This Game is Truly Legendary
Welcome, summoner, to the fields of battle. It's time to choose your champion and face off against your opponent for final domination. This real-time strategy game combines elements of tower defense and RPG mechanics to deliver an addictive combat experience. With multiple character builds available, your game experience is infinitely customizable, and the combination of cooperative and competitive game play will keep you coming back for more.
Developer video walking through what League of Legends is all about
A Nation of Magicians Torn by War
League of Legends takes place in a world called Runeterra, which is dominated by the two warring city states of Valoran and Noxus. As the powerful magic-users, or summoners, of both cities realized that such continuous warfare would eventually destroy all of Runeterra, a new solution was put into place. Rather than building armies and engaging in battle, these powerful summoners created an army of dedicated warriors. This army, dubbed the League of Legends, fights in a carefully controlled battleground in order to settle disputes whenever they arise.
You play as a summoner who has control over a specific champion. Each individual champion has a unique history and backstory, but this information is peripheral to the actual game. Most information about the game's storyline can be gotten from its website and forums, where interested players can read up on the story to get a deeper understanding of the game's world.
An RTS With a Twist
League of Legends combines standard RTS mechanics with a few RPG-inspired twists. As a summoner, you level up and gain abilities with each victory. The points you use can be applied toward unlocking additional characters, and you also gain the ability to make yourself stronger through the use of runes. These runes help to strengthen the abilities of any particular champion you might play.
Each champion you choose will have a unique set of powers. The champions themselves do not level up. Instead, you decide how you will use your summoner abilities and runes to complement a specific champion's abilities. This means that you can play a certain champion differently each time, which adds more variety to the game play experience.
You control one champion in a team of either three or five players. Your team faces off against an opposing team with the same number of players. In either team, a specific champion can only be represented once, so you may need to hurry to select the champion you want. Once the game has started, your champions spawn at one point on the map, and you must move across the map to kill NPC monsters, collect gold and destroy towers. The gold you collect is used to buy in-game items for that specific match. These items boost various abilities that your character can use.
The ultimate goal of the match is to destroy the opposing team's nexus, or spawning point. Whichever team manages to complete this objective first will win. Individual summoners are also ranked within matches based on their ratio of kills to deaths, and every victory helps you level up your summoner to the maximum level of 30.
Choose From Over 100 Champions
There are over 100 champions available in League of Legends, and the development staff adds more fairly frequently. When you start the game, you have access to a limited number of champions, and the available champions rotate from time to time. With each victory, you earn IP points that can be spent on purchasing additional champions to use whenever you want. You can also buy champions with Riot Points, which can be purchased with cash money.
Helpful video from MMOBomb explaining how the game works at the basic level
League of Legends champions are generally broken down into five basic types:
- Support characters, who heal teammates or boost a teammate's abilities
- Tanks, who take a lot of damage in an attempt to draw enemies onto them so others can attack a target
- Melee fighters, who do damage to enemies in close-up combat
- Ranged fighers, who use weapons like bows to deal damage from a distance
- Mages, who are physically vulnerable but do immense damage
It's generally best to compose your team from a mixture of different types. In addition to conforming to the above types, individual champions may do better with certain tasks on the map than others. Playing with various team constructions and champion builds adds variety to the game, and there are many strategies to uncover as you gain skill in playing.
Simple to Learn, Difficult to Master
The basics of League of Legends can be learned within a few minutes, but it takes many matches to become proficient in your skills. Champions are controlled with the mouse and keyboard, and each spell is linked to a specific hot key.
Although the game can be played single-player against AI, the real joy of League of Legends comes from vibrant online play. You can join a match alone or with up to four of your friends. Once in the game, you can chat with other teammates through the in-game chat system. This allows you to develop strategies and form attacks. Many players also choose to communicate over Skype or Ventrilo when they play as a team.
In addition to the basic multiplayer online mod and player vs AI mode, League of Legends also allows players to create custom games. This way, you can challenge your friends to a match and select the map and other details.
A Popular New Take on a Classic Format
It's not surprising that League of Legends has grown immensely in popularity since its release in 2009. The tower defense game is a tried-and-true formula for addictive game play, and fans of the old Warcraft franchise will certainly appreciate the slick graphics and innovative mechanics of this free-to-play game.
Another part of the appeal of League of Legends is that it can be played in small sessions. The average game lasts about half an hour, although some matches can be longer or shorter. This is the perfect length for busy gamers to fit into their schedules, and it makes the game more accessible than more time-intensive online games.
Most of the game's players are already very familiar with the format, and professional tournaments take place across the country. This may make the game a bit daunting to try for the first time, but the way teams are matched against each other helps to soften these discrepancies in skill. As you improve, you will be matched against other players of similar skill levels, so the game continues to become more challenging over time.
IGN rates League of Legends at an eight out of 10, and Metacritic places it at a 78 percent. The game is available as a download for Mac and PC.
Only Pay if You Want To
Unlike many free-to-play games, League of Legends does not reward paid players with substantial benefits. Paid content comes in the form of Riot Points, which can be purchased online or in card form at many major retailers. These points can be redeemed to unlock champions or special skins that modify a champion's appearance. Since all characters can also be unlocked with IP points, which are earned in-game, there is no strategic advantage to paying to play.
League of Legends has evolved into an extremely popular e-sport. This video comments on some game highlights from 2012 to give you a sense of the competitive action
Nevertheless, the appeal of collecting limited edition skins is strong for some players, and having instant access to a new champion is worth the price for many people. Whether you decide to pay for the experience or rely entirely on free content, League of Legends can offer you hours of fun, competitive social gaming in bite-size chunks that can be enjoyed after work or even during your lunch hour.