I’d like to thank Noetherian for writing the original guide, found here. I’ve done some minor updates and added to it so that it can keep pace with the changing face of the game for new players (hereafter affectionately referred to as newbs). This guide is targeted at the true newbs out there: those going ‘DotA what?’ or ‘What’s this MIA biz?’ Somehow you have found your way here, and hopefully with the help of this guide and other resources you’ll be able to craft your LoL experience into an enjoyable, enduring legacy.
First things first: you are on the American LoL site. This guide will help you set up an American LoL account and client, which will only be playable on the American server. There is also a European client and server, with its own site at www.lol-europe.com. In the future there will be an Asian server, but the timeframe on that is unknown. Stats, levels, purchases, etc. do not transfer between servers. Please be sure you choose the right server if you have friends playing. If you find poor performance on the American server and are from Europe, you might want to try out the European client before you purchase anything or put too much time into your account on this server.
Well, you’re here, so you’ve found the forums and the homepage. From the homepage, click the red “Play for Free!” button on the right, and follow the steps to Create an Account. Download the client, run the install. Then it’s time to run the Launcher: this will patch your installation of the game up to the latest version. At the end you should see “All Updates Complete”, with the Server Status saying “Online”. If not, please head to our Help & Support forum, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any problem with your LoL game you should visit one of these two places for assistance.
Setting Up a Tutorial Game:
When you first boot League of Legends, you're presented with the PVP.net window. This screen allows you to join games, make friends, chat with other players, and manage your summoner. Making friends and joining games are probably the most important, so we'll cover those first.
To see your friends list, click the "person-like" icon in the far lower-left corner of your screen. To add a friend, click the "+" icon near the lower-right corner of your friends window. If you have an online friend, you can send them a message by double-clicking their name in the friends.
Now you’re ready for your first League of Legends game. Click the big blue Play button in the top left, and then the Tutorial button (on the right). This will set you up in a controlled game. Make sure your sound is on, as the announcer walks you through the match.
Setting Up a Practice Game:
Now that you’ve got your feet wet, you’re ready for your first game on a real map. I recommend that you try a practice game to play against computer-controlled bots. To do this, click the "Play" button in the upper-left and then click "Practice Game" (Normal Games are 5v5 games against other human players).
This brings up a list of existing practice games created with other players, but if you just want to experiment on your own, click "Create Game" near the bottom of the screen and then enter a name (doesn't matter what) and a password (to keep the game private). Click "Create Game" when you're done.
You should now see a game set-up screen that shows your name on Team 1 and no one on Team 2. To add a computer player to team 2, go to the "Difficulty/Champion" drop-down menu under Team 2 and select "Noob" difficulty and any Champion you like (doesn't really matter for a first practice game). Then click the small green "+" icon to add the player. After you've added as many players as you like, click the orange "Start Game" button.
This next screen is called “Champion Selection”. You are able to select a "Champion", two "Summoner Spells" and a page of "Runes". The "Champion" is the avatar that represents you in the game; in your first few games you should try out different Champions until you find one that you like. Annie and Ashe are recommended first time Champions, as both have fairly simple mechanics. Each Champion has 4 special abilities, and a passive benefit that is active without needing to be learned or activated. For example, Annie’s passive is that some of her spells will stun her enemies.
"Summoner Spells" are additional activated abilities that are independent of what Champion you select. If this is your first game you have about half of the spells available, but you will gain access to all of them over time. You can only have two that are usable in any given game. By default these are "Exhaust" and "Ghost". If you wanted to use "Heal" in this game instead of "Exhaust" you could drag the heal Icon from the main window and drop it on over the "Exhaust" icon on the bottom of your screen.
"Runes" provide additional bonuses (like more damage or higher defense) to your Champion during a game. For your first game you can ignore runes, but over time you can build up a full page of runes in your "Summoner Profile" (which is accessed from the main PvP.net screen) and select which page you want to be active during the coming game. (For example, you might have one page of runes that makes your Champion durable, and one page of runes that makes your Champion more deadly. Then you can decide for a given match whether you want to be more deadly or more durable.)
When you start the game you are standing on a magical platform in your base. You will notice in the center bottom of your screen that your Champion has a green bar (Life) that goes down when he is attacked and a blue bar (Mana) that goes down when he uses abilities. Both of these bars will re-fill fairly quickly whenever your player is standing on the magic platform.
