League of Legends: Everything You Need To Know

December 16, 2013 3:11 PM

This is the first of many guides to come. This specific guide concentrates on answering the questions; ‘What is League of Legends?’ and ‘What are the fundamental elements within the game?’


League of Legends, more commonly known as LoL, is an online computer game where two teams battle it out to defeat one another. You, as a player, are a summoner who chooses to control one of the multitude of champions available to you. The two teams are made up of five summoned Champions and a computer, where the computer spawns three waves (top, middle and bottom) of minions every thirty seconds from its own respected nexus. To win the match you must destroy the enemy’s nexus and to do this you must fight your way down one of the three different lanes destroying Towers and an Inhibitor whilst watching out for the opposite team who will undoubtedly be defending these defensive buildings.


There are currently 117 champions in LoL and each one has a role within the game. There are four main roles; tank, attack damage (AD), ability power (AP) and supporting champions. When you first play the game you will have the choice of the ten free to play (weekly rotation) champions but as you play you will accumulate Influence Points which you can use to buy a champion (or runes) of your choosing. It is a slow process to accumulate these Influence Points so there is, as you may suspect, the option to simply buy the champions with real money (Riot Points) but as a beginner I would strongly recommend using the free champions on offer for at least a couple of weeks before you consider doing this.

league of legends lanesMap

The map is split into two halves which are inversely mirrored, one nexus being situated in the bottom left corner and the other being in the top right corner. There are three different lanes; Top, Middle and Bottom that each contain three towers and an inhibitor. The spawned minions that the computer generates, rallies them to the end of each lane where they eventually meet and battle their counterpart. In between the lanes is an area which has monsters and bushes (‘brush’) where you can hide in wait to ‘gank’ unsuspecting champions. This shady area is known as the ‘Jungle’ and is where the team’s Jungler gains gold and experience. The standard set play is for one champion to battle Top lane, Jungle, and Middle lane leaving two for the Bottom lane. Typically speaking, a ‘bruiser’ champion (can take hits and dish out their own) goes top, ability powered champion goes middle and the ‘attack damage carry’ (ADC) goes bottom with a supporting champion.


At the beginning of the game you start with a level one champion, by the end of the game you will be close to or maxed out at level eighteen. Killing minions, monsters, champions and some towers (inner and inhibitor towers), grants experience if you are close by. Every time you level up, a skill point opens up allowing you to put it into a skill of your choice, either unlocking a new skill or making a skill slightly stronger. At level six, most champions are able to unlock their ultimate skill, making a level six vastly stronger than a level five champion.

league of legeends mapGold

You gain gold through killing or assisting in enemy champions’ deaths, last hitting minions and monsters, destroying towers, and a small ‘dribble’ over time. There are also items and perks* which you can purchase which can bear factor on gold accumulation but more on this another time. Gaining gold is important as both teams have a Vendor who sells items, once bought, these items get placed into the champion’s inventory and grants the champion higher stats making him/her stronger. There are hundreds of different items with six distinct categories; defensive, attack damage, ability power (magic damage), movement, consumables and trinkets (new).

Skills / Abilities

Items aside, each champion has a unique set of abilities that more or less do the same as each other champion. They have four abilities: Q, W, E and R. Typically at least one (if not two) will be some sort of stun or movement impairing ability (slow) and the other three will be different  forms of damage such as area of effect or range. On reaching level six most champions will have the option to unlock their R skill (a few start with their R skill available to them) which is known as their ultimatum ability, some badass spell which generally (but all champions are slightly different) does A LOT of damage, but this comes at a cost of a much longer cooldown compared to the other abilities (Q, W and E), most likely greater than sixty seconds.


Towers are in place to stop minion waves pushing on, keeping the waves in balance. Each team has a total of eleven towers of which a minimum of five will have to be destroyed in order to destroy the opposing nexus and win the game. Once destroyed, Towers return gold (inner and inhibitor towers grant experience too) to the team who destroyed it plus additional gold split between the players who participated with the destruction.

league of legends battleMonsters and Buffs

In the Jungle there are six different sets of monsters two of which grant two different buffs, the Ancient Golem that provides the blue buff reduces the cooldown of abilities by 10% and dramatically increases mana (you use mana when casting abilities) regeneration, a perfect buff for the AP champion in the middle lane. The Lizard Elder provides a red buff which provides the champion with an on-hit DoT (Damage over Time) and movement slow, an invaluable buff early on for catching unaware champions who are then unable to retreat to safety. There are also two *boss monsters, the Drake and Baron. Both grant the whole team who kills it gold and experience whether they were part of the kill or not. Killing Baron also provides a great health and mana regeneration buff that is instrumental as it allows the team to chip at the enemy team who will then have to teleport home to heal up leaving the tower they were at undefended.

Those are the very basics of the game, if it seems complicated it really isn’t. In essence this is just a game where you take control of one unit and kill other units.

Further thoughts

All the previous games that I have played were real time strategy where you controlled armies and your economy. This game is a nice change where you control just one unit and it really is satisfying when you successfully land a kill on an opposing champion. My largest criticism to LoL is the length of each game, the standard 5v5 game normally takes thirty plus minutes but some games can be as ‘short’ as twenty minutes and I have been in some fifty minute games too. My overall opinion is that you should definitely give LoL a go to see if you like the style. At first you play against computers until you are qualified (ten or so wins) enough to start ‘duking’ it out with other players. The game does get better and better as your knowledge of it increases, from picking the right champions and tweaking your item builds to countering the enemy and understanding the abilities of each enemy champion you come up against.


ID: Standard Issue