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Sunday, January 8, 2012

League of Legends ruined my ability to enjoy mmorpgs

I am a big fan of mmorpgs - with few exceptions I have played every big name mmorpg since UO. Usually these games maintain my attention for at least 6 months. I recently started playing a new mmorpg, called Star Wars The Old Republic (SWTOR). I heard about this game when it was first announced years ago, and I had this pegged as the next big game that would keep my attention for a while. Unfortunately, it looks like this will be another 1-monther, just like Aion and Warhammer. Unlike Aion and Warhammer, SWTOR isn't a horribly flawed game, but it looks like LoL has changed what I look for in online games.

Because of LoL, I now become impatient whenever I spend more than a few minutes doing something boring. This means I quickly grow bored whenever I need to run from point A to point B or when I need to mindlessly kill a handful of mobs for a quest. Basically, whenever I'm not fighting another player or interacting with other people, I grow bored.
mmorpg player
The gameplay in LoL, unlike most mmorpgs, requires you to constantly be thinking. Even if you're in the laning phase, you need to focus on last hitting, pay attention to your laning opponents movements, observe your laning partner's behavior for quick ganks - and meanwhile pay attention to the other lanes. The only time there is a mindless moment is the few seconds at the beginning of the game and whenever one team is about to win the game.

LoL players
In contrast, the bulk of time in an mmorpg is boring. Take a recent 1-hour adventure I had in SWTOR as an example. I logged on in my ship and needed to fly to another planet for the next phase of my story quest. While I was able to fly to the planet in a few seconds, I still needed to run off my ship, through the planet's spaceport, and into the questing hub. After gathering a handful of quests, I proceeded to kill a handful of mobs (by this time 20 minutes had gone by). After hitting the same buttons over and over again, I was able to complete the quest and as a reward I was given experience, an item that I could not use, and some credits. At the 35-minute mark, I entered an instanced battleground for some pvp action. Unfortunately, since players cannot choose which battleground they can join, I entered the one that pops 90% of the time, so I immediately left. After returning to the game world, I ran to the next questing area and killed more mobs. At this point, an hour had gone by and I logged off. 
Yeah...the game isn't this cool
In sum, I think LoL has redefined what I want in mmorpgs. Five years ago, I would have had a blast with SWTOR. I would not have minded the downtime, the mindless quests, and the uninspiring combat. After playing LoL, however, I want a more challenging game; one where I can log on and within minutes be competing against other players. And to think - unlike the mainstream mmorpgs, LoL has no monthly fee!

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