You will see that next to your player is a glowing dude in blue robes. He's the Item Store. Your Champion begins with a small amount of gold and over the course of the game you gain gold in three ways. First, you gain a very small amount of gold every second you play, called your passive gold gain. Second, you gain a larger amount of gold if you are the one who deals the final damage that kills an enemy creature (this is called "last hitting" the creature, and is a very important skill in this genre). Third, you gain gold when your team destroys an enemy turret. You can shop at the store by clicking on it, or by clicking on the glowing green gold-bag icon in the lower-left portion of your screen. Note that you can only shop while you are standing near the store, or while you are dead. If this is your first game don't worry about items for now, we'll cover them later.
In the lower-right is your mini-map, it shows the entire arena where the game takes place. The green dots on the map are computer controlled friendly creatures and the red dots are computer controlled enemy creatures. Note that you can only see the enemies on the map if they are nearby friendly minions or Champions. Otherwise they are covered by a grey mist called the “Fog of War”. (Note that computer-controlled creatures are often called "Creeps" or "Minions".)
Friendly minions spawn periodically in your base and run down three separate paths (called "lanes") towards the opposite corner of the map (where lies the enemy base). The minions then reach a river in the middle of the map where they meet up with some enemy minions and fight a more or less continual battle.
Your job in the early game is to pick one lane and help your friendly minions kill enemy minions. You'll first want to learn a special ability. You will see three "+1" icons in the center of your screen. Mouse over an icon to see the ability that it corresponds to and click on the "+1" corresponding to the ability that you want to learn. (If you are playing Annie, the left-most "+1" is a pretty simple fire-ball attack that is easy to use). Once you click to learn an ability, the other two "+1" icons go away (don't worry, they'll come back when you gain enough experience to level-up).
Now you'll want to run to the fight in the middle of one of the lanes. You can move your Champion either by right-clicking on the ground, or else right-clicking on your mini-map (to cause your Champion to run to that point on the mini-map). By default your Champion is always in the center of your screen. To unlock the screen, press "Y" to allow your mouse to push off the side of the screen to scroll my point of view and see what is happening elsewhere on the map. You can also left-click on the mini-map to immediately focus your screen there (but only if you have unlocked the screen).
Once you arrive at the fight, you can right-click an enemy to attack with your auto-attack, or you can activate your special ability. The special abilities are tied to the buttons "Q" "W" "E" and "R" on your keyboard. For example, to activate Annie's fireball you would press "Q" and then click on the enemy you want to attack. Remember that abilities cost mana, your blue bar.
You gain experience by being nearby when an enemy dies. Over time, fighting in a lane will give you enough experience to go from Level 1 to Level 2. When you reach Level 2 you will be able to choose a new special ability by clicking on the corresponding "+1" symbol. Sometimes when you level up you will get a "+1" symbol corresponding to an ability you have already learned. Clicking a "+1" on an ability you've already learned will increase the power (e.g. damage) of that ability, up to 5 total levels. When you reach Level 6 you get the option of learning a fourth ability (tied to the "R") key which is sometimes referred to as an "Ultimate" ability. (For Annie, this ability involves summoning a big bear to fight beside her for a limited period of time. For Ashe, it is a powerful arrow that speeds across the entire map, stunning and damaging the first enemy Champion it encounters). Ultimates have only 3 levels of power, and can be purchased at Champion levels 6, 11, and 16. The max Champion level is 18.
The "D" and "F" keys are by default tied to the two Summoner Spells that you selected at the start of the game. You can change this (and many other things) if you like by entering the game menu to the left of your mini-map. Unlike other abilities, using these spells does not cost your Champion any mana. However, these spells have a very long "cooldown". After casting any spell you will have to wait until its cooldown has elapsed before you can cast it again. To use the Teleport spell, press the appropriate key and then click on a friendly minion or turret. There will a brief delay, and then your Champion will teleport to the targeted unit. To use the Heal spell, just press the appropriate key and your Champion will quickly heal over several seconds. The Exhaust spell can only be used on other Champions. To use the Exhaust spell, press the appropriate key and then click on an enemy Champion. The Champion will be slowed down, allowing you to run away or give chase. (Note: you will only be able to use the two spells that you selected at the beginning of the game.) Experiment with every spell you learn to understand how it can benefit you, how it is used, and know what it looks like. This will enable you to better understand the actions of other human players.
Fighting and gaining experience makes your Champion more powerful, but eventually you will run low on Health or Mana. If you run out of Health you die and must wait a short period before respawning at your magical platform. If you run out of Mana you can no longer use your special abilities. To "Recall" yourself back to the magic platform in your base, press the "B" key. However, you can't Recall while you are in the middle of a fight because it takes several seconds to Recall, and if you are attacked while trying to Recall the Recall will be aborted.
