The Game Mechanic – A Man Walks Into A Bar…

The last couple of months of my life have been consumed by an intoxicating mixture of League of Legends and Grand Theft Auto Online. So many bars to fill, so little time.

Let’s get one thing straight: I love filling me some bars.

Show me an oblong outline and my first instinct is to fill the bugger up. I find few things more therapeutic than finishing up a match of something and watching my XP bar glide its way from left to right or bottom to top or whatever. It’s glorious. Then when the bar fills it’s suddenly empty again and ripe for the refilling.

Thing is that my XP bar in League of Legends is now permanently full. I’ve hit max level and it’s not going anywhere. I’ve run out of purple pixels to fill that bar with; the well has gone dry.

It’s usually at this point that my interest will taper off. “This game’s boring” I’ll say, and, “I think I’m done”. I get the same problem when levelling up starts to take too long in a game. This is the very reason I’ve got about 12 World of Warcraft characters who are between levels 30 and 40 and then one who’s level 83. I get bored without the quick release of bar filling.

As you can see, this bar is in dire need of filling.

Or at least that’s how it usually happens.

I’m stunned to find that my desire to play League hasn’t budged an inch. I keep waiting for it to move out but it hasn’t even gotten its coat on yet. It’s got a cigarette hanging out of its mouth and one of my beers in its hand. I think it’s here to stay, but I’m okay with it. We get on so well, after all. It’s like 100 different games in one. Each champion is individual and they have their own unique fighting styles and strategies. I played as Draven almost solidly from about level 20 to level 30, then when I hit 30 I bought a ton of new champions and suddenly the world is my oyster.

I can wade around the battlefield coating the environment with the blood of my foolish enemies as Darius or I can sprint from end to end spraying my foes with bullets and rockets as Jinx or I can ricochet projectiles across the enemy team as Sivir. The POSSIBILITIES.

Beyond that there’s the added depth of the variety of champions you have to deal with playing against and adapting to. You need to play a very different style of game to deal with the crossbow wielding Vayne than you would to deal with stealthy old rat man Twitch. Even then, in terms of playing the bottom lane, if Twitch or Vayne have a tricky support player like Nidalee or Alistair at their side then you’ll have to vary your game even more.

Lulu here will make you cute and fluffy. So fluffy you may die.

Even on the rare occasion you come face to face with the same champions match after match there’s still the added twist of the individual play styles that the human beings piloting the champions have. And even further into the rabbit hole you go when you bring runes and masteries that alter your champion’s base states into the mix. There’s endless variety and it’s always new. Always fresh.

Gameplay depth like this keeps people like me engaged past the novelty of filling up bars. All these variables make damn sure that no two League of Legends matches are the same. Accruing various flavours of points is great but I’ve just dropped so many games the moment the novelty of earning points disappears. It’s videogame evolution: survival through adaptation.

Farewell Call of Duty, sayonara StarCraft, RIP Counter-Strike.

Only the strong survive.







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