League of Legends
League of Legends, LoL for short, is a competitive fantasy-themed MOBA. It is the world's most popular PC game. League of Legends is the gold-standard of the MOBA genre and features an ever-expanding pool of playable champions (120+).
|Publisher: Riot Games
Release Date: Oct 27, 2009 (NA/EU)
Pros: +Huge variety of playable champions (over 120). +Mature E-Sports scene. +Well-balanced. +Runes and Masteries spice up gameplay. +Fun at all skill levels.
Cons: -Champions and runepages must be unlocked. -Matchmaking broken for new players (smurfs).
League of Legends Overview
League of Legends is one of the first stand-alone multiplayer battle arena style games based off the incredibly popular DotA map for Warcraft 3. Despite being one of the oldest stand-alone MOBAs, League of Legends remains the most popular. In fact, with over 67 million monthly active users, League of Legends is the world's most popular PC game. League of Legends, and all other games in the MOBA genre, mix real-time strategy aspects with RPG elements. The premise of the game is quite simple - two teams of five battle it out and win by destroying their opponents main structure, called the "nexus". Individual games typically last 35-45 minutes, but in some instances they can drag on for well over an hour.
With an ever-increasing pool of playable champions (120+) and radically new changes every season, League of Legends never gets stale. League of Legends is immensely successful because it's fun at all skill levels. The basic premise of the game is easy to grasp, but mastering it takes years of dedication. Competitive players can test their skills in ranked matches and climb their way up the ladder. Currently, the ladder divisions are as follows: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Challenger.
League of Legends Key Features
- Awesome Character Variety – over 120 playable champions, each with numerous skins.
- Player Customization – unique runes and masteries system which allow players to customize their stats to a degree.
- Competitive Ladder System – rewarding ranked experience. Players are given ranked rewards at the end of every season (yearly).
- Solid Visual Experience – polished traditional MOBA experience with solid graphics and great music.
- Giant Online Community – a very large, active community that follows each patch, the competitive scene, and Riot Games itself. The game reaches over 10M monthly active users worldwide.
League of Legends Screenshots
League of Legends Featured Video
League of Legends Review
By Huy Luong
League of Legends is a massively popular free-to-play MOBA developed by Riot Games. Though it was released on October 27, 2009 as a child idea from Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends has definitely come into a life of its own with a huge competitive scene and an even bigger player base. League of Legends has won countless awards since its original release, including the Golden Joystick Award for Online Game of the Year, and Best Free-To-Play Game. With over 67 million monthly active players as of early 2014, League of Legends is the most played PC game in the world.
So the question is, with all the new MOBAs popping up, how does a game from 2009 stay relevant? The answer: through constant updates and bug-fixes to refine the game. Since League is Riot Games’ sole project, the company can spoil the players with plenty of updates, including new champions, updates to old champions, skins, items, game-modes, and fairly quick resolutions to bugs or server problems. Since its release, the game has undergone two major visual updates, with the latest entering open beta for all queues on November 8, 2014. MOBAs are constantly changing, with League being no exception. The game is also incredibly profitable (~$1 billion in revenue in 2014), which funds Riot Games' efforts to keep League fresh and fun. Riot Games also makes a great effort to focus on their players, providing a professional eSports scene for League fans (which actually costs more money to maintain than it generates).
League of Legends categorizes its maps into three game modes: Classic, which can be played on either the 5v5 Summoner’s Rift map or on 3v3 Twisted Treeline; Dominion, a 5v5; and ARAM, another 5v5 map. Each mode has their own exclusive items and features that are not available on other modes.
The Classic modes are pretty name-on-tin. They’re classic for a reason, and that is that they are the standard MOBA structure, where your team pushes lanes with the goal of destroying the enemy’s nexus. Dominion, which takes place on the Crystal Scar, is very different. It is a circular map with five capture points for the two teams to fight over. ARAM, or All Random; All Mid, is similar to the Classic Modes in objective, but its map, the Howling Abyss, is a single lane. Champions are chosen randomly before entering the game, and players cannot go back to heal at the base or purchase items until dead.
The first two modes can be played PvP or Co-op vs. AI. PvP modes are more popular and often have shorter queue times, but Co-op vs. AI is not neglected, either. It is a great choice for new players who aren’t ready to fight against real players yet, or for players who just want to relieve some stress by beating on bots. However, if you spend your time leveling in bot-games, stepping into the PvP world can be a stressful experience.
There is also the option to create or join custom games, which is great for tournaments, friend-only games, or player-created modes such as Ping Pong.
Riot has also released limited-time featured game modes for special events or just for laughs. Examples of this include April Fools’ Day shenanigans such as Ultra Rapid Fire mode, featuring the Awesome Buff of Awesomely Awesome Buffing (say that five times fast), and Ascension, which came with the expansion to the game’s lore, and a shiny new champion that looks like the Winged Dragon of Ra from Yu-Gi-Oh.