Winning the Game:
To win the game your team needs to destroy a special building in the heart of your opponent's base called the Nexus. Your Nexus is the first thing you see as you head north-east from the starting platform in your base.
To accomplish this you need to push forward in at least one of the lanes. If you head across the river in the center of the map, you will quickly find an enemy turret. BEWARE: enemy turrets do a lot of damage and can easily kill your Champion. However, the turret will always kill your allied minions before it kills you.
To push forward in a lane you need to kill enemy minions to enable your allied minions to push further before dying. When your friendly minions get to the enemy turret, you can attack the turret while it is killing your minions. When all of your allied minions are dead, you should retreat and repeat the process. Killing a turret grants gold and experience to every Champion on your team, so these are important objectives in normal games.
In this fashion you can eventually kill all three turrets that stand between you and the enemy Nexus. In each lane on the edge of the enemy base, you will find a special building that looks like it is shooting a beam of light up into the sky. This is called an "Inhibitor". When you destroy the Inhibitor, your team will start spawning a much more powerful allied minion in each wave (he's the funny looking guy with the big mechanical arms). This makes it harder for the enemy team to defend their base. Inhibitors respawn after four minutes, so make the most of your advantage while it lasts. If you can push all three Inhibitors down simultaneously your team will spawn two super minions in each per wave. This generally spells utter defeat for the enemy team.
Behind the Inhibitors there are two final turrets that guard the enemy Nexus at the heart of the enemy base. Take them down, destroy the Nexus they are guarding and you win! (Of course in a real game you'll have a whole team of human controlled Champions trying to stop you. This makes things much harder, but more on that later.)
The Basics of Items:
There are two types of items in LoL; consumable items that are used to give you a large short-term boost, and permanent items that provide benefits until sold.
Consumables are easier to understand. Click on the store, then on "Consumables", and you will see a small set of potions that you can buy. Mouse-over an item to see what it does. Two of the most are the Red Healing Potion and the Blue Mana Potion. To buy an item, you click on it in the left side of the store interface, and then the "Buy" button on the right below it.
You should now see the item in the lower-left portion of your screen, left of your abilities. You can use the potion either by clicking on its picture or by using the number keys on your keyboard ("1" corresponds to the top left item and "6" corresponds to the bottom right item). Note that you can only have 6 types of different items at a time. However, if you buy multiple copies of the same potion they will stack and only take up one of your six slots. You can tell how many potions you have in a slot by looking at the little number below and to the left of the potion icon.
Permanent items are a bit more complex, and there are a lot more of them. There is a lot of strategy involved in choosing the right permanent items in the right matches, called your ‘item build’ for that game. For starters there is a handy row of Recommended Items in the upper-right portion of the store interface. You can't go wrong by buying these items from left to right. To buy the left-most recommended item, click on the item and then click the "Buy".
Some powerful permanent items are made by combining less powerful items into a combined item. For example, if you click on the right most recommended item, it's probably made up of composite parts. You have a choice; if you can’t afford the entire expensive item at once, you can get a lesser benefit by buying some of its pieces.
When you click on a composite item, a tree appears on the right side of the store interface. The items at the bottom of the tree are the weaker items and the single item at the top is the powerful item you highlighted. You will also see two cost numbers in the upper-left portion of the right half of the store interface. The larger of these numbers is the cost to buy the powerful item outright, the lower number is the ‘recipe cost’, or the cost to buy the final item if you already have all the weaker items in the tree. Think of it as a fee to combine the smaller items into a more powerful one.
To buy the powerful item out-right, you click the buy button just like you did with the potion and you pay the higher price. If you instead want to buy one of the weaker items (for example, because you can't afford the big powerful item) then click on any of the component items in the tree and click the buy button. If you buy one of the component items and then look at the powerful item, its total cost has gone down, although the recipe cost will be the same. If you have all of the sub-components, then the cost of buying the powerful item is equal to the recipe cost.
Advanced Game Information
If you look at your mini-map you will see a bunch of skull and cross-bone icons that are in between. These represent neutral creatures that live in the "jungle". Instead of gaining experience and gold by killing enemy minions in one of the three lanes, you can kill these neutral creatures. Some of the neutral creatures are much stronger than others, and it takes practice to figure out how strong you need to be to kill any given ‘camp’, or group of neutral creatures. “Jungling” at low Champion levels is not recommended for newer players, and may be difficult even at high Champion levels for some specific Champions.
