League of Legends, or LoL as the fans call it, is a MOBA game (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) released in October 2009. Since then, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with a player base of over 100 million. You can play it for free, watch tournaments almost all year long, and even bet on its professional matches, such as the ones played at LoL Worlds 2021. But what does League of Legends consist of and how does it work?
The Basic Elements of League of Legends
League of Legends is a combination of 2 genres: RPG and RTS. It plays like an RTS but with characters from RPGs. In LoL, these characters are called champions.
LoL is a team-based game played in a 5v5 format. The objective is simple: get stronger than your adversary, limit its ability to develop, destroy its buildings, kill its champions, and ultimately take down the main structure in its base, called Nexus. It’s like chess, but a lot more complex. The first team that destroys the other’s Nexus is the winner. However, to reach this grand goal you must synchronize with your teammates and reach smaller, more attainable goals first.
What Are LoL Champions
The main unit in League of Legends is the champion. If you’ve played RPGs, you probably know what it means to pick a hero, kill enemy units, gain experience, level up, gain gold, buy items, and so on. The process is the same in MOBA games, except here, everything happens really fast. A typical LoL match usually lasts anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes.
Each of the 10 players picks a champion at the start of the game. This champion cannot be changed after the game begins and is unique, in the sense that once someone picks a particular champion, nobody else can pick it for that game.
Champions start at level 1 and can go up to level 18. Each time they level up, they gain 1 ability point that you can use to acquire an ability or improve one that you already have. Each champion has 4 abilities: 3 standard ones, which can be unlocked from level 1, and 1 non-standard one, called the ultimate, which can be unlocked only at level 6 and then upgraded every 6 levels. The maximum level of the first 3 abilities is 5. For the 4th it’s 3.
There are more than 150 champions and each of them has unique abilities. This is what makes LoL such a sophisticated game. The combinations are uncountable. Together with your teammates, you will have 20 abilities in total and will fight against the 20 abilities of your opponents. And that’s without counting the items you buy along the way and the various Summoner spells.
Champions gain gold when landing the killing blow on a minion, creature, or enemy champion, as well as when they destroy enemy structures. Gold is also gained every second, but only in tiny amounts. In addition to gold, champions also gain experience when doing all of these things, except for destroying buildings.
The second important element of LoL is items. These are objects that you can buy with gold and they give you a lot of benefits, based on their type, cost, and so on. If you want to deal more damage, have more armor, and increase your movement speed, items will let you do just that and the choice of what to buy with your gold is entirely yours.
This is the third important element of the game. The two teams play on a two-sided, fairly symmetrical map. Each side has 3 lanes and in between the lanes there are portions of forest called the jungle. Each lane is protected by 3 towers and on it spawn minions (every 30 seconds). These minions cannot be controlled by anyone and will do nothing except advance on their lane and attack everything that stands in their way, until they get killed.
After the 3rd tower is destroyed on a lane, the team that’s advancing on that lane can destroy its opponent’s inhibitors, which are important structures inside the base. Once they are gone, the minions that spawn on that lane for the team that destroyed them become much stronger. So the general goal is to destroy your opponent’s inhibitors and slowly get to the Nexus.