League of Legends has become one of the most popular free to play games in the world and the biggest name in modern e-sports. Much like World of Tanks, it’s a free game that has attracted the interest of many EVE players for the log-in-and-go gameplay so contrasting with the patience and preparation EVE itself demands. Yet hardcore it is, with its own terminology, strategies, and meta game. Fortunately for EVE players interested in giving LoL a try, there are several concepts that directly translate from New Eden to the League. While the UI, pacing, and other aspects of LoL could not be more different than flying spaceships, recognizing that you already know how to think about these concepts will not only make the game more accessible to you, but in fact give you a leg up on the average noob.
PART FOUR: CONFLICT DRIVERS
Depending on how you think about it or who you talk to, there is either no way to win EVE or several ways to win EVE. That’s because of EVE’s open-ended-sandbox gameplay. In contrast, there is a definite structure and end to a match in League of Legends. Yet in both games there exist intermediate steps to victory, strategic goals which contribute to your prospects for success. When those goals can be contested by other players and only have value for the side which succeeds, they make for good conflict drivers. In both EVE and LoL these objectives act as flash points for skirmishes, ambushes, and game-defining brawls. To illustrate this, let’s look at the conflict drivers on Summoner’s Rift.
RED/BLUE BUFFS = POCO
Planets are common and so are Player Owned Customs Offices trying to get value off of them. If you hold territory and are going up against someone who holds territory, you probably have a roughly equal number of these things. While they don’t give much money, they do give some and provide outputs which are good for fuel logistics or supporting PVP, like the parts for fuel blocks and nanite paste. Taking away an enemy’s POCO isn’t a game changer, but it’s a timer fight and does cause the enemy to miss out on their status quo income.
The League of Legends equivalent would be the Red and Blue Buffs located in the jungle. Both teams have one of each in mirror locations on the map. Killing the jungle monster that gives the buff gives a nice chunk of gold to the killer in addition to the buff which gives them an advantage based on the color. Red Buff empowers the holder with an on-hit slow and damage over time effect. The Blue Buff greatly increases mana regeneration and reduces cooldowns on your champion’s abilities. Conflict over the initial buff spawns is relatively common, since junglers are very reliant on the gold and experience they provide to keep pace with the laning champions. Any early kills netted from those fights can begin an advantage that lasts throughout the game, but can also backfire and put the attacking team behind. Compared to the conflict drivers below, the gold gains and advantages from buffs are slight but in competitive play every possible advantage is fought over relentlessly. Buff monsters respawn every five minutes and if a champion with the buff is killed the killer gains the buff.
R64s, or really any good non-Technetium moon, are solid goals for an alliance.. They provide a source of income to the owner that can be rather substantial over time. Alliance income, typically, provides benefits to the members of that alliance, replacing ships or making large purchases for the organization. If someone comes along and wants that income for their alliance instead, a fight is on.
The Dragon is one of two unique jungle monsters and serves as a major conflict point of the mid and late game. Unlike normal jungle monsters, which low level jungle champions are quite capable of killing by themselves, the Dragon is actually quite tough and very few champions can solo it below level 7 or 8. Furthermore, it’s located in the river that cuts across the middle of the map, a visionless “neutral” area that divides the jungle between each team. This makes attempting to kill it, especially without establishing vision or pressure elsewhere, very risky. Though it doesn’t provide a buff, the prize for successfully killing Dragon is huge: 190 gold for every member of the team. The combination of difficulty, needing scouting and coordination, and a global team reward make Dragon a natural team objective and potential fight every 6 minutes that the Dragon respawns.
Ah Tech… A single Tech moon can power the ship replacement program for a small alliance and is unquestionably the most valuable object that can be captured in EVE Online. An alliance with Tech is able to sustain its war effort much more effectively than a non-Tech alliance through continual ship replacement. Substantial Tech holdings can even make those fleets themselves more effective than they would otherwise be by enabling fleet doctrines players would otherwise be reluctant to field out of their own pockets. Whole coalition wars have been started over the desire for Tech, and the fights to control those moons see both sides pull out all the stops.
Baron is the second unique jungle monster and at 15 minutes it is the last monster to spawn on the map. Baron is located in the river mirror opposite from Dragon. Even at level 18 it is almost impossible to solo and only a few champions are able to reasonably attempt it. With a 7 minute respawn timer, it has the single largest gold value of any objective, providing 300 gold to each member of the team that kills it. It also provides an incredibly powerful buff to that team, giving them faster health and mana regeneration as well as more attack damage and ability power. Unlike the other jungle buffs this will not transfer to the killer if the buffed champ dies. Unless the enemy team is dead or pinned in their base, most Baron attempts will be contested. Fights over Baron are setup over the course of several minutes, with warding and counter warding. The fights themselves are brutal affairs, with no ultimate or summoner spell left unspent and multiple dead champions. Unless Baron was “stolen” the victorious team will stand tall and have the Baron buff for 4 minutes. While they are far from invincible, they have a reasonable chance at taking several other objectives or putting to end the game.
Outposts are the strategic measuring stick of sovereign 0.0 space. They provide a safe port when hostiles enter the system and a staging point to organize your response. Though far more common now than they once were, they remain a significant strategic objective for sov warfare. To ensure these stations don’t get flipped while the attackers sleep, they have a series of timers which afford the defender several opportunities to save the station. Attackers can “headshot” an enemy by pushing at their main HQ system until the outpost falls or adopt a more gradual strategy of grinding their enemy’s space down on several fronts.
If you swap being perfectly safe from damage to something provides a bubble of safety by shooting nearby enemies, you have the Turret in League of Legends. There are three turrets in each lane and two at the Nexus, the game-ending final objective. Turrets provide vision over an area and shoot a powerful single-target attack at enemy minions and champions within their range. High health champions can temporarily “dive” into a turrets range to try to kill you, but for the most part the turret is a strong deterrent to a chasing foe if you can get back to it. Only the outermost turret in each lane can be attacked, so much like a station timer an attacker needs to go through an outer, inner, and final layer to finish off the lane. Once the lane’s third turret is down, that lane’s inhibitor is defenseless and only one down inhibitor is required to enable the attacking team to damage the Nexus turrets. Thus it is possible to win a game in LoL while the enemy has pristine turrets in two of the three lanes. On the other hand, destroying every turret and each lane’s inhibitor makes it extremely hard for your opponent to do anything but defend their base even if they stop your initial attempt at their Nexus. In practice, some combination of these two approaches is used and the balance usually depends on the opportunities presented to your team based on which lanes are winning and where team fights happen. The lane turrets do not heal, provide each member of the attacking team 150 gold, and are essential to map control making both their siege and defense essential.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Jungle buffs, global objectives like Baron and Dragon, and the Turrets represent the major points of conflict on the Summoner's Rift map. Most of your team fights will be fought over, around, or en route to one of these objectives. Each successful objective will contribute to your teams momentum toward the endgame, but it's important to remember no advantage is insurmountable. An enemy team with a gold lead and the Baron buff can still be overcome by a few well timed ganks or a well executed team fight that resets the field of play. Some solo queue spergs will insist your team surrender at the first lost Dragon, Baron, or teamfight. Ignore these idiots, rally your team, and focus on what you can do at the next objective to regain the initiative. One of the best ways to do this, and to prevent falling behind in the first place, will be the subject of the final article in the series: Scouting.