The things we take for granted

League of Legends champions.

Riot senior producer Travis George put up a post on the forums yesterday evening asking what Riot had been doing well lately and for suggestions for improvements. It was a really nice way to ask for feedback, one that I think can easily be as valuable to a company as criticism can be. It can be tough to know, especially with a community as large as League of Legends. I’ve been trying to round out my MOBA knowledge lately, spending time with the few games that are out there and a couple different beta products. It’s been a great reminder of the many things that League of Legends does so well.

For one thing, it is definitely the most responsive game. That sounds like a strange thing to get excited about, but play a game in which the controls and UI feel sluggish and you’ll know what I mean. Even basic things, like altering the cursor sprite so that I know a spell is queued up, don’t show in several other games. The only game that holds a candle to LoL in terms of responsiveness (from the MOBA world) is HoN, but even that feels a little slow at times.

League of Legends is also hands down the easiest to understand by just watching the screen. I truly believe the downfall of many modern games is that they try to hard to look cool or edgy and just end up looking ridiculous. Demigod might be the only game that really made modern graphics look good (seriously, how cool was Rook), but even that game was a bit hard to grasp by watching the battlefield. I think any RTS player could easily sort out what is happening in a LoL match without much effort. I’m not sure the same can be said for several other MOBA franchises.

This last one is a matter of personal taste, but I like that the League of Legends UI attempts to teach the player the game. That little line from turret to target is a perfect example of a teaching mechanic in game. The player gets immediate feedback when he steps in range of the turret. It’s clear who/what the turret is targeting. It’s also clear when it changes targets, allowing players to analyze what action caused the change. I totally take it for granted, but playing games that don’t have those features makes me want to pull out what’s left of my hair.

I could go on for a while, but I would probably be violating an NDA or two with some comparisons, and that’s just not my style. The point here is that there is a lot of excellent design behind League of Legends that I probably don’t mention enough.


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