Must-play game of 2009

League of Legends wallpaper.As the new year turns, I’m always compelled to look back on the previous year and think on what I played the most. 2009 was a strange year. I moved 700 miles across the country. I started writing for this blog and another, and I read a ton.

In short, I was busy, and it made a significant impact on my gaming. I cancelled my WoW subscription in favor of games that require less time. I purchased a console with hopes of finding new, less time-intensive titles. I bought more arcade titles on Steam than ever before. For all my efforts, though, I didn’t find my must-play game of 2009 until December.

I got an email from a real-life friend and former WoW buddy. He said he and another friend had picked up League of Legends, a free game that looked a lot like DotA. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a big DotA fan, so I was immediately interested. Ten minutes into my first play session and I was hooked. The game is like DotA’s sexy younger sister, so much prettier and inexplicably more developed.

I’ll spare you most of the details, and just touch on a few of my favorites. First, the game is free. Don’t let that scare you away, though. The developers update the servers weekly and continue development for new heroes and maps. It’s the most well supported free game I’ve played in a long time.

Secondly, there’s a meta-game. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a very cool addition for what can be a repetitive genre. The appeal of the game is that you can complete a full game in under an hour, farming up items for your hero along the way. Once that game is done, though, the items are gone. For League of Legends, the developers added the summoner system, a game interface that allows you to purchase new heroes, upgrade your stats for every game you play, and purchase cosmetic enhancements for your characters. The bonuses are small, but you can unlock nearly all of them through gameplay. It ends up feeling like a much more immersive game because there’s something to do outside each individual game. Think of it like the farming/grinding/what-have-you that you do between raids.

Lastly, the game is well-supported. I know I mentioned this above, but Riot Games, the developer, is heavily committed to the game. They release new heroes, are working on new maps, and continue to fiddle with an underwhelming matchmaking system. The game is by no means perfect at this point, but they continue to work at it. That’s good enough for me to keep playing.

If you haven’t done so, head over to the official site and give the game a look. There’s even a special section for DotA converts. What was your must-play game of 2009?


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