League of Legends: Everything you need to know

September 19 2022

League of Legends: Everything you need to know
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League of Legends is the first in a series of games developed by Riot Games. While development started earlier, players first got their hands on League of Legends back in 2009. The game is primarily a five-vs-five MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game that combines fast-paced gameplay with strategy, character development, itemization choices, and mechanically intense team fighting.

When League of Legends first started out, the official lore was based on wars between political factions, with a rough theme of good vs. evil. The map we all know and love now, Summoner’s Rift, can be seen as the mock battlefield where the factions fought their disputes. Here, the players took command of the champions fighting in the battles taking place on (originally known as) “the Field of Justice.” 

With League of Legends coming up on its thirteenth birthday this October 27, 2022, the game defined a decade of online gaming, growing from a simple online pastime to a game dominating all aspects of the gaming world. With the global popularity of its lead title League of Legends, Riot Games works to expand the League of Legends universe, Runeterra, in many ways. Including, but not limited to, developing new titles, creating animated series like “Arcane,” developing lore, books, merch, and everything else you can imagine.  

Before we keep going, if you love League of Legends, don’t forget to check how G-Loot can help you improve your game by tracking your stats. And you can gain some cool rewards too while you simply game and have fun :D 

How to play League of Legends

There is a lot to cover regarding "How to play League of Legends," so let's cover some basics to help get you started. League of Legends is a game played between two teams of five players on the map Summoner's Rift. Each player picks one of the 161 champions available in the game, after which players work together to earn gold, buy items, claim objectives, and fight the enemy team, with the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy Nexus.

You have to know a few things to get going on your journey—the first and most important: How to earn gold. The main utility of gold is to purchase items and consumables to aid you in battle. There are a few main ways to earn gold in League of Legends, but most of it boils down to the following: Kill stuff. You can earn gold by killing players, minions, structures, monsters, and special bosses like the Dragons and Baron Nashor.

Purchasing items is vital to your success with the gold you now have. There are various items to choose from, and following the recommended items is a great starting point. To make things slightly more complicated, in recent years, League of Legends has developed items of different tiers to shake up the meta from previous years. There are now a few different item tiers, like Mythic, which grant additional stats to every further item you purchase. Similarly, Mythics often have more stats, but you are limited to only one Mythic item per game, so choose wisely.

Aside from Mythic, there are Legendary items and common or component items. Component items are simple to understand, as these are items that you use to construct your future items, like your Legendary or Mythic item choices. Similarly, you can describe Legendary tier items as "completed" items. Often these completed items come with some unique effect. That means you shouldn't purchase multiple as unique effects (often) don't stack.

Bot lane LOL

System requirements for League of Legends

One reason for League of Legends’ global popularity is the game’s extremely low system requirements. The current recommended and minimum system requirements for League of Legends in their entirety are listed on the official website

The minimum requirements to run League of Legends at a playable frame rate are as low as the equivalent of a cheap 2010 PC. Things like the minimum recommended CPUs now cost around ~$70, allowing you to build a system capable of running League of Legends for as little as $150.

For a better gaming experience, any mid-class PC or laptop more than suffices. To build a PC with Riot Games' recommended components, you can expect to spend around $400-600, depending on your location, due to the ever-increasing cost of graphics cards.

The League of Legends Currency system

League of Legends has two primary currencies players can access. Players earn the first currency, “Blue Essence,” through winning any matchmade game, which includes any game mode where the game pairs you alongside other players (including ARAM and Co-op vs. AI games), or by leveling up and opening the rewards provided during each level up. You can earn experience and the “first win of the day” mission from playing any League of Legends game mode. However, playing against other real players provides a significantly higher experience rate than the vs. AI game modes.

Blue Essence’s use is to give players the ability to unlock all characters over time without real-money investment. In addition, players can purchase icons and some other rewards through the blue essence system.

The second system is the RP (Riot Points) currency. RP is League of Legends’ paid currency, which players may use to unlock everything from the game’s seasonal battle passes, cosmetic items, experience boosts, champions, and everything else you can imagine.

In addition to League of Legends’ main currency systems, there are several crafting materials players can use in “Hextech Crafting.” Through completing missions and leveling up, players can unlock what are known as “Champion Shards” and “Skin Shards.” As you might be able to guess, players can use these shards, alongside essence, to craft these skins or champions at a cost lower than their cost in the League of Legends shop.

