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LoL Esports & Game OverviewLeague of Legends: The most popular MOBA game
League of Legends (or LoL) belongs to a genre of video games known as multiplayer online battle arena (often referred to as MOBA). The game’s publisher and developer—Riot Games—drew inspiration from Defence of the Ancients, a popular mod for Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. As of August 2018, it was estimated that LoL has over 111 million active players all over the globe.
Competitive League of Legends streams on Twitch and YouTube often stand among the most-watched broadcasts in esports. On top of that, the game has an avid fan base that’s willing to attend real-life events and purchase clothing and figures based on their favourite characters from the League of Legends universe. The imagery of the game shows a number of influences, ranging from classic ‘swords and sorcery’ fantasy to steampunk and horror.
Here, we will take a closer look at League of Legends gameplay and other aspects of this popular title. You will learn about the basic concepts and ideas behind the game, find out what makes it appealing to such a large audience and discover why it’s important to follow the latest LoL news. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
League of Legends Gameplay & Game ModesImmerse yourself in the LoL Universe
A standard game of League of Legends is viewed from the top-down perspective. Each player assumes control of a single champion—a playable character with unique traits, skills, and abilities. These champions can gain experience, collect gold, level up their spells, and craft powerful items to help them gain the upper hand on their opponents. And it’s the players that push their champions to the absolute limit that usually come out on top.
Regardless of the phase of the game, the main goal remains the same: destroy the core structure of the enemy base—their Nexus. Each Nexus is protected by defensive structures (towers and inhibitors), so it can take players anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to take the W.
The setting for the game is the mythical land of Runeterra, and every champion that appears on Summoner’s Rift has a detailed backstory and a well-defined place in this universe. Many of them have relationships with each other, ranging from seething hatred to mutual admiration. It’s worth noting that the main League of Legends narrative was rebooted in 2014 after its original lore became too limiting for complex storytelling.
League of Legends Champions
LoL is all about champions. Finding the right blend of champions (aka team comp) is crucial for winning a game of League of Legends. Some champions are better at dealing damage in close-quarters combat; others prefer to pick their targets off from afar; others specialize in protecting their allies with defensive spells and crowd control.
There are six main champion classes:
Marksmen (otherwise known as AD carries) are late game specialists. These champions can demolish towers, tear through tanks, and take over entire teamfights thanks to the ridiculous amounts of physical damage they deal with their basic attacks. The downside is that AD carries tend to be quite squishy, so other classes can easily remove them from the fight. Moreover, marksmen need items before they can influence the map, so they’re often a non-factor in the early stages of the game. Examples of this champion class are Ashe, Caitlyn, Jinx.
Mages (otherwise known as AP carries) are the jacks-off-all-trades. Just as their class name implies, mages control the battlefield through potent spells and game-changing abilities. AP carries can overwhelm their opponents with magic damage from the other side of the fight, but they usually find themselves at a loss when their enemies close the distance. Much like AD carries, they can make great use of offensive items, but they also get a lot of power from levels and experience. Examples of this champion class are Lux, Syndra, Vel’Koz.
Assassins thrive on chaos and skirmishes. They exist for the sole purpose of killing one enemy champion from the fight as fast as humanly possible. With that, assassins often come with insane burst potential, but their damage falls off in prolonged fights. They’re also the definition of glass cannons, but most assassins can mitigate this weakness with mobility spells and high movement speed. Examples of this champion class are Zed, Akali, Rengar.
Tanks are the frontline of the team. Most tanks have high damage resistances and massive health pools, making them nigh impossible to kill in a timely fashion. However, don’t take that as a cue to ignore them. Tanks often have powerful crowd control spells at their disposal, and they won’t hesitate to lock you down if you walk too close to them. On top of that, some tanks can dish out a surprising amount of damage, and while they won’t finish their target off on their own, they can definitely weaken it for their teammates. Examples of this champion class are Zac, Sejuani, Malphite.
Bruisers are something of a mix between tanks and assassins. They’re durable enough to survive in a fierce skirmish, and they’re strong enough to become a significant threat to the enemy team. Unfortunately, they’re limited by their range. Most fighters are melee combatants, and even though they have some ways to close the distance on their opponents, they can become sitting ducks if they fail to use them. Examples of this champion class are Darius, Pantheon, Renekton.
Supports are the backbone of the team. Traditional supports are defined by their ability to protect their allies and hinder their enemies. This means that supports will create powerful defensive shields and cast game-changing crowd control abilities to influence the battlefield. Some supports, however, bring a fair share of damage to the table. Perhaps the best way to define supports is that they don’t need as much gold and as many items to play their role on Summoner’s Rift. Examples of this champion class are Thresh, Janna, Rakan.
One of the core aspects of LoL gameplay is resource management. Most champions are limited by mana costs and cooldown timers that determine how often they can cast their spells. The best players constantly track their mana pools and ability cooldowns as well as the mana pools and ability cooldowns of their opponents to pinpoint the exact moment when they can go in for the kill. Not every champion is like that, though. Some characters only have cooldown timers to worry about, while others come with never-ending energy pools for their spells, so resource management can get tricky when they jump into the fray.
