Hello Wikia, I am Bachoru, you might recognize me from some of my suggestions here and I'm quite active on the chat. I'd like to share my year-long experience with LoL, because it seems a pretty important milestone for me, even tho I usually don't do this kind of stuff.
I first heard about LoL from my friend (he never got past level 25), and I first saw it when I visited him, I believe on Jan 21st 2010 (just assuming because that was Friday). I saw him play Warwick, who was currently free. I observed and thought it was a really good game, also I liked Warwick's simplicity. I downloaded it when I came home and made an account that day, and played my first game on it the next day. I started out by doing the tutorials, then I played Warwick the first few games. I also played a fail Veigar (was new to the game and Veigar is not exactly the best "frontline" champion) game when someone picked WW before me. One memorable thing I remember was a Renekton (who was just released) stacking gunblades and owning me as WW. The next rotation was Akali, Rammus, Pantheon and a few others, but these I remember playing. I liked Akali and also enjoyed Rammus, didn't quite like Pantheon.
My first principle after trying these three was to try all the champions during free week, then play the ones I liked. So I'd randomly pick a free champion and play him on Twisted Treeline custom game vs. bots (this option was very soon removed, but I remember trying Shen this way, among others), or TT normal/SR custom (no Coop back then). I'd just buy Riot's recommended build. If I liked the champion I'd look up guides for him on MOBAfire, either just build or also more extensive-skill tips etc. I extensively studied Akali and Fiddlesticks if I remember correctly (not sure when Fiddle, he was free basically every other week back then) My second principle was not to buy champions I haven't played yet, and to instead save my IP for a champion I truly love. So I didn't buy any of the "good starting champions" like Ashe or the likes. I had lots of fun playing Akali and she seemed really powerful (I also wasn't completely terribad with her) at that time so I planned on probably buying her when free week was over- under the condition that I'd try the other champions first. And so my plan came to a halt- I played Renekton. Obviously I was hyped for him because he could outheal Warwick (WW HAS INNATE LIFESTEAL WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?) and I even saw he got buffs (I randomly saw patch notes). I did very well with a pure DPS build, something that would get laughed at and scorned at level 30 play was viable and working against fellow <10s. So I decided to put Akali on hold and bought Renekton after I had enough IP for him and free week was over. I believe that was exactly a year ago, Feb 7th 2011. So today marks the day of my first champion bought (and yes, I DID buy a 6300 champion before anything else).
My first games
As mentioned, I did well with Akali and Rammus, and very well with Renekton. I also tried a bunch of other champions, but did mediocre-poorly with most (remember I left my first Singed game because "he has no damage besides poison this champ sucks wtf riot", don't worry it was just custom). The next few weeks contained a few more of my current favorites: you'll notice Malzahar, Udyr, Renekton, Rammus were in the first 4-5 weeks of me playing LoL. I played a good amount of Twisted Treeline as well as SR, because Renekton seemed even more ridiculous with just 3 opponents. TT was also shorter, thus better for trying out champions in my limited time, and for playing when I don't have that much time in general. Even tho I started off with mostly melee champions, I quickly started learning ranged as well. Back then I didn't value kills nearly as much and was ready to "die to damage that turret just a few times" because champions respawn, turrets don't (it seems logical thinking back). Anyway, an iconic game from those times was an Udyr game, where we had a premade Mord+Teemo leave within the first 10 minutes, leaving Jax and my brother on tanky AD Sion with me 3v5 the enemy team. We did amazingly well, took baron and backdoored their turrets. We won that game, and I naturally fell in love with Udyr. I bought Udyr, and a few more standard champions such as Ashe, Amumu, Shen, Annie etc.
Naturally my brother started playing when I did. My dad saw the game and made his account a few days later. Our sister also found out about it and liked the champions like Morgana and Akali because of their looks, so in fact whenever I wanted to play Akali I'd use her account. My mother doesn't like these action games so much, and my 6-year old brother is, well, 6 years old. But basically LoL became a sort of family game. My brother played offtanks mostly, and liked assassins (I don't), my dad had weaker reflexes so he played tanks and offtanks, his first buy was Trundle, quickly followed by Alistar and his main and favorite, Singed. He's learning Teemo atm, but Singed remains his best for over half a year.
Climbing the ladder
At around level 20 I became familiar with the more advanced parts of LoL: the metagame, warding, farming, jungling, which champions were "good" etc. I was a big fan of CLG because I heard lots of gossip about them being awesome and all that. So I trusted Elementz with his list and when I wanted to find out which champion to buy next I consulted it. I was disappointed to see my main champions low in the list: Malza, Renekton, Udyr tier 3-4, but Ashe was up in tier 1 and so was Amumu. So I gave up on the "exotic champions" and played the "inside of the box" basic guys, successfully jungling Amumu and Udyr, playing Annie or Ashe mid if needed. Then in June there was the big Dreamhack event, and it was the first LoL tournament I've ever seen, and the only one I followed closely. I was disappointed by CLG's preformance and also understood that champions rated low by Elementz don't automatically belong in the recycle bin (it felt so good seeing Westrice on Akali, or xPeke on Malzahar wiping out HotshotGG on Swain in the middle, lots of Karti on solo top and Sona+Ashe repeatedly owning Janna+Corki bot). At this point I used guides less, and I read more about general LoL objectives etc. I tried to master the jungler role with champions like Lee Sin and Rammus added to my arsenal, as well as work on my farming tools, and I bought Malzahar and did very well with him. I slowly veered away from Renekton- DPS Renekton was a blast early summoner levels, but tanky Renekton felt wrong and DPS just got killed and lacked the CC and usefulness the team needed. Nevertheless I still had awesome games with him, just not as frequently. I also had a good general idea of most champions at this level.