Champion shards require the Blue Essence mentioned above. However, there are two more essence types we have to discuss. Orange essence is a commonly obtained material that players can use for all cosmetics like skins by repairing Skin, Ward Skin, Icon, or Eternal Set Shards.

In addition, by opening Masterwork Chests or completing missions of the League of Legends battle pass, players can obtain what is known as Mythic Essence. Mythic essence is much harder to obtain for most players, used to create the “Hextech” and other Mythic-essence exclusive skins like Prestige Skins or otherwise unobtainable skins from past events.

What you need to know about League of Legends Battle Pass and Events

Battle passes and events are a large part of League of Legends promotional events. Several times a year, seasonal events for the game coincide with the release of new skins, missions, free goodies, and an optional paid battle pass. The battle passes are a popular way for players to collect Mythic Essence, Skin and Champion shards, keys & key fragments, and various other boosts and cosmetics.

The battle passes cost 1650 RP to unlock and include 200 event tokens, alongside the ability to earn event tokens at a much higher rate throughout the event, four "orbs" for the event that include various skins or skin shards, in addition to various new missions to obtain emotes, Mythic Essence, an experience boost, Masterwork Keys, and Masterwork Chests (for more skin shards), in addition to some Blue and Orange Essence to help players craft all the new champions and skins they choose to unlock.

The event tokens are also incredibly valuable as a whole. One of the best options to spend the event tokens you earn throughout the event is by purchasing 100 Mythic essence at the cost of 2,000 event tokens or by outright purchasing the Prestige or Hextech skin available during the event period at the cost of 2,200 event tokens. Don't worry; if you aren't as addicted as some of us, there are many other great items to purchase from the event store, including skin chromas (recolors), icons, loading screen borders, keys, chests, and both orange and blue essence.

Overall, many consider the battle passes some of the best value purchases in League of Legends, making them a popular choice for players looking to add to their champion and skin collections.

League of Legends Quinn and Valor

League of Legends Champions

As of August 31, 2022, there are a total of 161 unique characters available to play in League of Legends. While champion releases have slowed in recent years, the game still sees several additions to the massive collection of champions a year. The most recent addition is Nilah, a mixed-range Marksman champion released in July this year.

With the vast differences in playstyle and incredible backstories, there is a champion for everyone. Try playing as a powerful archer, like Ashe, controlling the vision, stunning enemies, and pursuing a kiting playstyle. Or overcome your arachnophobia and take control of the Summoner's Rift by controlling your army of spiders with the Spider Queen, Elise.

League of Legends Game Modes

Currently, there are two main game modes for League of Legends. The traditional and most popular version is Summoner’s Rift. When most players think of League of Legends, that is the map that comes to mind. The map is most players’ go-to, as it is the main competitive map for League of Legends. The esports events across the world take place on the Summoner’s Rift map, in addition to the game’s ranked modes.

The other popular map for League of Legends is the more casual Howling Abyss, home of the popular game mode of “ARAM” (All-Random-All-Mid). The map is a single lane with several features to help with the ARAM game mode, like increased passive gold generation, healing locations, Howling Abyss-specific items, and different obstacles with which to play around.

For more about League of Legends’ maps and game modes, be sure to look at our article covering the history and former maps and game modes. 

How many people play League of Legends?

As Riot Games doesn’t globally reveal all the information about League of Legends player base and user numbers, we cannot say with certainty how many players currently play League of Legends. The numbers we do have become even more distorted once you consider the massive popularity of League of Legends in China, which rumors suggest has millions of active user accounts.

As of 2022, some websites report League of Legends’ monthly active users worldwide as high as 180 million, although we could not verify the information at this time.

League of Legends Stat Trackers

A great way to improve at League of Legends is through utilizing tracking programs and websites. Finding out where you lack compared to other players at your rank is an excellent way to find areas of improvement. For example, something that significantly improved my League of Legends rank was noticing my early game CS (creep score/minion kills), where I often fell behind on my opponents despite considering myself a “strong” laner compared to my peers.

