Figure 1. An accurate representation of jungling in season 5.
League of Legends (popularly known as LOL) is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game created by Riot Games.
You play as a summoner that controls a champion and looks forward to replays for half a decade. During games, your champion will level up, get gold for better equipment and hopefully destroy the enemy nexus. Outside of games, you will wait several months for new champions and your summoner level will rise. This will unlock new runes to enhance champion stats, bestow mastery points for further champion customization and goodies like avatars. At max level you can then compete in ranked matches, meaninglessly judge player behavior in what is called the Tribunal and weep over the lack of ranked Dominion.
OP - The Basics
- General LoL Tips and Tricks
2nd - PENTAKILL!
- Come see who among us has recently scored a PENTABUTT
3rd - Currently Open Contests/One-Time Events
New Player Guide
1. Make an account: NA EU (West) EU (Nordic & East)
It's worth noting that referring new players has perks, so I would ask for a referral link in the thread rather than a vanilla account.
2. Download the client: Right here.
The official Mac client is in beta - download it today!
3. Play the tutorials and read the New User Guide
The game can be a bit overwhelming, and I highly suggest you play the tutorials OR find someone willing to do a few vs. AI games with you.
4. Join the "Penny Arcade" Chat Channel to find helpful people and people to escape solo queue with!
Click the little double speech bubble looking thing at the bottom right of your screen. Click the + speech bubble right above it. Type in "Penny Arcade" and introduce yourself. Not everyone you see in the thread will be there, as not everyone plays on the same server. You can ask these people how to play champions, we pretty much have someone who plays each champion.
5. Play vs. People
Do it, damn you. The AI is not going to give you the legitimate LoL experience. You don't want to hit your 20s solely from bot matches. If you do use bot games, focus on practicing basic mechanics such as getting the last hit on minions for sweet, sweet gold.
6. Get yer free champs.
to Riot's Youtube and get a free Alistar skin! You can also get a free Tristana skins
if you're into the Facebook thing
. Promo skins always include the champion if you've not already bought them, so this is an easy way to pick up two champions.
The Dos and Don'ts of LoL
1. Don't buy champions randomly!
LoL has two currencies: Riot Points (RP), which are bought with real money, and Influence Points (IP) which are earned solely by playing games. Champions can be bought with both, but every week there will be ten free champions to play with. Play these
champs instead. Get a feel for each type of champion and see which you find more fun. It's far better to do this as opposed to buying a champ randomly and ultimately being unhappy with it. You can also get three refund opportunities for both IP and RP purchases.
2. Don't buy Tier 2 Runes.
They are pretty much a waste of IP. Buy Tier 1 and save up for Tier 3. Or, if you're baller like Hargaad, don't even buy Tier 1. Wait to hit level 30, then buy all the Tier 3 runes you need.
3. Do queue with friends.
Playing with randoms is a crapshoot, and playing with a friend or two can put the odds in your favor. Play complementary champs and request feedback on how you did in each game (even if you won). Likewise, you can offer advice to others you saw having trouble in a polite manner.
4. Do learn the champions.
When a new rotation occurs, it is wise to play a few games with each champ. Knowing what each champ is capable of will be useful even if you hate how they play and never intend on using them. For example, Karthus has a skill that does damage to every enemy champion, regardless of location! If you know this, then you can be a jerk and take Soraka (who has a skill that heals all allied champions).
5. Do read guides.
There are multiple ways to play a champion. This combination of skills, runes, masteries and items is called a "build" and are the general strategies for any champion. The recommended items in the game store are not always ideal, and the order you level skills can have a big impact on how the early stages of the game play out. Sites like LolKing
offer builds for just about every champion. It's cookie-cutter, but a great foundation for new players. Once you learn the ins and outs, you can tweak a build to better serve your playstyles or as a reaction to enemy or ally players.
6. Do be polite and do report.
Watch this first.
Sometimes people will suck or do shit wrong. It's a game, so try to keep that in mind when things get a little unhinged. If you insult or yell at people, even if they did
do something wrong, you're likely going to get that person defensive and things will very quickly begin to break down. Instead of focusing on the game, you focus on hurling insults at each other. Stay calm, and politely offer advice when needed.
Sometimes, even with this in mind, people will still be jerks. It happens! Simply /mute them and quietly report them after the game. Taking their bait is probably what they want you to do. Do not give them the satisfaction! Keep your cool.
7. Buy skins.
Having a skin for a character is a great way to say "Hey I'm fucking awesome with this champion so get the fuck out of my way." If your team is using more skins than your enemy team, you basically have already won. Some skins do offer very
minor alterations in the way that a champion plays - skins with sunglasses, for instance, take 1 less damage from the sun-based champion Leona's attacks.
1. Do not be aggressive.
There will be a serious urge to want to kill enemy champs. Resist! Death is an all-around loss: your opponents get more cash and experience, you miss out on experience and your lane risks getting pushed. If you set-up a kill and fail, do not continue chasing. In many cases, you will just die to a tower or get ganked. While later on you will learn when to take risks, early in your career it's best to be less aggressive and just let the other guy get away.