Many argue that the learning curve of LoL is lesser than of its cousin, DotA. However, League emphasizes more teamwork and lessens the chance of someone being able to carry the team single-handedly, which is possible. My take on it: freelo bby. Gameplay in Classic modes is your standard MOBA. There is a laning phase, where you mainly farm minions to acquire gold and experience while occasionally fighting the enemy. Slaying enemy champions also grants you more gold and experience. However, unlike DotA, the enemy does not lose their gold, but are still set back. Also, the mechanic of ‘denying’ farm, where you slay your own minion before they die to deny the enemy gold, does not exist in LoL. All of these elements together allow you to better predict the outcome for a given situation. The game progresses and team fights paint the battlefield with blood, while players fight for control of objectives such as Dragon and Baron.
A Sift Through Summoner's Rift
This is your gold standard of MOBA gameplay. You and your teammates spawn at your base, the “Fountain”, and can buy your items there. On the map, there are three lanes: top, middle, and bottom, as well as a fourth area called the jungle. Each role sticks to their respective lane, “top” going top, “mid” going mid, and so on. This map usually plays out through three phases: early game, mid game, and late game. Early game is primarily the laning phase, which was explained previously to be a farming phase with little fighting. Mid game has more fights occurring, with team members grouping to take objectives. Late game is purely objective-based, focusing on towers, dragons, and Baron – all which come with their respective benefits. Dragon gives stacking buffs that are advantageous when acquired, and one may even say the dragon is more important than the Baron. But still, do not exclude that sexy worm monster! Baron gives players a buff specifically designed for pushing and constant sieging, as it halves your recall time and increases minion stats to take down towers. Once you take down the inhibitors, super minions start rolling in and you seize control of the rest of the map. Pair that with Baron buff, and you have a force to be reckoned with. End the game and enjoy the sweet victory screen.
Remember, comebacks do happen! Don’t give up too early.
Intertwine within The Twisted Treeline
Twisted Treeline is a little different from Summoner's Rift. You spawn in with more gold than SR. There is still a jungle, but only two lanes, and new objectives called "altars." There is one altar on each side of the map. Capturing these altars yield vision on them, and gold for the team. Snagging both of them grants a hefty buff of +10% attack damage and ability power. There is also a health relic in the middle of the map that grants health, mana, and small movement speed boost. A beast called the Vilemaw also exists in the top center of the map, which offers ghost-like buffs to the team who slays it. Certain champions, like Lee Sin, excel on this map. The smaller, more compact map allowed me as Lee Sin to close in on my enemies more easily and destroy their face. This map forces you to have more interactions, and more often. Other than that, gameplay is similar to Summoner's Rift. You have your laning phase, somewhat of a mid-game phase where you end the game, or continue into late game. It is much harder to have a successful comeback on this map. The first couple of kills could very well determine the outcome of the game.
Something is Amiss in the Howling Abyss
This mode is super fun and not very stressful. However, you’re at the mercy of the RNG gods, as you’re given a random champion. You may get someone like Nidalee who can hurl spears alldayeveryday, or you can get someone like Nocturne, where he’s only useful when he has his ultimate ready. You’re stuck in a single, linear lane, and can't return to base to regenerate or buy items once you leave it. Only when you are dead, are you allowed to purchase items. Often times, the RNG gods may smack you and your team in the face and give everyone melee champions, while the other team has a steady mix of tank, melee, and ranged. Good luck with that! There are multiple health relics up and down the map, but they easily serve as bait.
Become a Star in the Crystal Scar
The capture and defend map. This map is circular with five capture points on each end of a pentagon shape. Your goal is to capture, kill, and defend. Each team’s base starts with five hundred life points that are depleted through different means such as killing enemies and doing mission objectives. The most potent way to deplete the enemy team’s health points is to capture and hold more points than them. You spawn in as Level 3 and with more gold than normal. Personally, I really enjoy playing Rammus on this mode. His rolling ball ability, paired with the many speed boost spots around the map, allow me to go Sonic mode, hit mach 1 and get to the middle capture point before anyone else and start securing it. This gives my team a huge advantage early.
However, the game can be one-sided for the majority of the game, but someone could ninja cap a point far away from their own and cause a stalemate. This mode can be really fun, or really depressing, depending on what champions you play, and/or who you play with. It’s a mode to be taken light-heartedly. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s Dominion.
There are a total of six roles within LoL. Assassin, Mage(AP Carry), Tank, Support, Fighter, and Marksman(Ranged AD Carry). Their purposes are pretty self explanatory with the Tank and Fighter being often subjective to who and how you play.
Itemization Features: I can’t believe it’s not butter!
For some Champions, there is a bread-and-butter combo of items for them, because they truly help bring out the potential of the Champion. For example, there's Ezreal with a Tear, or a Fiddlesticks with Zhonya’s hourglass.
There is technically no exact way you should itemize a champion. However, there are general items you should buy pertaining to your role, such as a Mage getting Rabadon’s Deathcap, or a Marksman getting an Infinity Edge, as these items provide huge damage increases. Itemizing your champion depends on multiple factors: what role you are, what champion you’re playing, how you want to play, and most importantly, how the game is going. If you’re dying too much, you might want to opt for increased defenses instead of becoming more of a glass cannon.
