I am not a MOBA player, or at least I wasn’t until recently. For those that follow my musings I am primarily a shooter, MMO, and RTS player but needless to say the MOBA is a game I have longed to learn. That being said, as this falls under eSports a reason for learning how to play was to understand what was going on in pro matches. Specifically I wanted to learn how to play one of the most lucrative and popular eSports, League of Legends from Riot Games. I also wanted to know why so many players are into the game.
Well I first started playing by jumping into a game. This lead to me just being wiped out, randomly hitting abilities, buying random items, going where other players were, and picking a champion that looked interesting. Big mistake. My non-strategy for playing was fruitless and I quickly realized how this game takes knowledge and lots of practice to play.
What does one do when they want to learn to play a competitive game? They can watch YouTube videos, Twitch streams, read tutorials online, or find a teacher that can do one-on-one training and get beginners up and playing. I had the good fortune of trying out the latter. Gamer Sensei is a website that matches players with trainers in popular games and eSports titles. It’s not just for players that are looking to go pro but also for average players wishing to get started or upping their game. A player signs up with a specific title and gets paired with a professional Gamer Sensei coach. The process is very straightforward and lessons start at an hour and players can have as many lessons as they desire. My experience was nothing but outstanding and my Sensei, Tutor, was a wonderful coach. As long as you have a good Internet connection it will be a smooth lesson.
Remember I was very new to League of Legends so before even getting into the game my coach went through the basic rules of the game and the different player positions. The positions for LoL are top, bottom, mid-lane, and jungler. Junglers have their own lanes not part of the main positions intertwined between main lanes with hidden enemies and dangers. Champions found on the bottom lanes are mainly marksman and archers, while mages like the mid-lane, and tanks go up to the top lanes. I also learned the main priorities of the game are taking minions, champions, turrets, and then we go to the main goal of the game and that is destroying the enemy nexus.
Choosing a champion isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Like other games I have played it has to do with game style preference. However, a player needs to understand all the champions’ abilities and which will be the first to level up and get through the lowest levels. My coach didn’t go into detail describing all the champions but we covered the one chosen for the lesson. I prefer ranged DPS characters to tanks. For my first lesson Tutor chose Lux as my starting character. She is a mage and ranged dealing damage from spells. Like other MOBAs spell casting and abilities require mana. When using abilities there will be a cool down period as mana is restored. Also abilities and casting can have ability rotations or combos.
When beginning game players start as level 1. At the beginning I learned it’s always a good idea to purchase starting items. Taking out enemies gives gold for more items, both passive and active items that aid abilities and give champions an edge. The main items to get at lowest levels are starting and essential items like health potion and sorcerers shoes for running faster. Another tip is buying items for recipes to get specific items that can increase ability powers.
Next once the match begins is to level up abilities. Abilities correspond to a key, which is easy to remember and use, QWER. The R key ability will be the last ability to level up and is available at level 7. In game levels are different then player levels. Player levels are LoL levels and are used to unlock new match types and ranked play.
Back to abilities, each champion has a strong ability for the lowest levels, for Lux it was her E ability “Lucent Singularity”. After pressing E once, pressing it again finishes off the move. This is something I would not have known if I continued on my own. Ability rotations were also learned in the lesson toward the end, which gave me an edge in future matches.
The best thing about the lesson besides which starting items to get and the order of abilities was my coach going over my mistakes as I was playing. A good coach points out mistakes and gives advice to correct it. My coach was very patient and walked me through techniques to improve. Even though I still made mistakes I eventually improved greatly since I started. One of the best tips was to keep moving and stay behind my minions, especially as a long-ranged mage like Lux. I had a problem with standing still, still do but I am working on it. Each player will be different and having some one watch you play and point out mistakes is how good players are made. Individual attention and personal goals is what I really like about Gamer Sensei.
To help along in the learning process online guides can be very helpful to learn about the abilities of the different champions. As now I have added Jinx to my champion list I will need to read up on her abilities and find the best ability rotation. By the way I am now at level 4 in League of Legends and getting better with every game. There were some setbacks when I tried out normal matches but improving. Early level matches were all against bots, it makes the game easier and is good for learning but moving on to actual player vs. player is another level. I may need another lesson soon.
During a LoL match I was taught how players tend to stay in lanes until the first turrets fall and then go off to destroy turrets in other lanes. Also, one thing I was curious about was some champions were called legendary, unstoppable, and god-like. After my lesson I was getting called these as well. They are just killing sprees with legendary as the highest with 7 kills. More kills equal more gold for items. Something you get familiar with is spell casting and weapon zones and turrets deal lots of damage. Keep moving, know abilities, get the best items for your champion, and learn ability rotations are the things I learned all in one hour.
I also discovered that in the game players mostly fight minion and enemy champions. Another lesson, don’t hunt for an enemy champion but attack if one comes into range. Your team’s minions will spawn automatically and attack enemy minions and even turrets. Champion attacks are automatic once the first attack is given. There is also a lot of clicking and I am not a fan of lots of clicking, might be why I wasn’t into MOBAs before, though it’s becoming easier to cope with. Lot’s of clicking can equal victory.
We also briefly covered mastery trees but this is something I need to explore farther to get the best items for my champions.
From knowing nothing about the game to knowing the rules, positions, abilities, what items do and which are best, and how to take out enemies without dyeing so much had me walking away from my first lesson confident I can play League of Legends. So far I am using my new knowledge to bring my teams to victory and I have improved in-game. Do need to work on player vs. player matches but maybe a lesson or two more and I might be a formidable ally and foe. Someday maybe I might join ranked play.