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Overview

League of Legends is a multi-player online battle arena game similar to Demigod and Heroes of Newerth developed by Riot Games. Players take the role of a customizable Summoner, who is the avatar for the player. This Summoner is off the battlefield, controlling their upgradable Champions. Both Summoners and Champions grow as they gain experience, gold, and items in multi-player, online combat. A player's summoner persists between games, whereas the chosen Champion will only persist for a singular game. There are also side areas where creatures can be fought for experience, including legendary monsters that will yield powerful bonuses upon their defeat.

Summoner

The Summoner is the player's representation in League of Legends and is the only aspect that is constant between battles. Summoners call forth champions for each match to fight for them. Summoners are not static entities, but gain experience and influence from each battle fought. Experience is used by the Summoner to become more powerful and unlock certain features, while influence allows the summoner to sway individual Champions to fight for them and purchase additional Runes.

Summoners have a maximum level of thirty. Riot has said that they expect it to take approximately eight weeks of consistent casual play in order to reach level thirty, and hardcore players will be able to reach the level cap much faster.

Summoner Spells

As the Summoner earns experience, they will gain access to Summoner Abilities which will aid the Champion in the Field of Justice. Up to two spells may be selected per battle. The spells do not use the Champion's mana pool, but are instead on a cooldown. Some spells can only be used in certain game modes. The list of Summoner Spells is currently:

Universal

AbilitiesIcon

Exhaust - Exhausts target enemy champion, reducing their movement speed and damage dealt by 30% for 2.5 seconds and reducing their attack speed by 50% for the duration. (Requires Summoner Level 8)

Ghost - Your champion passes through any unit and moves 27% faster for 10 seconds. (Requires Summoner Level 1)
Heal -

Restores 75 + (lvl x 15) Health to your champion and 100% of that to nearby allies. All targets healed will have a 50% reduction in heal amount from other summoner heal spells for 35 secs. (Requires Summoner Level 1)

Revive - Instantly revives your champion at your team's Summoner Platform and grants 125% movement speed increase which decays over 12 seconds. (Requires Summoner Level 1)

Smite - Deals 460 + (lvl x 30) true damage to target enemy minion or pet. (Requires Summoner Level 1)
Barrier - Shields your champion for 95 + (25 × level) for 2 seconds. (Requires Summoner Level 6)
Cleanse - Removes all disables and summoner spell debuffs affecting your champion and lowers the duration of incoming disables by 65% for 3 seconds. (Requires Summoner Level 2)
Clarity - Restores 40% your champion's maximum mana. Also restores allies for 40% of their maximum mana. (Requires Summoner Level 1)
Ignite - Targets a single champion dealing 50 + (lvl x 20) true damage over 5 seconds. Also reduces the target’s healing and regeneration by 50%. (Requires Summoner Level 8)
Flash - Teleports your Champion to a very close location instantly. Has a very long cooldown and is often used for ganking as well as running away. Casts as soon as it is used, moving to or in the direction of your mouse cursor. Cannot be used while stunned or silenced. Mastery decreases cooldown by 15 seconds. (Requires Summoner Level 12)

Classic Only

  • Teleport - After 4 seconds, teleports your champion to target friendly minion or turret. 3 minute cooldown if cancelled. (Requires Summoner Level 2)
  • Clairvoyance - Reveals an area of the map for 5 seconds. (Requires Summoner Level 10)

Dominion Only

  • Garrison - Strengthens allied capture points or weakens enemy capture points. (Allied Turret: Grants massive regeneration and attack speed for 8 seconds. Enemy Turret: Reduces damage by 80% for 8 seconds) (Requires Summoner Level 1)

