Things you need to know before you start playing League of Legends – a guide to a smooth progression and a solid reputation
If for some reason you are just now considering playing League of Legends or LoL as the cool kids call it, there are a few things you need to know and quite a few things you need to do if you want to grow the level of your summoner fast, easy and with minimal friction with a community which is renowned for not being very forgiving.
First things first: let’s get through what exactly League of Legends IS and get some basic knowledge on the gameplay.
League of Legends is a MOBA which stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena but it is also viewed as “action real-time strategy” where as a player, you focus on controlling and building one character and working towards a common goal along with 4 other players. It is a game where playing as part of the team and being highly efficient is the difference between victory and defeat. League of Legends has been a growing phenomenon in the past years and time has seen this game evolving and turning into a very accessible E-sport. League of Legends has become an industry which might soon rival world class professional sports organisations. E-sports has been growing at an accelerated pace and the media is now starting to pay close attention.
A player in League of Legends is known as a summoner and goes by his summoner name. When joining a game a summoner will select a champion (the character to control) and will then enter Summoner’s Rift (the battlefield) as part of a 5 summoners team.
Summoner’s Rift consists of 3 symmetrical lanes surrounded by the jungle. The 3 lanes are called TOP, Middle (MID) and Bottom (BOT) which are pretty self-explanatory.
The jungle is inhabited by creatures which provide a player and sometimes the entire team with bonuses when they are slain. So killing these creatures in the jungle is one of the team’s objectives if they are looking for an edge.
The 3 lanes lead to both teams’ bases and are reinforced by defense towers. In order to win, a team must destroy enemy towers, gain access to the enemy base and destroy the Nexus at the center of it.
As this sounds pretty simple and predictable, most often it is not. Experienced teams will work together to lure and trap the enemy around the objectives, anything can happen. Welcome!
When first signing up for League of Legends, your summoner level will be 1 and it will be your job to get to level 30 by playing as many games as possible. Every defeat grants experience and every victory grants a lot more.
Every time you reach a new level, a mastery slot and rune slot will become available to your summoner. This allows the summoner to create individual profile pages to augment the stats of select champions. It is only once a summoner is level 30 that he/she is truly fighting on a level battlefield.
Your role on the team and the lane you will be playing depend on the type of champion you select in the pre-game lobby.
TOP Lane is usually where fighters/bruisers go. These are tanky champions who can take a lot of damage and are usually melee. It is usually a one-champion job.
MID Lane is similar with the exception that the champions who do battle here are usually Ability Power based Champions (AP). They usually deal huge amount of damage in a really short time and also use snares/traps and evasion skills.
BOT Lane is where Attack Damage characters go, usually ranged marksmen accompanied by supports. While the attack damage carry focuses on dealing damage, it is the Support’s job to keep his/her ADC alive and also to try to help the ADC get as many kills as possible. Watching a good team at work on bottom lane is a thing of beauty.
The Jungle is the mysterious space surrounding the 3 lanes. It is where the jungler stalks creatures and enemy champions alike. It Is the jungler’s job to ambush the enemy and harass them in order to assist his team.
League of Legends is relatively easy to play when it comes to controls.
Q, W, E, R: These are used for your champion’s main skills/abilities.
Ctrl + Q, W, E, R: Use this shortcut to level each one of your abilities when the time comes.
Alt + Q, W, E, R: Use this combination when you need to cast a spell/ability on yourself.
Shift + Q, W, E, R: Use this combo to cast a spell/skill/ability at your cursor.
F, D: Press to activate the two summoner spells you have chosen for a certain champion.
S: you stop. This is useful when trying to keep your champion from auto-attacking and revealing your position.
1-6: Some of the items in your inventory have active abilities. Use these keys to activate them.
Spacebar: You will be using this a lot at the beginning, as it focuses the camera on your champion if you lose track of him. And you will lose track of your champion!
G, V: Warn your team or ask for help by using smart pings.
Y: Locks/unlocks camera on your champion.
B: Recall (beam me up , Scotty!).
P: Shop window (usually use it to check prices and realize you don’t have enough gold).
Tab: See the score and sigh.
Now that you know what is required of you, welcome to League of Legends! Try to have some fun.
Tips on getting to level 30 fast while making more friends than enemies:
Be gentle, it’s my first time – First 5 levels
This is the part where you are basically free to do anything, try stuff and experiment by using the champions available for free in that week’s champion rotation.
Top, can you do a hard pull on Gromp and then Blue? – Learn to speak LoL
Noob – Derogatory term used to describe a new player.
SS – “My enemies are missing, be careful!”
Farm – The number of minions killed, the act of killing minions for money.
OOM – Out of mana.
OMFG – Oh, my! Fun game!
KS – Kill steal (when you land the last hit on an enemy champion that someone else was guaranteed to kill).
