League of Legends (abbreviated LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and macOS. The game follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransaction
In League of Legends, players assume the role of an unseen "summoner" that controls a "champion" with unique abilities and battle against a team of other players or computer-controlled champions. The goal is usually to destroy the opposing te
am's "nexus", a structure which lies at the heart of a base protected by defensive structures, although other distinct game modes exist as well. Each League of Legends match is discrete, with all champions starting off fairly weak but increasing in strength by accumulating items and experience over the course of the game. The champions and setting blend a variety of elements, including high fantasy, steampunk, folklore, and Lovecraftian horror.
League of Legends was generally well received upon its release in 2009, and has since grown in popularity, with an active and expansive fanbase. By July 2012, League of Legends was the most played PC game in North America and Europe in terms of the number of hours played. As of January 2014, over 67 million people played League of Legends per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. Leaguehas among the largest footprints of any game in streaming media communities on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.tv; it routinely ranks first in the most-watched hours. In September 2016 the company estimated that there are over 100 million active players each month. The game's popularity has led it to expand into merchandise, with toys, accessories, apparel, as well as tie-ins to other media through music videos, web series, documentaries, and books.
League of Legends has an active and widespread competitive scene. In North America and Europe, Riot Games organizes the League Championship Series (LCS), located in Los Angeles and Berlin respectively, which consists of 10 professional teams in each continent. Similar regional competitions exist in China (LPL), South Korea (LCK), Taiwan (LMS), Southeast
Asia (GPL), and various other regions. These regional competitions culminate with the annual World Championship. The 2016 World Championship had 43 million unique viewers and a total prize pool of over 6 million USD.
League of Legends is a 3D, third-person multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game. The game consists of 3 current running game modes: Summoner's Rift, Twisted Treeline, and Howling Abyss. Another game mode, The Crystal Scar, has since been removed. Players compete in matches, lasting anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes on average. In each game mode teams work together to achieve a victory condition, typically destroying the core building (called the Nexus) in the enemy team's base after bypassing a line of defensive structures called turrets, or towers.
In all game modes, players control characters called champions, chosen or assigned every match, who each have a set of unique abilities that determine their playstyle - one passive, or innate, ability that cannot be activated and thus gives a perpetual bonus or effect, three normal, or 'basic', abilities, and a powerful 'ultimate' ability that can only be unlocked once the character reaches level 6. Ultimate abilities are vastly more powerful than regular abilities and thus have much longer cooldowns (period of time before they can be used again). A champion's full set of abilities is referred to as its 'kit'. The use of champions' abilities is limited by cooldowns and a resource (usually some form of mana or energy). If a champion runs out of their resource, they cannot cast spells
, even if they are off cooldown, and must wait for it to regenerate. Some champions do not have a resource, being limited only by cooldowns, and others have ways of restoring their respective resource. Each champion also has an 'auto' or 'basic attack' in which they deal damage to the target unit within range simply by right-clicking them, with no cost - some champions are melee and have to be closer to use their basic attack, while others are ranged, although to compensate melee champions are usually more durable. The rate at which a champion can basic attack is determined by their attack speed, a stat that can be improved through items. Some champions additionally use ammo and must reload after enacting a certain number of basic attacks. Champions begin every match at level one, and then gain experience over the course of the match to achieve a maximum level of 18. Gaining champion levels in matches allows players to unlock their champion's special abilities and augment them in a number of ways unique to each character. If a champion loses all their health, they are defeated, but are automatically revived in their base after a 'respawn timer' ends - the timer increases in duration as the game goes on. Players also begin each match with a low amount of gold, and can earn additional gold throughout the match in a variety of ways: by killing non-player characters known as minions and monsters; by killing or helping
to kill enemy players; by destroying enemy structures; passively over time; and through unique item interactions or champion abilities. This gold can then be spent throughout the match to buy in-game items that further augment each champion's abilities and game play in a variety of ways. Champion experience, gold earned, and items bought are specific to each match and do not carry over to subsequent matches. Thus, all players begin each match on more-or-less equal footing relative to their opposing team.
