5 Big Mistakes That New League of Legends Players Make
In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, League of Legends is “kind of a big deal.” It’s the most played online multiplayer game on the planet and as close as DOTA 2 might be getting, it still holds the title of the world’s most popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). League of Legends has a huge cast of characters and possesses the kind of widespread presence in both eSports and gaming social networks that other competitive games strive for so hard for. Hence it should come as no surprise that while more and more people are getting into the game – a lot of them aren’t necessarily going in with the best mindset.
When it comes to online communities, the League of Legends player-base can be quite hard on new players and is definitely up there with the likes of World of Warcraft and the original Defense of the Ancients when it comes to volatile communities. While Riot has made huge breakthroughs in deterring the kind of toxic behavior that has polluted other online gaming communities, it’s still always going to be a factor due to its online-only nature. To that end there are ten big mechanical mistakes that new players usually commit that make them targets for the kind of online harassment that can make MOBAs such a grueling genre to play. All ten are pretty easy to identify and once fixed they pave the way for you to stop feeding the enemy team and start carrying your own.
1. Picking The Wrong Champion
There’s so much that could be said about champion selection and team composition that it could easily justify its own separate feature, but the issue of new players picking the wrong champion isn’t an easy one to solve. As a new player it’s very tempting to throw caution to the wind and just pick any old champion but this often leads to some poor (albeit unsurprising) outcomes.
Putting all the meta behind the scenes of which champions have been buffed or nerfed completely aside, new players choosing “the wrong champions” can be a really big mistake for a whole bunch of reasons. While most champions fall into an archetypal play style (whether it be caster, bruiser or marksman), it’s very important that you don’t just know what each of your champions’ abilities DO but also what they are FOR – Tristana’s rocket jump might let her jump into the fray of a teamfight but that’s not necessarily what the best application of that ability is.
Furthermore, picking the wrong champion for the wrong lane can set yourself at a major disadvantage – if you choose a fragile caster character in a lane predominated by more-durable bruiser characters, you’re going to have a bad time regardless of how well you play. As a general rule, top lane is for bruiser champions, middle lane should be filled with casters and the bottom lane should have both a ranged character and a support caster in it. League of Legends might be the kind of game that has so many champions that it would be silly not to play around and experiment with team composition however there is a very good reason that most games conform to this prescribed lane setup – it’s what countless professional tournaments have shown to be the best.
The solution to picking the wrong champion is pretty simple and helpfully built into the game – practice games. It might sound a little boring but practice games against AI opponents let you get a feel for each champion and their skillsets. AI opponents might not behave quite like their human counterparts but the biggest problems that new players face are less to do with the actions of their opponents and more to do with their own actions. These practice games let you learn more about the champions you choose and get a feel for how to approach playing in each lane.
2. Overlooking Defensive Play
Every single game of League of Legends has the potential to be an exciting one filled with tension and bursts of frantic rewarding action; new players however often attempt to shortcut this process and charge right into the fray – often to the detriment of their whole team. A lot of new players often overlook the value and effectiveness of defensive plays in favor of charging past enemy minions and directly into conflict with their opponents.
There a whole bunch of reasons this is a big mistake but the first is the failure to understand that at the start of the game, each champion on both sides of the game is roughly the same power level. Forcing a fight with your opponent at this point is a huge gamble that will not pay off most of the time, and when it doesn’t you set yourself and your team significantly back. The earlier someone can get a kill the more it is worth – thus it is much smarter to hang back and wait for the right moment than it is to play blindly and aggressively. Keep your distance from your opponent and watch for moments when you can score a free hit to get yourself a little bit ahead – over time, these hits really do add up. Don’t forget to also keep an eye on their mana to see when they are low. It’s times like these that you can try and be more aggressive; even if you don’t score a kill on them you should be able to force your opponent to retreat, giving you the chance to get even further ahead in experience and gold.
It is often said that the best offense is a good defense and in League this is more than true. A good defense is what paves the way for strong offensive plays. Overlooking this part of the game is both a common mistake that new players make and one of the biggest.
3. Failing to Farm
As discussed in the previous point the key to winning your lane isn’t to kill your opponent but to get ahead of them, and farming is often the best way to do just that. A lot of new players ignore the minions and see the creep as obstacles impeding their chances to take kills and towers. The reason this is a big mistake is that these minions actually are a resource that good players can draw upon to put themselves ahead of their opponents.
Landing the last hit on each minion will net you between 18 and 24 gold depending on the type of minion. Since kills net you roughly 250 gold this means that it takes about three waves worth of minions to earn just as much as gold as killing an enemy champion without any of the risk.
Understanding the importance of farming minions lets you keep up with and ultimately overtake your opponent – even if they are a kill or two ahead. Learning to play in a way that prevents your opponent from farming is a further step that can help you with this. For example: if you position yourself where your opponent’s lust for farming will cost them chunks of their health, they’ll quickly learn to keep their distance and you’ll have all the minions to yourself.
It’s also very important that when you force an opponent out of lane like this, unless you have a guaranteed kill on your hands you do not chase them – chasing gives the enemy team time to react and flank you as well as throws away the potential lead in farming you could be getting.
4. Not Warding
Wards are super useful and a lot of new players overlook that detail when spending gold on new items. Planting them in bushes and the river lets you and your teammates keep track of enemy movements. Furthermore, wards help you avoid enemy ambushes as well as coordinate ambushes of your own.
Even if you aren’t playing a support role wards are still super valuable and when you weigh up the minuscule cost and the gold you’ll bleed from deaths due to a lack of wards – the choice is pretty simple.
Wards save lives.
What’s more, with the new trinket item slot that was introduced in a recent update for the game, there’s no longer any real excuse other than laziness to not have and use wards.
5. Zero Map Awareness
Map awareness goes hand in hand with warding when it comes to avoiding ambushes. There’s no point planting all those wards if you don’t ever keep an eye on the minimap to make use of them. While there’s a certain etiquette in League of Legends when it comes to ‘calling MIAs’ (enemy champions that are missing in action) for your lane – there’s no real excuse for not paying attention to the lanes of your teammates other than laziness.
In the defense of new players, map awareness is the kind of skill that is built through experience. Even then a lot of new players don’t even give it any real thought despite it’s huge value.
If you watch the map and notice an enemy champion heading your way through the jungle, then pull back to your nearest tower and make their whole trip a waste of time and potential XP/gold. Similarly, If you notice that the entire enemy team has disappeared from the other lanes then it likely means they are planning to ambush you. Once again map awareness lets you prevent enemy kills before they happen and make their attempted kills all the more costly.
While these five mistakes are definitely the biggest, they aren’t the only ones that new players make. Check back next week for the second half of the feature.