If you are interested in tracking and improving your gameplay, why not check out the G-Loot tracker? The stats update after every game and let you immediately discover areas of improvement. Whether you are dying too often, not dealing enough damage, or not focusing enough on collecting gold, you must find your weak spots if you want to improve at the game. Grinding away at League of Legends matches can only get you so far.

How balanced is League of Legends

Any time I've introduced a friend to League of Legends (apologies for getting you addicted in advance), one of their first questions is whether the game is balanced. The answer is… complicated? Here is my perspective: For a game with over 160! unique champions, tons of moving parts, and ten players to influence each game; the game's balance is nothing short of impressive, overall.

Sure, you will always have champions that are just inherently more powerful. And yes, some champions are a little too good for a little too long. But overall, as someone who has been playing this game for over a decade, there hasn't been a time I couldn't just choose any champion I wanted where I would feel I couldn't ever win the match. Aside from Ryze. Sorry, Ryze, you just suck right now. See you in a few months when you are back to being great!

League of Legends map

Is League of Legends Pay-to-win?

Another popular question I always hear is whether League of Legends is “Pay to win”? Again, the answer isn’t as black and white as people want it to be. No, you cannot pay for any inherent advantage in League of Legends, and for most long-term players, there won’t ever be a need for them to pay for the game.

HOWEVER. For those new to the game, there is a hindrance as collecting all 161 League of Legends champions is simply going to take a long time. Maybe for some, even if it is just purchasing something like the game’s battle pass, it will provide them with a quicker growing collection of champions and an easier time learning about the game’s different characters. Compared to watching videos or reading about the champions, playing with them helps most people learn so much more and much quicker that you could argue it is somewhat pay-to-win.

One of the best things for new players is the League of Legends free champion rotation. Every two weeks, a collection of champions becomes available for everyone to play in League of Legends’ non-ranked modes. If you are new to the game of League of legends, please take advantage of these, as finding the right fit for your playstyle can be a long process that can heavily affect just how much you fall in love with the game.

What are the crossplay options? How do I play with friends?

One of the most popular Google searches for League of Legends is whether there is some crossplay option. As playing with your friends is one of the best ways to experience the game, it makes sense that people want to know how they can play with friends that don’t otherwise have gaming PCs. As of now, League of Legends remains a PC-exclusive game, which isn’t quite surprising for a game that has been around for nearly thirteen years.

However, there is excellent news for those with friends who exclusively use consoles or mobile devices with the introduction of League of Legends: Wild Rift. Riot Games developed League of Legends: Wild Rift to allow players to play with friends on other platforms. Riot Games first revealed the game with League of Legends’ tenth anniversary in 2020, and it has since quickly grown in popularity, especially in Asia-Pacific regions.

Aside from Wild Rift, players can team up with friends in both the regular and ranked systems of League of Legends. However, to ensure fairness, there are some restrictions on the ranked matchmaking modes of League of Legends, requiring players to be close in rank to play together.

The League of Legends Universe, Riot Games’ long-term plan

One thing Riot does not get enough credit for is their continued dedication to the lore that fuels League of Legends. While you might be familiar with Netflix’s hit animation “Arcane,” there is much more to the world of Runeterra than most could ever imagine. The lore surrounding the game has been an ongoing project for nearly thirteen years. Each of the 161 champions in League of Legends has its lore page on the League of Legends website, in addition to the many stories featured in events, books, merch, and videos.

In November 2019, Riot Games even printed a dedicated book to tell the stories of Runeterra, called League of Legends: The Realms of Runeterra. As someone who usually never bothers to read lore in games, the book truly surprised me with the in-depth and incredible art featured throughout the short stories.

Moving forward, Riot Games plans to release even more content surrounding the Runeterra universe, with several more animated series, books, games, and videos. There are even rumors of a League of Legends movie being in development. It is honestly a great time to be a fan of League of Legends! As we know from “Arcane,” a series that took over six years to complete, one thing is certain: Riot Games is willing to take their time to get things right.

Lane Assignments in League of Legends

While Riot Games held off on defining clear lane assignments for a long time to not restrict creativity, the game currently has five well-defined roles that League of Legends revolves around.