At this time my dad also had to leave Slovakia for a 3-MONTH trip to Rwanda in Africa. But we still played together and LoL helped us stay in touch other than just skype calls.
I joined the wiki for no particular reason, and I learned a lot mainly from Asperon Thorn and Rapacious, and Zsoltitakacs (we called him John, still miss the guy) told me about Wiki Chat where I could talk about anything LoL-related with good feedback, so I liked the feature a lot. I also started an ambitious project, "Your job in a team", but because of the lack of user input and especially my lack of energy and commitment it was never completed. Also it discouraged me to see it moved to "guides". Anyway, I contributed much less to the wiki since then, just fixing occasional typos I found etc. I was still active on chat tho, and used the wiki's vast information a lot (MOBAfire had and still has outdated databases).
At my peak
I got to level 30 in early summer, and played a few ranked games but stopped once server problems became too severe. In August, after Europe split, I heard from the LoL Wiki community (I think it was Sagee) that I could get some awards for Season 1 ELO, so I started actively playing again and ALMOST got to 1500 (one win away, but you know solo Q) in autumn. So I ended S1 with Silver and around 1500 ELO. I took a break in ranked games for a while and worked on practicing whatever I didn't know yet. I found out a lot from the Wiki community, as well as reading MOBAfire guides. Offtanks were the META, even tho atmog was just starting at that time. I was doing very well then, winning many games and trying my hardest; this however taxed me in being very arrogant and upset at teammates who weren't doing as well as me and resulted in huge flamewars.
My opinion towards Riot
I come from Runescape. The company running it, Jagex, is pretty terrible at managing it's community. We've been asking for much and more but rarely got what we wanted; instead members got a new boss and yet another melee warrior set. So my general opinion of game providers was very low (and I haven't even seen the HoN forums, God save me). When server problems started I was extremely upset at Riot. They handled the situation amazingly. They gave us all 500 RP for the problems and a 15 day IP boost to compensate for friend loss due to server split. Since then whatever I've seen the community ask for, Riot has given it. They are MASTERS of managing the community: they understand that it's the players who provide them with profit so the players deserve a strong voice. I also like how while Riot Points are a cool way of boosting your character and his look, so you can focus all your IP on runes, they are not a requirement at all. I can become just as pro as Westrice without investing a cent into LoL, which can't be said about many other games. I've always valued equal opportunities, and this is one of the rare instances.
From autumn I can't say I've improved much; I've practiced some champions and improved in them significantly, but I don't trust myself in being better, or even as good as before in ranked games. I've neglected support completely, because really a good support with a good team is good, a bad support with a good team is fine (as long it's not Janna for an AoE team) but even the best support can't do anything to help carry a bad team. And at my ELO at least there is always enough bad people in need for carrying. Currently I'm trying to practice a variety of champions, mostly junglers, solo top champions, and solo mid champions, but also AD bottom. My theory is that jungler=solo top>AP carry mid>AD carry duo bot>>>>>>support. Meaning a good jungler and a good solo top are the best assets a team can have, AP carry also being important and AD being less useful overall. So this is the order I am trying to play my champions to ensure max win rate in ranked solo Q. I've been doing just meh in ranked games, but I have a high ELO albeit my near 1:1 W:L ratio because of high ELO in S1.
Recent events and current situation
I've just recently finally bought Akali despite the nerfs. I've been playing her even without the specific rune page (those runes are damn expensive), just using my AD carry runepage (AD Quints, ArPen Marks, scaling MR and Armor in glyphs and seals). I am working on becoming as good, and, even more importantly, consistent in my gameplay as possible while still maintaining a positive attitude (having problems with all three :( ) towards my team. I am looking for a ranked team that needs the jungler role, I could also play solo top or mid but have very little champs for those roles. I also play with my friends, with marekvelkybruch (almost level 30, and the world champion in Trackmania with natural talent for all games) on my main account, with the rest on smurfs accounts (free IP boosts and a skin if I get 50 woot). I'm willing to play normal games with anyone, but I have to warn you: if I dislike ANYTHING at all I voice my opinion with very dirty language. I'm working on improving that but so far haven't had much success.
So I guess that's it, huh. Seems like a wall of text to you, but to me it's maybe 20 24-hour days of my gametime condensed into this one blog post. I don't know what my goal with this is, it's not exactly good advice or ranting or anything, just my 100% biased view of the last year of LoL.
League of Legends is a great game and Riot are doing everything they can to improve it and make it even better. If you diss Riot I'll come to your house and **** your ****ing head off. No seriously, don't be upset at Riot for nerfing your champion, they have their reasons and so far their reasons have proven near-flawless. I hope to become as good as I can in LoL, maybe even go professional if I have the necessary skill and endurance. But even more than that, I hope that LoL stays a fun outlet for me to vent out trhough with my friends, and so that I never feel like there's nothing new in it for me.
Thank you, Wikia User, for reading this. Just doing that takes good nerves. I hope I somehow inspired you to play LoL and that my story touched you.