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Play Games with Brolo: League of Legends

I was at a Symphony X show the other night and I saw a guy wearing a J!NX shirt. I like seeing a J!NX shirt out in the wild. I imagine it's like a little baby monster that has drifted away from the J!NX coven and lodged its adorable parasitic fangs in some unsuspecting victim and then grown across the gamer's skin eventually replacing his entire epidermis with an impenetrable suit of bio-armor that leaches life-force from muggles in the immediate vicinity and converts it into victory points, except in this case it's not really a victim, more like a lucky little feller that just won the Shirt Lottery by rolling six consecutive natural 20's. If that makes any sense. Regardless, my enlightened and certainly depraved mind enjoys knowing that I have helped to bring someone over to the Light Side of geekdom -- or maybe it's the Dark Side. Whatever; all I know is that J!NX is on the side that doesn't suck, because it gives people bio-armor.

And while I'm talking about things that don't suck, I might as well tell you about my favorite game: League of Legends.

We started selling LoL shirts a few months ago, but a couple of us here in the office have been playing it religiously for about a year. Over the course of the year I have slowly fallen madly love with this fantastic but mildly maddening game.



You see, it's a simple thing, this League of Legends: it's an arena where five legendary champions face off against five other legendary champions. You kill towers, you kill little waves of minions, you level up your character and buy awesome items, and then you face off with your enemies' legendary champions and fight to see who is the most legendary champion in the land! With any luck, by this point you will have become peerlessly powerful and you will plunder and pillage and pummel and plaster and pound and punch and pelt and pursue and punish and poison and penultimately pulverize your pugilistic peers and paddle their pusillanimous posteriors before you damage and detonate and demolish and destroy their pretty little fortress and denigrate their surname in post-game parley. Sounds simple, wouldn't you say?

But what fun are easy games? Simple challenges certainly do not bring satisfaction to a man of such girthful loins as myself. Worry not! Like all DOTA-spinoffs, League requires an extraordinary amount of both skill and strategy to play at a high level. It is not enough to boast masterful coordination and split-second decision- making -- you must also verse yourself in the strategy of character builds and learn the ever-evolving science of map awareness. This is not a game that you can simply pick up and dominate.

To keep it interesting, there is a huge variety of champions to choose from. Some heroes are snipers that slay their enemies from afar; others are beefy beefycakes who fling their corpulent pre-corpses into the fray and wreak havoc upon those foolish enough to stand and fight; still others don cloaks of invisibility and deal death from the shadows with poisons and foul contagions; and some harness the torrents of arcane energies that swirl through the material planes, blasting all those who stand before them with explosions of power. Many of the champions play rock to another champ's scissors, who in turn play scissors to the nearby paper, a paper which subsequently employs its talents on that sensitive skin-webbing between your fingers. Eesh. The interaction of champs, and the sheer number of available champs (almost 100) makes the interplay constantly fresh and endlessly entertaining.

My favorite aspect of LoL is the interplay between teammates. Team coordination and communication starts at the champion select screen and continues throughout the whole match. This is far from a lone-wolf game: each champion contributes his or her own unique juices to the proverbial punch bowl, and even one missing or mutinous ingredient can ruin the whole delightful concoction. In some ways, a LoL team is kinda like Voltron (or MegaZord, if you're a noobling): when separate, each hero is a mewling pup, but if all five can assemble properly they will become the protector of the universe!

Admittedly, I am not an expert on the DOTA genre; LoL is my first serious foray. I have played a handful of games of the original Warcraft 3 DOTA mod way back in the day, and I have spent a small bit of time playing Heroes of Newerth, but neither of those games hooked me the way that League has. It's just that all DOTA games have an Everest-steep learning curve, and that curve continues to rise as you face off against increasingly skilled opponents. LoL made the curve much softer because it offers tutorials, bot matches, and a fairly competent matchmaking system that finds foes at or near your skill level. When I played HON and DOTA I felt like a brick trying to swim, but LoL gave me little floaties that kept my head just above water, and over time I learned how to really appreciate this game and genre. Now I want to play it every chance I get: I even started a second account to help my friends learn and level up!

Chances are you've heard of DOTA games. If you've ever wanted to give them a shot, League of Legends is the place to start. It is fantastically entertaining and addicting. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE? Yeah, go download it now. It's worth every byte.

Use this link to signup:
http://signup.leagueoflegends.com/?ref=4f760e1f42998597373645

And if you're learning and you need a friend to play with, add me to your friends list: BolorTheBard

I don't claim to be a great player, but I love playing for the lulz and I'm sure we can have some fun.

- Brolo

 

What I'm listening to: Keldian
It's no secret that I'm a metalhead. That said, this metal is a little different from most. I've been listening to Keldian every day for the last four days. It speaks to me in a way that surprises me; Keldian's talent and creativity and love for music touch the deepest parts of my soul. If you crave a definition, then you may call it "Power Metal with Sci-Fi Lyrics". But if you need a definition, then you are missing the whole point. My favorite songs: Ghost of Icarus and Lords of Polaris and Sundancer.

What I'm reading: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
It lives up to the hype. One of the best writers I've ever chanced to read. I expect that you will tell your kids about this book someday.

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J!NX Blog

Keep up on what's happening at the J!NX Stronghold when we can tear ourselves away from a game long enough to blog about it. Updated Fridays.