2. Do not focus on KDR.
Your kill-death-ratio is not the end-all of your value. It is possible to lose despite having a serious kill advantage over the enemy team! Certain champions, once getting the right items, can be unstoppable murder machines. Even if you do kill them a lot, if they reach this threshold, it's possible for a dramatic reversal to occur. It is far more important to support your team's objectives: push towers, protect your own towers from being pushed and keep your team informed of enemy activity. It is far better to have a modest KDR and win, than be the team killer and lose.
3. Do watch the minimap and your enemy.
Enemy locations are important! In your low-level games you will likely have two champs tops lane, one mid and two bottom (in later level games, one from top will be off "jungling," so top will have just one champ). If a player in YOUR lane is missing, let the team know
. The player might just be heading back to base to buy items, or they could be trying to jump your friend in another lane. And mention when they came back to your lane! But this doesn't mean you should rely wholly on team recon. Watch the minimap yourself for enemy locations in other lanes whenever you can. People aren't perfect, and sometimes that warning comes a bit too late. Another set of eyes is always useful.
4. Do buy wards.
Wards are items that grant you vision of an area for 180 seconds. They are, without a doubt, one of the best purchases you will make. You can plop them along the river and have advance warning of ganks. They'll grant you vision of the brush. They'll alert you of enemy attempts on big-reward neutral monsters like the dragon or baron. If you attack them in the middle of something like that, you could mob up their entire team. Or maybe you are aware of a gank attempt on you. You could alert a nearby friend, bait the ganker in and turn the tables. Buy wards. BUY. WARDS.
5. Do buy wards.
Wards are items that grant you vision of an area for 180 seconds. They are, without a doubt, one of the best purchases you will make. You can plop them along the river and have advance warning of ganks. They'll grant you vision of the brush. They'll alert you of enemy attempts on big reward neutral monsters like the dragon or baron. If you attack them in the middle of something like that, you could mob up their entire team. Or maybe you are aware of a gank attempt on you. You could alert a nearby friend, bait the ganker in and turn the tables. Buy wards. BUY. WARDS. Yes, I posted this twice. It is that important.
6. Do something.
So you just wiped the enemy team out. Hooray! But...what are you doing now? Did you just go back to your respective lanes and farm? Incorrect! You now have precious map control, and should be taking advantage of it. Gather up as a team and take out a tower. Head to the dragon and get a clean kill. Steal enemy creeps (especially their blue and red buffs). You can always check the status of both teams by pressing tab. If multiple enemies are waiting on respawn, then you need to press that advantage.
7. Don't just wait around all day when you're in a position to win.
8. Do buy wards.
Seriously, kids. If Hargaad can do it, so can you. I know you have 75 gold just laying around sometimes. Don't feed us with your bullshit of, "But I need to save for x item!" No! Fuck you, and your high horse. If you don't buy wards, and you die a lot, nobody on your team is going to be able to save you from a beefed up (whatever) lane.
9. Learn to speak ping.
All you really need to communicate effectively in this game is to be able to use the pings it provides.
To use these pings, hold down the Alt, Ctrl, G, or V keys while clicking to show the new ping overlay. Then, move your mouse in the direction of the ping you want to issue, and release. You can perform this action either on the terrain or the minimap for precision pinging.
It is unacceptable
to blame players that aren't typing at all, or players that are not speaking in English.
Meet the Team
Like any group activity, stuff is usually broken down into roles. It's worth noting that champions don't always fit neatly in categories. A champion's role in the team may depend on what build has been chosen, and sometimes you may fill several roles depending on the group composition. When picking champions, it's a good idea to see what people are doing and fill in any holes.
1. The Marksman:
Examples include Caitlyn, Ezreal, Ashe and Vayne.
If your team is a car, then the marksman is the engine. It's what makes the team function. The marksman, when doing its job, will be able to easily destroy the whole team. But, just like an engine is useless without any other parts of your car, the marksman relies on its team to get the gold necessary to buy the items needed to kill swathes of enemies. Early on, however, marksmen tend to be more vulnerable and weaker than other champs.
2. The Tank:
Examples include Leona, Sejuani, Zac and Nautilus.
Following the car metaphor, the tank is your steering. It'll guide the team into battle, and in many cases will be the one starting the fights. Tanks are there to absorb damage and lock down the most dangerous champions on the enemy team so you can position yourselves to win the fight. Some tanks do this with CC, whereas other tanks have some damage and will soften up the enemy team instead. Tanks still tend to need the rest of their team to back them up.
3. The Support:
Examples include Soraka, Sona, Nami and Janna.
I guess support are your tires or something? Maybe the AC. Either way, supports help the team out with buffs and generally shields or healing. Supports tend to assist the marksman by allowing the marksman to stay in the lane longer. Unlike, well, just about everyone else, supports don't rely so much on gear and thus will purposefully AVOID getting last hits so that their lane partner can farm gold faster. Because of their reduced need of gold, support should also be buying and placing wards when needed. It's worth noting that EVERYONE should generally buy wards, but as a support you can afford to take the financial hit.
