Bromance alert. If a frank discussion about why friends are so freaking awesome and why they are deserving of love is going to make you uncomfortable, you should probably leave the room. Imagine klaxons are sounding if you need an excuse. Tell your loved ones there’s an air-raid and hide under the dining room table. This is about to get real.
I have fallen for this game. Truly. This is not normal for me. I don’t fall for many games. In point of fact, I don’t play many games. I have fallen for this one. And I know, categorically, that I could not have done this on my own. I needed help. For this I am grateful.
After the jump, with a little help from my friends
I hope you’re still with me and not under the dining room table with your family, because I find this profound. Simple and obvious, perhaps. To me, profound. I would not love this game had I not been introduced to it properly. Now, in the grand scheme of things this is no great loss. However, I’d be missing out on a really cool experience. I have to wonder how often that happens.
We sat down to try out League of Legends at Shoot Club one evening with a fair amount of sneering. We were basically humoring one of the guys who wanted us to play it, and since the alternative was probably having to button mash our way through whatever the latest Street Fighter game is, we figured we might as well give this new thing a shot. We created our individual accounts and jumped into the game.
Here’s where it gets real.
I know me. I know that had I been on my own, I would have abandoned this game fairly quickly. There are a lot of champions. And, as Tom has said previously, a lot of math. It’s nice-looking, sure, but if I want ‘nice-looking’ combat I can play something like Titan Quest, which is not only nice-looking and combatty, but also let’s me summon wolf companions. Had I abandoned this game after my early frustrations with sussing out champions and figuring out their abilities and working out setting up matches, I would have missed out.
My friends held my hand through this early frustration. They brought me along. One suggested a champion for me to try. When that one didn’t quite fit, he paid attention to why and suggested a better one for me, one I ended up totally falling for. As we played those early matches, at this point on a LAN, my more experienced gamer friends were patient as I worked it out. I’ve since landed in online matches where folks were good-natured, but a lot of them weren’t. A lot of them were crapheads. Had that been my experience learning the game from the jump…forget it.
We have since met online for a couple of gaming sessions. I’ve never really done this before. Most of my gaming is either solo or at our weekly LAN party. Jumping online with these friends in League of Legends is pure joy. There’s the normal griefing and goofing on each other, but it’s good. This is our geek locker room. Snapping the towel is to be expected. For the first time I understand the guy who speaks so lovingly of his WoW clan. Now I can play with friends of these friends who are across the country, and are now becoming my friends.
And this is all in a new game I never would have found or stuck with on my own. Full disclosure: I suck at League of Legends. This is frustrating. But that’s okay. Because I got the second most kills in our last match and I leveled up playing a new champion. How? One of my new friends stuck with me in the lower lane and played support, letting me have the kills. Maybe a random Internet dude would have done this. Maybe. I’m convinced this guy did it because he knew I needed a little bucking up, and that’s what friends are for.
I wonder how many games fall by the wayside because this is missing for most folks. Because more casual gamers, like me, have no helping hand. All of this is to say that there’s something to be said for mentoring. I know this will sound squishy here. I get that. But I still believe it.
As I said, I’m grateful for this experience. I’m still learning League of Legends, and I’m loving it. Without my friends, both online and in person, I’d be missing out.
So let me just say this one final thing and we can get back to chatting vulgarities at each other. If you find a game you love, share it with your friends. What’s more, teach them. Tutor them. Mentor them. Maybe a deserving game that is a little unapproachable for the casual masses will have a shot.
It sounds crazy. But it just might work.