I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard someone telling me playing too many video games can rot my brain. My friends say it, my mom says it, and even my wife tells me from time to time. I mostly just answer by giving a wry smile and going about my day.
But not today! I’m setting out on a quest to see how much truth is in this statement. Does that statement really hold up? How much truth is in this statement? Today let’s have a look at some of the facts as we discover the answer to the burning question… Is playing League of Legends good for you?
Also read: Best AD Mid Laners
What Science Tells Us
It wouldn’t be too good if I just started listing down random benefits without any actual facts backing it up, now would it? No, no. For this, we need to turn to science and what we know about it so far. Video games have seen a boom in the last decade. Even the early days of handheld and console gaming showed impressive numbers.
With such a large scale of people partaking in video games, it isn’t surprising to know that a lot of people from the scientific and academic community have conducted studies on what effects video games have on us all. We all have that one friend or family member who might seem like they play too much – unless you are that friend – no judgment here.
Let’s start with the popular published research material that is well known to most of us already. Video games can be good for you – and I say the word can because it’s easy to go overboard and just consume grotesque amounts of time on video games. More on that later.
Before proceeding, we just want to point out that not all video games are the same. A lot of the points that will be covered in this article are going to refer to League of Legends, and while it does apply to most other games, we will probably be leaving out some good and bad bits that don’t apply to this game.
The Good – Focus
Video games have actually been proven to help you improve focus and cognitive abilities. This is particularly true for visual selective ability. In a nutshell, the visual selective ability is your ability to block out distractions and focus on visual information. Easier said than done, right? It also helps a lot with reading, since, well… There are a lot of on-screen cues.
Comprehension is especially important when reading skills, abilities, and special skill requisites are needed for effects to trigger in a game like League of Legends.
Empathy is also developed when playing certain types of games, League included. While it is a MOBA game at its core, League of Legends has certainly matured since it first came out over a decade ago. What was once filled with simplistic characters and a relatively empty, non-interconnected world has now evolved into a vast world rich in lore and character backstory.
You can clearly see the interactions among champions as well as the struggles they have in the lore. Champions like Teemo aren’t going to win any awards for pulling on your heartstrings, but there’s a lot of variety here that includes more serious storylines. The politics and dynamics within Runeterra are also very interesting.
With the release of other forms of media that support the game such as Netflix’s Arcane, players have found a more empathetic approach as well and are usually attached to certain champions. This may translate to real-life application, though your mileage may vary.
Also read: How to Farm Under Tower?
I’ve decided to include it here, but the reality is that it can really go either way. While you may argue that a significant percentage of Riot’s player base can be toxic, it’s still alright for the most part. This is a team game, after all, and winning requires teamwork. You can try the Rambo strategy and just solo everything, but more often than not, it’s not going to be a good strategy.
Riot has taken extra steps to ensure teamwork is a bit more smooth compared to other games. Features such as the honor system, being able to choose a role before queuing to avoid arguments in the champion selection screen, and being able to build trust by reporting truly toxic players among others, all tie in to minimize toxicity.
I say minimize because, with a game of this nature, I don’t think it is possible to completely stomp out toxic behavior.
That being said, there are different ways to praise your teammates. Be it leadership and good shot-calling or just not being triggered, having a visual representation of how you do actually subconsciously incentivizes being a good player.
Social interactions like improving how to get along with others, communication (pinging, for those who remember to use it), and even leadership are seriously developed here. Personally, I used to be a shy guy myself, but just barking out instructions and having a good laugh over applications like Discord have truly helped me out a lot.
An Escape from the Daily Grind
For some people, it’s leaving the hustle and bustle of a city to go visit a more peaceful place; for others, it may be a weekend trip to the beach. For me? I like to kick back and play video games. It can be a good way to unwind and mentally clock off from work, school, or any burdens you may carry throughout the day.
For a game like League though, it can be a slippery slope. It’s easy to have that one more game! mentality when you just experienced a bitter defeat. When you approach it as a game where you just need to have fun, that’s when you can truly experience the wide array of benefits it has to offer.
This one is a no-brainer. Most games have some sort of problem-solving involved. Even casual games do. League is still a strategy game, and like it or not, there’s a lot of brainpower involved when completing tasks.
How do I win trades? Where should I be warding? How can I outperform my enemy counterpart? Should I gank or stay in the lane? These are all questions constantly swimming in your head without you even knowing, and they can help you stay sharp in more ways than one.
Also read: Most Overloaded Champions
Things are seldom without their fair share of flaws. Unfortunately, gaming isn’t exempt from this rule. The most obvious is addiction. This is more prevalent in people with lower social skills, according to studies and research. However, the discipline to control your usage ultimately boils down to you.
While it can be an escape from the daily grind as previously mentioned, it’s easy to just engross yourself and find too much solace in video games, which isn’t too healthy either. The recurring takeaway of what studies show is: moderation is key, and this won’t be the last time you’ll hear it.
Like the other points mentioned, social interaction also has a flip side, and it really can be a hit or miss. You will encounter griefers. In all ranks. It’s not a question of if you will, but rather when you will.
To quote a famous butler, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” And that’s okay. If you get triggered yourself, toxic players get what they want. It happens, the same way accidents happen. I get it can be mentally distressing. You just want to have a good time. Report and move on. It’s easier that way in the long run.
At the end of the day, whether or not it is good is merely a side effect of the fun we have when we log in to League of Legends. League is as good as it has ever been, and the benefits we get from playing are but icing on an already delicious serving of cake. However, as with most things, moderation is essential.
So play on and rest easy knowing you’re doing alright. Just don’t forget to take breaks in between sessions, and don’t overdo it with unhealthy levels of long sessions. I say that, but we’re all a bit guilty of indulging from time to time, aren’t we?