League of Legends boasts one of the largest, active communities in the world. With over 750 000* people talking about it at any one time in a whole bunch of different languages, it has set its mark in the gaming world.
*stat taking from League of Legends infographic.
With competitions being held as often as grandma takes out her teeth, the team at Riot have created something spectacular. 5v5’s, 3v3’s, Dominion, Aram, Summoners Rift, these are the places where players battle it out for victory, ganking, kiting, trolling and lol’ling. Players will work together or alone, to lead their team to victory or to start flame wars, resulting in words like “noob” being thrown around like faeces at a monkey cage.
What is even more amazing, is that League of Legends is a F2P (Free-to-play), and doesn’t require someone to fork out cash to play. Riot make their money through aesthetic sales such as special skins for champs, extra rune pages and IP(Influence points) boosts and the ability to purchase champions. This isn’t a pay to win, so everyone is on the same level on the fields of justice. Each week, Riot releases eight free champions for people to play with, and works on a rotation bases. It takes skill and teamwork to win a match, not the amount of money you have on your card.
One can understand that with such a large community base, that server maintenance can be that of a nightmare. Unfortunately, there will always be server problems, including an overload of players, lag, and ping spikes. You can have the best of the best, working 24/7, monitoring, but it will never be enough as you are bound to have issues eventually. Once a server encounters problems, the forums light up like Karthus ult, and the flaming begins. People (and kids) laying down so much hate and anger. Some defend Riot, but the negative far outweighs the positive.
When a server goes down, players struggle to log in, sit in matchmaking queues for far longer than they should and experience in-game crashes. This affects the ranked system too, as when a player pre-maturely exits a ranked match, they have a chance of losing their position that they have worked so hard for. Also, there are items in the in-game shop that work on a time period, i.e.: IP boost for 24 hours. Players are feeling cheated out of these timed boosts that they pay for.
Being a F2P game, where do we draw the line on complaints, flames and the like? Even though riot have called the Leagues community as “One Legendary Community”, many will agree that it is far from legendary, and more toxic in nature.
Being a player myself, over the last three weeks, I have experienced intense server lag, in game crashes and fellow players dropping in and out of matches. This could also be due to their own troubles with their PC’s and internet connections, but I am inclined to believe it more server problems. I only play casual matches but have a few friends who play ranked, and they are far from happy with the way the system crashes/fails etc.
I have spent very little on the game (five skins in total as well as a gift in the form of Riot Points), so I believe that I can’t be all doom and gloom when the server takes a hike, or spike. However, many people spend large amounts of cash on skins, sales etc, yet they experience the exact same issues that I do. Even more so, there are players who have been playing since the beginning and have yet to spend a cent on the game itself.
Do we have the right to complain and flame?
Yes, we have the right to complain. We have the right to decent servers, fair match-making and a ranking system that doesn’t punish those who have been cut off, especially when it isn’t their fault. We support the community, we play the game and spend money in the shops. We rock up at the championships and support the online sites who stream competitions live. Even though every Tom, Dick and Harry can download the game for free, they still have a right to enjoy it, fault free. A game as popular as this will probably always have a huge fan base and will probably never shut down. That, however is no excuse to offer poor play time and bad experiences.
Saying that, however, must be taken into context. When server issues do crop up, we need to be patient as a community. S*** happens, and happen it will. Funny enough, a rather common comment in the forums that keeps popping up runs along the lines of “Go outside and get a life” or “Go make friends and socialize”. Coming from the gaming community this is a tad ironic, but true. Leagues is not the only server that experiences issues, and what comes to mind would be games like Diablo 3, World of Warcraft and the new Sim City. We need to understand, as a community, that this happens. The team at Riot work hard to keep up maintenance, I am quite sure.
Is this fair?
We often hear of ramblings of different servers receiving different “apology” packages. Some servers receive RP, others IP boosts. Some have been given some really awesome stuff like unique skins. This doesn’t seem to be fair. I have read comments saying that Riot gift summoners according to the extent of the issue. This is probably true and I am sure the decision by them isn’t taken lightly, as loss of profit will be their biggest fear. But then again, the same goes to those that spend money on the game. They lose game-time/ranked positions and just general bad service. The world isn’t fair, that’s how it goes. But then again, this isn’t an excuse.
League of Legends is a fantastic game, popular as ever and addictive as hell. It comes with its pro’s and con’s, but so does everything else. We, as a community have enjoyed this game for free, and those that purchase items, skins etc, do so at their own choice. If you find that the game is giving you more grief than pleasure, maybe you shouldn’t be playing it. There will always be problems, fact. So we have to learn to take the good with the bad. In turn, we are also allowed to expect decent service by the team at Riot, and if the same issues keep popping up, maybe they should change the way they solve the problem.
Let’s hold thumbs and be patient, and who knows, maybe going outside once in a while will do us some good