League of Legends: Nunu economics

, | Game diaries

I don’t like shopping, in games or life. There’s one friend I know would dig LoL but I hesitate to give him the hardsell because when we played Diablo together, he would spend 20 minutes at a stretch hanging out at the shop and agonizing over loincloths of flames vs. ones of lightning tassels. LoL offers players rows of class-based “recommended items” that’s more than good enough for me. Red ring, blue ring, boots with wings — great, to the front! Combining lower tier items into better ones is called “crafting,” but since the resulting upgrade is instantaneous and debris-free, I consider it more akin to smelting if smelting were either of those things. Again in both games and life, I’ve noticed that any service represented by or involving an impaled eyeball always costs more than I have on me. Once again, the humble coelacanth runs rings around us.

After the jump, why “numbers game” is oxymoronic

I don’t like math. That’s why I find videogames so invigorating: they handle that x and y stuff, leaving my mind freed up to associate boot icons with movement speed and blade ones with attack buffs, even though you walk slower in boots than in bare feet unless it’s on broken glass or, for that matter, blade-tips. Except in Bangkok or Whole Foods, if stuff costs more, it’s better. Still, in every game the math’s always there, lurking under the surface even in casual fare like WoW, in which I used to get periodically ridiculed for how slowly I “proc”‘d. Or how passionlessly. One of those. Math nerds are a tough room. I went to a couple jock parties back in high school and didn’t fit in because I was unable to contribute much to conversations revolving around how far somebody had run. So I chatted up some nerd types and wangled my way into a session of Dungeons and Dragons, and found it was pretty similar, except that instead of running they talked about what someone had rolled. Rolling the dice was the only fun part of that so-called game, but you weren’t allowed to see it because the guy running the show would do it behind a fold-out cardboard “screen” and gravely (or tauntingly) inform you how injured you were once he’d cross-referenced it on some kind of chart, or pretended to. I found it theologically inconsistent that you were allowed to hear the dice but not see them. It had the air of a creepy religious observance, except that TSR had taken all the demons out of the Monster Manual after some guy’s mom complained.

But getting back to LoL. When you level up by winning games, you acquire a free Mastery point and unlock Rune slots. Your new Mastery skill comes gratis, but annoyingly the game charges you IPs for the runes. Come on, man. I need those IPs to buy new champions with. I don’t even mind the prospect of shelling out real dough for jazzy new skins of bounty hunters in old-school Xtina nurse outfits but runes should be free — leveling is a promotion, and promotions shouldn’t involve pay cuts. If anything, we should get extra IP, rather than being required to sink it into micro-buffs. Since writing these diaries hardly qualifies me as press, I’m not sure how to tastefully wangle test-drive IPs from Riot Games short of working there. Based on LoL’s success, I suspect they’re probably not exactly scrambling to hire math-hating game diarists in any but a janitorial capacity, and I need my mop-bucket to sit on while I type this or the veal calf embryos trapped within will try to run away again and there goes my principal summer ‘011 income. Besides, if I worked on LoL, maybe I wouldn’t want to play it constantly. Because things never taste as good when you cook for yourself. That’s why Nunu only eats the enemy minions.

Up next: Christien Murawski is the fifth man
Click here for the previous League of Legends game diary