League of Legends is one of the most widely played multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games on the market. Chances are, whether you've played it or not, you've definitely heard the name bandied about in online gaming circles, but what's it all about? We're going to help you get started in League of Legends today, but first, it's important to understand what a MOBA game actually is, if you've never played one before.
The MOBA genre has its roots in the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients (DotA) as well as a custom map for the original StarCraft game. In MOBA games, players traditionally face off in teams of 5 where the player controls a 'hero' or 'champion' in battle. Players typically earn gold in-match and can spend it on items which will give you or your team an edge in battle. Usually, monsters, creeps or bosses will spawn on the map in addition to the enemy players, and gold or buffs are rewarded for slaying these non-play characters (NPCs).
Now that you have a general understanding of the genre, we'll run you through the basics of Riot Games' League of Legends.
Prepare for Battle
The first thing players will need to do is visit http://www.leagueoflegends.com/. From here, you can create a new account and download the client. League of Legends is completely free to play so creating your account and getting the client set up will not cost you anything.
With your client downloaded, we'll dive right into how to play League of Legends and offer some tips and tricks to help you get off the ground.
When you're starting out in League of Legends, you have the option to run a tutorial and a practice match. If you've never played a MOBA style game before, then we definitely advise running through those to give you a feel for the gameplay.
In League of Legends you play as a Summoner, who calls upon Champions to fight enemies and win battles for your team. Whether you opt for a practice match or a regular game, here is how things will go.
First up, players will choose their Champion. In League of Legends, players can choose from over 80 different champions. All with their own special abilities and assets to a team. The beauty of League of Legends is that all of the champions are balanced and distinct. It would be impossible to tell someone who the 'best' champion is in League of Legends because each one brings something unique to the table, alongside their dynamic personalities.
After selecting your Champion, you will choose your Summoner Spells. These are spells that will allow you assist your Champion or a teammate in a variety of ways. The best plan of attack here is choosing Summoner Spells that will benefit your team and your champion style. If you plan to play a support Champion, it would benefit you to select a Healing spell because it makes the most sense with your selected Champion.
The next screen you will see before your match begins is the Rune Page selection screen. From your Summoner Profile, you are able to set up Rune Pages. Runes grant your player additional stat bonuses, such as increased health, increased chance of critical attack or an additional mana-per-level bonus.
Runes are never detrimental to your Champion, and only ever serve to help you so you should always make time to set up your Rune Pages. A Rune Page is essentially a customized set of runes that you have designed before you get into a match. Creating Rune Pages will essentially allow you to create a custom arrangement of runes that will complement the Champion type you have selected. Rune Pages can be saved and selected from the pre-game menu, but changing the rune scheme of a Rune Page can't be done in the choose-your-champion menu, but rather must be taken care of from your Summoner Profile page before you search for a match.
The first sight you will be greeted with when you spawn on the battlefield is the Summoner Platform and Shop. From here, players will select the first item they want to bring with them onto the battlegrounds.
A solid recommendation to keep in mind is that health potions are a cheap, effective way to stay healthy in battle and keep your champion alive for longer. A basic health potion will run you 35 gold and your champion starts with 475 gold. More gold will be earned over time by killing enemy champions, minions and NPC monsters.
Once you have selected your items, you will want to choose a lane. A lane is essentially the route you will be taking on the map. Each lane is fraught with dangers; enemy champions, minions and turrets. As this guide assumes you are just starting out in League of Legends, it is most advisable to choose a lane that will keep you close to your allies, who will heal you or attack enemies alongside you.
Continue progressing along the lane you picked, fighting enemy Champions and minions as they come across your path. Combat is fairly straightforward in League of Legends; right-clicking an enemy will execute your basic attack while you also have five abilities at their disposal. The first three abilities are relative to your Champion and are available from level one. At level six, you are able to choose your Ultimate Ability which is typically far stronger than standard abilities and requires a longer cooldown period between use. The fifth ability is a passive ability, it is free to use and always active.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few tried and true tips to help you on your way in League of Legends.
- Brush - throughout the map, you will see patches of tall grass like the one seen in the image below. Conceal yourself in these patches of brush and you will become invisible to enemy units. Lie in wait while an enemy unit passes by, unaware of your presence and then cut off their escape route and engage them in battle. The element of surprise is always good to have on your side.
- Turrets - occasionally, you will come across enemy turrets. Large, stationary statues that inflict considerable damage on approaching enemy players. As tempting as it is to take these turrets down as quickly as possible, it is nearly guaranteed death to attempt it alone. Ensure that you are surrounded by either fellow allied Champions or a wave of minions. Your path can't progress until the turret is destroyed, but employing this basic tactic of teamwork will spare you a painful death and increase your chances for success.
- Focus on Your Lane - while you are pushing forward in a lane, be sure to remain focused on taking care of the objectives at hand. The three main objectives that a lane presents are: enemy Champions, enemy minions and turrets. Players are more than able to travel more than one lane per match but while you are moving forward, it's important to focus on the task at hand. Teamwork is essential to pushing through a lane successfully.
- Recommended Items - utilizing your gold to purchase items is very important in League of Legends but for new players, sorting through the catalog can be daunting. In the shop interface, players can view 'recommended items' that are suggested for your Champion. These items will give you a strong balance of your Champions' most relevant stats. This will also give you an idea of how to purchase items for yourself in the future, when you see which recommended items work for your play style.
There has never been a better time to check out League of Legends; it is hands-down one of the most addicting and enjoyable online games on the market today, and it's free! League of Legends has over 15 million players, so there will always be a diverse community of gamers looking for a match and a new Champion to battle.
The team at Riot Games has also recently unveiled League of Legends: Dominion which takes the traditional MOBA gameplay to a whole new level. Capture strategic points on the map and defend them from enemy Champions in this brand new, epic game mode. We had a chance to preview Dominion earlier this month, so be sure to check that out for more information on what the game mode will offer when it launches.
For all things League of Legends, visit the official site at http://na.leagueoflegends.com/.