Drake – Dragon, a monster which gives buffs to the entire team when he is killed. “Drake?” usually means “Can someone help me kill the Dragon?”
Gank – comes from Gang Kill. It usually means an ambush by the jungler!
Where is the f*****g jungler? – Look at the map
Always keep an eye on the minimap on the right side of your screen. It will help you see when your team needs help, when you are about to get ganked or when the enemy are grouping to take an important objective.
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone – Vision
Wards are tiny marks that you place on the ground to get vision for a set amount of time in the immediate vicinity. Making sure the team has vision is mainly the support’s role, but one champion can only have 3 active wards at the same time. Well-rounded players with a mindset for team play and winning usually carry wards for the benefit of the team. Being able to prevent a gank or to ambush the enemy while they are fighting the Dragon benefits the entire team.
Are you a top or a bottom? – Learn 2 roles
With time you should focus on learning two different champions on different roles. Keep in mind that at first you will most likely play with beginners such as yourself and you need to compromise when picking your champions in order to have all the roles covered. Being able to play more than one lane might make it easier for your team to get along.
Help me help you – Help your jungler
If you happen to be close to the jungler’s starting point, give him some help by landing some hits on his target. The sooner you get him on his way the sooner he will be able to gank your lane and set you up with much needed kills. Or, if you don’t help him, he might fail and ruin your game. Or, he might just ignore you for the rest of the game. Help your jungler! It’s the nice thing to do!
We don’t talk anymore – Talk to your team and use pings!
Talking to your team and keeping information moving between lanes makes your team one mean killing machine. A team that talks is team that rarely gets ganked and a team that strikes together with deadly efficiency. Plus it’s a good way to make friends for future games!
I thought you bought wards – Play with friends
If possible play with friends using voice services, it will increase your chances of winning, you will get to see what synchronized attacks can do. More wins means more experience and that means moving faster towards level 30! Plus you can laugh together or blame each-other for failing and ruin your friendship forever and we all could use some drama, right?
Forever alone – Play Aram and Co-Op
When not playing with friends spend some time playing ARAM with random champions or Co-Op vs A.I. This way you can practice playing a new champion or you can just figure out what the mechanics of other champions are. Know thy enemy!
Yes I would like to hear about our Lord Savior, no, I’m not busy (walks away from computer) – Do not AFK
Do not abandon a game, do not abandon your team. It is horrible when someone on your team stops playing in the middle of a game leaving you to wage a 4 vs 5 battle. League of Legends is a balanced game and an AFK player usually means a loss. So before you play make sure you don’t need to join your family for dinner, you don’t need to be on the phone, you don’t need to go out. Sometimes a game might take a bit longer than usual – stay until the end. AFK behavior is severely punished, and 99% of the players report it even if they win the game 4 vs 5. Don’t be that guy!
It is the jungler’s fault! – Learn something each time you die
You will surely get killed, sometimes extremely early, sometimes on and on. It does not really matter as long as you always try to realize what you did wrong, how the enemy managed to get the upper hand. Like anything <strong>League of Legends has a learning curve, it’s ok to die as long as you don’t do it on purpose and you learn something every time. Always get back into the fight, always focus on the positive side of it. Even defeats grant experience! But seriously, don’t get killed the same way twice, n00b!
A good farmer is always killing something – Minions, last hitting and cashflow
Always be killing something! Enemy champions, minions, jungle monsters, anything! Killing things in <strong>League of Legends</strong> grants you gold, gold lets you go on a shopping spree, shopping sprees make you dangerous. But you only get gold if you land the last hit on a unit. Make sure you develop a feel for the killing blow. Do not waste time, if the enemy is not pressuring you, don’t daydream, there’s time for that in school or at work!
Towers are not always your friends
When the enemy presses the advance, your closest tower is your best friend. If the enemy attacks you, the tower will make them pay. Always clear the enemy minions from around your tower and it will then focus enemy champions. The towers are important objectives – protect yours and destroy theirs.
Same principles apply when you are attacking enemy towers. Make sure you stay behind your minions and do not hit an enemy champion while within range of their tower!
RP vs IP
League of Legends operates with two types of currencies: RP (Riot Points) which you get in exchange for cash, and IP (Influence Points) which you get by playing and winning games. Never use RP to purchase stuff you can buy with Influence Points unless money is of no importance to you and not even then!
Do not fall for the “Purchase win boosts” pitch because it is to your disadvantage: you will get to level 30 faster but you will be an inexperienced level 30 summoner! Not every shortcut is good for you!
Only start purchasing runes starting at level 20 when you gain access to end game runes; anything before that is just a waste of your hard-earned IPs.
More things to keep in mind:
Be polite to your opponents and to your teammates, ask if you don’t know something, tell people which roles you are most comfortable playing, make sure not to take anything personally (it’s a game and adrenaline sometimes makes people silly), have fun and crush your enemies!
Enjoy the journey to level 30!
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