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Although not classified as a strategy game, League of Legends requires great tactical knowledge, a keen understanding of champions and their mechanics, optimal builds, as well as the ability to function as a part of a team. Due to all of these things, League of Legends is a game that you can never master. Small mistakes can cost you dearly, and even if you have a perfect game, it doesn’t mean you will win.
In this League of Legends overview, I will talk about the reason why the game became so popular in the first place, what separates it from the competition, and how to get better at it. Although this is a rather extensive guide, it cannot cover all the things you need to learn; League of Legends is just that complex.
Key Info Up Front
League of Legends is a massively popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) that was released in October 2009. In the game, your team of 5 champions is pinned against the opponents’ 5 champions, and the main goal is to take down the main structure within the enemy base called Nexus.
League of Legends History
The concept for the game was first discussed between Riot Games and Dota’s creators Steve “Guinsoo” Feak and Steve “Pendragon” Mescon, in 2015. Mescon and Feak wanted to create a new game that would be completely independent of the Warcraft 3 engine, which was getting more outdated by the year.
They were interested in creating a game without having to worry about different restraints. People from Riot were impressed by their work. As you can presume, they were also fans of Dota. They worked on the project for four years until its beta release in April 2019. It was almost an instant hit when it came out because Mescon and Feak had such a large following, and Dota fans were eager to jump into this new game.
The first iteration of LoL was pretty rough. It had only 17 champions and lots of balance issues. Riot managed to polish most of these problems during the beta, and the game was finally released in October that year, featuring 40 different playable characters.
The thing that was very important for its popularity was the fact that you didn’t have to buy Warcraft 3 copy and that the game was completely free. Despite having a Free-To-Play model, the title would rack up enormous money through its microtransactions. In just a short while, it became one of the most, in not the most, popular games in the world.
The Game’s Positive Impact
As mentioned, it didn’t take long for the game to become really popular. By 2011, 15 million players were logging in every day. The game would turn into a franchise leading to several spinoffs. Nowadays, besides the main game, you can join various events that are periodically rotated. So, there is always something new to strive for.
But, League of Legends is awesome because it managed to make money; it is awesome because of its impact on the gaming community. Before this game, the Free-To-Play concept was more of a novelty. It was used by smaller designers who wanted to share their semi-done projects with a larger audience so they could understand what was wrong. Of course, you always had exceptions, such as Dota, but keep in mind that this was a mode, not a full game.
League of Legends was the first title that allowed you to play a complete, awesome title without having to pay for anything. Surely, you had to grind points to get new champions, but there was always a pool of characters that were rotated each week, so, in theory, you could eventually try all of them.
League of Legends was a sort of test that has shown us that cool games don’t actually need a price tag. As long as you have enough players, it could make money off of secondary purchases. That way, people who don’t have the money to buy a copy could still enjoy it and recommend it to friends, thus increasing the player base.
Besides the fact that the game was free, it would also spark the esports industry. Although League of Legends doesn’t have the highest esports prizes, it does attract most media attention. The World Championship is the most-watched tournament of this kind in the world. For example, the League of Legends World Championship 2021 was watched by 4 million people (not including China).
The Game’s Negative Impact
While League of Legends was very inclusive from the get-go, it inadvertently pointed out several major issues with the gaming community as a whole. Together with Dota, Call of Duty, and a few other titles, League of Legends is regarded as one of the most toxic games ever. The chat can become awful, with lots of flaming and pointing fingers. Among others, this has to do with the game’s highly competitive nature.
The title has also shown us certain disparities between female and male gamers. Although portrayed as a game for everybody, approximately 90% of the player base consists of males. Sometimes, it can be hard for girls to play even casual games, as they might encounter flaming on a gender basis.
League of Legends as an Esport
The game was crucial for the development of modern esports. The first international League of Legends competition was World Championship 2011, which managed to attract 1.6 million viewers. Like Dota 2’s The International, this tournament was an overnight success and would start a series of competitive events that would go on up to this day.
