What is League of Legends (LoL)?
What is League of Legends? It is one of the most popular games (and the number one game in eSports, which is essentially “professional gaming”). It is a free MOBA (Multiplayer online battle arena) game, in which players face each other off in an arena like setting.
Game play basics
Before I review LoL, I will just outline some core concepts of the game so it can be better understood. The number of players is 10 in total; 5 for each side. There are currently 148 champions, characters players choose in matchmaking. In addition, there are several other components in gameplay: Runes, summoner spells, itemization, and most importantly the game mode or the map chosen. The game mode determines how you may play and strategize. There are several game modes, but I will focus on the most played. There is a normal and ranked mode, both of which take place on a map known as “summoner’s rift”. As the most played map, I will give a brief summary description of it. It has 3 lanes and a “jungle”, all of which are roles that are tailored for specific champions.
Bottom lane is for a “support” and a ranged “attack damage carry”. Mid lane usually has assassins and mages. Top lane usually has tanks, and/or melee characters. The jungle is usually home to champions excellent at “ganking”, a term for flanking another lane to ensure their success. What’s seemingly fun is that you must work together with complete strangers in order to ultimately win a round. Before the actual game is matchmaking, in which you select the game mode, and get paired with people at random. From there, you all pick your champions strategically. After that, the actual game starts. A round can be expected to last anywhere from 15-45 minutes, or 30 minutes on average.
The biggest component of LoL gameplay is no doubt the champions. Mastering the champions you play and understanding strategy will contribute greatly to the outcome of the game. What will be fun is asserting asserting dominance over your enemies with skill and smarts. There are 148 champions. That’s a lot, and what that means is that out there, there’s a champion or champions that you’ll find fun or love. Mastering a specific champion isn’t that hard so long you stick with them and know the basic operandi. These basic principles apply to most, but not all champions. They will have an Innate Passive, 3 basic abilities, and an Ultimate ability. They may also have a resource, which is usually mana. Casting abilities consume mana and thus prevent you from just casting abilities whenever you want, so you have to cast strategically. All abilities may also have a cooldown, which is how long you’ll have to wait before being able to use it again.
As an example, I will outline one champion’s kit (a kit refers to all of a champion’s abilities): Ashe. She is a rather simple champion. Her passive is that her basic attacks (right clicking any unit) slow. Hitting a slowed target does more damage. Her 3 basic abilities (corresponding to the keys Q, W, E respectively) is Q: Anytime she has fired 4 basic attacks within a few seconds, she can press Q to do more damage with basic attacks. Her W is firing several arrows in a cone, slowing targets. Her E just fires a projectile that lights up an area. Finally, her Ultimate (R) is a large arrow that will stun a champion if it collides with them.
Another important factor when taking into account champions is counter play and synergy. Counter play is when a champion counters another. For example, Ashe’s large, stunning arrow can be countered with a champion’s ability, Spell shield. The damage is reduced and the stun isn’t applied. Or, champions with dashes can easily dodge the arrow. Synergy is when champions work well with one another. Ashe’s ultimate can set up for another champion to do their work; or for a champion to allow Ashe’s ultimate to hit a target.
Review of gameplay
I believe the game is fun, especially when you know what you’re doing. What makes it much more appealing to me than other games is simply that it’s a PvP (player vs. player) game.. The interaction against or with players has always been more fun to me than playing with or against non humans in role playing games (RPGs) such as Final Fantasy. Then there’s the negatives of LoL. Just like any other game, there are plenty of toxic people out there. In short, these people ruin your gaming experience. They can be bigots, verbally abusive, or just straight out annoying. Another way to ruin the game is to “int”, which is to continually die to enemies. Aside from playing with trolls, there’s also the tilt factor.
As in any competition, you either win or lose. You must always keep in mind to be a good loser and a good winner and be optimistic. It’s easy to be so hellbent on winning or not losing. There’s also the chance you’ll get mad if you’re losing against your opponent. They can play a very annoying champion. Or perhaps their jungler probably visits you every minute, or an enemy from another lane smacks you. because your teammates aren’t doing well either. Luckily, that’s just a fact of life. Move on and try again, simple. Also, you don’t have to play alone. You can add people and play with them, so that game play can be better. Aside from the most played game modes, there are also some game modes made entirely for fun. Below is some “URF” gameplay, a very fast paced game mode in which all champions have unlimited resources (most spells in the game have costs and thus can’t be used all the time) and reduced cooldowns on all abilities.
More about the game franchise
LoL was officially launched in 2009, and has since then seen major changes in many aspects. One of the most major changes is to the storyline, which is now a very large and diverse universe in which they even have their own comics in collaboration with Marvel. Here’s one featuring the champions Zed, Jhin, Shen, Akali, and Kayn. LoL is also updated regularly, so that makes for another thing to stay on top off. Items, champions, game modes or maps can get changed every week! Also, as LoL was released in 2009, there are many champions that are “old”. They have outdated visuals, very clunky interactions and abilities, and an outdated story. Occasionally, these champions will get a much needed makeover. LoL also has the largest eSports, in which “professional” gamers are in a sportlike setting and compete for both money and fame. You don’t need to be a pro to make money off the game; if you’re charismatic, fun to watch, or remotely good (or even just outright bad), you can stream to YouTube or Twitch. SKT Faker is one of many popular streamers. Another note worthy aspect is that like sports, LoL has annual seasons for the Ranked game mode.