Champions + Customization
With over 120+ champions, there is definitely something that's going to strike your eye and make you want to become the best at that champion. Along with a huge variety of champions, there are also skins for those champions to make them look different. What makes character customization even better is that you can have your own custom-made skins. There are already huge databases filled with custom skins created by players. However, other players won’t see it, and only you will. Some community-made skins have gained so much attention that Riot has made them officially available at the in-game shop, such as the Battle Bunny Riven skin!
Players can also further customize their characters through the runes and masteries system. Runes increase various stats, such as attack speed, damage, ability power, movement speed, etc., and can be saved in "sets" called "rune pages". Players can mix and match various stat-boosting runes to make their own customized rune pages. Masteries work in a similar fashion. Players have three mastery trees which look like "talent trees" in some MMOs. These talent trees grant various bonuses, from extra health to shorter cooldowns. Players can have numerous talent trees and rune pages saved for quick selection before a match begins. Runes and masteries add an extra layer of customization beyond itemization.
League of Legends started small, until its popularity exploded and attracted literally millions of players. As of January 2014, Riot had released their statistics of their playerbase – an astounding 27 million players daily, with concurrent players peaking at 7.5 million, and about 67 million players playing the game every month.
With such a huge player base, there's no way you can expect it to be primarily filled with good samaritans. The LoL community is known for being pretty toxic, a term used to describe ragers and generally bad people. The phrase, “you’re so toxic,” originated from LoL itself. However do not let this dismay you from playing the game. Every game has its bad people, and in the same vein, it also has its good people.
The E-Sports Scene
The LoL E-Sports scene has become a sensation around the world. Millions of people come together to watch regional tournaments such as the LCS, Dreamhack, and especially the World Finals. It started only in North America and Europe, but after a couple of seasons, LoL expanded to other countries and in turn, more competition. Professional players have become celebrities, and make a lot of money streaming on platforms such as Twitch.tv. If you aren’t into super competitive E-Sports, I still recommend you watch the World Finals. The Season 4 finals were phenomenal, even more so with the Korean casting. ACESU!
League of Legends is as good as it is because Riot actually listens to their player base. A lot of changes, skins, and champions have happened because of feedback from the community. Even though sometimes the game can be very stressful, I always find myself coming back to this game because I love it. I've personally been playing League of Legends since Season 1 and have sunk countless hours into the game. League of Legends will always continue to change and grow, especially with the launch of every new season to keep the game fresh. I don't think I'll ever get tired of League.
Final Verdict - Excellent
League of Legends is the most played PC game in the world for a reason. It's definitely worth a try. Play it with friends, you’ll have more fun. Whether it be casual or competitive, there's something for everyone. Those new to the genre shouldn't be too intimidated, either. League is much more newbie-friendly than other MOBAs.
League of Legends Videos
League of Legends Links
League of Legends System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
CPU: 2 GHz Modern processor
Video Card: Shadow 2.0 capable video card
RAM: 1 GB for Windows XP. 2 GB for everything else
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
CPU: 3 GHz modern processor. Multi-core strongly recommended
Video Card: GeForce 8800 / AMD Radeon HD 5670 or equivalent card. (Dedicated GPU Strongly recommended)
RAM: 2GB for Windows XP. 4 GB for everything else
Hard Disk Space: 12 GB
League of Legends works well with Intel Integrated HD graphics cards as well.
League of Legends Music & Soundtrack
League of Legends Additional Information
Developer: Riot Games
Director(s): Tom "Zileas" Cadwell
Other Platforms: Windows, Mac OS X
Closed Beta Date: April 10, 2009 - October 21, 2009
Open Beta Date: October 21, 2009
Southeast Asia: Garena
League of Legends was developed by the Santa Monica, California-based game studio Riot Games. Like other MOBAs, League of Legends was inspired by the popular Warcraft 3 custom game Defense of the Ancients (DotA). League of Legends was born after Riot Game's two co-founders, Brandon Beck and Marc Merill, partnered with Steve "Guinsoo" Feak to develop a new MOBA. Guinsoo was the designer of the popular DotA All Stars map, which was essentially the inspiration for all MOBAs. Development for League of Legends began when Riot Games first opened its office in September 2006. The game was originally released as PC-only, but an official Mac-comptible client launched in March, 2013.
League of Legends was officially launched on October 27, 2009 and quickly grew in popularity. In a few short years (July 2012), League of Legends became the most played PC game in both North America and Europe. In November 2011, Riot Games claimed that League of Legends had achieved 11.5 million monthly active users with 4.2 million daily users. A few short years later, in Janaury 2014, those numbers exploded higher with 67 million monthly active users and 27 million active daily users. League of Legends remains the most popular video game world-wide with peak concurrent users hitting ~5 million. The game's eSports scene quickly grew in popularity alongside the game's rapid growth. 11.5 million concurrent viewers watched the League of Legends Season 4 world championships with 27 million total unique viewers.
On February 4, 2011, Chinese internet juggernaut Tencent acquired a majority stake in Riot Games for $231 million. Initial media reports pegged this number at near $400 million, but the exact figure was later disclosed to be $231,456,000.