Competitive Gaming: An Outsider’s Perspective

Let’s start this with a disclaimer, I am NOT a gamer. However, this does not mean that I have never played video games before; it just means that I am not competitive.

I unknowingly acquired a bunch of League of Legends gamers as friends this past semester and it seemed only natural to test out this gaming lifestyle of theirs. I thought it would be like playing Jackbox or Quelf; a fun game to play with friends but I was wrong.

First off, League of Legends is huge. The game and its players live inside of a little bubble, so it can be hard for outsiders to grasp how big the game really is. League of Legends is a computer game that is popular internationally and has its own championship competition. Before I get carried away, let me explain the game for the other so-called “outsiders”.

League of Legends is a multiplayer battle arena computer game that was developed and published by Riot Games. In the game, the players control “champions” that have special abilities and battle against another team of players. The goal of the game is usually to destroy the “nexus” of the opposing team. The game is basically a complicated version of capture the flag, but instead of capturing the flag, you destroy it.

This is probably one of the most difficult games to play for someone just entering the realm of competitive video gaming. As a non-gamer, there were several aspects of the game that made it hard for a newbie to succeed.

The first obstacle that a new gamer runs into is learning to master the controls. Now, computer gamers are probably laughing, but this can be difficult for someone who hasn’t spent years building up the hand-eye coordination. Plus, how many computer games focus on the Q, W, E, and R keys? On top of that, each champion has different abilities that must be learned so that the player knows what each key does.

The next obstacle for new gamers is probably the most difficult to overcome. I have been trying out this gamer lifestyle solely through League of Legends for three months and I am still trying to fully overcome this obstacle. I found understanding the key terms such as, runes, builds, and masteries hard to grasp. I knew that they were supposed to be helpful, but how to use them? I had no idea. Builds were the greatest threat to my gaming “career”.

In League of Legends, “build” is a term that means to literally build your champion’s power and strength through item sets. Think of it as a grocery list of items tailored to a specific champion. The items are purchased during games at the team base. To create a full build, the player must purchase a series of items until they have completed the build. These builds assist the gamer with defeating opponents in the game.

Builds were probably the hardest thing for me to understand. I didn’t understand that something that looked like a sword had “magic resist” and that I needed to choose my builds by the opponents I was facing. Sometimes I would leave a game with a bunch of boots and nothing else (FYI, boots help with speed but not fighting). I lost many games because of this strategy or lack of one.

The last obstacle that a newbie may encounter is the League of Legends community. The other gamers are not kind to newcomers or less experienced gamers. There are the sore-losers, the overly competitive, and the gamers that are simply just mean. These types of players often are the ones that drive out newbies from the game. If you can handle the scrutiny from other players, then you can probably make it through the beginner phase but if you are on the sensitive side this is probably not the game for you.

What I have discovered while testing this gamer lifestyle is that it takes time to be great, it can be difficult to learn the game and that you might not be welcomed right away to their exclusive club. While it might be difficult, there are things that can be learned from playing competitive video games. Depending on the player, the benefits can outweigh the difficult aspects of the gaming lifestyle. I would suggest testing it out yourself if you enjoy challenging yourself and if you need a new hobby. Never know, you could be a gamer too.



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