League of Legends is the kind of game that the whole world is playing, but you never had a clue. One of the biggest MOBAs around, it’s a surprisingly immersive experience that hooks people when they least expect it. Full of drama and violence - but not too much drama and violence - it’s a game that requires extensive strategic thinking, making it a great excuse to exercise your brain and your trigger finger.
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MOBAsor multiplayer online battle arena gamesare the kind of game that fly surprisingly under the radar for a game type that is actually pretty darn big.
League of Legends, Riot Games’ most famous offering and the largest MOBA in the world, is top of its class and a hugely popular option when it comes to e-sports, the competitive world of gaming.
Although you might not be thinking of playing it professionally (yet), you might be thinking of giving it a go. Be warned League of Legends (or LOL, as it’s known for short), is not a mindless shoot ‘em up. It’s a highly strategic battle arena game, where you’re pitted against other online opponents and must use your strengths and their weaknesses to force them into a position of defeat.
LOL offers 3 game modes, which are actually battlefields, each approached in a slightly different way. Known collectively as The Fields of Justice, you’ll be able to pick from Summoner’s Rift, The Twisted Treeline, and Howling Abyss. All modes involve you joining a team made up of other online players, and then being pitted against other, similar teams. One of the most popular formations is a 5-on-5 set-up and a laned battlefield layout where you're restricted to a certain game progression.
Depending on the speed of your internet, getting started can take a while. First, you must create an account, then download the installer, then install the game client, and so on. Once you’re set up, starting to play is, by LOL’s own admission, a little daunting. There’s a steep learning curve, with specific terminology, distinct gameplay, and multiple elements to each game. There’s a getting started video that walks you through from the very start. We don’t think you’ll be an expert once you’ve seen it, but in the world of LOL, any little helps!
Gameplay is fast and frantic. Your champion will have a certain fighting style and, in conjunction with the rest of your team and their strengths, will attempt to reach the enemy’s base and destroy their Nexus, which is the source of their evil minions. It’s pretty complex and takes time to get used to, never mind getting better at, but ultimately, the only way to truly improve is by playing.
Your character, or Champion, will have distinct strengths and weaknesses and will level up (gain Masteries) by playing and slaying enemies, or buying items from the shop with either money you've won or real-world cash. There are a limited number of Champions available to choose in the free game, but a nice feature is that the 10-champion selection rotates, so even if you never pay, you’ll still see new options if you wait. In total, at the time of writing, there are 117 Champions available.
League of Legends is a classic game that hasn’t lost any of its original charm or popularity. The world of the MOBA is very distinct and can take some getting used to, but it’s won over more than one unsuspecting noob. Give it a try and, who knows? Maybe you’ll be next!
League of Legends is available for Windows and Mac.
Sure, there are lots of alternatives, although LOL is considered by many to be the original and best. If you’re looking for alternatives, check out Dota 2, which is very similar, or Heroes of the Storm, which looks good, but offers shorter matches (a plus, because LOL can be a real time sink!). Also out there is Awesomenauts, which is simpler than LOL, or Dark Souls 3, which is just as complex, but equally classic and popular with a whole different group of gamers.
League of Legends is a classic and with good reason. It’s got fun characters, fascinating gameplay, and a weird addictiveness! That said, some players won’t be up for such a complex-seeming game world or such a steep learning curve. Later, you’ll find that gameplay is either to your taste or not, but we think LOL is definitely worth trying. It’s a great introduction to MOBAs, which are a popular and very fun type of game, and many people have found it irresistible. Either way, LOL’s a classic and we think every gamer should try it at least once in their life!