What’s unique about this impression is that it didn’t even take place at the show. Instead, the developer, Riot Games, threw a party at the Lucky Strike bowling alley just down the street. The party, billed as “booze, bowling, and brawl,” was very hip and swanky.
After listening to a short briefing on League of Legends, we were able to sit down and play a session together. League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena RPG based on a popular mod of Warcraft 3. The player is a summoner who can control one of many different fighters, each with their own unique style and abilities. Everyone starts each session at level one but gains levels very quickly. You work your way through your character’s skill tree while playing through the session objectives. Players are accompanied by AI-controlled NPCs called minions. At the end of each session, the summoners gain permanent level-ups, such as armor and skills for their characters. Data on which characters they used and how well they used them become part of their record.
Our four staff members were part of the blue team, squaring off against the red team. I chose Ashe, a woman armed with an Ice Bow. The objective was for each team to defend their base. I had some trouble with the point-and-click-to-move controls. I died a few times, and while I could mow down the red team’s minions, I had trouble taking out player characters. After some time, I was able to position myself behind the minions and rain arrows down on the red team. Unfortunately, by then, the red team had breached the line on a different side and smashed our base.
The game was still quite fun to play. It reminded me of World of Warcraft in some ways: similar visuals, same color palette, and a vague resemblance to Battlegrounds. That’s not too surprising, as the development team has experience with Blizzard. Sessions last about 30-40 minutes, so it’s good for quick gaming. The permanent level ups mean that it can evolve into persistent gaming, so it’s more than a casual game.