Relationships and the Rift: Introducing Her to the Game



Tue 2nd Jul 2013 - 5:56pm

I am very fortunate to be in a relationship with someone who likes to play video games. Though our genres may sometimes vary, our shared love for the medium gives us a deeper connection with each other, by exploring and understanding the games we individually enjoy.

About a year ago, my girlfriend asked me if I could teach her how to play League of Legends. Obviously I agreed, since it would imply that I get to have more ways of spending time with her. It also means that she doesn’t have to be a spectator anymore, and she could enjoy the game beyond watching it.

However, before I started telling her about champions, abilities, and items, I first set a “program” when teaching her about LoL. I didn’t approach this as just showing some kid how to play, since this is someone more special. Throwing her right into the game would definitely traumatize her, with all that information she needs to take in. I needed a good way to ease her in, so that her very first steps into the Fields of Justice would be a good and enjoyable one, making her eager to learn more.

She has then reached level 30, and we’ve had a lot of fun games together. We didn’t always win, and sometimes it frustrated her to no end. However, in the end I achieved what every guy secretly dreams: for his loved one to understand this silly little game he seems to be passionate about. Because of that, I wanted to share my ways and help you get your girl (an interested one by the way, don’t force her) into LoL the quarrel-free way:

 Explain League of Legends, in your own words.

The first thing I did was tell her what League of Legends is all about. Of course, I didn’t say it in such a way as,

“It’s a MOBA. It means Massive Online Battle Arena. It’s similar to DoTA, you know that? No? Um, you know, there a base, and… you have to destroy that, thing, in the middle… okay, okay, so you choose a hero, or champion, and you go out and kill these enemies that look like, well… bad guys. Err…”

Unlike your fellow game bros, explaining LoL to a girl can be quite difficult, even if she is your girlfriend. Why? Simple: it’s difficult to make it sound cool and attractive. The problem lies on the game itself: it’s very complex. While the goal of the game is to simply destroy the enemy nexus, getting there is another story. Champions, towers, minions, items, and the way all of these are intertwined to reach said goal can pose some trouble, as they are important in the game’s structure.

Now, to help you communicate your passion to the game and give your girlfriend a good primer about League of Legends, try to strip it down to its very core. Try to use more familiar terms. Mimic an elevator pitch, meaning you have to sell something in between 30 seconds to a minute. Firing up a custom game with just you in it will make for great visual aid. Here’s an example:

“See this guy (show champion)? You control one of these and your goal is to destroy this thing on the other side (show nexus). Anything that isn’t your team color (blue or red) is an enemy so you kill it. Kill enemies, you get stronger so that you can kill more enemies, till you get to here (show nexus again).”

It’s simple and explains the main objective. Don’t worry about towers or minions or builds. She'll get there. She needs to get the very basics first, which leads to the next step:


I cannot stress this enough. I have seen a lot of guys trying to impress certain ladies by teaching them how to play League of Legends. Thing is, a lot of them make the crucial mistake of introducing it to them by immediately making them play a game. Even if it is Coop vs AI, the pace of the game is not set for explaining terms and mechanics. I don’t know how one could possibly explain even the basics before the minions come out. Not only would it confuse the beginner, it might even invoke the ire of her allies, flaming her and leaving a horrible impression.

Tutorials are designed to carefully and thoroughly introduce games to those without any experience. This is especially true in League of Legends, a game with a ton of concepts and ideas to know and master. The tutorial in LoL, in my opinion, is well-designed in that even the mouse clicking and movement is explained in detail. To gamers like us, this may be a trivial manner, but to those with little to no prior experience, this is a big deal, as this shows that the game understands and accepts newbies, and that it's willing to help them in every step of the way. Now that’s a great impression.

So please, if you know you can’t teach her well, put the ego aside. You’ll make the game look bad.

We're just getting started

This is already a long post so I’ll cut the discussion for now. Next up: Selecting a champion and AI games!

(All images are credited to their respective owners)