Additionally, there are several neutral camps that provide a buff to their slayer when killed. These are the Lizard and Golem. There is also the Dragon, a strong neutral creature that provides gold and experience to your entire team while slain. While some Champions can kill him by themselves when at a sufficient level, a team often works together to bring him down quickly.
Fifteen minutes into the game, you'll see a new neutral camp (represented by a larger, red skull) appear. This camp contains a single VERY powerful neutral creature named Baron Nashor. When killed, he provides a very powerful offensive buff to your entire team, but he is very difficult to take down. Only engage him if your other team members ask you to help them do so.
In various places around the map, there are patches of very tall grass, or "brush". If you are standing in the brush you cannot be seen by enemy minions or Champions unless you attack. Additionally, if you are standing on the other side of brush, neither you nor on the far side of the brush can see each other. Brush can be used to ambush enemy Champions by hiding as they run by and then jumping out at an appropriate moment.
You can see detailed information about your Champion in-game by pressing "C".
Advanced PVP.net Information
In the upper-right of the main PVP.net window there is a button that reads "View Summoner Profile". This window allows you to see information about your record, and the ingame objects that you have access to. The Champions tab contains a wealth of information on the various Champions LoL has to offer. Click on a Champion’s picture, and then click the little scroll-icon for this information. This brings up a window that allows you to see a basic overview of the Champion and read about each of its abilities. The difficulty bar is a tool to help you choose which Champion you wish to learn next.
As you win or lose games, you will earn experience points (XP). As these accrue, you will increase in Summoner level. As you gain Summoner Levels, you will gain mastery points, rune slots, and access to more summoner spells. An excellent overview of Runes can be found here. Masteries allow you to customize your Champion in a similar fashion as Runes.
You can mouse-over the various masteries in the Masteries tab of your Summoner Profile to see what they do. Note that there are three types of masteries: Offensive, Defensive and Support. You need to acquire higher masteries within a mastery tree in order to gain access to lower masteries. I recommend spending your first mastery point on the Support ability "Good Hands" to reduce time spent dead.
How to join a Normal Game:
To join a standard 5-on-5 Game, press the "Play" button on the PvP.net window and then select "Solo" under the heading of "Normal Game". On the next screen click the "Continue" button near the bottom of the window.
This places you into the matchmaking. The system will try to place you in a game that is as fair as possible with respect to your record and your summoner level, which is a rough measure of your familiarity with the game. Once a good match has been found you'll be taken to the Champion Selection just like in the practice game.
Basic Strategy for Normal Games
It's a good idea to have two people each in two lanes and one person in the third lane, called the solo. Note: If you're new to the game, you don't want to be in a lane all by yourself.
Practice timing your attacks to land the killing blow (last hitting) on minions to gain extra gold.
Play VERY conservatively. Only get involved in fights that you know you can win. If you're not sure whether or not you can survive a skirmish, stay out of the fray. Dying is bad because you miss out on possible gold and experience. Your turrets will protect you to an extent, but they are not perfect. If an enemy Champion damages you, nearby minions and turrets will change targets to protect you.
Until you have a deeper understanding of available items and how they work with different Champions, buying the recommended items in the store from left to right is the best idea.
Send "Pings" to your team when you're in trouble, for example when the enemy is pushing hard in your lane and you are having difficulty defending your allied turrets. You can do this by pressing the "G" key and then clicking on either the mini-map or anything in the game world. This will send an audible alert noise to your team and also show a flashing mark on the mini-map.
Consider playing a Champion that can buff allied Champions. This you can easily contribute to fights in your lane without placing yourself into needless danger.
A useful video for beginners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLw4AsIF8Tw
Once you've played a few games to understand how the game works, this guide has some great tips for becoming a better player: http://beta.leagueoflegends.com/boar...ead.php?t=2642
The Ventrilo program allows you to chat and listen to other League of Legends players: http://www.ventrilo.com/
Noetherian thanked everyone in the community who provided assistance to a complete newbie like himself, especially SilverSoultaker, Mjollnir, 2xHero, Elandroth, Mulomedic, Mr Tibbers, johnnyt305, Adrenicide and Claous for their encouragement and assistance.
I'm going to be going over this once again to make it slightly more concise and proofread it again. If there's anything you think I should add, rewrite, or remove to make it more clear, readable, helpful, or less verbose, please let me know.
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