If you consider yourself to be a PC-Gamer, you likely fit into one of four categories when it comes to League of Legends (or “LoL”).


1. I’ve played it, or still do.

2. How dare you mention that game, I hate it!

3. LoL? Doesn’t that mean laugh out loud? Never heard of it.

4. I know about it, but I heard it’s filled with angry people that will yell at me, and I’m scared.


Truth is, LoL is truly a distinguished game experience that deserves a serious first look, if you’ve never tried it.

It has a unique art style, a stable player community and features revolutionary game-play.

League of Legends is the brain child of the team that made Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), a genre begetting mod for Warcraft III. As a genre it’s known as Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) and it’s quickly growing in popularity. Steam currently has DOTA2 in beta, and Super MNC has many MOBA mechanics in its shoot’em-up.

One of the latest Champs, Hecarim.

For the Returning Summoner:

If you’ve previously played LoL, you may want to see what’s new. The Champion roster has grown quite large, yet remains wonderfully diverse. A new mode was added called Dominion that plays fast and brutal and features a map with capture points rather than “lanes.” If vanity is your weakness, there have been a lot of new skins added. You can see what’s new since you left on the LoL timeline here.

The rest of this article, is aimed at new players, as such you won’t really be getting anything you didn’t already know about.

An introduction for Summoners in training:

In LoL classic, maps have three “lanes”: Top, Mid and Bottom. They are defended by powerful towers, and minions that run from both sides towards the opposing teams “Nexus”– the destruction, of which is the goal. Between the lanes is the “Jungle,” where blind corners can be taken for short cuts, getting the jump on your foe, or finding yourself the jumped instead. Players typically “farm” gold and experience from the enemies minions to grow more powerful, before facing off in combat.

Rumble in the Jungle!

Battles take place between five-on-five player controlled heroes called Champions. You can also play against the AI, which is highly recommended until you get a feel for the game.

The death of a Champion is a boon for the killers and a setback for the dead-mans team; that Champion no longer has influence in the battle for a period of time. This leaves a hole in the defense, and means a tower could be destroyed. Deaths are highly discouraged in this game, and a player that often dies is considered to be “feeding” the enemy with rewards– gold and experience.

The key to avoiding death is to keep moving. Dodge enemy attacks and simply run back to a tower when in danger. Playing like Rambo, charging in blindly, will spell your doom. If three enemy champs are coming your way, don’t envision yourself a mighty unstoppable hero who will defeat all odds– just run! You must play defensively, especially when learning the ropes.

Champions typically fit into one of a few roles: Push, Support, Gank or Carry being the most common. Push will kill enemy minions quickly, and clear a path to the enemies tower. Support will heal the team and give them buffs. Ganking players are trying to get the jump on enemy Champions from blind spots that dot the map, and often hide in the jungle. Lastly is Carry, which start out weak but  level and item purchase their way to power, at which point they can “carry” the team to victory.

Stop me if you've heard this one. Three Champions walk into a lane...

Of the three lanes, typically, two players will go to the bottom and top lanes, and one to the middle. As success is made or lost in a lane, other players can migrate to a single lane for a “push” (an all out attack in that lane) or defense (stopping an enemy push). Most Gankers are farming from the creatures in the jungles as they come in and out to attack Champions. Ganking is typically a more complicated play style, and not recommended for starting players.

Success is rewarded in experience that unlocks new abilities, and gold that purchases items. It’s the items, in the end, that truly decide what manner of character you have. Damage amplifying, mana improving, special abilities adding, speed increasing, item choices are how a Champion succeeds.

Sounds complicated right? It’s not, I assure you. Think of it as the strategy version of battlefield 3, or Team Fortress 2– everyone has a role and must work together to achieve victory.

So what does money buy?

You can try the game for a one time, down-payment of Free.

Yes “free,” free. Not Freemium, or power-buy, but actual play on equal grounds with everyone else, free.

♫ Little Bunny Teemo ♪ I don't wanna see you ♫ blowing up turrets ♪ and hiding poison eggs ♫

There are two forms of currency in LoL: Influence Points (IP) and Riot Points(RP).

Influence points are the currency that must be earned. You get more IP after each battle. They permit you to buy runes to improve your summoner (that’s you) and unlock new Champions.

Riot Points are purchased with real money. They allow you to unlock characters, as well as change their appearance with new “skins.” However you cannot buy runes with RP, as they change the abilities of the summoner and affect balance.

As a Free-to-play glutton, I find this is refreshing. It means that Donald Trump will be playing on the same level as everyone else, although his character may look a little cooler. He won’t be buying his way to power in League of Legends. Well, unless he just buys out RiotGames.

A Guide For New players:

1. Register. Here is a referral link from me to you. If anyone asks, tell’em old RoboPatton sent ya.

Click Here to Register

2. Play both of the tutorials. Don’t skip this, the tutorials give you a very good idea of how to play the game. If you feel uncertain at the end, play it again!

Tutorials Tab

3. Open the Champions roster, where you will find free to play champions of the week, noted by a blue “!”. Clicking their icons will open a plethora of information about them.

4. Read over the Abilities Tab, watch the videos. Read the “Tips & Items” tab. Ranged Champions are usually a safe bet to start with, as you can “hug a turret” for safety.

Checking out Graves abilities.

5. Once you located a character you find simpatico, hit the play button. This time pick the “Co-op vs. AI” classic game, and set the difficulty to Beginner. Finally click that “Solo- Match me with teammates” button at the bottom. At the following screen you will be able to select  your Character, Spells, Masteries, and Rune Page. Don’t worry about the last two yet.  Make sure to press the “Lock In Button,” or somebody else may use that Champion you wanted!

6. During the match, try to fill your role as best you can. Try to avoid bunching up until a push is made or being shut down. Keep an eye, at all times, on the mini-map in the corner. Hit “P” when back at base and double click items to buy. Stick to “recommended” for now. Eventually you’ll learn what to buy.

Win or lose, you should have a good idea if that character fits your play style. If you like it enough to use it again, go to www.mobafire.com and check out some builds, made by other players. Higher rated lists tend to have more “win” in them. They will really help you find the right items to buy, and when to buy certain skills during games. Often you will find strategies you never would have thought up. Eventually you will be able to improve on the builds yourself.

So concludes the brief new-player tutorial.

League of Legends takes the old adage, “you get what you pay for”, and gives it a knee to the gut,  a clothes line to the throat, and body slams it into submission.

Free’s a great price to discover what the MOBA genre is all about. So if you have not taken League of Legends for a test drive, what are you waiting for? Go hit that Registration Tab and give it a shot.


About The Author

Matt has worked in the video game industry for nearly a decade, on everything from Console sports games, to Galaxy spanning MMO's. He has held positions as a tester, a content test lead and design. He plays with digital art in Photoshop and Blender when he's bored, and he may just cook himself up a mod for "fun." Matt Also enjoys saving people from a bad game, almost as much as leading them to a hidden gem. He has severe gaming A.D.D., leading him to play just about everything once "to see how it works."

2 Responses

  1. Nem

    Galio isn’t one of the latest champs, the skin only is new. Hecarim is actually the latest champion released.

    • Matthew Gardiner

      Thank you Nem, by the next time you see this it will have been fixed!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.