Removed Spells

  • Fortify - Makes all friendly turrets invulnerable and makes them fire 100% faster for 6 seconds. Mastery makes turret attacks deal 50% splash damage. Available at Summoner level 4.
  • Rally - Places an attackable beacon with 200 + (25 x level) health on the ground that increases nearby allies' base physical damage by 10-35 (depending on level). Mastery also increases ability power by 20-70 and the duration by 5 seconds. Available at Summoner level 8.
  • Stifle - Silences an enemy champion for 3 seconds and removes any beneficial buffs. Mastery reduces the cooldown by 10 seconds, and increases the duration by 0.5 seconds.
  • Promote - Promotes the nearest allied super minion to an anti-Turret Cannon, healing it, granting bonus stats, and causing it to grant the caster gold for its kills. Mastery reduces cooldown by 30 seconds. Available at Summoner level 8. ( Now an item effect on Banner of Command)
  • Surge - Empowers your champion, increasing Attack Speed by 35% and Ability Power by 6 + (4 x level) for 12 seconds. Summoner's Wrath mastery increases the Attack Speed bonus to 40% and increases the Ability Power bonus by 10%. Available at Summoner level 1.

Runes

Runes are items that can be purchased by the Summoner using influence points and are used to enhance the Champion's statistics. Each rune has three tiers, with higher tiers becoming available at higher levels. There are four types of runes; glyphs (blue), marks (red), seals (yellow), and quintessences (brown/purple). Glyphs, marks, and seals each have a type of statistic that they improve to a greater extent than the other two. For example, glyphs enhance magical ability, marks enhance offensive prowess, and seals enhance defense. Quintessences are larger runes that have stronger effects than their smaller counterparts.

Each Summoner has no maximum capacity for the amount of runes they can possess, but to have them take effect in battle, they must be placed in a rune page and selected after their champion is chosen. Each rune page can hold nine glyphs, nine marks, nine seals, and three quintessences. Each summoner has access to two rune pages to change as they see fit. One rune slot is unlocked every time your Summoner levels up.

Runes can also be combined. 2 runes can be combined to create a rune of the same value, while 5 runes can be combined to create a rune of a higher value. There are no distinct formulas for rune combinations and the outcome of combining runes is random.

Mastery System

The last and most important impact that Summoners have on the battle is through the mastery system. As the Summoner gains levels, they also gain mastery points that can be assigned to an enhancement in a skill tree. There are three trees, offensive, defensive, and utility, each adding a bonuses to the champion the summoner chooses. Most of these talents do add a slight advantage to each hero as it can be used to boost strong points of a hero or strengthen the weakness of champions much like the rune system. Some talents also improve your summoner's abilities, such as Improved Ignite, which activates when Ignite is on cooldown, giving the champion 10 more ability power until the cooldown is up. These points can be re-allocated at any time between matches and multiple mastery profiles may be saved and selected in the lobby of each game, allowing the Summoner to shift focus between types of Champions.

Champions

Various Champions duke it out

The talented fighters selected to join the elite Institute of War, Champions are the instruments of destruction in a Summoner's hand on the Valorian Field of Justice. Each battle a Champion starts off at level 1 with only the blessings bestowed by the Summoner's Runes and Masteries. 40 Champions were playable at release. Riot has continued to release new champions at a rate of approximately one every 2-3 weeks.

A few of the champions released late in beta.

Each week there are ten champions available to play for free. Additionally as a player completes matches, they earn Influence Points which can be used to permanently unlock new champions. If a player purchases the collector's pack, they get a selection of twenty champions to use permanently in addition to the ten weekly champions.

During the selection screen, the champions are broadly classified into Assassins, Fighters, Tanks, Mages and Support. However, quite a few of them can serve multiple purposes depending on the kind of equipment, Runes, Summoner Spells, and Masteries the summoner picks.

The champions of League of Legends are cataloged on the associated characters page.

Champion Skins

In addition to a steady stream of new champions, Riot also puts out a steady stream of unique champion skins for many of the heroes. From simple variations to more "meta" skins such as the Vancouver Olympics bobsled for Corki, players can purchase with Riot Points (in-game currency that cost real earth dollars) to use in matches with their favorite champions. Many older skins are simply a palette swap of the original model with no other distinguishing characteristics. Most newer skins feature original models, many with custom voice acting, sound or particle effects. Some champions have a "Legendary" skin available to them which gives the character a completely new model, sound effects, and/or particle effects and are priced at twice the cost of standard skins. This "legendary" treatment has gradually become the standard practice for all new champion skins, with the "legendary" term and price point being rarely used.

