Today I would like to introduce to you one of the most successful free to play – games: the double Golden Joystick – winner “League of Legends” by Riot Games!
League of Legends is a MOBA-Game (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), which is oriented towards the famous Warcraft 3 – Map “Defense of the Ancients”.
For those who never played DotA (are there any?) and who don’t know the game concept I will explain it in detail:
League of Legends doesn’t put high requirements on your PCs. You need at least:
– processor with 2 GHz – 1 GB RAM, – DirectX 9.0 capable video card, – 750 MB free hard disk space, – DSL or similar
Create an account either on the server EU West, EU Nordic/East or US lol smurf accounts, depending on where you live. You can also create an account on US while living in Europe but you will experience higher pings then. I give you a link to create an account in my author’s bio. Choose a name (always the hardest part) and a nice picture and off you go!
There are 2 teams 5 players (there are more game modes, but they are not important in the beginning because as a newbie you should start with 5vs5 to learn the gameplay). Before every match you all choose a “champion” who is the character you want to use in battle. Dependant on your personal preferendes it can be e.g. an undead mage, a giant granite golem, a little boy riding on a Yeti, a brave knight and many more.All in all there are more than 80 (!) different champions and every second week one is added.
Every champions has 4 different abilities (3 normal and one extra strong, the “Ultimate”) and a passive, which he has since the beginning. You learn the abilities by leveling up ingame and your max champion level is 18 which means that you have 5 points in every normal ability and 3 in your ultimate.
You receive experience for levelling up by:
1. Being near when enemy minions or neutral monsters are killed by your troops (it’s not necessary to kill them yourself!)
2. killing or assisting to kill enemy champions
In the beginning you generally play whatever you like, later it’s useful to communicate with your teammembers before the match begins so that you have a balanced setup and not 5 champions of the same kind.
The different kinds of champions are roughly:
1. Mages (“AP Carries”: AP means ability power, they mainly deal magical damage with their abilities)
2. Fighters (“AD Carries”: AD means Attack Damage, they mainly deal physical damage with their autoattacks)
3. Tanks (They are hard to kill and protect their own carries, for example by stunning or taunting the enemies)
4. Supports (They have either buffs or heals to support their carries and keep them alive)
5. Junglers (They don’t start in the lane but in the jungle and support their teammates by ganking and ambushing the enemies)
The interesting point is: Depending on the items you equip on your champions they are often able to fulfill different roles!
In the beginning you don’t have own champions, but every week there are 10 free ones which everyone can use. After some matches you can buy more champions with influence points (IP) in the shop. I will come to this later.
The map has 3 different lanes, which lead from your own to the enemy base. On these lanes there are several Towers which you must destroy before you can attack the base itself. As a support your main building (“Nexus”) spawns minion waves in short intervals which help you in fights. Between the lanes there is the “jungle”, where neutral monsters are located. If you kill those you receive gold and/or temporary buffs.
As soon as the match begins everyone has about a minute to spend his starting capital on items in the shop.
This doesn’t take long since you don’t have much gold in the beginning. There are different ways to earn gold in the game:
1. Everyone receives gold over time
2. Killing enemy minions or neutral monsters (here it is important to give them the final blow, the so called “lasthitting”)
3. Killing or assisting to kill enemy champions
4. Destroying enemy buildings (towers and inhibitors -> destroying them makes your minions stronger)
5. There are several items which grant you additional income (the so called gold/5 items -> they give you 1 gold every 5 seconds)
If you destroy the enemy main building (Nexus) your team wins. For being able to attack the Nexus, however, you have to destroy all 3 towers and the inhibitor on at least one lane and the two towers which protect the Nexus. So it’s not the best idea to hunt the enemy champions 24/7 if you don’t push the lanes at the same time. An average match takes 30-45 minutes, rarely more than an hour. As soon as the match reaches minute 20 it is also possible to surrender.
More game modes are a 3vs3 and a pretty new domination map (“Dominion”) where you have to capture and defend certain points. In addition there are ranked modes for players with summoner level 30 (explanation follows) in which you receive an Elo count depending on your wins and losses. For beginners I highly recommend the normal 5vs5 map!
League of Legends also has an RPG part. You do not only choose a name and a picture for yourself (you are a so called “summoner”, don’t mix it up with the “champions”) but you are also able to level up yourself and buy small buffs with Influence Points (IP).
Every match you receive Experience Points (XP) and Influence Points (IP), the amount is depending on how long the match lasted, if you won or lost and if you had an active IP/XP boost. As soon as you have enough XP you level up and receive a mastery point and an additional rune space. With IP you can buy new runes and champions in the shop.
