The lights are on
Some games are incredibly easy to pick up and play. Others are not. League of Legends is one of the latter. Though it may seem simple on the surface, many things that occur in the game can be downright puzzling to the inexperienced. This guide covers most of the basics of gameplay and some tips on how to improve your game.
League of Legends has several different game modes, but the basic and most played mode takes place on a map called Summoner’s Rift. On this map there are two bases with three paths, called lanes, connecting them. At set intervals, each base spawns small minion monsters to march down the lanes. Minions attack the first hostile minion, champion, or tower they encounter. Along each lane are three friendly towers and three enemy towers. Towers are strong structures that attack the first enemy to enter their range with a powerful ball of energy, but will immediately change targets if an enemy champion attacks an allied champion within its range. The area between the lanes is full of different paths and neutral monsters and is called the “jungle.”
Within each team’s base are a number of different structures that serve different purposes. Each lane has an inhibitor that limits the strength of the enemy minions. If an inhibitor is destroyed, the enemy team spawns much more powerful super minions. At the very center of each base is a large crystal structure called a nexus guarded by two towers. When those two towers are destroyed, the nexus can be damaged and destroyed, winning the game. Right behind the nexus is a small circle called the fountain. This is where champions spawn on their respective sides after they die in battle or return to base using the “recall” ability, which is mapped to the B key. In that small area, you can buy items and regenerate health and mana. Any enemies that enter that space will be targeted by a powerful laser that kills most champions within seconds.
Behold the fountain of Summoner's Rift
Two teams consisting of five players apiece battle to destroy the opposing team’s nexus. As the game progresses, champions earn experience points and gold by killing minions and enemy champions, and by destroying towers. Experience goes toward leveling your character (to a level cap of 18), which unlocks or improves abilities with each level. When you level, small plus signs will appear above each ability and you can pick one ability to increase its power. Gold can be used to buy items to improve or specialize your champion.
Every champion has four unique abilities, mapped to the Q, W, E, and R buttons, as well as a passive ability that is active all of the time. For every level gained, a point can be used to upgrade one of your skills. Additionally, two abilities called summoner spells can be selected before a game begins to be linked to the D and F keys. Every champion has access to summoner spells. If other champions are near minions or monsters when they are killed, experience is split between the two champions, so characters in a lane with another teammate level slowly compared to team members in a solo lane.
A lot of interesting plays can occur in the bottom lane when two champions are working together
Over 100 champions can be selected to fill different roles on the team. The currently common team composition includes a champion that does magic damage (AP mid), a character that does attack damage (AD carry), a champion that can take a lot of damage (tank), a supporting character (support), and a champion that can be self-sufficient outside of the lanes (jungler). AP mids generally go to the mid lane, so as to kill the most minions and maximize their experience. AD carries head to the bottom lane with a support to help them get a kill on one or both of the enemy champions there. The top lane is usually occupied by a tank champion or bruiser (think tank/AD carry). The jungler runs between the lanes getting gold and experience from killing the neutral monsters in the jungle and popping out into the different lanes to try to rack up champion kills. There are other roles and ways of positioning teams on the map, of course, but having one top, one mid, two bottom, and one jungle is the most common composition.
The AP mid, now low on mana, recalls to the fountain while the intrepid jungler engages a group of wraiths that inhabit the jungle