League of Legends:
League of Legends or LoL (initially called “League of Legends: Clash of Fates”) belongs to a category of games known as multiplayer online battle arena games. These are more commonly, and more simply, referred to as MOBA games. It takes much of its iconography and lore from the World of Warcraft universe, and was inspired by Defense of the Ancients, which, in turn, was a mod created for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. By 2016, it was estimated that there were over 100 million active players of the game each month.
Streams of games on Twitch and Youtube are frequently amongst the most watched streams of any esports discipline. Fans can also buy merchandise such as toys and clothes, based on features from the game, such as characters. The imagery of the game shows a number of influences, ranging from classic ‘swords and sorcery’ fantasy, to steam punk and horror.
Here, we will take a closer look at League of Legends gameplay, along with other aspects of the game. You can read about the basic structures and ideas which are behind the game, as well as identifying key elements of what makes it so appealing to such a large audience, all across the world.
This LoL review will hopefully give you a good idea what the game is all about, whether you want to play, watch or even bet on it.
All of the action during League of Legends gameplay is viewed in 3D, with each player assuming the role of a ‘summoner’. Each of these summoners remains unseen, and is used to control one of the League of Legends champions who are active in the game. These champions have different skills and abilities, and can develop and level up by collecting experience during a game. Each LoL match is a separate experience, with no campaign mode in competitive play.
Competitive games usually consist of two, five-member teams taking each other on. Other scenarios where smaller groups or individuals skirmish, also exist. Matches usually last between 20 minutes and an hour, and have a fixed objective which teams must complete to win victory. The most common form that these objectives take is destroying the enemy’s main base, or ‘nexus’, which is commonly the culmination of a team also having destroyed a series of other defensive structures. These structures are known as turrets or towers.
The setting for the game is in the mythical land of Runeterra, and each of the heroes who star in the game has a backstory related to this setting. Some of the heroes are visiting from worlds other than Runeterra, though. The main narrative behind the game was rebooted in 2014, after its original storyline was felt to be too limited for the heroes’ stories to be properly credible.
There are currently 136 champions in the game, divided up into six classes, which are defined by the champions’ style of play. Basically, the classes are determined by whether or not a character deals physical or magical damage, or a combination of the two.
The game is played over three maps: Summoner’s Rift, Twisted Treeline, and Howling Abyss. These modes all offer different challenges, with different terrain, objectives and victory conditions applied in each mode. These modes are known as ‘fields of justice’, with Summoner’s Rift being the most popular map. We will look more closely at these maps later on in this LoL gameplay review.
Playing the game centres on the champions which are under the players’ control. Finding the right blend of champions is crucial to successful LoL gameplay. Some champions are better at dealing damage in a melee situation, while others prefer to attack from range. There are six categories of champions.
Each champion also has a series of special abilities which are divided up into classes. Passive abilities are innate to the character, and cannot be activated during the game. They function continually, giving the character a certain bonus or boost throughout the action. They also have three normal, or basic, abilities. Additionally, each champion also has an ‘ultimate’ ability which can only be unlocked when the character reaches level six. These abilities are vastly more powerful. The champion’s full set of abilities is referred to as their ‘kit’.
League of Legends Gameplay is All About Champions
During LoL gameplay, a champion’s use of their special abilities is limited by their resources, and by frequent cooldown periods. Resource, which usually takes the form of some sort of energy, can be replenished by spells, as well as by waiting for it to recharge. There are exceptions to these general rules, however, and individual characters will be able to recharge abilities and resource depending on their own unique range of skills.
Champions begin each match at level one, and each match is a discrete contest, with no campaign mode. Characters can gain levels during League of Legends gameplay, up to a maximum of level 18. Levelling up allows characters to access their special abilities, and increases their capabilities to defend themselves and inflict damage on opponents.
If a champion’s health level is reduced to zero and they are defeated, then they are regenerated in their team’s base, after a re-spawn timer ends. This timer increases in length as the game goes on. Champions can also acquire gold during LoL gameplay, which can be used to purchase additional items to augment their abilities.