You start at level 1, the maximum summoner level is 30. Every level up you receive a mastery point which is used for buffing your champion ingame (like additional attack damage or armor). Furthermore you can buy runes with IP which have a similar effect. In one match you can use up to 30 runes (at level 30) but you can also change the runes after the match if you want to play another champion.
The last way how you as summoner have influence on your champion are the 2 summoner spells everyone chooses before the match. Those are abilities which are not connected to the champion you play and can be used at any time, for example a teleport or a heal.
To clarify this issue: Summoner = your account, Champion = the character you choose for the battle
The buffs don’t make that much of a difference but they add up and it would be pretty unfair if a player with level 30, 30 mastery points and runes would play against a beginner with level 1, no runes and 1 mastery point (not to mention the difference concerning gaming skills). That’s the reason why the system puts preferably players of a similar level together in one match. Unfortunately you can’t be sure about that because if a high level player starts a game together with a low level friend the system averages out. In this case it can happen that you have to play versus enemies with a much higher level. That’s uncool but can’t be avoided.
Riot Points (real money) Somehow Riot Games has to make money. Because of that you can buy so called “Riot Points” with real money. Those you can spend in the shop for champions, skins and other fancy stuff. Pretty much the only things you can EXCLUSIVELY buy with Riot Points and not also with Influence Points are skins (alternative looks for your champions). This means that someone who spends money for Riot Points doesn’t have the slightest advantage over someone who plays LoL for free!
To clarify again: Riot Points = bought with real money, can be spent in the shop, Influence Points = gained by playing, can be spent in the shop (not for Skins or IP/XP boosts)
LoL vs. DotA
Now that I have explained the game concept I will point out the differences between LoL and DotA:
1. There is NO “denying” (killing own minions so that the enemy can’t get gold or experience for them). This is a real change but I actually like it because it makes the game less passive (and to be honest how sick do you have to be to kill yur own soldiers?!)
2. Like already mentioned above the player himself (summoner) can also level up and get different buffs for his champions. Nice gimmick.
3. In my opinion cooldowns and manacosts are shorter/cheaper than in DotA which also leads to a more aggressive playstyle, especially in the early phase of the match.
Overall I still like to play DotA now and then because it’s just awesome but I have to say that LoL is a worthy successor, doing several things better. This is no surprise since DotA is limited to the WC 3 engine.
Advices gained in practice
I am no “pro gamer” but I play for nearly 2 years so here are some advices which shall make the start easier for you:
1. There are three tiers of runes. The first one is available right from the start, the seconds one as soon as you reach level 10 and the third one when you reach level 20. It’s pretty much waste to buy tier 1 or 2 runes since you will reach level 20 fast and there is no way to sell runes. So better only play the free champions in the beginning and save your IP for runes. If you have enough IP for buying at least one complete tier 3 rune page you can go on and buy some more champions you would like to play. You should keep in mind that it is not possible to sell champions so it would be better if you tested the champion first (e.g. when he is among the weekly free champions) to avoid disappointments.
2. Since LoL is free to play there are also some annoying fellows around. Fortunately there is a “mute”-function which makes them shut up. So don’t join their flame war if you encounter them – just mute them and go on playing in peace and harmony! The best option is to play with friends but that’s not always possible. /mute saved my life a Thousand times!
3. As long as you are new it is good to buy the recommended items for every champion. Later when you are more experienced and want to test new item builds or tactics you can find very good guides to every champion on MOBAFIRE.COM and LEAGUECRAFT.COM. I always visit them before I try out a new champion. As soon as you feel comfortable and self assured you can also visit the numerous streamers and watch how the pros are playing. I wouldn’t do it before level 30 though.
4. Nowadays many experienced players have smurf accounts. This means that you often meet enemies at your level who are far more experienced than you and kill you with ease. That is very annoying but once you are past level 5 the smurfs become less. And remember: if someone flames you, mute him, don’t give a **** and move along.
5. I strongly suggest playing the tutorial and the battle training to everybody since the basic tactics are explained there pretty well (even DotA veterans should play the battle training).
Reading this wall of text everything sounds fairly complicated. It is not! After a few games you see how the wind blows and improve step by step. Just don’t be mad if you get spanked hard in the first matches. Everyone was when he was new! And people who tell you something else or flame you because you are a newbie are just dumb and should be muted.
There is a reason why the LoL playerbase grows exponentially (leading to heavy server issues which are fortunately solved now). The game is just pure fun, the best option is to play with friends via Skype/TS, but playing solo can also be very nice. I hope I could familiarize you a bit with the game and perhaps whet your appetite. Maybe we see us in the battlegrounds soon!