Besides this competition, Riot also hosts All-Stars and Mid-Season Invitational. Every region has its own specific league, tournaments, and other competitions. The most popular ones are LCK, LCS, LEC, and LPL, which are the premier league for South Korea, China, Europe, and North America.
A very cool thing about this is that every region has its own playstyle, so the game feels different depending on what you’re watching. And once the World Championship comes around, you have the pleasure of watching all these strategies collide.
Best League of Legends Teams
League of Legends is a very competitive game that gave us a few incredible squads that were easy to cheer for. Although there are numerous tournaments during the year that can help us evaluate their performance, we usually make our judgment based on the World Championships. It is simply put, the esports pinnacle of the game.
Some of the best League of Legends teams are Taipei Assasins, DRX, Rogue Esports Club, Gen.G LoL, Royal Never Give Up, T1, DWG Kia, PSG Talon, Top Esports, and many others. If we were to declare one team as the best one, it would be SK Telekom T1. They are the only team that has managed to win 3 World Championships.
Overall, the game is dominated by Chinese and Korean teams. As you can presume, League of Legends is wildly popular in these two countries. In fact, the only time someone outside of Asia won the World Championship was in 2011, during the inaugural event, when Fnatic bested Against All Authority.
Unfortunately, League of Legends players don’t rank high among the highest esports earners. Riot is notorious for low prizes, especially when we consider how many people play the game and how much money the company has earned through it. The highest-ranked League of Legends earner is Faker, who stands at 75th position among all esports players with 1.3 million dollars.
How Do You Play League of Legends?
Although an extremely complex game that needs months and even years to master, League of Legends has a relatively simple premise.
League of Legends Basics
League of Legends works like Dota. It is classified as MOBA or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Two teams of 5 players go against each other in an attempt to destroy the enemy’s main building called Nexus.
The main map, called the Summoner’s Rift, is split into two parts. We have one base in the upper right corner and the second base in the lower-left corner. Three lanes go towards each base, and every 30 seconds, minions spawn in every lane, pushing toward the enemies. These minions provide experience and gold, crucial for champions to level up.
We refer to these lanes as the middle lane (the one going through the middle), the top lane (two lanes meet in the upper left corner), and the bottom lane (two lanes meet in the bottom right corner). Traditionally, you would have 4 champions in lanes, with two lanes occupied by 1 champion and one lane with 2 champions. The last champion would go to the jungle, a part of the map where random monsters appear.
In every lane, you have turrets guarding the passage. They will shoot anyone that comes close to them. There are three turrets in each lane, and once you kill the third, you gain access to structures called inhibitors. By destroying these buildings, your minions become much more powerful.
Ideally, you should destroy all 9 turrets and all 3 sets of inhibitors, thus receiving empowered minions in all lanes. They will naturally push towards the enemy base, stomping weaker opponents’ minions. So, with every inhibitor destroyed, it becomes harder for enemies to defend. Your main goal, Nexus, is just beyond these inhibitors. Unlike inhibitors, it is guarded by two turrets instead of one.
In case of a stalemate, there are several jungle monsters you can kill to gain temporary buffs. The most powerful is called Baron Nashor, who empowers the entire team for several minutes. That way, you can penetrate the enemy base even if it’s well guarded.
League of Legends Champions
Each player controls a character called a champion. There is a total of 159 champions in the game, which gives you an unlimited number of options. Every one of them has a passive ability that often determines how the character is played. Aside from that, they have 3 basic spells and 1 devastating ultimate spell that can turn the tides of battle.
These characters are split into 6 distinct groups: Slayers, Fighters, Mages, Marksmen, Controller, and Tanks. Ideally, you should combine several different roles to get a balanced team composition. Here is an explanation what each one of them does:
- Slayer (formerly assassins): This is a very agile group of champions that don’t have high health but have explosive nuke damage. They are usually very mobile, allowing them to target specific enemies. Slayers class can be further split into Skirmishers and Assassins.