There are five main roles: Top, Jungle, Mid, and the duo Bot Lane featuring a damage-dealing “carry” alongside a supporting character. Each role comes with its own popular champions, tasks, and challenges. If you were to ask League of Legends players, they each argue the lane they play is the most important to succeed at the game, so let’s look at what each position commonly provides for their team first.

League of Legends map

Top lane: Tank or Side-lane

The most isolated lane in the League of Legends meta is the Top lane position. The isolation in the early game is due to the distance between the Top lane and the important first objective, the Dragon. Two different styles are popular for the Top lane position, which focuses on becoming the tank for the team, providing crowd control, or simply building health and defenses to be a nuisance to the enemy team during team fights. 

The other playstyle for the Top lane position focuses on late-game playmaking by controlling the side lane of Summoner’s Rift. Away from the main action, the Top laner, commonly referred to as the “split pusher,” tries to control the map by drawing away attention from the enemy team by forcing them to defend their structures away from the main objectives, the Baron Nashor or Elder Dragon. Overall the split pusher takes a lot of risks and is much tougher to master than the traditional tank role, with the potential to create game-changing opportunities. 

The Jungle Position: To Gank or not to Gank, that is the question

The Jungle role is considered one of the most strategic roles in League of Legends. Unlike the other roles in League of Legends, the Jungle position is more strategic than mechanical. While there are tricks to improve the speed at which you clear the (jungle) camps, the most important part of the Jungle position is controlling the map and keeping track of who needs help and who you can assist throughout the game. A feat made even tougher once you factor in all the same decisions made by your opponent, who you cannot even see most of the time. 

A great way to describe the jungle role is that it is extreme in many ways. It is extremely simple when your team is crushing their opponents. It is extremely hard if your team is falling apart. It is extremely tough to do everything perfectly and extremely simple to make your entire team lose the game. The difference between the best Junglers in League of Legends and even those who play professionally is baffling. Somehow the best Junglers seem to know exactly where their opponents are, were, and will be. 

In addition, the jungle position is easily the role that receives the most criticism from their teammates, as most League of Legends players are immensely bad at taking accountability for their mistakes. A great recommendation for players looking to take on the challenge is simply mute all your teammates from the start. Most players won’t know what to communicate to help you out, so it often works out better for your chances of winning and your sanity to focus on your game instead of your teammates’ unreasonable requests for help. If you want to know more about the Jungle role, check out our more in-depth guide!

The Mid lane position - The most flexible position

Due to the Mid lane’s proximity on Summoner’s Rift, it is always the place where the action happens. As such, it is easy to argue the Mid lane position is among the most important in the game of League of Legends. The Mid lane is where the assassins thrive, mages control, and where the ganks and players roam most often.

Historically, the Mid lane role has had the most champion diversity and is by far the most popular role in League of Legends. League of Legends players loves to believe they can beat anyone in a one-on-one situation, and the Mid lane is a great way for players to try and prove that.

There are several main styles you can take to the Mid lane role. The most popular, as you might expect, are Assassins. Playing around the shadows and pursuing the high-risk/high-reward champions are a favorite for many Mid laners. To date, there are 41 champions classed as Assassin champions, with a majority of these being popular choices for the Mid role. In addition, several champions like Qiyana are true Assassin champions without the classification due to their spellcasting nature.

Then, there are Mages. These champions focus more on controlling the lane and team fighting rather than brute forcing 1vs1 situations. Mages are great for players new to Mid lane and League of Legends. They tend to stand back, press their buttons from a safe distance, and try to go in and out of the fight as their cooldowns reset. Officially there are 52 champions classed as Mage champions, better named “spellcasters.” For example, Yuumi, a true supportive character, simply can’t play the Mid lane alone yet is classified the same as a character such as Syndra, who thrives in a one-vs-one environment.

Last, there are the supporting characters that players take to the Mid lane. The most popular examples are champions and strategies we have previously covered on G-loot, like Karma and Zilean. These supportive Mid-lane strategies are incredibly potent and make great choices for players looking to improve at League of Legends.

The Bot Lane Duo - Marksman and Awesome-Dudes

The most popular strategy for the Bot lane is to field two players here, one playing a supporting character and the other playing a high-damage character performing better with a protector. Throughout the years, the “Damage” role of the Bot lane is referred to as the AD-Carry role by the League of Legends community, with Riot Games officially naming the position Marksman later on.

