League of Legends for Dummies

(Courtesy of ibtimes.com)

(Courtesy of ibtimes.com)

As eSports gets more and more popular, these games will begin to bring in fans that aren’t watching because they play the game.  For these people, they may need something to educate them on what the craze is all about, however, in order to get into the next big sport.  I will be covering the basics of League of Legends and the eSports scene in a three part series.

League of Legends was one of the first games to bring massive crowds and is one of the most popular to this day.  The game has brought in millions of fans, having more viewers than some of the most popular sporting events in North America.  This is because League of Legends boasts a global audience reaching not only Europe, but other countries in multiple continents around the world.  This audience makes up a very passionate community that develops artwork, cosplays, even game ideas that Riot Games uses to improve the quality of their game.

About the Game

Now I’ll tell you what all the buzz is about.  League of Legends is a part of a larger game genre known as MOBAs.  MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.  Other games that accompany League in this family are Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard Entertainment), Smite (Hi-Rez Studios) and DotA 2 (Valve).  All of these games have a fairly large following in eSports and though their tournament format is a little different than that of League’s, they all follow a general format that is very close to traditional sports.  All of these games have a regular season that consists of multiple weeks, usually around nine weeks, to be followed by playoffs and eventually a championship at the end of the season.  This championship is actually a world championship, bringing together the top teams from all over the globe to compete for one trophy.  This two week long tournament starts with a group stage consisting of four groups of four teams each.  During this stage, each team in each group will play each other twice and the top two teams from each group move on to the knockout stage.  In this next stage, these teams face off in a general format starting with a round of eight, to a final four to a final two championship.  All of the games played in the knockout stage are a best of 5 games.

Gameplay

In a game of League of Legends, there are two teams of five players.  These two teams face off against each other on Summoner’s Rift in an attempt to take down the other teams Nexus through team-based strategies.  On the road to the Nexus, players must take down towers and inhibitors to grant them access to the center of the enemy team’s base.  As each tower falls, the team that takes down the turret is granted gold to purchase items to make them stronger.  Needless to say, taking down these turrets not only progresses your team towards the nexus, but also gives you a way to gain an advantage over the enemy team.

(Courtesy of redbull.com)

(Courtesy of redbull.com)

There are a few other ways to gain advantages over your opponents as well.  Killing the enemy champions gives you a large amount, along with killing minions that spawn in the jungle or the ones that walk down each lane as the game progresses.  Other than slaughtering enemy champions and little minions, a team can choose to take down large map objectives such as Baron Nashor, dragon, or the newly introduced Rift Herald.

Baron Nashor and Rift Herald spawn in the same upper crevasse of the map, however their spawn times are different.  Rift Herald is an early game objective that is substituted for Baron Nashor at twenty minutes.  When the Herald is killed, a little buff drops that can be picked up by any player.  This buff gives movement speed, empowered minions that have greater attack speed and range, a shorter four second recall, as well as a 10% damage increase for two minutes.  The third monster on the map that gives a buff, dragon, gives a stacking buff that stacks up to five times.

The first dragon take gives a 6% AD (attack damage) and AP (ability power).  The second dragon gives a +15% damage buff to buildings and towers.  The third dragon gives a 5% movement speed buff.  The fourth dragon gives a 15% damage increase to minions and monsters and the fifth dragon doubles all of these previous bonuses, as well as 150 true damage (damage that goes through resistances) over five seconds.

Though the previous four dragon buffs last the whole game, the fifth dragon buff only lasts three minutes.  These three buffs are highly instrumental in winning a team the game and should not go unchallenged.  An exception to this rule, that you will see in competitive, is the second dragon buff.  You will often see teams trade this buff for towers on the other side of the map since this will give the whole team gold instead of a less useful buff to towers.

Two other buffs that exist on the map but don’t require as much contesting are the red and blue buffs. These buffs reside in the jungle and are given to laners as the junglers make their way to these buffs.  The blue buff is normally given over to the mid laner because of the cooldown reduction and mana regeneration the buff gives for its duration.  The red buff is given to the AD Carry as the game reaches mid-late game.  This buff gives health regeneration as well as true damage over time on hit.

This concludes part one, I hope you enjoyed it!

In part two we will discuss champion select, roles filled on a team and what each position does.

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