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I've been playing League of Legends consistently for almost 2 years now. I began back in October of 2010. To be completely honest though, I never expected it to last me this long. Most games don't generally have that sort of re-playability. Especially one that is free to play and to date only has 3 maps. Add to that the fact that League of Legends can be more frustrating than fun at times and it's a wonder I've gone this long playing it. Even though there have been times I've been more than distracted with other games and didn't bother playing League of Legends, I always find myself back on the Fields of Justice.
One of the main contributing factors to the replay value of League of Legends is the fact that no two matches are ever the same. With just over 100 different champions to choose from, the team compositions vary greatly from game to game. Unless you are playing 10 hours a day or spending hundreds of dollars on Riot Points, you'll find yourself always able to acquire a new champion to experience. Mastering a specific champion will take you time, effort, and as much experience as you can muster on the other champions you'll face in battle. This reasoning is due to the fact that focusing on playing just one champion for long periods of time will not allow to you truly become skillful, because you must understand your opponents. Spreading your time between as many different champions as you can allows you to become well versed in each champion, which in turn allows you to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Taking advantage of the Free Champion Rotation every week will help you get a grasp on champions you may not have in your arsenal.
Further complexity comes in the form of item purchases. During a match, you gain gold every few seconds and also when you perform the last hit on a minion or enemy champion. Using this gold you can build items, which are acquired from a merchant in your team's spawn location. The main structure behind items in League of Legends lies in the ability to buy smaller items and eventually turn those into big, powerful items. This scaling of item purchases allows you to continuously upgrade your champion's power throughout the game. It also gives you large milestones in your champion's build that will effect your performance greatly. Knowing which item to select can be a daunting task for new players. There are so many choices and each one is very important to the outcome of your match. Your item choices will be driven not only by your champion's abilities, but also the types of enemy champions you face on the Fields of Justice. Countering your enemies' items and abilities can help you survive and overcome situations in which you would otherwise die. For example, if your enemy is building a champion that uses physical attacks, you would want to build armor to soften their blows.
If the in match item selection isn't enough to spin your head, try adding to it the customization process of runes and mastery trees. Each of them will allow you to further enhance your champion and their natural abilities in battle.
Runes are setup in 4 stages, each one catering to a specific purpose. Red mark runes are designed to be more powerful in the offensive aspect, while yellow seal runes focus on defensive aspects such as health and armor. Blue glyph marks have the ability to be both for utility stats as well as magic resist, therefore making them a utility/defensive type. The last type of rune is called a quintessence and unlike the 9 slots of each of the other types, quintessences only come in 3's. They are a much more powerful version of the other types of runes. Quintessences can also have interesting specialty properties such as lowering your death timer so you re-spawn faster.
Mastery trees in League of Legends are separated into 3 categories; offensive, defensive, and utility. You gain one mastery point per level, up to a maximum of 30. Generally players will, at level 30, set one tree to 21 points while using the remaining 9 in another tree. This allows them to focus on making one aspect really powerful while also making them well rounded.
When you combine a champion's abilities, items, runes, and mastery selection, you create a plethora of choices. Which can be overwhelming to a new player. It takes time for a person to become acquainted with all the selections you must make. Do not feel discouraged because, despite the fact that I am a professional gamer, it took me well into my first full year of playing League of Legends to really get a grasp on the basics of things. I've made many mistakes and still continue to do so. It's very difficult to always be on top of your game with League of Legends due to the fact that even if you master it's stat building, you must still conquer positioning, timing, and team communication.
Where and when you are in League of Legends can mean more than anything else at times. You must always be aware of your surroundings, teammate positions, and the enemy's possible location. The fog of war, a darkness that obscures areas of the map not currently occupied by your team, allows for enemies to be hiding anywhere at anytime. To combat this factor, you must have constant awareness of the mini-map, located in the bottom corner of your screen. This can be difficult at times when there is a lot of action going on in your own surroundings. What's most important is that you remember to glance at the map every so often to see how many of the enemy team are missing in action. It is also a good idea to spend 75 gold every so often to purchase a sight ward, which will give you vision in a small radius at the location you place the ward. Ward placement will give you awareness of incoming enemy champions before they reach you, allowing you to retreat to a safe location, such as a turret. Do not always rely on falling back to turrets though, because they can only attack one champion at a time. If you are outnumbered and low on health, the enemy will dive into the turret's area in an attempt to kill you!
I understand that all of these factors may seem too much for a new player to overcome, but I can assure you that if you persevere that you will prevail. Keep in mind that these aspects are also, collectively, the reasons that League of Legends has such a high re-playability factor. I cannot promise you that the game will never frustrate you to all ends, because it will. I can only give you comfort in the fact that when you do perform triumphantly, you will feel on top of the world. As you should!
Need some assistance? Check out this champion building resource! http://leaguecraft.com/champions/ or http://www.mobafire.com/ They both feature the ability to create your own unique build for a champion that will allow you to view your final stats. Also note that each site has a huge database of player made champion builds for you to try out!
Need some practice on the Fields of Justice? Try your hand at some Coop VS AI games, where you'll team up with other players to face off against bots. It's not only good training, but it also helps you relieve stress!
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