So I’m soon about to embark on some weekly coverage of the League of Legends: League Championship Series and other big eSports tournaments in Europe and across the pond, so I thought the best way to get into that before the season began in earnest was to try and in the best and most intelligible way possible explain how this game works, in the hopes that playing and watching it become a smidge easier to handle. The rabbit hole for this game goes deep so I’ll only be doing a basic introduction, but if you’re interested, it is of course free to play. There’ll be more in depth discussions of tactics/champions/builds later.
OK, so let’s start at the beginning; best place really. League of Legends is arguably the most successful installment in the ambiguously titled ‘MOBA’ genre. ‘MOBA’ stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, which of course describes about 90% of competitive multiplayer games. In this case, a ‘MOBA’ is a base attack/defense game that involves three lanes of progression.
The aim of the game is to destroy your enemy’s towers in lane and then push them back to their base and take their nexus, located in the top right and bottom left of the map. You will not be alone in this mission however. Each team a blue team and a purple, consists of five players. In a strong team, each player has a different role which have varying strengths and weaknesses and together make your team more fluid in a fight. There are currently 116 champions, each suited to a different role and with varying abilities.
So as previously discussed, there are three lanes on the map. They are helpfully called, top lane, middle lane and bottom lane in correspondence to their map placement. Easy. So in the average team there will be one player in top lane, one player in middle lane, two players in the bottom lane and one roaming player known as the ‘Jungler’. Here’s a little description of each role and what kind of player they suit.
The top lane is a war of attrition. A top laner would generally pick a defensive champion. High health, high defense, low damage output initially. Their suited to focused players who are will to get up close to the enemy and earn their win in lane. Later in the game they become behemoth, marching through the enemy team to lock down key target opponents.
Mid lane is the blockbuster lane. A lot of action goes on in mid lane, and a good mid lane can control games easily moving to bottom or top lane to assist team mates. They generally take squishy magic users, with a high risk, high reward style of play. Someone playing in mid lane has to be confident in their abilities and willing to make tough plays and risky decisions from time to time. They will be a centerpiece of the late game damage on their team but need protection.
Bottom Lane AD Carry
The title of AD Carry is bestowed upon the once again squishy, low health, high damage champions that are suited to the bottom lane. They are constantly locked in duels with their opponent trying desperately to gain the upper hand. The name, comes from the fact that they primarily do physical damage from range and towards the end of the game are used to shred big scary targets. They are however number one targets for the enemy. And that brings us to our next role.
Bottom Lane Support
Supports are the unsung heroes of this game. They are tasked with protecting their team mates in fights and with disrupting their opponents as much as possible. They are the ward pack mule (more on that in a later article) and they get very little time in the spotlight. But a good support can swing games. They keep their AD Carry alive and if they can give them the upper hand, the game becomes much easier. So many games are won and lost on a support doing his/her job. Someone who is okay with taking a backseat in the action and has a good eye for predicting an opponents movements makes an excellent support.
The trickiest role of the game, but once mastered it’s an invaluable position and a good jungler will help control all three lanes. They don’t get a lane, but move through the jungle areas between the lanes, killing NPC’s for gold and experience, and when the time is right, surprise attack opponents lanes to help their teammates gain the upper hand. They need to keep constant watch of the action in all lanes, and their decision making has to be solid. It’s also the position where you’re likely to suffer the most criticism, as players will blame anyone but themselves in a pinch. This position is tough and shouldn’t be tackled too early on as a player without lots of practice.
Next time I’ll be looking at the basic gameplay aspects like gold, minions and some of the jargon you’ll encounter when playing.
Start playing! – (https://signup.leagueoflegends.com/en/signup/index)