Across matches, players also earn rewards that are applied to their account. Player accounts begin at level one and progress through a maximum level of 30 with experience points earned at the end of every match. As a player progresses they unlock content initially barred to new players. These include 'summoner spells' - high-impact, long cooldown spells with a specific use. Any champion can choose to equip two or eleven summoner spells before a game - some summoner spells are unique to certain game modes and some have been removed over the game's history. Players can also customize Rune pages. Runes grant their champion small, perpetual bonuses to stats, and can be gained through spending 'Influence Points'(IP) which is granted by playing. IP can be used to unlock both Runes and new champions. Additionally, players can unlock masteries, which grant unique bonuses not necessarily tied to stats, as Runes are. Some masteries, called 'keystones', are much more powerful than others and only one can be selected per game, with certain champions synergizing more with certain keystones. Player level is separate from character level; both a level 30 account and a level 5 account would begin at character level 1 at the start of a new game.
Accounts are given rankings based on the Elo rating system, with proprietary adjustments. These ratings are used in automated matchmaking to make games with players of comparable skill level on each team.
*The Tutorial is the first game type available to new players. The tutorial is played on the Howling Abyss and is intended to teach new players the rules and gameplay of League.
- Co-op Vs. AI is available to new players after completing or opting out of the Tutorial. It is played on Summoner's Rift, Twisted Treeline, and (formerly) the Crystal Scar, and pits teams of human players against an opposing team of computer-controlled artificial intelligence champions.
- Normal Matchmaking uses an automated match making system to pair teams of similarly-skilled players against one another.
- Ranked Matchmaking is available to players upon reaching account level 30. It uses a similar system as Normal Matchmaking; however, pre-made teams must be of comparable ELO strength, so expert players and weak players are not allowed to team together in Ranked. After playing 10 or more Ranked games, accounts are given a public "rank" that roughly correlates with their ELO ranking.
- Custom Games allow players to play any map with any combination of player or AI teammates and opponents.
League of Legends also includes three ways teams may choose what champion they will play for a given match.
- Blind Pick allows the two teams to select their champions simultaneously. The players only learn the champion selections of the opposing team when the match begins. It is available on Summoner's Rift, Twisted Treeline, and the Crystal Scar for Normal Matchmaking games and Co-op vs. AI, and for all modes in custom games.
- Draft Pick allows each team to ban three champions each (a total of six champions banned), removing them from the match. Teams then take turns selecting their champions while being able to see the selections of the other team. It is available on Summoner's Rift for matchmaking games, and for all modes in custom games.
- Random Pick randomly assigns a champion to each player. Players accumulate re-rolls by playing multiple matches, which they can use to randomly select another champion for that match. It is available on Howling Abyss for ARAM (All Rando
- m All Mid) games, and for all modes in custom games.
There are currently 136 champions in League of Legends as of April 4, 2017. League divides its champion types up a number of ways (additionally, champions can be customized by buying different items in-game and equipping different runes and masteries before games). The most salient difference is the type of damage a champion deals; some champions deal largely physical damage, which is resisted by the armor stat, and other champions deal largely magic damage, which is resisted by the magic resistance stat. Some champions, called 'hybrids', deal a combination of both physical and magical damage and can either choose one to emphasize or find a balance between the two, making it harder for other champions to defend against them; and some rare abilities deal 'true' damage which is not mitigable by either armor or magic resistance. Riot Games has classified all champions as one of six types to aid beginners; each class is also divided into two or three subclasses to differentiate. Not all champions perfectly fit their type, of course. The official Riot classifications are as follows:
- Marksman: Marksmen, also known as "AD (attack damage) Carries", are ranged champions that usually deal physical damage. These champions are usually high DPS rather than burst; they focus on sustained long-term damage through their basic attacks, and are usually the best at destroying and taking objectives like enemy turrets or elemental drakes, as well as killing tanks. They tend to have weak defense and are easy to kill once caught - leading to them and other carries to be described as 'squishy'. Some ADCs rely heavily on their basic attacks to kill targets, while others play like mages and utilize their spells in combat as well. Examples of marksmen are Ashe, Caitlyn, Jinx, and Jhin. There are currently 18 true ADCs, although other champions that are good at dealing sustained damage, such as some Fighters or Mages, can provide DPS for their team akin to a Marksman.