Canceled Champions

From examining art assets and descriptions that were left in the beta installer some information about a few Champions could be gleaned. Riot developers eventually revealed that these Champions were canceled.

  • Voodoo Witch Doctor
  • Urf, The Manatee (April Fools Joke)

Fields of Justice

Summoner Circle Concept Art

There are currently three Fields of Justice (also known as maps), of which two are playable in multiplayer. Riot had previously confirmed they were working working on a "larger" map to release called the "Magma Chambers," but that map was canceled to focus on the Crystal Scar for the Dominion game mode.

  • Summoner's Rift - The two bases are separated by a river, which serves as the 'middle' of the Field of Justice. There are three lanes to each base. One lane goes through the middle, and the other two go around the outside of the Field of Justice. On both sides of the river are forests, which are populated with enemies that can be killed for experience, gold, and temporary buffs. The most noteworthy enemy is Baron Nashor, whom is a challenge to take down that usually requires an entire team.
  • Twisted Treeline - A dense forest separates the two bases. This forest provides quick access to either of the Field of Justice's only two lanes. The small size of the level compared to Summoner's Rift makes it easy for a Champion to maneuver from one lane to the other very quickly. The most noteworthy enemy is the Dragon whom is not nearly as hard as Baron Nashor, but is still a challenge that requires a high level champion to beat.
  • The Proving Grounds - A Field of Justice that features only one lane and no jungle. The original version can be accessed during the guided tutorial. An altered version is available only for custom games. It is commonly used to play the custom game type ARAM (all random, all mid). In custom games on the proving grounds healing in the spawn area is disabled, the recall spell is disabled, and the shop becomes unavailable once you walk past your inhibitor (becoming available again once you die).
  • The Crystal Scar - The map that all Dominion matches will be played upon. Similar to Battlefield, both sides start out with a set number of points representing the nexus health for each team. There are five control points on the map, and controlling a majority will constantly damage the other team's nexus.

There are a few common features that most Fields of Justice have in common:

  • Bases - Players start in their own base. Inside there is a shop as well as the structure that they must protect. Each side's minion "waves" spawn from their base and march down the lanes to fight each other.
  • Lanes - These are the pre-determined paths that the minions from each side walk down. The majority of the fighting will occur in the lanes.
  • Jungle - This term is a carry-over from Defense of the Ancients. In the area between lanes there are neutral monsters of varying difficulty, including an epic monster that bestows advantages upon whomever kills it. The term "jungling" also comes from DotA, and means that a player is focusing on killing the monsters in the jungle instead of the minions in the lane.
  • Turrets - Defending each lane are three turrets. These must be "pushed" or destroyed in sequence in order to progress to the enemy minion inhibitor.
  • Minion Inhibitor - In each lane, each base has a minion inhibitor, once all the turrets in a lane are down, a summoner's champion may engage and damage an enemy inhibitor. Once a team destroys an enemy inhibitor they will begin to spawn super minions in that lane, that are great for "pushing" or destroying the final two turrets defending the enemy nexus.
  • The Nexus - The final piece of resistance to enemies, and the objective of each game. The nexus is defended by one or two turrets, however these two turrets are more powerful and will slowly regenerate health when left alone. It is important when making the final push to have a decent minion army to help push through or a proper tanking champion to take the damage.

Jungle Creeps

Summoner's Rift

Baron Nashor
  • Baron Nashor - Grants "Exalted With Baron Nashor" An homage to Roshan from DotA, Baron Nashor is the epic monster on the Summoner's Rift map. Killing the Baron usually requires the whole team, though he can be defeated by a single champion with the right gear. Anyone attacking him is very vulnerable to an ambush by their opponents. He has various attacks, knock backs, and stuns as well. Killing him gives a powerful buff for five minutes, and grants massive gold to all team members. Baron respawns 7 minutes after being defeated.
  • Dragon - The Dragon is a very hard enemy, second only to Baron Nashor. He has high hitpoints and high damage. Killing the dragon grants gold to all team members slightly better than a defeated turret does. Respawns 6 minutes after being defeated.
  • Large Golem - Grants "Crest of the Ancient Golem." A large animated stone creature. Killing the large golem gives a buff that greatly increases mana regeneration and reduces cooldown of all abilities for 4 minutes. Respawns 6 minutes after being defeated.
  • Lizard King - Grants "Blessing of the Lizard Elder." An enemy with high health, killing him gives the player a 4-minute buff that deals extra damage over time and slows any Champion it hits. Respawns 6 minutes after being defeated.
  • Small Golems - In the north and south on Summoner's Rift, two small golems spawn. They give more gold and experience than normal minions, but are more difficult to kill. They respawn frequently.
  • Wolf Pack - Three easy-to-kill wolves are in random places on the map. Respawn frequently.
  • Wraiths - On the Summoner's Rift map, a group of four wraiths will spawn. These have low health, but have high defense and lifesteal. Respawn frequently.

