Guest Post By Murfurious
A few weeks back, I decided I was done playing League of Legends again. There were no matches, no horrible players, no terrible changes that forced my decision. Instead, I realized what I always come to eventually realize: League of Legends, for me, is a black hole.
Don’t get me wrong, League of Legends is not a bad game – its community isn’t nearly as horrible as it once was and it will always be fun to play with friends (or strange Canadians you met on the Internet). Like most MMOs and any other game I predominantly play for the multiplayer, it’s the way my mind reacts to the game that really gets me in trouble.
When I am an active League of Legends player, most of my time off revolves around the game. I check my favorite League blogs for news (including this one, hint hint), I chat with friends about new strategies, or sometimes I peruse the forums looking for meaningful discussion (ha). That’s a huge chunk of my free time by itself, but that’s before actually playing the game!
Whereas most modern games have relatively short match lengths, League’s can be long, grueling, and a complete chore. Plus, once I completed a long match, it was typical for me to immediately start a new one, especially if I lost or if I am playing with friends. Ultimately, whether I was truly enjoying the game or not, League was taking up far too much of my time with very little value added to my life.
There are ways to prevent and mitigate this without outright quitting. First of all, stop reading forums and checking blog sites so much. Unless you are a professional League player or you are looking to play semi-professionally, you don’t really need to gorge yourself on a steady diet of new strategies, plays you’ll probably never make, or theorycraft on how the game ought to become.
More often than not, a diet like that will narrow your view of the game to the currently trending strategies and prevent you from seeing outrageous team compositions or crazy lane choices as anything other than inferior to how thing should be played. In other words, you’ll begin to look at the game as a sport rather than as a hobby meant to be played for fun.
If you can’t completely shake the forum addiction, then maybe you can at least play a little less. Try limiting yourself to only play with friends, only play certain nights of the week, or play a certain amount of games until you can get your Win of the Day done. Playing too much, especially when you are playing with complete strangers, can be tiresome. Nothing put me in a worse mood than losing my third game in a row because of some leaver/asshole/elitist idiot and then not having a friend who was there to complain to and alleviate some of my frustration.
And don’t forget, there are other games out there (not to mention TV shows, books, movies, bars, jobs, studying, and significant others). Whenever I hear someone complain about MMO subscription jokes, my response has always been ‘MMOs have saved me more money than any other type of game.’ Why? Because they are so damn addicting that I stop buying any other games. The same can be said for League of Legends though I hazard to guess what I’ve spent on skins over the years. Still, with so many amazing games coming out, it seems selfish of us League players to devote so much time to only one game. You aren’t much of a gamer if you only play one game.
Hopefully these strategies can help someone else prevent some of the extreme burnout and fatigue of single-game addiction. As easy as it is to lose ourselves in a game and its community, it isn’t exactly healthy or even a good idea that sometimes we find ourselves spending an entire day off playing a single game for more than eight hours straight every single week, even if that is the only chance we get to really hang out with our friends.
I say this, of course, in the early throws of an addiction to Final Fantasy XIV, so maybe I am the pot calling the kettle black. Yet, I have still managed to take time to see The World’s End (with a lady), watch some Breaking Bad and Sherlock, and play my 3DS. Writing this article doesn’t count since I am doing it while at work – another addiction for another day!
Let us know in the comments how you’ve dealt with League (or any other game) addiction. What are your strategies to figuring out when enough is enough? How do you tear yourself away from the computer long enough to get the ‘life’ your mother is always complaining about you not having? Please tell me that isn’t just my mother.
Twohp’s note: A ton of thanks to Murfurious for writing this amazing piece. Definitely got me to think long and hard about how I play LoL. I highly recommend you give him a follow on Twitter @murfurious and check out a collection of his posts at http://thedelver.wordpress.com/