- Mage: Mages, sometimes known as "AP (ability power) Carries", are champions with powerful magic damage and cr
- owd control spells, but weak defense and low mobility. Mages are divided into three main groups based on their combat patterns - Burst Mages, such as Veigar and Syndra, excel at killing singular champions from range very quickly, but often have poor sustained or area damage to compensate; Battle Mages, such as Vladimir and Karthus, who excel at unleashing devastating area of effect damage to multiple targets and are not afraid to get close, unlike other mages; and Artillery Mages, such as Ziggs and Vel'Koz, who often have the highest range and damage but are often more squishy to compensate, relying on their team's protection to set up kills. There are currently 29 true Mage champions, although other classes such as Controllers and Marksmen that rely especially on their spells are sometimes categorized as Mages as well.
- Slayer: A champion who specializes in killing one or more champion as fast as possible, usually within melee range. Slayers tend to go after the enemy's AD/AP Carry and other 'squishy' champions, but tend to have weak defenses themselves if caught, and rely on their potent mobility to pick and choose their fights. Slayers are divided into two subgroups: Assassins, such as Zed, Fizz, and LeBlanc, who have the highest mobility and up-front burst damage to quickly kill a target and escape, but lack sustained damage; and Skirmishers, such as Yasuo, Riven, and Fiora, that often have more limited or situational mobility in exchange for situational defensive tools and high sustained damage to cut down foes of any class. There are currently 18 true Slayer champions, but any champion that can kill a target quickly and safely is sometimes categorized as one as well.
- Tank: Champions who are especially hard to kill and soak up damage for their team. In exchange, they usually deal less damage, relying on their innate toughness and crowd control abilities to win fights. Tanks are divided into two main subgroups based on their goal - Wardens such as Tahm Kench, Poppy, and Braum prefer to protect and shield their allies from danger, while Vanguards such as Malphite, Sejuani, and Zac have more high-impact engage options to force a fight with enemies, and generally have crowd control that can affect multiple enemies at once. The line between Vanguards and Wardens is not as distinct as with other classes, as a tank's ultimate goal is to protect their team and deter the enemy regardless of which subgroup they belong to. There are currently 22 true Tank champions, although some Fighters and Controllers can opt into tank items and embody the class if necessary.
- Fighter: Champions that blend the attributes of a damage dealer and tank, combining moderate survivability with damage, but never really outperforming either in each respective category. There are currently two types of fighters - Juggernauts, such as Darius, Illaoi, and Garen, who have much more extreme melee durability and damage but limited to no range, mobility, or crowd control, and Divers, Fighters that excel at singling out a target and forcing a fight with them thanks to their potent mobility and damage, although they are not as durable to compensate. There are currently 27 Fighters, but many champions with sustained damage like Battle Mages and some Tanks can be classified as a Fighter as well.
- Controller: Champions whose spells allow them to protect allies and hinder enemies, generally referred to as defensive casters as opposed to their counterparts Mages, offensive casters. Controllers are not expected to be meaningful damage threats (although they can be) but instead offer unique tools to their allies to succeed while utilizing powerful crowd control on enemies from range. Controllers are divided into two main groups - Enchanters, such as Lulu, Bard, and Soraka, that are much more defensive by nature and focus on amplifying their allies through heals, shields, and buffs to protect and enhance their combat skills, and Disruptors such as Zyra, Anivia, and Taliyah that forgo traditional defensive buffs for more spell-based damage and crowd control. Disruptors share such glaring similarities with Mages that they are almost universally treated as such, but their greater emphasis on disruption rather than raw damage differentiates them. Disruptors generally excel more at enabling kills than taking them. There are currently 16 classified Controllers, although many of which bleed into other classes, such as the Mages and Wardens.