All champions begin the game of LoL at level one, and each match is its own battle that’s completely separated from previous matches. Players get experience and level up their champions during League of Legends gameplay until they hit the level cap that’s set at level 18. Leveling up allows champions to unlock new spells and enhance existing abilities. It also gives an ample boost to their offensive and defensive capabilities.
If a champion’s health is reduced to zero, they are sent back to their base where they can reenter the battle after waiting out their respawn timer. This timer increases based on champion levels and game time.
Champion abilities determine their role. The current League of Legends roles are top lane, jungle, mid lane, bot lane, and support, and different champions will gravitate to different roles depending on the things they bring to the table. For example, a squishy marksman will want to stick together with a defensive support in the bot lane, a self-sufficient mage will be fine holding down the mid lane, and a nimble assassin will be able to fight neutral monsters and move between the lanes in the jungle role. These roles aren’t set in stone, though, and it’s entirely possible for other classes to appear in these positions.
This is the most popular map among casual and competitive LoL players alike. On Summoner’s Rift, two teams of five battle each other with the goal of destroying the enemy Nexus. There are three paths (or lanes) to this objective, and each of them is guarded by enemy turrets, inhibitors, and AI-controlled minions. Between these paths, there’s a vast jungle that’s home to plants and neutral monsters. Players can interact with the jungle to gain extra resources and capture important secondary objectives like Elemental Dragons and Baron Nashor to pave the road to victory.
Howling Abyss (or ARAM) is a popular map among casual League of Legends players. The layout is simple, as there’s only one lane with a handful of towers that separates each team from the enemy Nexus. With that, players can devote themselves to 5v5 teamfighting. Unlike with Summoner’s Rift, the only way to go back to your base is to die in combat, so ARAM games tend to get real bloody real fast. Another thing to note is that each player has a random champion assigned to them to avoid scenarios where players only pick the best teamfighters for their ARAM matches.
The best way to approach Teamfight Tactics (or TFT) is to view it as a separate game. Granted, it’s still a part of the League of Legends client, but the only things it has in common with the classic LoL gameplay is champion designs and item names. Teamfight Tactics is an 8-player autobattler where each player is playing for themselves. The goal is simple: remain the last one standing. However, achieving it requires players to recruit the right champions, determine where to position them on the battlefield and use gold and items to set their troops up for success. Afterwards, champions will engage in AI-controlled combat, and the players that did the best prep work will come out on top.
Ultra Rapid Fire is a seasonal game mode played on Summoners Rift. where all champions get to use their abilities more often and matches usually last 20 minutes or less. All players start the game with an aura that adds many adjustments to how the game is played. The two main highlights are 300 Ability haste, (equivalent to 75% cooldown reduction), and the removal of all mana and energy costs from using abilities. The game mode alternates between All Random and Blind Drafts, depending on which one Riot would like to run.
LoL Esports Competitive SceneLoL Esports in full glory
League of Legends is one of the biggest esports in the world and its competitive scene attracts millions of viewers worldwide. As of summer of 2019, over $68 million has been paid at LoL tournaments as prize money. Combine that with a massive player base and a passionate gaming community, and it’s clear that LoL stands at the top of the esports food chain.
Competitive games consist of two five-member teams battling each other on a map known as Summoner’s Rift. That’s not to say that LoL is all about fighting as a unit. A League of Legends match can be separated into three distinct parts (early game, mid game, late game), and each of these parts gives players ample opportunities to show off their skill, set up tactical manoeuvres, and battle for secondary objectives.
A number of tournaments occupy central places on the League of Legends calendar. One of these is the World Championship (Worlds), which has been held every year since 2011. Fnatic won the first title at DreamHac, and since then, every professional player dreams of winning Worlds and engraving their name in LoL esports history. In 2018, the League of Legends World Championship hit a peak 205 million concurrent viewers, making it the most-watched esports event to date.
There are also several regional leagues. One of the most famous ones is the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in North America. Other prominent leagues run in Europe (LEC), China (LPL), and South Korea (LCK), and at the end of the year, the top teams from each region qualify for the World Championships. Most leagues are operated by Riot Games, but there’s a number of competitions that are hosted by local companies and tournament organizers.
LoL Wagering ExperienceLearn how to bet on LoL with us
Wagering is a big part of the LoL viewer experience. Plenty of esports bookmakers feature daily odds and live betting for competitive matches. In fact, LoL betting is one of the largest esports betting markets on the planet.
Our content focuses on everything from sourcing the best esports bonuses, to daily and weekly predictions for all regional and international events. Our LoL worlds predictions, and power rankings have some of the best track records among all competitor sites.
Our ExperienceA word from our LoL Experts
The competition revolves around the plays top players are doing in-game. This is exactly why we make it our mission to highlight the latest gameplay trends and break down how you can incorporate them into your own game as a part of our League of Legends coverage.
Want to know how Team Liquid took over their series against Cloud9? Our experts will explain it in detail! Oh, and don’t just expect to read recaps of everything that happened on the Rift, we will theorize how the game evolves weeks ahead in our breakdown articles.