League of Legends Basics and Laning Fundamentals
This guide is meant as an introduction to League of Legends and will outline the basic mechanics of the game that beginners will need to know. Furthermore, I will try to explain the essential techniques needed for the first phase of a LoL match, the laning phase. The only thing I will assume is that the reader has installed LoL and set up an account; no prior experience is necessary. However, that is not to say that only beginners will find this guide useful. I see plenty of veteran players making ignoring the basic techniques and making the very mistakes this guide is meant to discourage. Anyway, enough introduction, on to the actual game.
Players in League of Legends are referred to as summoners within the game. During the course of a match, a summoner takes control of one champion and uses skills and basic attacks to fight the champions of other players towards the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy base. Summoners are divided into two teams, either 5v5 or 3v3, and must work together to coordinate battles and overall match strategy.
When you first log in to League of Legends, you will be faced with an interface known as Pvp.net. Through this interface you can access the store, check the official forums, check your summoner profile and statistics, manage a friends list, or join a match. If you click the summoner profile button near the top-right corner of the window and then select the champions tab, you can see which champions are currently available for use. There are currently 70 champions in LoL, but they are not all available for use at any given time. Each week, Riot decides on a set of “free champions” which can be used by anyone for the duration of the week. If you wish to continue playing a champion after they are no longer free, you must purchase the champion through the store using IP (in game currency earned in each match) or real currency. You can also purchase runes and skins through the store, but those are less important and will not be discussed here.
The key bindings for controlling your chosen champion within an actual match are quite simple and easy to pick up. Move your champion by right clicking a location on the map or minimap. In most situations, your champion will automatically begin attacking enemies when the come into range, but to target a specific enemy, right click on it. In addition to these basic attacks (also called autoattacks) every champion has four(or more in rare cases) skills plus a passive ability. The four skills are bound to the Q, W, E, and R keys. The passive ability is not bound to a key, as it takes effect without any player input (hence “passive”). The player can at any time return to his spawn point by pressing the B key. This is referred to as “backing”, “going b”, or “bluepilling.” Also, pressing Enter creates a chat bar which you can use to communicate with your teammates or the other team.
There are currently three types of matches available to LoL players, with a fourth coming soon. First, there are custom games, which are typically the most casual type. Players can test out new champions, play with large groups of friends, or set up special types of games with special rules (such as the popular “All random all mid” game). Next, there are normal games, which are more competitive than custom games. Here you are either grouped with other players according to your skill level, or you may form a team yourself with people from your friends list (called a “premade” team). Either way, the game tries to match you up against players of similar skill levels so that it will hopefully be a fair game. Finally, there are ranked games, which can be highly competitive and are only available to experienced players. Since this guide is aimed towards newcomers, I will not discuss ranked games. To start a match, click the “Play” button at the top of the Pvp.net interface. This will take you to a menu where you can select from the match types described above. You must also choose between the Summoner's Rift 5v5 map and the Twisted Treeline 3v3 map. This guide will focus on Summoner's Rift, the more popular map, so when you create a match, you should select it instead of Twisted Treeline.
II. Within a LoL match.
After you have joined a match, you will be taken to the champion select screen. Here you can choose from your available champions the one you would like to play for the next match. Later in the guide I will be using the champion “Ashe” as an example, so if she is not on free rotation and you do not own her, you should do a few matches and earn the IP to buy her. She only costs 450 IP, so it should only take a few matches to be able to buy her. Once you have 450 IP, go to the store, select champions, and find Ashe from the list of champions.
On the champion select screen you will also notice a section for choosing runes and masteries, as well as two boxes for summoner spells. You won't need to worry too much about runes or masteries until later on, but summoner spells are quite important even at the very beginning. For the purposes of this guide, just take ghost and teleport. These spells may not be the best choices for all champions, and as you unlock additional spells and become more familiar with your champions, you will discover other spell combinations that can be quite useful, but for now, ghost and teleport will suffice. After these choices have been made, you will see a loading screen and after a brief delay the actual match will begin.
Once the match begins your champion will spawn at one of the corners of the map with the rest of your team. Immediately next to where you spawn, you will see a structure that is known as the shop. You can purchase items from it by clicking on the small green button near the bottom left corner of your screen. More on the shop later.
If you look at the mini-map in the bottom right corner of your screen, you will notice that there are three diverging paths leading connecting the bottom left and the top right corners of the screen. These are called “lanes” Each lane contains six structures (three for each team) known as towers which attack nearby enemies. Creatures known as “minions” spawn in groups at the nexus, which is right next to where the champions spawn, and proceed in a line down the lanes. Once they arrive at a tower, they attack it.
The area between the lanes is known as the “jungle”. Within the jungle are additional creatures grouped together at specific spawn points. Some of these creatures are especially powerful, and grant the champion which kills them a “buff”, which makes the champion more powerful. These creatures are the Lizard, the Golem, the Dragon, and Baron Nashor. More on these later.
In order to win the game, a team must destroy the towers of the other team leading into the enemy team's base. Once they have destroyed the third turret in a lane, they can destroy the “inhibitor” of that lane, which allows more powerful minions to spawn at the destroying team's base. Finally, the two nexus turrets must be destroyed, exposing the nexus itself. When the nexus is destroyed, the match is over and the team that destroyed it wins.
A match is divided into three phases: the laning phase, the mid game, and late game. In the laning phase, champions from each team meet at the middle of a lane and engage each other's minion waves. Typically the focus of this phase is to prepare for a successful midgame, so often champions will not aggressively attack the enemy team. Sometimes, though, a team will shift champions from lane to lane in the hopes of creating a numerical advantage in order to execute a “gank,” or attack on an enemy champion or group of champions. During the mid game, the champions on a team typically group up and try to destroy the enemy team's towers in order to prepare for the final assault on the enemy base. Finally, in during the late game teams will engage in 5v5 “teamfights” in the hopes of killing enemy champions and rendering the nexus undefended. Matches sometimes do not even last into the late game, having been finished during the mid game.
III.Customizing your Champion
The effectiveness of a champion is determined primarily by the champions statistics, or “stats”. The essential stats are as follows:
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