The AD-Carry role traditionally fields a character scaling with attack damage, as such the name “Attack Damage Carry.” However, several Ability Power-focused characters became more popular in the bot lane position in recent seasons, like Karthus and Veigar. This shift in the meta led to naming these Ability Power characters in the Bot lane the “Awesome-Dudes” of the bot lane by the League of Legends community.

The Marksman Role in League of Legends has by far the least diversity over time. A few champions perform best in each League of Legends meta due to itemization, objective priorities, and which characters are the best support options for the team.

To exemplify the lack of diversity in the bot lane role, OP.GG, one of the League of Legends stat tracking websites, currently only has records of 27 total champions played in the bot lane role, with just over half (16) having a positive win rate overall. For comparison, during the same timeframe, Mid lane has 57 recorded champions, with 29 having a positive win rate in the high ranks of League of Legends.

The Support Role in League of Legends - What you need to know

The least appreciated role in League of Legends is those of the Bot lane Support. Unlike the four other League of Legends roles, the Bot lane Support does not gather resources for themselves. No (or few) lane minions, no jungle camps.

The Support role prioritizes low-income champions to funnel more of the available gold into the Bot lane Carry character. After the laning phase of League of Legends, the Support's main role becomes assisting the other players around the map. Supports assist by controlling the vision in key areas by placing and removing wards as required and using their crowd control abilities to set up kills on enemy targets.

Regarding champions, there is a lot of diversity in the Support role in both Competitive and Ranked matchmaking. Three distinct playstyles fit the current Support role. The simple ones are "Engage" supports, which often have strong crowd control like Leona, Maokai, or Rell. The main role of these champions is to start teamfights at every favorable opportunity. They are the first in, often without regard for their own safety, to get a fight going around objectives.

Similar to the engaging role, some supports focus entirely on their control of the map from early on in the match. A champion like Pyke is a great example of this, as he tries to leave the bot lane as early as possible to make roams (movement) towards the Mid or Top lane to influence these lanes to a favorable state for his team. Champions like Pyke work best when paired alongside long-range champions who can fend for themselves as needed in a one-vs-two scenario.

The last role is the more traditional "Support" role that you may be familiar with from other games. Champions like Morgana, Lux, or Soraka focus on protecting their teammates throughout the fight. Whether through healing, shielding, or slowing down enemies, there is always a use for these players on your team.

DWG Kia vs Edward Gaming League of Legends 2021

League of Legends, the King of Esports

Throughout recent years, League of Legends has dominated the global esports scene. With competitions in all corners of the world and the prestigious yearly Mid-season Invitational and League of Legends World Championship, there is a professional match to watch almost every moment of the day. During the 2022 season, the League of Legends esports scene has ten first-tier regional competitions, with an additional sixteen amateur and development circuits taking place throughout the year.

The regional competitions are split between the four “major” regions of Europe, North America, South Korea, and China, and the remainder of first-tier regional competitions including Turkey, Vietnam, Brazil, Japan, Latin America, and a combined Asia-Pacific league featuring Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Indonesia. In previous years both Oceania and Russia also participated in the regional events, which are currently on hold for various reasons, for example, Oceania due to lack of funding.

Most regional League of Legends competitions span around four to five months, each year having a Summer and Spring Split. While there are some differences between the regions, most leagues send the best performing team from the summer, and spring split combined to the global events, with others prioritizing the winner of the summer split.

Unlike many other popular esports titles (such as Counterstrike,) Riot Games has a strong involvement in all aspects of the League of Legends scene. Throughout the year, teams compete in regional events for invites to the two global tournaments, where the best compete for glory and millions of dollars worth of prizes.

The 2022 League of Legends World Championship starts September 29, with the finals taking place on November 5. Each year the location of the World Championship changes (with some exceptions due to COVID), with this year the event taking place in North America (USA & Mexico).

Are you ready to play?

We hope you enjoyed our article on everything you need to know about League of Legends. Now that you have all this knowledge, why not try it for yourself? Check out how G-Loot can help you track your stats by simply having it open in the background!

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Arend Zijdenbos

Arend Zijdenbos
Arend Zijdenbos

Writer. Explorer. Gamer.