There are currently 7 champions (Cho'Gath, Fiddlesticks, Singed, Urgot, Kennen, Gnar, and Blitzcrank) that do not necessarily fit into any class thanks to their unique playstyles, although each displays characteristics of some classes more than others. Fiddlesticks, for example, is a sentient scarecrow whose spells often require him to stand still and ambush enemies, which creates unique gameplay patterns for him that is entirely separate from other damage-dealing classes. Gnar is a small prehistoric creature that fights with a boomerang from afar like a Marksman, but can transform into Mega Gnar, an enormous beast with powerful melee damage and crowd control - a mix of a Vanguard and a Juggernaut.
Item choice can influence a champion's class. For example, if the champion Jarvan IV purchases all damage items, he functions something like an Assassin; he can kill enemies quickly, but will die rapidly himself. If Jarvan buys all defensive items, then he will become a Vanguard focused on engaging high-priority targets. Somewhere in-between, he's a Diver. In the same way, champions like Morgana, Annie, and Karma can build item sets that are focused on high damage like a Mage, or item sets focused on disrupting enemies and aiding allies like a Controller. Many champions are a mix and fit into two subclasses simultaneously (or in the very least overlap), which grants them greater flexibility but less potency in each. For example, the champion Tahm Kench (a kappa-like crossroads demon) is typically classified as a Warden due to his ability to protect allies by swallowing them whole and repositioning them, but his extreme durability and strong melee damage allow him to be played like a Juggernaut if he buys items like one.
Champion classes generally determine what part of the map the champion gravitates towards during the game - this is referred to as their 'role'. A Marksman usually goes to the bottom lane with a Controller or Tank, called the support, that can help protect them from harm in the early levels as they accrue gold and experience from killing minions. The support is also expected to buy 'wards', which provide vision in an area around them, so that allies are not ambushed as easily and can see greater portions of the map - the support is also expected to destroy enemy wards. A Mage, Disruptor, or Assassin usually goes to the middle lane, which is the shortest and most centralized lane and thus usually the most dynamic - 'mid lane champions' usually end up being the ones with the most kills and exert a large amount of influence over the course of the game. The top lane is more isolated from the rest of the map, and so a Tank or Fighter usually goes top, since they are the most self-sufficient and can adapt to a variety of situations. This has le
d top lane to be colloquially referred to by players as an 'island'. The role of a top laner is usually to 'push' a lane by quickly advancing down it with their minions, and not pay as much attention to their other 4 allies, although this is not always so. Between each lane is the jungle, home to an array of fearsome monsters that are hard to take down, especially in the early game. Each team has a 'jungler' champion that does not go to a lane and instead heads to the jungle; these champions usually have ways to heal or shield themselves so that they can fight multiple monsters in succession, or any other effective ways to 'clear' monster camps effectively. The jungler's job is to 'secure' objectives and make sure their team reaps the rewards of powerful monsters such as the elemental drakes and Baron Nashor. The jungler will occasionally visit a lane and attempt to gank the enemy laner, working with their teammate to bring down the laner in a 1v2 scenario. The jungler is not constrained to any particular class, although as a rule of thumb Mages, Controllers, and Marksman are poor junglers, with other classes being able to achieve at least some level of success, although there are exceptions (for example, Fiddlesticks is a staple jungle pick). The success of a jungler is usually determined by whether they can clear the jungle efficiently and how potent their ganks are. The jungler is widely regarded as the most important role, alongside the ADC, for their importance in taking down objectives.
Special game modesEdit
Riot Games, starting in 2013, has released a number of special limited-time game modes. These special modes would usually be accessible for two weeks, then retired. In 2016, Riot announced that "Rotating Games Mode" would be a recurring event, so that every weekend a previously released game mode would be made accessible again for that weekend. The current game modes in the rotation are as follows:
- Ascension, a 5v5 mode in which champions do battle on a modified Crystal Scar. In the middle resides the champion Xerath (a malevolent and powerful mage), who can be killed to temporarily 'Ascend' the killer, granting them increased size and stats. Teams score points by 'Ascending' their champions, scoring kills, and collecting Relics. The first team to 200 points wins.