- Fighters: Fighters are a mish-mash of several different classes. These melee champions are durable, but not as durable as Tanks, and have nice damage potential, but not as high as Slayers. Fighter class can be further classified into Divers and Juggernauts.
- Mages: This is probably the most fragile group of champions. Mages rely on potent spells and disables to cripple enemy teams and quickly take them down. Unfortunately, they don’t have a great health pool or escape mechanisms. Mages are grouped into Artillery, Battlemages, and Burst.
- Marksmen: If you’re looking to dish physical damage at a distance, this is the perfect class for you. Marksmen usually carry weapons such as bows and guns and can obliterate opponents from far away. They are like a physical iteration of mages but a bit more agile.
- Controller (formerly support): Heals, shields, and control spells are the main focus of this group. Controllers can buff their allies and stifle incoming enemies. They provide a lot of sustain and are usually the first target of the opposing team. We can classify Controllers into Catchers and Enchanters.
- Tanks: As you can tell from the name, Tanks are champions that go in first and take all the damage for the enemy team. Not only are they crucial for absorbing the initial burst, but they should also disable enemies for long enough so that your team can get into position and follow through. The class can be split into Wardens and Vanguards.
Every champion has a natural affinity for certain items and builds. Although League of Legends allows you to experiment, one build will always be better than the others. Sometimes, choosing the right item at the right moment can make or break the game.
Besides gold, experience, and items, League of Legends has two more resources: runes and summoner spells. Each champion can have two summoner spells, powerful abilities with a relatively long cooldown. They allow you to heal yourself, blink a short distance, teleport, damage an opposing champion, etc. On the other hand, Runes are passive boosts that you can set up before starting the game.
League of Legends Roles
Roles in League of Legends are almost the same as roles in Dota, but with some differences. We have top laner, mid laner, bot laner, jungler, and support.
Top lane champions are usually Tanks or champions with good escape mechanisms. They spend a lot of time in the lane and are not expected to rotate a lot. Instead, they focus on their respective matchup. Champions in this lane are somewhat secluded and exposed to ganks.
Mid lane is commonly reserved for the most skilled player on your team. They have a very important role and depending on how well they do, it can affect the dynamic of the whole match. Most people take Mages, Assassins, and other burst champions for the mid lane. At one point, they are expected to rotate to other lanes and help out. However, taking squishy Mages and Assassins also makes you prone to ganks.
Bot lane champions are usually ADC or attack damage carries. These are the most important pieces later on in the game. As the name implies, they are meant to “carry” the game for their team. The majority of the carries are very vulnerable early on, which is why they’re commonly assigned a support character. If a carry dies too often during the early game, it can ruin the entire team’s chance of winning.
Speaking of supports, these characters stick with ADCs and are even meant to sacrifice for them. The role is usually performed by a Controller, who not only can save the ally but can slow and stun incoming opponents.
Junglers are champions who can quickly dispose of jungle monsters. They utilize their buffs to empower themselves, and, after getting a few levels, they start ganking other lanes. Junglers combine mobility and burst damage, and if played correctly, they can tip the scales during the laning phase.
Tips for Getting Better at League of Legends
As mentioned, it takes a lot of time to master League of Legends. So much so that some aspiring players are even willing to spend money for coaching classes. Aside from that, the best thing you can do is to play as much as possible and watch professional games.
Learn More About Champions, Items, Runes, and Spells
This is kinda obvious, but I have to mention it nevertheless. Given how many champions, items, runes, and spells are in the game, you have seemingly unlimited options at your disposal. This also means that you have to learn a lot to get better.
Of course, you won’t be able to memorize all the champions and their spells instantly. It will take quite some time and experience. So, the best way to do it is by playing more games. The only good thing is that there are always meta champions and builds, so you will get acquainted with the important stuff early on.
Understanding Roles and Specializing in Them
League of Legends is so competitive that people get mad whenever you make any mistake. If you intentionally make mistakes or try to ruin other people’s games, the feedback will be even worse. This is why it is very important to understand your role and play according to it.
