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Matt Bassos
31 May, 2009

League of Legends: Clash of Fates Preview

PC Preview | DOTA-inspired.
It would be impossible to preview League of Legends: Clash of Fates, the debut title from Los Angeles-based studio Riot Games, without first mentioning the Warcraft III mod Defence of the Ancients.

DOTA is a popular real-time strategy game, mixed with role-playing elements. Available as a free downloadable map, DOTA has become to Warcraft to what Counter-Strike was to Half-Life. And just like Counter-Strike it’s popular. Real popular. In fact, it’s now featured in the Malaysia and Singapore World Cyber Games and Gamasutra writer Michael Walbridge said, “It’s likely the most popular and most-discussed free, non-supported game mod in the world.”

So it was only a matter of time until the formula was used in a commercial game. But some time it was - six years to be exact, before Gas Powered Games developed the excellent Demigod; heavily influenced by the ideas and gameplay of DOTA. Yet while a great game, it wasn’t quite the spiritual successor to the Warcraft mod many thought it might be.

Enter League of Legends, a game that will use the same successful gameplay in a full retail title. Players take control of a single powerful champion who becomes stronger over time, fighting along side allies in an attempt to defeat the opposing team’s stronghold. There will be over two dozen champions to choose from at launch, with two teams of 6 players pitted against one another. On the battlefield each champion has its own unique skills and different roles in combat. It becomes an important blend of attacking enemy locations, while defending your own base in a team effort. To assist this offensive/defensive tug of war, computer controlled soldiers on both sides are continual summoned to assist their champions. The main goal is to then destroy your opponent’s base before they destroy yours, a task that takes considerable team work and coordination.

Gold is awarded during matches and can be spent improving your champion through purchased items. There will be over 200 featured, consisting between three quality tiers. Items are lost after each match allowing players to formulate and try different item builds. This becomes particularly important as they are used to help boost attributes, meaning smart players will use them to offset their champion’s weaknesses.

It's just one of those days.

It's just one of those days.
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There’s a reason DOTA is popular and Riot Games are making sure Legends follows the same competitive gameplay. With former DOTA designers Steve Feak and Steve Mescon, better known as their aliases Guinsoo and Pendragon onboard with Riot Games, you can tell they mean business. Feak especially knows the fundamentals of DOTA, having developed the ‘Allstars’ version played today just after the release of the Warcraft III expansion.

While Legends shares similar game mechanics from DOTA, there’s going to be plenty of improvements and changes. The concept of the Summoner is one of them, with players creating one to represent them. Unlike champions that are selected at the beginning of each match, Summoners are persistent, similar to a MMORPG character. Overtime they will also gain levels and learn abilities to bestow upon your chosen champion, effectively buffing you on the battlefield. Riot Games have said adding persistent gameplay would add a lot of value to the title. However, at the same time they want the Summoner concept to feel simple so not to overshadow the session-based player battles.

Because DOTA is tied to Warcraft the interface cannot be changed. On the other hand, Legends is free to finally improve upon the user interface. While DOTA has a very strong community of up to 10 million players, it’s one of the most unforgiving with newbies. It can be very overwhelming for new players trying to learn the basics, with experienced players always vocal on the mistakes of beginners.

One of the ways Legends makes things more inviting is by using a matchmaking system to pair teams based on player skill. Because of the importance of every player in a team, having equal skilled matches will be a big improvement in the genre. Expect a robust collection of player statistics as well, something basic which is greatly missed from a game suited for them like DOTA.

Something else Legends will be able to do is change the match field, keeping things interesting for longer. Summoner's Rift, is the first announced map and is similar to the map in DOTA. Still, the ability for more diverse maps and scenarios is possible down the track.

With our powers combined...

With our powers combined...
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At first, the visual style of Legends looks like your typical game similar to Warcraft III. On a closer look, Legends quickly distinguished itself visually using a clever cel-shading technique to make characters stand out. The simplicity of the style makes the game eye-popping in a good way, with everything easily identify. The champions look great such as Tryndamere, The Dark Champion, who wields a giant two handed sword. Other champions transcend the fantasy realm like Teemo, The Swift Scout; a cute little fellow that carries a blow pipe

Those who love the thrill of high level play are in for a treat with Legends giving off a very competitive vibe. The nature of skills learned by champions during a match are closely modelled from those found in DOTA. It’s already obvious that each champion will play certain roles within a team, meaning finding strong line-ups will be a key to success.

League of Legends: Clash of Fates has every chance to become DOTA 2.0. It also has every chance to become more than that. It will hopefully please the present community, while also including enough initiatives for new people to get involved into this great genre. It will probably not be the last Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game, the title Riot Games is classifying Legends under, but its definitely the most promising at the moment. With the game already in closed beta, a release date is hopefully scheduled late this year.
Overall:
Looks to please DOTA fans or those interested in this gameplay style. So far, so good - but there is lot to be proved when facing a free mod of DOTA's popularity.

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2 Comments
4 years ago
so demigod is already deemed "so last week"??
4 years ago
PALGN wrote
With our powers combined...
+1 for making my day!!!
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  8/10/2009 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  THQ
Genre:
  RPG
Year Made:
  2009

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