- Hexakill, a 6v6 mode on the Twisted Treeline. Because the Twisted Treeline is normally a 3v3 mode, the doub
- led number of champions adds a fast-paced and chaotic feel.
- One For All, a 5v5 mode on the Summoner's Rift where each team can only pick one champion, e.g. all members of the same team must play the same champion. This leads to unique and fast-paced gameplay that cannot be replicated elsewhere, as having one champion synergize with 4 other versions of itself can often produce bizarre and overpowered results. Otherwise, all rules of the normal 5v5 Summoner's Rift mode still apply.
- Nemesis Draft, a 5v5 mode on the Summoner's Rift in which the two teams pick their opponent's champions. This often leads to unconventional and ineffective team compositions that must work together to succeed. Otherwise, all rules of the normal 5v5 Summoner's Rift mode still apply.
- Nexus Siege, a 5v5 mode on the Summoner's Rift, which has been cut in half at the river (only one base is open to attack). Each team takes turns defending and attacking the base, with the team that destroys the Nexus the quickest emerging victorious. Depending on whether one is defending or attacking, the team gains access to powerful siege weapons and tower upgrades that can turn the tide of battle, unique only to this mode.
- Legend of the Poro King, a 5v5 mode on the Howling Abyss. Unlike ARAM, players are allowed to select their champions, but are limited to two summoner spells: Poro Toss and To the King! Poro Toss allows the champion to throw a small arctic creature called a poro in a line, dealing damage to the first character struck. Once a team has successfully landed 10 Poros against the enemy team, they summon the Poro King, a massive creature that will help them push down the lane. The Poro King has his own abilities and can be fed a variety of Poro-Snax to grant him new ones. Otherwise, the goal remains to destroy the enemy's Nexus.
- Doom Bots of Doom, a mode on the Summoner's Rift. Five players play against five CPU opponents, which play as greatly enhanced versions of certain champions. The CPUs' champions' abilities are greatly enhanced and are much harder to play around and against, making this mode a challenge even to skilled players. After 15 minutes, 'The Evil Overlord of the Doom Bots' (an enormous Teemo, a champion jokingly referred to as Satan due to his frustrating abilities, dressed as a devil) spawns and will make a last effort to destroy the team's base. If they manage to survive the Doom Bots and their Overlord, then the team wins.
- Hunt of the Blood Moon a 5v5 mode on the Summoner's Rift. Players are limited in their champion choice to 20 Slayer and Fighter-type champions. Players start at level 3 and gains increased experience and gold over time, at a greater rate than normal modes. Champions additionally gain a variety of bonuses to encourage combat, such as increased movement speed and lower cooldowns on their ultimates and summoner spells, and can only buy offensive items. Minions do not spawn and turrets will periodically disappear to encourage frequent combat. Champions gain points by killing champions and Spirits of the Blood Moon, that roam the enemy jungle. Demon Heralds will additionally periodically spawn that grant a large amount of points. If a champion scores three kills in a row, they gain a special buff that heals them, renders them invisible, and grants them bonus true damage on their next attack. The first team to 350 points wins.
Special game modes not seen in the rotation include Black Market Brawlers (a 5v5 mode on the Summoner's Rift with unique items and special minions) and Definitely Not Dominion (a temporary return of the Dominion mode on the Crystal Scar).
The Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) mode was originally a 2014 April Fools' Day prank that proved so popular it became a proper rotating game mode; in URF, champion abilities have no resource cost and have their cooldowns reduced by 80%, double the normal cap of 40% that can be attained through items. Additionally, champions have increased movement speed, faster passive gold gain, and increased attack speed. Because some champions are naturally much more powerful in this mode because of how their kit works, this mode is not seen as much because it is difficult to balance.