Tuesday, February 19, 2013

League of Legends: New Players

Last night Robb convinced Sceadeau to give League of Legends a try. It was an interesting experience and brought with it a reminder about how brutal the metagame actually is when you're forcing the game to put someone at level 1 and someone at level 30 in the same game. The teams ended up being 30-30-30-30-1 vs 30-30-30-20-20 in the first game and 30-20-17-17-2 vs 24-17-15-12-5 in the second game. If it was just experience levels at play those might be balanced games but since levels bring actual in-game power along with them it's not the case at all. In the second game I played support and my level really didn't matter. Supports don't really scale with stats so having a bunch of free stats didn't help all that much. In the first game Robb got way ahead, possibly by farming one of the low level guys, and was a wrecking ball. It certainly helped that the enemy team kept focusing our level 1 guy in team fights!

But I was thinking about it today on the bus from work... How big a deal was it, actually? If I'm a level 30 Twitch with full runes/masteries and Sceadeau is a level 1 Twitch with no runes or masteries how big an advantage do I have?

Well, at in-game level 1 Sceadeau would have 469 health, 14 armour, 59 damage, and attack .679 times per second assuming he buys a doran's blade with his starting money. I would have 475 health, 29 armour, 75 damage, and attack .706 times per second (+4%). I would also have 17 flat armour penetration and 8% armour penetration. I would do 2% more damage all the time and an extra 5% damage when he falls under half life. I would also have access to the ignite and flash summoner spells while he would only have heal and ghost.

When he attacks me he'd do 46 damage per shot. When I hit him I'd do 77 damage per shot until he fell below half health when I'd do 80 damage instead. This is assuming I can't knock him into negative armour; I'm not clear on whether runes/masteries can do that or not. I may be doing more than that. So he'd kill me in  11 attacks, which would take over 16 seconds. I would kill him in 7 attacks, which would take 10 seconds. This ignores summoner spells and the healing of doran's blade, both of which would swing the fight more in my favour.

I'd say that's a huge deal. He's probably looking at needing to earn 3000 gold to make the fight even. A full black cleaver might turn it into an even fight! Couple the huge stat advantage with the significantly better early game and the general gameplay experience which makes earning money easier and it seems pretty inconceivable that he'd ever come close to me in power if we faced off against each other.

This seems like a big problem. I like the League of Legends metagame system, and I think having the restricted pool of champions when you start, and the lower overall power level of characters are good things. But for those things to exist you can't be teaming up with a max level player. Otherwise you'll be playing with many people who just have huge statistical advantages and a bigger pool of available champions.

But what is the solution? It seems like there are a few options...

  • Don't play together at all.
  • Start a new account myself (and thus be forced to split my IP gains between accounts).
  • Suck it up and have terribly unbalanced games. (Possibly by having the low level character focus on playing support since they don't scale with stats as much as other people?)

None of these seem particularly great, and I'm open to other suggestions. I wish LoL had a 'level matching' system like some MMORPGs do. I'd gladly play without runes and masteries on my main account as long as I could keep earning IP to buy new champions.


Anonymous said...

The system feels designed to have you play with people your own level. Same small champion pool so you don't have to learn too many champs, lower power for slower kills allows for more reaction time, slower ramp up is possible, etc.

This seems reasonable from a balancing point of view but misses the social aspect of the game.

The optimal way to deal with this depends heavily on Sceadeau. Because I assert we should optimize for fun not power (although for some, optimizing for power is fun). The point is to have fun, will he have more fun in a balanced environment - then play without us or create a smurf; will he have more fun in a non-balanced environment but with friends - then play with us.

Oh, and I think it's a good idea for you to be playing support to his adc even though it is less powerful. It makes it easier to coach and less likely he'll encounter rage early on.


Robb said...

A level 1 teaming with 4 30s is going to be lower in power. But he's also going to in a 5 man team, against potentialy 5 randoms. Having a team that doesn't rage at each other is worth something. Like, say, it's just more fun.

But ya, I'd be willing to create a smurf if Sceadeau is against the power swing. Although really, I think that you hit level 10 after ~30 games, and in your first 30 games the experience/skill of your opponents matters much more then the power boost... which by the same logic means that I'm not losing much IP.

Nick Page said...

The system tries very, very hard to match 5 man premades against each other. The 30-30-30-20-20 team we played against when we were a team of 5 had just played a different game together.

I also agree with optimizing for fun rather than power.