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League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. League of Legends is a fast-paced, competitive online game that blends the speed and intensity of an RTS with RPG elements. Two teams of powerful champions, each with a unique design and playstyle, battle head-to-head across multiple battlefields and game modes. With an ever-expanding roster of champions, frequent updates and a thriving tournament scene, League of Legends offers endless replayability for players of every skill level. It is a free-to-play game, supported by micro-transactions. It was first announced on October 7, 2008, and released on October 27, 2009. League of Legends was generally well received at release, and has grown in popularity in the years since.
- Battle Head-to-Head: Combine strategic thinking, lightning reflexes and coordinated team-play to crush your enemies in both small-scale skirmishes and intense 5v5 battles
- Strategize and Evolve: With regular gameplay updates, multiple maps and game modes, and new champions constantly joining the League, the only limit to your success is your own ingenuity
- Compete Your Way: Whether you’re enjoying a game against bots or climbing the ranks of the league system, League of Legends has the tech to quickly match you with a group of similarly-skilled competitors
- Fight with honor: Compete with honor and receive special commendations from your peers to reward your good sportsmanship
- Experience eSports: As the world’s most active competitive scene, League of Legends sports numerous tournaments worldwide, including the prestigious Championship Series where salaried pros compete for millions
- World’s Largest Online Gaming Community: Join the world’s largest online gaming community: make friends, form teams and battle tens of millions of opponents from countries across the globe, then exchange strats on reddit, YouTube, the forums and beyond.
- Players are formed into two teams of five Champions (three on the Twisted Treeline map). As of June 13, 2013, there are 114 different Champions from which to choose. Each player begins at opposing sides of a map near a building called a Nexus. A match is won when either team’s Nexus is destroyed. To destroy a Nexus, each team must work through a series of Turrets placed along a path to each base referred to as a Lane. Along the way, each player gains levels from killing the opposing team’s Champions and Minions (non-player characters (NPCs) that regularly spawn and attack the other team) and defeating neutral monsters. Completing objectives rewards players with gold which is used to purchase items, making their Champion stronger.
Game modes and matchmaking
- League of Legends is a session-based game. Matchmaking creates teams with even average MMR (Matchmaking Rating) of the constituent players. MMR uses the Elo formula with proprietary adjustments.
There are five general game types: Tutorial, Custom, Co-Op vs. AI, Normal or Ranked. However, even within each type, there are many options available.
Tutorial mode is a set of two introductory games that teach the basics. It is intended to help new players learn important concepts, which might not otherwise be obvious.
- Custom mode allows players to create games that players opt into rather than relying on matchmaking to create the teams. In custom matches, the teams can be uneven (for example, 3v4 or 2v5) and may include a mix of players and bots, which are computer-controlled champions.
Co-op vs. AI mode matches players against a team of bots. Similar to the Tutorial mode, it is also intended mainly as a way for inexperienced players to learn, but it also used by more experienced players as a way of experimenting with new ideas or getting an easy First Win of the Day.
Ranked mode is available to players that are level 30. Ranked uses Draft Mode: the first player on each team bans 3 champions from the game, and the two teams cannot have an identical champion. In addition, opposing Champion picks are visible before the game begins. Second, ranked players are seeded into a League system.
- Fields of Justice: Maps in League of Legends are called Fields of Justice. There are currently four maps that the players can choose from, three 5v5 maps and one 3v3 map. A match puts two teams with a fixed number of players against each other. Each team has its base, which contains the re-spawn point, item shop and nexus. The two bases are connected by lanes. Periodically, waves of minions spawn from the nexus, AI-controlled troops that walk down the lanes, engaging any enemies they encounter. The lanes are lined with turrets that engage enemies within range. Once a turret is destroyed, it cannot be rebuilt. Each lane has an inhibitor on both ends. Inhibitor is a building that prevents powerful “super minions” from being spawned for the enemy team. The team that destroyed an inhibitor will gain a temporary advantage, but inhibitors will respawn after 5 minutes.