Twisted Treeline

  • Lizard Elder - Grants "Blessing of the Lizard Elder," as well as reveals location of lizard for thirty seconds after killing it.
  • Rabid Wolf - Grants "Crest of Nature's Fury." Gives increased attack speed and reduces cooldowns.
  • Ghasts - Grants "Crest of Flowing Water." Increases character movement speed by a large percentage.
  • Ebonmaw the Dragon - Grants "Crest of Crushing Wrath." Increases character base attack damage by 1% per level, as well as grants global experience and gold.

League of Legends: Dominion

The Crystal Scar

League of Legends: Dominion is a new mode that was added to the game. It is played on a new map called The Crystal Scar and its gameplay is quite different from the Classic maps like Summoner's Rift and Twisted Treeline.

Instead of focusing on taking down turrets to reach enemy's Nexus in order to win, in Dominion players will compete in a Capture-and-hold style gameplay. There are five Control Points on The Crystal Scar, each with its own distinct appearance (The Windmill, The Drill, The Boneyard, The Quarry and The Refinery), along with The Seal, which contains powerful buffs. The Crystal Scar also has Health Relics placed at some points on the map, as well as some Speed Shrines.

Dominion is designed for quick and dynamic matches, which is why players start at higher level and more gold than in regular matches. Players also constantly receive gold and experience to eliminate the need for farming and to ensure the quick flow of the game. It also features new items specific for this mode (And some of the other items were made unavailable).

The goal in Dominion is same as in classic games, but it is achieved differently. To win, one team still has to bring down the enemy team's Nexus health to zero. Nexus cannot be harmed directly, but it is slowly damaged if one team controls more points than the other team. The rate at which Nexus is being destroyed depends on how many points one team controls over the other. If the number of controlled capture points is the same, neither enemy team's Nexus will receive any damage. Enemy Nexus can also lose health when an enemy is killed (Though that effect no longer exists once the Nexus' health drops below 100), and by completing newly introduced Dynamic Quests.

Instead of the normal scores, Dominion features a new "Personal Score". Players increase their Personal Score by completing Quests, defending Control Points, capturing enemy Control Points, killing enemies, assisting allies, etc.

Payment

League of Legends is free-to-play, with a premium edition for those who wish to pay. People wishing to pay can purchase Riot Points using real currency. Riot Points cannot be used to purchase anything that would give one player a advantage over another such as Runes. Instead, only Champions, Champion Skins, Rune Pages, and Boosts can be purchased Riot Points. 'Boosts' give players greater rewards after finishing a match, such as extra points to spend on Runes, or more experience points for their Summoner.

There are two ways that a player may create their account. Either they can create a free-to-play account or purchase the Collector's Edition. Those who purchase the Collector's Edition have 20 Champions unlocked from the start with a bonus skin and 10$ in Riot Points, while free-to-play accounts only start with access to ten heroes who are on a weekly rotation.

Every player gains Influence Points every time they play a match. These points can be used on extra Champions, or new runes. Champions cost from 450 to 6300 influence points, and their prices are usually scaled based on difficulty to play. Runes increase in price as they increase in power.

In November 2009, Riot introduced a way to buy Riot Points via SMS and Playsafecards.

