Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Summoner's Guidebook: I'm not a fan of URF

I didn't post yesterday, whoops. Sorry for anyone waiting on a post.

This week, I'm talking about URF again. More accurately, I'm talking about why I dislike it, why I think it's a waste of time. Okay, maybe waste of time is the wrong word (I play Borderlands after all). It has no real value.

URF doesn't really test any useful skills that will help you win in real League of Legends games. Of course, the game mode is for fun. Whatever, we'll get to that. You can't count cooldowns or pressure your opponent when he's low on mana because obviously there is no mana. You can throw all the skillshots ever and be extremely oppressive. There's a clear dominant playstyle and I find it incredibly amusing that a character like Sona could even get herself banned from the mode. Apparently throwing 1s cooldown shock blasts through a perma gate isn't as "good" as slowly healing anything that doesn't kill you. URF doesn't teach you to juke skillshots better because there's no sense of timing. The sense of timing in URF is "always."

But I digress. This is mostly about fun. Fun is a pretty subjective thing. It's not something you can measure, right? I disagree.

Let's think about the base game, about League of Legends for a moment. If you play URF and like it, you probably like League of Legends. You probably like the Classic gametype the most and you probably play most of your games on Summoner's Rift. Generally the people who prefer Dominion or TT tend to be much more serious about those modes, in my experience.

Why don't you play other games? Well objectively, I would assume that you find League of Legends more fun. That seems a pretty reasonable thing to guess. Of course we all play lots of games, but I specifically mean more action-packed MOBA type games. There are quite a few MOBAs that have fewer cooldowns and more energetic play. These MOBAs are great games and if you actually enjoy URF more than LoL Classic, you should try them out. I'm a huge fan of Smashmuck Champions for instance, which isn't quite the same, but it has a lot more energy than LoL Classic and is a way better game than URF.

The answer why is obvious. LoL isn't balanced or designed around URF, but other games are balanced around their more high-energy gameplay. I'm pretty sure none of us would even consider for a moment that URF is well balanced or designed. It's mostly a thought problem than anything else. What's the most broken thing in URF? Is this pick broken? Let's try it out and see! If it became a permanent mode, it'd stagnate, which is why they're not keeping it around.

Now let's think more on this. Think back to your last series of URF games. The chances are pretty good that they were similar to your last series of Classic games. Some wins, some losses. You probably had a similar amount of fun in URF. Possibly less if your opponent picked something really OP or someone on the enemy team snowballed hard. It's a lot easier to come back in Classic than it is in URF. Your bad games are generally worse in URF. This is exacerbated by the higher volume of deaths. If someone is dead more often, he or she has more time to trashtalk. This is pushed even worse by the "just for fun" kids who feel that it's okay to troll because "it's just URF."

If it's more fun to hit more buttons, you probably should be playing a different game than League that emphasizes hitting buttons more. It does nothing good for LoL, and on the path of self-improvement, even ARAM is a better choice.

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