Have you ever found yourself in this situation? It’s 1 am and you’re queuing up for a ranked match, it’s Wednesday and tomorrow you have to get up early but you don’t seem to care, as you hit the queue button you think to yourself, this game isn’t that fun, why am I playing so much?
League of Legends is an incredibly popular online game that has captivated millions of players around the world. It’s a fast-paced, team-based game that requires strategy, skill, and teamwork to succeed. But it’s also one of the most addicting games in the world.
In this article I will attempt to break down why I think this game is so addicting and what you can do about it if you think you’re addicted.
Very Low Barrier to Entry
League of Legends is an incredibly easy game to play, all you need is a computer and a decent internet connection. It’s much different from other things that you could get addicted to.
Think about it, if for example an alcoholic were to consume all his booze he’d have to head out and buy more, so he needs money to be an alcoholic.
Unlike more recent games that require a strong graphics card, a monthly subscription and more, League doesn’t require any of that, as long as you have an internet connection you can download the game and start playing in a couple of hours at most.
This makes League of Legends a dangerous game, if for example you wanted to stop playing but you are still in school, then getting rid of the computer is not feasible. So every time you use the computer you will probably get the urge to play.
Matches don’t take that long to finish
Unlike other online games like MMORPGs or even offline games that take between 20 to 40 hours to complete. A match in League of Legends is only 20-50 minutes long. This makes it easy to justify in our brains booting up the game again.
It can quickly become something we do in our free time but more specifically when we don’t have much time to burn.
This can be problematic, because matches can quickly substitute genuinely rewarding activities that take longer to finish. If for example we wanted to draw a painting, that could take days to finish, but a single 30 minute match has a 50% chance of rewarding us with a big YOU WIN screen.
It’s easy to play but hard to master
Like chess, the rules of the game are quite simple, but the game itself could take you years to master.
League of Legends is a complex game, but the time it will take you to start winning matches and feel that dopamine hitting you is not that long, thanks to modern matchmaking you won’t get destroyed for more than a handful of matches. You will quickly get paired with people of similar skill which can be extremely fun.
This is in contrast to sports like basketball or tennis, where you can expect to lose every single match for weeks if not months before you can actually start winning.
With League you can quickly skip the learning phase of a new hobby, and be rewarded almost immediately. The game even makes it easy by giving you constant rewards and then giving less and less stuff the more you play.
Unlike many other hobbies, League will give you a pretty good indicator of where you are in your journey, most players will start at bronze league and work their way up to silver or gold, with some going up even higher.
But no matter your skill level the game is designed so you can eventually grind your way to some progress, with multiple tiers between each rank, so if you are bronze II you could grind to bronze III with some luck and effort, this can also be problematic as players will spend a lot of time spamming matches in hopes of attaining a higher rank.
You are rewarded for playing more
The game rewards players who play many games. Not only will you increase in rank (even if it’s only a small tier up) but the game will constantly drip feed you random skins and at the end of the season there are usually rewards based on how much you played and what rank you attained.
There are even rewards not tied to how much you win or how much you play. This is the case with the honor system, it rewards players who are nicer to their teammates and always strive to win.
League can make you feel good about yourself
For people who never played sports, or were successful at much their entire lives life can feel pretty miserable, League of Legends offers a way to feel like you matter, to feel respected without doing much in the real world.
It happened to me, it didn’t matter my grades at school, or that my girlfriend dumped me, as long as I kept climbing I felt good about myself while playing.
This was a serious problem for me, the better I did in league the worse I did at life in general. I even changed games a few times, but I always came back to League because I was good at it, it felt amazing dominating a match and earning the respect of my teammates while dominating the entire enemy team by myself.
It’s a competitive game
League of Legends is a recognized eSport. Players all over the world make a living using their skill in the game. Some do it by playing in professional teams, some stream their games in high level matches and some coach or even boost players in the game itself.
It can be problematic for strong players to trick themselves into thinking that with more effort and time invested they could make a living by playing the game.
It happened to me I was constantly in platinum but I couldn’t reach diamond. After graduating high school I stopped attending college for months just to see how high I could climb, it was a very disappointing experience, barely scrapping into diamond and wasting months of my life on the game.
Are you addicted to League of Legends
Only you can make that judgment, video game addiction is a real thing and multiplayers games are especially dangerous because they are “infinite games”.
When I speak about an “infinite game”, I mostly speak about multiplayer games because the competitive aspect mixed with constant updates makes it so the game feels new all the time.
Unlike games which end after 20, 40 or 100 hours, these games never end, many players are shocked when they check their total hours played and see an insane number like 6000 hours or even 12000.
Still the best way to determine if you are addicted to the game is to ask yourself this question:
“Will my life objectively improve if I stopped playing League of Legends?”
If the answer to the question is yes, then you might be addicted and I encourage you to take steps to stop.
How to stop playing
It’s not easy breaking this habit, we already talked about why this game is so addicting, it’s made to be this way and modern life can be hard and unforgiving, so escaping into the game is only natural in many cases.
Most things in life take time, the satisfaction of reaching the top of your career, raising a family and so on. It’s important to understand that anything that you do after stopping playing will feel dull, boring and like it has no meaning.
This is normal, our brain is so used to engaging with this super stimulating game that doing simple things like reading a book, walking in the park or even spending time with our family and friends will feel unbearable.
To make things easier for our readers who may have problems reducing their playing time we have made a short list of things to try:
Work before play
Always do the hard/boring tasks first, only play as a way to reward yourself after you have completed them.
Slowly reduce the number of matches you play per day. If you used to play 8 matches per day, then start by playing 6 matches per day, then slowly reduce them until you are satisfied.
Try new hobbies
You will find yourself with a lot of free time if you do everything by the book. Don’t stare into the ceiling, you will only go back to playing if you do. Find new rewarding and productive hobbies that are both fun and rewarding to fill up your time.
Put yourself in a position to succeed. Place the computer in the living room, tell your family to keep you accountable, find ways to create space between league and you.
Be compassionate with yourself
Depending on how much you used to play, you might relapse a few times before getting better.
This is normal, don’t beat yourself up or you will likely get back to playing again.