makes me wonder how complex the game is if you can win in 16 easy steps...