If you’re a new player, I recommend that you start with a limited pool of champions. Furthermore, play the characters that fulfill the same role and are of the same champion class (i.e., support Controller). This will make it easier to get a grasp of what is required from you.
Just being really good at a specific role can change the outcome of a match. People often make the mistake of thinking that they need to play a carry so they can win the game for their team. However, a good support player can also have a massive impact by protecting the carry and allowing him to perform his role in return.
Sometimes, picking a suitable champion is much better than picking your best champion. As in any team game, you will have to adapt to team requirements. So, make sure to select a champion according to what the team needs and not what you want to play.
Drafting is really hard. In fact, it is a process that separates top teams from other League of Legends squads. If your champions counter enemy champions, it will be much easier to achieve a victor even if the opponents have more gifted players mechanically.
Furthermore, once you choose 5 champions, you need to determine your optimal go time. Keep in mind that characters in League of Legends reach their peak potential at different times. Understanding optimal timings can tell you when you should attack.
Focus on Teamplay
Teamplay is something that will win you more games than anything else. Even if you’re a complete newbie and don’t know how to perform your role correctly, you can win many games by playing as five.
Players often make the mistake of farming for too long. We all want to be as strong as possible and kill as many enemies during a game. But sometimes, you need to understand that the best way to accrue kills is by going together with your team.
Playing as five, or at least grouping as four makes it easier to take strategic objectives such as turrets, Baron Nashor, and inhibitors. In that sense, you should also respond to enemy ganks and initiative when they decide to group up, and your team is still scattered on the map.
Purchasing the Right Items
Certain champions have cookie-cutter builds. These items are optimal for their ability kit and would provide the best results. Despite that, you have people who constantly try to innovate.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should never try something new. In the end, we got all these cookie-cutters builds when people experimented with their purchases. But if you want to do it right, make sure to buy items that would actually make sense.
For example, turning a specific champion into a physical damage-dealer can seem ludicrous when you know that all his spells scale with AP. Bottom line, you can always experiment as long as it makes sense and the new build is better than the traditional one.
Maximizing Your Farm
Simply put, the most money you have, the faster you will progress with the items. This is why you need to maximize the farm. Try staying in the lane for as long as possible without recalling back to base.
The thing with items is not whether you’re going to get them but when you’re going to get them. Having Lich Bane two minutes faster than the counterpart on the other team can make all the difference. It will make you more powerful in those two minutes, potentially helping you score some takedowns.
Each time you do so, not only are you further increasing your farm, but you’re also stifling opponents’ item progression. So, as insignificant as these things might seem, they do ramp up over time.
Should I Try League of Legends?
The answer is a resounding yes. If you’re an avid video game fan and haven’t tried LoL so far, it is about time to do so. The game is extremely competitive and intellectually challenging, and no matter how much you play, you can always get better at it. Furthermore, as a multiplayer game, you can enjoy it with your friends.
League of Legends is especially great for guys who like tactical games and strategies. If you’re into RPGs, RTSs, and turn-based games, you will likely have a lot of fun with League of Legends. In a way, it resembles many RPGs where you lead just one character as you try to make him as buffed as possible.
Although the game requires a certain skill level and knowledge, you can still enjoy it if you’re bad at it. Every game is a new experience, and there is so much stuff to see and do. Each champion provides something new, and it becomes increasingly enthralling as you explore the content. The game is free, so you can always uninstall it without any regret even if you don’t like it.
What is The Best Champion for Beginners?
When you choose a champion, you are also choosing a specific role. For example, if you take a Controller, you know that you’ll probably play as a support. So, this is something you should bear in mind when drafting.
For years and years, Garen was a popular choice among noobs. The character has given us numerous memes, and his skillset is rather easy to comprehend. Annie is a good choice if you wish to play as a mage, and Ashe is a solid pick for people who prefer ranged combat.
Ideally, you should select a champion that has a point and click abilities. Skillshots can be difficult to land, especially if you’re a complete beginner without any prior MOBA experience.
