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Developer:
Riot Games
Publisher: Riot Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: TBA 2009

by Robert Stock




I was fortunate enough to be invited to a hands-on preview of an early beta of League of Legends: Clash of Fates, by Riot Games. Here is their summation:


"League of Legends is a competitive online game set in an imaginative world. Gamers take the role of a powerful Summoner, calling forth and controlling brave Champions in battle. League of Legends is an action-RPG, combining elements from both strategy and role-playing games. Enter the Fields of Justice with your most trusted allies as you fight for your right to rule the world of Valoran.
Features include…

  • Play as dozens of unique Champions
  • Compete in a variety of battle scenarios
  • Create a persistent Summoner avatar
  • Join clans to compete with your friends online
  • And much, much more… "


The game was designed by the DotA Allstars creator, and is meant to be similar in terms of game philosophy. (DotA (Defense of the Ancients) is a custom scenario for Warcraft III which has gained huge popularity. Please note that I have not played DotA, but am a veteran of many a Warcraft III battle.)


With the design philosophy in hand, the game has been built from the ground up to allow flexibility and to try to make up for any gamers' thoughts and concerns about playability in the hopes of garnering much of the DotA audience. It seemed like the development team had everything in hand, and their experience as gamers will hopefully address most or all of these concerns.


After starting a game, you come to the Summoner screen. Your Summoner is an ongoing, buildable character who calls into battle a fresh champion for each round. You are able to give the champion two spells from your list. These spells are what you can build upon, adding new ones as your Summoner progresses. We were not able to upgrade our Summoners in this preview, but the thought process seems fairly straightforward.


The champion has four unique spells which are built up as you level within each battle - to a max level of 18. In the map we played, the goal was to destroy your opponent's base. Your minions are non-controllable, but help in the slaughter.


In this map, gameplay was close to Warcraft III. (We were only able to play one map.) I'm hoping that the diverse maps in the final game will allow for unique twists and turns - we shall see!


There was talk about similarities in graphics to W3, but I felt the color palette was distinct. Also, the color design and images seemed to flow into the animations - I felt that this was well done, and seemed to work in concert. Kudos to their art team, and the consequent follow-through in the animation department.


Although an early beta, the gameplay was flawless. No bugs in terms of the engine. They are still tweaking the characters/spells, but I had no issues whatsoever. Unlike many other games which ship with flaws, this engine seems quite solid at this point.


The heroes themselves are very cool and diverse. I was able to sample six of them - each felt different and unique. For me, this will be one reason to replay. What is the best strategy with this fellow? How best to build our team? How will we DESTROY our opponents?


The jury was still out on cash flow for Riot and this game. What/How will they charge? This will be one important key in the final success of both the game and company. But, I predict success regardless - awesome game, and what looks like a company with a good future.


Sign up for the beta. I can guarantee you will get hooked!




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