Events

Snowdown Showdown

League of Legends is often updated for special events and holidays. During these special events, unique skins for champions are offered for a limited time. Special "mid tier" runes are also offered. Some previous events include:

  • Snowdown Showdown - (December 17, 2009 to January 6, 2010) - The first official event of LoL which featured a winter themed map and holiday themed skins for champions. Health were replaced by Egg Nog (same effect) and Zilean, Teemo, Tristana, Nidalee, and Nunu had unique skins briefly available.
  • Winter Games Celebration - (February 12, 2010 to March 2, 2010) In honor of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, LoL changed the winter map again to feature olympics-related decorations. Unique skins will be available for Jax, Veigar, Amumu, Corki, Twitch, Anivia, Kassadin, and Fiddlesticks.
  • The Harrowing 2010 - (October 18, 2010 to November 2, 2010) This Halloween patch added a new themed map, as well as new creeps and new skins for Dr. Mundo, Poppy, Katarina, Fiddlesticks, Ryze, and Vladimir. Health potions are replaced by candy corn, mana potions by mana-encrusted apples, and different colored candies for elixirs. The map also randomly features the ghost of Urf, the manatee champion, as an un-attackable mob. Special "Tier 2.5" quintessances were also made available for purchase. The runes had slightly lower stats than Tier 3 runes (almost barely a difference), but their cost was almost half the price of the Tier 3 equivalents.
  • The Harrowing 2011 - (October 18, 2011 to November 1, 2011) This Halloween patch added new limited edition skins for Blitzcrank, Annie, Nidalee, and Nocturne. Many other champs received "Halloween skins", though they were not in a limited quantity like the previous four. All health potions, mana potions, and elixirs were changed just like The Harrowing 2010. The only other significant change was that minions were also Halloween-themed: purple minions had pumpkins on their heads, while blue minions wore bat wings on their hats. "Tier 2.5" quintessances were also brought back for purchase.

Seasons

League of Legends operates on a season-based schedule similar to battle.net ladder seasons. Current known seasons are:

  • Season 1 - Began on July 13th and included a Ranked Games, Ladders, Draft Mode and a new game interface. The season's championship concluded on June 20, 2011 with the team FnaticMSI beating against All authority (aAa) for the $100,000 prize. Season 1 ended on September 13th, 2011.
  • Season 2 - The Season 2 preseason is began immediately after Season 1 ended. Riot announced a total prize pool of $5 million US dollars to be distributed between the various qualifying tournaments and finals. Season 2 officially began November 22nd, 2011 following major updates to the mastery system and the introduction of new runes, and is currently scheduled to conclude with a $3 million championship tournament in Los Angeles, CA on October 13th, 2012.
  • Season 3 - Riot Games announced on August 6th, 2012 that major changes to the competitive format would arrive with Season 3 in 2013. They plan on operating the League of Legends Championship Series, a salaried league of teams with dedicated studios broadcasting weekly matches from California, Europe, and Asia. The partner tournaments featured in previous seasons (MLG, IEM, IPL, Dreamhack, etc) are to be re-purposed as proving grounds for new teams to earn a place in the Championship Series.

Trivia

  • The game's acronym is "LoL".
  • Tom "Zileas" Cadwell, one of the lead coders behind League of Legends, was a professional Starcraft player.
  • Pendragon, the head of community relations, is responsible for the website dota-allstars.com.
  • Urf the Manatee was a Champion whose information was released on April 1st, 2009. It was confirmed to be an April Fool's joke, and is unlikely to be released. However, Riot later released a skin for the champion Corki titled "Urfrider Corki." Instead of riding a helicopter or other flying contraption as he normally does, Urfrider Corki rides a hovering Urf into battle.
  • Each of the champions has a unique taunt, dance, laugh and joke. For example, a joke can be told by typing /joke or /j in chat. Holding shift and pressing numbers 1-4 will also play the respective emote, for example Ctrl+4 makes your champion laugh. Any sounds the champion makes from these commands can be heard by nearby players of either team.

System Requirements

MinimumRecommended
  • Processor: 2 GHz processor
  • RAM Memory: 1 GB
  • HDD Space: 750 MB
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 9.0c capable video card with Pixel Shader 2.0 support
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • Processor: 3 GHz processor
  • RAM Memory: 1 GB
  • HDD Space: 750 MB
  • Graphics Card: GeForce 8800 or equivalent video card
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7