Ever wanted to play League of Legends, but never got around to trying it? Last Wednesday marked the very first “Newbie Night” for the UCI eSports Arena. An experimental event meant to expand the gaming community, the session was a low-stakes opportunity to try out the game. eSports Coordinator Jesse Wang introduced the attendees to the worldwide phenomenon League of Legends. Teaching this game is no easy task, as it has over 130 characters to choose from, each with their own abilities and roles. Trying the game for the first time, players may feel the need for a step by step guide to get them through a generally complex game. Jesse gathered the attendees and laid out the basics. After covering basic controls and objectives, they were off to the machines.
“Pick whoever looks the coolest!” Jesse shouted as he set up an introductory game against bots. After creating their accounts and summoner names, the players browsed the vast selection of champions to figure out who they wanted to play. Normally each player only has access to characters that they have purchased in game, but at the UCI eSports Arena, all characters are unlocked thanks to Riot Games. Joined by volunteer coaches Tim, Kavi, and Shannon, Jesse helped the new players get onto Summoner’s Rift, the main battleground of the game.
A joyous chaos ensued as two separate games played out. Slowly gaining their sea legs, the players stumbled about in-game, learning how to move and fight. Small shouts filled the room whenever someone found their champion stunned or killed. Part cheerleader, part coach, Jesse and the other volunteers guided the players in buying items, leveling up skills, and chasing down enemies.
After the participants had vanquished their foes in the introductory game, Jesse set up a small player versus player game, pitting the newbies against each other in a 4v4 matchup. Joined by UCI eSports Acting Director Mark Deppe, the Red Team clashed with the Blue Team in an eventful game. Early on, one member of the Red Team found the emote button. His champion continued to jump, dance, and swirl for a good portion of the game. Guided by a healthy dose of backseat playing and infectious excitement, the players duked it out. “E! W! Ulti, Ulti!” the coaches would cry as the players smiled, trying to survive and obtain kills. Jesse’s team took the lead, organizing surprise attacks and ganks to catch the Blue Team off guard. Though it was a close game, a quadra kill by Mark playing Irelia sealed the Blue Team’s fate and claimed victory.
After the event had come to an end, we interviewed one of the volunteer coaches about the experience.
Interview with LoL Newbie Night Coach: Shannon
What was your experience like as one of the coaches for Newbie Night?
“At first, I didn’t think that it would be that difficult. My teaching plan included movement and basic tips and tricks for the particular champion they chose to play. As the coaching session continued, I began to realize how overwhelming playing League of Legends for the first time could be. There are so many nuances to understand in order to play the game well. Factors such as warding, objectives, champion matchups, and team composition add complexity to the game. As stressful as it was, it was a rewarding experience. It made me realize how much knowledge I’ve acquired over the years and I also learned a lot just from teaching a new player.”
As Shannon had experienced, teaching someone how to play League of Legends can be quite stressful even with prior knowledge and game experience. Whereas a particular event in the game would elicit an automatic response for Shannon, a new player may have no response as they lack the knowledge and experience.
How has playing League of Legends been a rewarding experience for you personally?
“Being able to play with friends, I have had the opportunity to teach other people and learn from them as well. Whereas other games can be self-taught, League of Legends is a game best learned through player interaction.”
Social interaction with friends and other players online help develop teamwork, communication, and decision-making skills. Learning new tips about the game and being successful with the application of that knowledge can be an extremely rewarding experience. If there is a fun way to play a particular champion in the game, friends will show and teach each other so that they can have similar experiences, laugh, and have fun.
What is the appeal to choosing League of Legends over other eSport titles?
“League of Legends has a variety of characters to choose from with different playstyles. There are also different skins for each champion that make gameplay experience exciting, fun, and personal.”
Throughout a game of League of Legends, players will have advantages and disadvantages to consider towards the outcome of a win. Playing with disadvantages can be discouraging in League of Legends as the duration of a single game can last for more than 30 minutes. What is your advice to new players as they approach these situations?
“The important thing is to focus on improvement. Stay positive. Take downtime in the game to analyze what has happened and what you could do better in the future. You can learn from your mistakes. Even if you’re falling behind, there is always a chance to come back from a deficit.”
What general tip do you have for new League of Legends players?
“Don’t always expect your teammates to be compatible with you. Sometimes you have to change the way you play to be compatible with them.”
With some great advice by Shannon, it’s important to note that her sentiments can apply to more than just League of Legends. For whatever interest or passion we pursue, it is important to focus on improvement and stay positive, and in team environments, it’s okay for us to not be the best and adjust to work with others.