The abilities of a champion usually determine which part of the game map they gravitate to during a game. Different classes of champion will tend to do their best work either on the bottom, mid or top lane of a game map. One character on each team will usually be assigned to be a ‘jungler’. This means that, rather than being assigned a lane, they head into the jungle on the map, where they will have to fight multiple monsters, and need exceptional healing and shielding abilities.
There are three main maps used in League of Legends gameplay. These are:
This is the most popular map used in LoL gameplay. The scenario is that two teams of five players must work to destroy the opposition’s Nexus, or base, which is guarded by the opposition and a series of monsters. Turrets also feature prominently, and teams must work to destroy their opponents’ turrets. Teams of AI-controlled minions are dispersed along the game’s lanes from these towers too, and the players must compete to control these minions and help to shape attacks on the enemy. Neutral areas of the map are known as the Jungle, and there are plenty of dangerous monsters here, which also pose a threat to both teams. But the Jungle is also home to plants which can help players. Other monsters include elemental drakes, the killing of which can give additional special abilities to champions.
This is a very similar map to Summoners Rift, but is smaller, due to the contest being between two teams of three, rather than five. There are also two ‘Altars’, which can add to a team’s inventory of special abilities when they are occupied.
The action on this map is conducted by two teams of five, though there is only a single line of turrets, and no neutral jungle area. This means that the focus of this map tends to be large team fights between champions in the middle lane.
Competitive League of Legends
League of Legends is one of the biggest games on the competitive esports scene, with live streams of matches attracting millions of viewers. By June 2016, almost $30 million in prize money had been paid out on LoL tournaments, and over 4000 professional players were registered. Although not as big as Dota 2, the professional League of Legends scene continues to develop.
A number of tournaments occupy central places in the LoL calendar. One of these is the World Championship, which has been held every year since 2011. Fnatic won the first title at DreamHack that year. The Summoner’s Cup, a massive trophy weighing 32 kilos, is given to the winning team. League of Legends gameplay attracted huge viewing numbers during the 2016 edition of this tournament, rivalling the viewing figures for the 2016 NBA finals.
As well as tournaments like the World Championship, there are also many professional leagues. One of the most famous of these is the Championship Series. There are leagues for Europe, North America and Asia, and the top teams from each regional league advance to the World Championships. This league is administered by Riot Games, but there are other regional leagues which are independent of Riot, such as the Chinese League of Legends Pro League, and League of Legends Champions Korea.
LoL Tactics, Tips and Tricks
Any sport thrives on the kind of things that the top professionals are doing in games. Here at Esports.net, as part of our League of Legends news service, we will take a close look at the latest innovations in game play, and how you, as a player can incorporate them into your own games.
Want to know what Team SoloMid did to break open their match with Counter Logic? Read about it in detail here. But don’t expect to just read about what happened. Here at Esports.net, we will also keep you in the loop about who did it, and why it happened. We’ll have all the latest LoL esports news, and a little bit more.
Balance Changes, Predictions and a Whole Lot More
We’ve also got all the latest Riot news, identifying all the best and most relevant new updates from the game’s developer. We’ll keep our readers well up to date with League of Legends updates, as well as any balance changes which might affect the game’s tactics, strategies and predictions.
All the Latest Tournaments and Events
This is also the place to visit for League of Legends news if you want to know who your favourite teams and players are facing next, and what their chances of success are. Compare results from the top LoL esports teams, and read our evaluations of their displays at their last tournament. We’ve got all the LoL esports news & updates you need.
Whether you want to read about the latest LoL news from EUW events, or are more interested in what is happening in North America and Asia, you can get all your info here.
MSI finals post-match discussion & new split starting dates
BE PART OF OUR LOL COMMUNITY
If you think that we’re missing something important, or our analysis of the latest LoL updates and news (especially for EUW events) is not as spot on as you would expect, you can help! Get in touch with us and enquire about becoming a contributor to Esports.net! With LoL esports changing on daily basis, we need enthusiastic writers who are well tuned into the world of League of Legends news. Contact us to see how you can help, and add extra depth to our LoL esports news coverage!
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