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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Aug 9, 2012

It’s Called MOBA, and I Suck At It

League of Legends, DotA, and Heroes of Newerth -these are all examples of MOBA games, and while they are extremely fun to play, I suck at them. MOBA stands for multiplayer online battle arena, and games under this genre usually follow the same type of gameplay. You’ll choose a champion who will have a certain skill and ability set, then team up with other players to take on either AI bots or opposing players in a large arena. As you play you’ll kill “creep” enemies, amass currency, and gain experience. Your champion will level up, gaining new skills or strengthening abilities they already have. The objective in one of these types of games is to destroy the opposing team’s base before they take out your own.

The rules seem simple, and the objective seems easy, right? Wrong. At least for me it’s not easy anyway. I’ve listened to players talk about champions, discuss strategies, and go over the best items to get to make each champion the best at what they do. Honestly when I hear this sort of stuff I get lost. Maybe I haven’t invested enough time in any of these games to pick up on strategies and whatnot, but I just feel left in the dark.

Of all the games mentioned above I choose to play League of Legends, along with just about the rest of the entire gaming population. I’ve not leveled very far, I’ve only purchased two champions on my own, and I’ve yet to take on other actual players. I’ve been playing bots since I started. I don’t really have a problem with the game; I’m just not very good at it. In fact, I really like LoL. I’ve found a champion I really like so I play him a lot – it’s Nautilus.

My problem is that I feel like I don’t know what I am doing when I play. I usually just go out on my own and try to tackle everything in my path to destroy the enemy team’s Nexus/base. I don’t know much about the jungle creatures, extra buffs, or anything else outside of “just pick a lane, run, and kill everything you can.” When it comes to strategy I am lost.

I’m sure there are places online where I could read up on different strategies and tactics for the champion I’m using, but I haven’t gone that route yet. MOBA games are plenty of fun, if you know what you’re doing. Sometimes I can’t fathom the skill that players in the championships have. I’m the same way with Starcraft II. When it comes to games like this I’m purely a casual player, someone who plays for fun. The problem with this is that you’ll sometimes get those elitist players who have the “if you don’t immediately kick ass and know everything about this game then GTFO” attitudes.

Sometimes that issue can be remedied by playing with friends and people you know. Since I primarily play with bots, I usually jump into random teams and take them on. I still get those players who start throwing fits when one of us is new or trying to learn a new champion. It’s demeaning, really. Now I know not all players are like that, but when you experience it you kind of get the feeling of “well, if this is how things are going to be it’s not worth it.”

When it comes to a MOBA game I think a lot of it is finding a champion you can play, and feel comfortable with. For me Nautilus is becoming that champion. I still like LoL very much, but in the end I’m not the best player in the game. Honestly I shy away from playing against other players and entering tournaments because of that. It could just be that, like other games, it takes time and invested gameplay hours to become better at it. Maybe someday I’ll get over this feeling, but for right now I don’t think I’ll be climbing the ranks with speed. I’ve a couple of ideas on content to create using LoL, and it could help ease the intensity of how I feel. In the end I’m open to tips, and keep the desire to do better burning inside.

I am looking forward to Guardians of Middle Earth, and SMITE is looking really good. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, because I keep coming back to play time and time again. I suppose that’s just a by-product of a good game, right?

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