League of Legends’ newest champion Vex convinced our own Briggsycake to give the game a try at long last.

I remember when League of Legends first came out. My friends and I were talking about it and one of them gave me a single warning: "Don't try it. It will make you rage HARD."

At that point, my gaming criteria was mostly composed of daily 12-hr sessions of Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead scrims. I often wonder if these became esports, would I have a real go at being a professional player? At that point in time, it was nothing but a fantasy--but I really was that good.

Yet despite LoL's growing popularity, my friend's words stuck with me for over a decade. So I never tried it. I had glimpses of it over the years and even went to a match featuring 100 Thieves in 2019, not knowing exactly what I was looking at, but enjoying myself all the same. But given what I've heard about the difficulty, the toxicity, and the now steep learning curve after growing for almost 12 years, my hesitation turned into all-out avoidance. I was content learning about the game in passing and studying more of the sociological effect of the incredibly popular MOBA.

And then there was Vex.

Actual senior year photo from 20XX.
Actual senior year photo from 20XX.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Not since Senna was I ever more emboldened to suck it up and actually download League of Legends.

Vex, known as The Gloomist, is a Yordle who could not be more Teenage Briggsy if she tried. I wore a lot of dark baggy clothing and almost always kept my head covered in a hood. My playlist mainly consisted of Korn, Limp Bizkit, Incubus, Godsmack, A Perfect Circle, among others. I did not want to go outside EVER. Despite my mom's best efforts to provide me makeup that would lightly compliment my skin tone, I loved bold, dark hues and brightly colored contacts. And most of all, I REALLY didn't want to do anything other than sleep.

Not to mention that her name, Vex, was a word commonly used to describe me due to my grumpy and aloof nature, as my mom always thought I was "vexed" about something. I didn't want to deal with people. I wanted nothing to do with anything social, even feeling a twinge of nostalgia as she uttered one of the more infamous lines of my childhood

"Ugh, people."

Me when my mother said company was coming over.
Me when my mother said company was coming over.

The emo mage is set to debut this month, and I am fully prepared for the mental fortitude I will need to jump into League of Legends as a brand new player. It's always intimidating for many, to jump into such games with a long and storied history, with many champions to choose from, many strategies to learn and practice, and a consistently thriving esports league that boasts some of the most popular figures in the world. I admit that even now, my gloomy side wants to to just crawl back into bed and be safe with my Overwatch and Valorant (barely).

So why now? Why try this game now? There are many more dynamic champions to choose from and my excitement for Senna's debut back in 2019 was real. The truth of it is that real life called in 2019. Pre-pandemic, I wasn't in the mental place to deviate from what I was already doing to just get through the day. I even remember wanting to pitch an article regarding Senna's debut and was talking about it with an editor, but it never came into fruition. I was dealing with so much at the time that I simply didn't have enough spoons to learn a brand new game.

More to the point, while every person has their own timeline for growth and change, I've always been a late bloomer. Like Vex, I'm always set in my ways, whether due to stubbornness or self-preservation. I just wanted to be left alone and only found solace in what was dark. It wasn't until now that I saw this little emo with her bunny ears and heavy-lidded eyes that I realized that this was my chance to relate to a character for who I was. I'm a semi-emo, 90s hip-hop tattooed adult who fluctuates between wanting to sleep and not wanting to deal with people. That hasn't changed. And I'm not really ashamed of it anymore.

Even her ability set is relatable. Her passive being literal depression (Doom 'n' Gloom) hit me right in my own feels. What I enjoy about this is that Doom is empowering her. Instead of believing her outlook on life is a detriment, she uses it to her advantage and becomes more powerful as a result. You can probably guess as to why this is important for people like me, who struggle with the darkness and trying to accept it as a part of you instead of something separate and evil. Her shadow is literally her friend. And helps her win her battles.

I get by with a little help from my demons.
I get by with a little help from my demons.

This lil' goth SPEAKS to me.And all of her magic attacks: Mistral Bolt, Personal Space (lol), Looming Darkness, and Shadow Surge are enhanced by her passive making her a very interesting little Yordle indeed. I love her and want her to be my friend.

It's a testament to how influential games are. Some people play to compete, others play to have fun with their friends, and some prefer the solitude of escape with single-player games. Me? I just want someone to relate to, as a Caribbean woman whose tastes sometimes don't match with the demographic I represent. Who loves tattoos, rock music, heavy makeup, and goth clothing. Who wants to be left alone to sleep and is fascinated with death and depression.

Someone like Vex.