4. The Assassin:
Examples include Kha'zix, Talon, Zed and Evelynn.
If we're sticking with the car metaphor, the assassin is like your car having a button you can press which will make that other car's engine implode. Assassins generally specialise in high single-target damage and mobility, allowing them to quickly eliminate enemy marksmen and mages with ease. If you're playing as a squishy and vulnerable target, these guys are going to be your biggest threat - ask your team to try and keep them from harming you. Assassins also generally need to get kills early in order to stay competitive into the later stages of the game.
5. The Mage:
Examples include Brand, Syndra, Lux and Annie.
Mages are a broad category, with their defining feature being that they primarily deal damage at range through their abilities and not auto-attacks. Some, like Lissandra, focus less on dealing damage and more on being able to control the enemy team's movement. Others, like Brand or Ziggs, have relatively less utility and are instead capable of putting out high amounts of damage. Mages benefit strongly from their role's innate flexibility, and can have a huge impact on team fights.
6. The Fighter:
Examples include Garen, Renekton, Trundle and Vi.
Fighters are melee attackers with a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities. They're not as hard to kill as a tank, and not able to throw out as much damage as an assassin, but they can still prove to be fearsome opponents - especially if they stay alive and are allowed to deal their damage over time. Like mages, the fighter role is incredibly versatile, with each fighter having a different mixture of damage and utility.
7. The Jungler:
Examples include Warwick, Udyr, Xin Zhao and Jarvan IV.
Although not a label Riot applies to their champions, the jungler is a role that you'll begin to see at higher summoner levels. This is due to runes and masteries allowing for more efficient jungling. It is still possible during lower levels on a few champs, even at summoner level 1, but very uncommon. As the name implies, the jungler sits in the jungle (the parts of the map in between lanes) and kills neutral creeps (or "monsters"). This benefits your team by creating a second solo lane (top lane), resulting in more experience and gold for your team as a whole. Once the jungler hits a certain gear/level point, they look for opportunities to gank enemies. This is generally done via strong CC abilities, such as Warwick's ultimate or Nunu's slow coupled with his speed buff. Skills such as these will enable the jungler's teammate in that lane to easily assist with the kill. When not ganking, the jungler will return to the jungle regularly to keep up in terms of gold and experience. Due to their roaming, the jungler has plenty of opportunities to place wards for its teammates.
This is a very simple guide, and is only a rough outline of the basics! Roles can easily overlap, and a champion can fill more than one role! Ezreal is a marksman/mage, for instance, and Taric is a support/tank.
What's this I hear about different maps?
There are four different maps in League of Legends, each of which has a different style of gameplay. In some cases, different items will be available on each of them, and champions might be altered slightly.
1. Summoner's Rift.
This is the most well-known map, and what you'll probably be spending most of your time on. Featuring five players on each team, the goal is to destroy the enemy's team base (or nexus). Waves of friendly NPCs ("minions") will attempt to help you reach your objective, although standing in their way are increasingly strong sets of turrets (alongside the enemy team and their
minions). In between the lanes which your minions will travel along are neutral monsters which you can destroy for more gold. There are also two very large monsters, the dragon and Baron Nashor, which can require your entire team attacking them to be taken down - but the rewards for doing so are great.
2. The Howling Abyss.
The simplest map, this is essentially a single lane version of Summoner's Rift. Five players on each team control a randomly chosen character, and aim to destroy the enemy team's nexus first. Things are made more complicated by the players being unable to buy items, unless it's the start of the game or they've recently died. This map also has creatures called Poros roaming it, making it the best map by default.
3. The Crystal Scar.
This is the only map for the game mode known as "Dominion". Again a 5v5 mode, the novelty here is that the map features control points that players must "capture" and hold onto in order to win. There are five control points, and the team that holds less of them slowly lose health from their nexus - until it reaches zero, and they lose. Dotted around the map are speed boosts and health packs. The basic strategy for Dominion involves sending four players to the top point, and one strong duelist or pusher to the bottom lane of the map. Tip; take Revive.
Dominion is never going to receive a ranked mode. It is also the best.
4. The Twisted Treeline.
The 3v3 gametype known as Twisted Treeline was fully launched in March 2010, but it was relaunched with an entirely new map in October 2012 because of some serious design flaws in the original map that Riot decided were unfixable. The new map is still in beta, but will be exiting beta Soon™. However, 3v3 still at least gets more support than Dominion
. While still fundamentally the same gameplay, there are some key differences from Summoner's Rift to keep in mind - the lack of wards and altered objectives being the most important. Much more info here!
Useful LoL related websites
Stuff You Should Know
- Yes, a promo skin will unlock that champion for free.
- Some promo codes will work on multiple servers. Some will not. Yes, this is confusing.
- Map vision wins games - BUY WARDS
- It is a team wide effort, everyone
- When in doubt, take Ignite/Flash.
For emergency use only
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