If you wish to have a relaxing experience where no one will judge you, it is best to take a solo lane or something of that sort. That way, no one will notice your mistakes, and you can get slowly introduced into the world of LoL. Taking Controller or Tank can sometimes be stressful as you have specific roles to fulfill during teamfights. Messing up your role can feel disastrous and will often lead to flaming.
What are The Best Champions According to Role?
There are lots of different things you can do in League of Legends, and role doesn’t always affect your playstyle. For example, you can pick support, but when you start teamfighting, you will actually play as a tank. Or, you can take a Mage mid, but instead of focusing on burst damage, you can focus on control abilities.
Anyway, here is a breakdown of all the roles and the best champions according to a specific role playstyle:
- Tanks (Maokai, Ornn, Malphite)
- Duelists (Fiora, Riven, Jax)
- Ranged (Teemo, Kennen, Jayce)
- Initiators (Zac, Sejuani, Amumu)
- Snowballers (Lee Sin, Rengar, Kha’Zix)
- Farmers (Kindred, Master Yi, Shyvana)
- Assassins (Katarina, LeBlanc, Fizz)
- Control Mages (Orianna, Viktor, Anivia)
- Roamers (Twisted Fate, Aurelion Sol, Taliyah)
- Hyper-Carries (Jinx, Twitch, Kog’Maw)
- Lane Bullies (Draven, Kalista, Lucian)
- Utility (Varus, Sivir, Ashe)
- Enchanters (Nami, Soraka, Lulu)
- Tanks (Braum, Tahm Kench, Alistar)
- Mages (Brand, Vel’Koz, Zyra)
Best Alternatives to League of Legends
There are lots of alternatives to League of Legends, but, unfortunately, just a few of them can compare in terms of complexity and player base. Obviously, the best alternative would be Dota 2. Saying that these two games are interchangeable is not exactly right. However, they are just different enough to provide you with two different types of experience.
Aside from Dota 2, you also have titles such as Smite, Heroes of the Storm, Valorant, Paladins, and Overwatch. Creating a good MOBA is really hard, especially because of the balancing, so we don’t have many options on the market.
Question: What is the goal of LoL?
Answer: The game is played 5 on 5, and you control a character referred to as the “champion.” Each champion has different abilities and playstyle. Your main goal in League of Legends is to penetrate the enemy base and destroy the main building called Nexus. To do so, you will need to clear several sets of static defense, all while combating the opposing team.
Question: Is League of Legends free?
Answer: League of Legends is a completely free game. You can install it at any time by visiting the official website and downloading the Riot client as well as the game. Initially, you have a limited number of champions at your disposal. They rotate each week, so you have the chance to try lots of different characters as time goes by. Alternatively, you can use the currency to unlock some of these champions, which would allow you to play them at any time.
Question: What is the League of Legends plot?
Answer: According to the old lore, all players are given the role of “summoners.” Each player manages a powerful entity referred to as a champion. To prevent a war, summoners are pinned against each other in a never-ending battle. Some of these champions have voluntarily applied for the tournament, while others are the prisoners of the League, forever forced to engage in battle. Although a bit generic, the story explains the reason for the conflict.
Question: Is the League of Legends community rude?
Answer: League of Legends has one of the more rude gaming communities. However, it was rarely on the top of “toxicity” charts. That honor is commonly reserved for Dota 2. As of late, Valorant has reached the top spot for flaming and rude behavior. All in all, if you play this game long enough, you will experience some belittling sooner than later.
League of Legends Overview: Conclusion
League of Legends is one of the best, most impactful games ever to be made. Although this isn’t necessarily a franchise, even though it spawned a few minor spinoffs, it has managed to persist for more than 10 years. Due to Riot’s continuous involvement and a plethora of new content, it still feels fresh and challenging in 2022.
The game is especially nice if you have a group of gamer friends. Tensions run high in the Summoner’s Rift, but it’s all good fun at the end of the day. League of Legends is a game that requires great knowledge and mechanical skills, and no matter how much you play, you can never master it.