Grinding to the Real Game

In theory, I like League of Legends. In practice, you need ~200 hours of play to get to ranked games, then enough ranked wins to get out of Elo Hell, before you stop seeing so many people griefing, feeding, quitting, etc. As the wiki link suggests, any good player will get through random grief and rise about Elo Hell … over the course of another ~200 hours of play

I have seen less in LoL: Dominion, but I may have just had a good few days. I have also gone days almost every game a 4-on-5 for at least half of it. In Dominion, idiots and quitters are more prominently felt, because capping and defending 4-on-5 just does not work even if the 5 are pretty lousy. One game today featured a player tripling up on the bottom (you usually send 1 or 2), then running past the minions, suiciding into a tower and quitting; the game is decided 30 seconds into it, and now we just wait for the timer to officially forfeit.

It’s a general problem in F2P games: players with no investment have no loss if they’re just there to watch the world burn. Real grognards from games where you paid by the hour (with small communities and active admins) can likely regale us with how you behaved or else. I’m debating how impressed I am that folks will play a game for ~200 hours and then continue to grief/quit/whatever in low-Elo ranked games. I suppose you’ll get xp while being an idiot for those 200 hours, because you keep leveling up win or lose.

I have no idea how the community moderation tools are helping this. I dutifully click the report button after games where folks leave, smack talk, and such, but it’s not like we get a report back.

: Zubon

16 thoughts on “Grinding to the Real Game”

  1. That’s always been a problem, but it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with F2P. Any PvP game — EVER — has had quitters. If they’re only there to win, they’ll drop at the first sign the team they were stuck with is going to lose. Subscription MMOs, any monetized (ie. F2P) game featuring PvP, or just plain ol’ “real” games with PvP (shooters, racers, strategy, sports, gambling, cards, whatever)… the business model has never been a factor.

  2. Remember that if you’re level 30, you can visit the Tribunal web site and weigh in on cases of abuse, submit your judgment on troublemakers (punish or pardon), and score a few IP from Riot for your trouble.

    One thing I’ve started doing post-match is not just reporting jerks, but also typing a sentence or two. It’s not proof of course, but I think hearing a word or two directly from the disgruntled makes a big difference to the judges.

  3. One other thought: I’ve never felt like I was grinding in LoL. The reason? It doesn’t qualify as grind to me, really. I think of grind as “continuing to play to meet my goals even though I stopped having fun a long time ago.” In LoL there isn’t much of a goal for me (high elo holds little attraction, just me), and more importantly, it’s still fun and interesting from match to match.

    1. 4-on-5 matches are rarely interesting to me. There is a morbid fascination about whether it will happen this time and which team it will happen to, but I’m looking forward to a point when I do not face those two coin-flips for each game.

      1. I agree, the 4v5 thing is pretty awful when it happens which is too frequently. I wish Riot would implement some kind of system where when someone disconnects, a player on the opposing team is forced to sit out. Maybe even rotate through the roster of the 5-member team as they die, until the disconnected player(s) reconnects. Of course, less than 3 players on a team is pretty much worthless in terms of competition, so those matches should just be cancelled, or switched to sudden death or something.

  4. The fact that it takes around 200 hours to get to the “real” game in a game where there isn’t all that much level grinding really speaks more to design flaws at the heart of DotA clones. The same thing’s been an issue since the original Defense of the Ancients was popular years ago. Now that developers are actively nickel-and-diming their playerbases via the no cover charge model and making tons of cash doing it, it’s clearly time to solve these problems.

    What kind of solution could Riot use to fix these flaws? I don’t know – I’m not the one making millions in microtransaction money from this game so it’s not my job to say. However, I’d say that the company would be better served solving the inherent problems with the DotA model instead of cranking out yet another batch of $4 character skins. When you can effectively grief a game to hell by simply refusing to play after a match has started, there’s a problem, especially when every single player knows how to ruin the game for everyone on their team.

    Encouraging players to discipline each other via the Tribunal isn’t going to solve it and it’s positively hilarious that Riot thinks otherwise. There needs to be a solution at the game system level.

    1. The ONLY separation between lvl 30 and lvl 20+ is ranked games, and ranked games are the same ‘game’, just with a visible ELO attached (normal games have ELO as well, you just can’t see it). Considering the only true ELO hell is the 1200ish range, where fresh 30s play, shortening the time to playing ranked would most likely just increase the problem.

  5. The problem is that the *company* is arguably better served (at least in the short term, and what company cares about anything past this quarter’s returns anymore?) by cranking out another batch of $4 character skins and rolling in the loot while the looting is good.

    Whether the *game* is better served is another question, and the answer is going to depend on which game you’re playing – the one where you try to defeat your opponents or the one where you try to grief your fellows.

    1. “the one where you try to defeat your opponents or the one where you try to grief your fellows.”

      Or the Pokemon clone where you’re just trying to catch all the champions, which is another issue entirely – that is, the “I don’t care about the quality of the match as long as I get my IP as fast as possible” crew.

      When the business model is so tightly wrapped up in the game design choices, it’s just inevitable that there will be conflicts of interest. Riot does a great job of managing these overall, but they’re not perfect by any means.

  6. You can now play against bots to get yourself to lv30 (it gives the same exp/ip rewards as normal matches pre-lv30) and the ai on the bots is abusable to the point of being winnable in a 3v5 situation. Having leavers in your match sucks, however, chronic leavers are dealt with via the ‘leaver-buster’ system(auto-ban for a certain leave ratio) and people who greif their team get reported and dealt with by the tribunal(both sides reporting and comments in the report help a lot!).

    I’ve never seen players actively greifing their team from the outset of a match. Generally speaking someone on the team will start bitching and moaning about one player or another and then they’ll get fed up with taking all the shit for their team doing poorly (everyone has bad/off games, it happens) and start talking shit back/going afk/actively feeding just to end the game sooner so they can get on with their playing and away from the people trash talking them.

    The thing I think should be a bannable offense is shit talking your teammates, theres no reason for it except to vent and point blame at someone who isn’t going to suddenly get better in their playing because you’re calling them names.

    1. the ai on the bots is abusable to the point of being winnable in a 3v5 situation

      I have been playing bots, because the odds of get 5 people to stick around for 20-25 minutes seems higher than getting 10 for 45+ minutes, but the fact that they’re so poor makes it uninteresting as if you were playing a 5-on-3 game. The imbalance of crushing victory/loss is problematic when you’re on the winning side, too.

  7. I play League of Legends very casually i.e. sign in for a game or three when I have 30-90 minutes of free time. I never really thought about my level so far, I just enjoy whatever game the matchmaker throws at me and they are fun for me nine out of the ten times. When LoL servers are down and I am in mood of playing a MOBA type game, I sign in to Heroes of Newerth. I don’t know about any levels/ranks there either; I just queue and I get reasonably good games matched for me.

    I have seen players quit in every type of game whether F2P or P2P. Most quits I have seen so far are in World of Warcraft dungeons. There is a much severe penalty in LoL for quitting than there is in WoW.

    1. Queue-dodging in draft Dominion is pretty common right now, as people want to play a specific champ on the new map. What’s really funny is that now, with the dodge penalty being 15min, it’s sometimes actually faster to play out a game than it is to dodge and wait, but maths are hard for kids (mental age).

      Can’t play Dominion blind draft unfortunately, unless you want every game to be Jax/Akali/Ramus/Heim/Karth vs Jax/Akali/Ramus/Heim/Karth.

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