Besides the lanes, the maps also contain “jungle” areas, which contain neutral monsters to be killed for bonus gold and experience. Some powerful neutral monsters grant the killer a temporary buff that will help them in battle. Another special terrain feature is the brush. Brush blocks the line of sight of units, allowing champions to hide and set up an ambush.
The goal of each team is to destroy the enemy Nexus. The first team to achieve this is the victor. Victory is also attained if the opponent surrenders, using a voting system where 70% of the team must agree (4 of 5 players usually), but only after enough time has passed.
- Dominion: Dominion is a game mode released by Riot Games in September 2011. Dominion brings faster action and tactical gameplay played on a new map, The Crystal Scar, and features a new Capture-and-Hold playstyle. The Inhibitors and Turrets have been removed – instead, the map has five Capture Points. Capturing one of these points will turn it into a Turret and allow it to start spawning minions. Item availability is also different in Dominion,. Two new summoner spells, called Garrison and Promote were released with the new game mode, with the latter also being available in Summoner’s Rift. Promote is no longer available in either game mode. The Teleport summoner spell is not available in Dominion. This game mode is aimed to be much shorter than conventional 30-45-minute classic games: most Dominion games average about 15–25 minutes in duration.
Persistence and meta-game The Summoner acts as the persistent element in the game, to be used to track statistics and scores for each player. Summoners gain experience points and “Influence Points” (in-game currency) for each battle they participate in. They level up by getting enough experience. The Summoner can also choose two summoner spells. These spells significantly impact gameplay, and have a high cooldown while costing no mana. All spells can be improved by masteries, which are developed in a skill tree. Masteries are perks that affect gameplay, structured in a skill tree. All of the masteries are passive effects, although some augment summoner spells, which can be activated. They are grouped into Offensive, Defensive, and Utility categories. Masteries can be re-distributed at will between battles.
Similar to masteries, runes affect gameplay in minor ways. Runes are categorized into Marks (offensive), Seals (defensive), Glyphs (magic) and Quintessences (utility). Runes must be unlocked in the Store and it is possible to have more than one copy of a rune. Summoners must arrange their runes in the Runebook to benefit from them. The Runebook has limited number of slots for each rune type, but more rune pages can be purchased from either Influence Points or Riot Points. Combining two equal-tier runes produces a random rune of the same tier, while combining 5 equal-tier runes produces a higher-tier rune.
- The League of Legends Store allows Summoners to purchase additional options through Riot Points (RP) and Influence Points (IP). Riot Points must be bought using real money, while Influence Points are earned by playing the game.
Moderation is conducted through a democratic system known as The Tribunal. In this system, player-submitted reports are reviewed by other players on a case-by-case basis. The reviewing players then submit their opinions on the legality of the behavior demonstrated. A consensus renders the decision official. It is notable that players are unable to be permanently banned through this system, since “all permanent bans are distributed manually.” Reviewers receive a Justice Rating based on their accuracy to encourage thorough analysis of cases.
League of Legends has long been a focus of public competition. The 2010 World Cyber Games Grand Finals in Los Angeles hosted a League of Legends tournament, at which teams from China, Europe, and the America competed. The Counter Logic Gaming team from North America won the tournament, earning a $7,000 prize.
Competitive play reached new heights at the Season 1 World Championships in June 2011. The event, held at at Dreamhack in Sweden, featured US$100,000 in prizes. The European team Fnatic defeated teams from Europe, the USA, and Asia to win the tournament and received US$50,000 of prize money. Over 1.6 million viewers watched streaming broadcast of the event, with a peak of over 210,000 simultaneous viewers in one semi-final match.
After Season 1, Riot announced that US$5,000,000 would be paid out over Season 2. Of this 5 million, 2 million will go to Riot’s partners including the IPL and other major eSports associations. Another 2 million goes to Riot’s Season 2 qualifiers and championship. The final one million goes to small organizers who apply to Riot to host League of Legends tournaments.