If you’re interested in playing League of Legends but have no idea where to start, then our beginners guide is a complete narrative to the basics of the game.
Released in 2009, League of Legends has grown to become one of the most played games of its time, with a strong following and epic tournament schedule. This guide is aimed at people who have never played League of Legends before so if you’re above a level 10, it’s doubtful you’ll find anything of use here.
League of Legends is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (moba). So, as the name might suggest, you will battle multiple players online within a battle arena. You will be referred to as a “summoner” and you will take control of your chosen “champion”. Your champion will have its own unique set of abilities dependant on which one you choose. There are 130+ champions available (this list is constantly being updated) each with unique stats based on Health, Attack, Spells and Difficulty. Our recommendation is to play with as many champions as possible to get an idea of which is the best fit for you and so you have a better idea of what you may come up against.
As we said above, every character has its own unique set of abilities but the way you access these abilities is the same for everyone. In League of Legends the Q, W, E & R keys are attributed to your champions 4 abilities, with R being your “Ultimate Ability”. You can level-up your abilities during a game depending on how much “XP” you earn. You may buy up to 6 items, from the store, which can be activated using the 1-3 & 5-7 keys. You can select two “Summoner Spells” during the pre-game lobby that can be used during the game with the F & D hotkeys. League of Legends doesn’t have an in-built voice-chat option therefore, whilst you’re getting used to the game, we recommend using text chat, which can be activated by pressing the enter/return key. In addition to the above you have an option to select and upgrade masteries and runes, which we will go in to more detail about below.
“Summoners Rift” is the key map and you should take time to familiarise yourself with the map and its different parts. When playing League of Legends you will see that existing players will generally call-out their intended game position on the map in the pre-game lobby, depending on which champion they are using. When you start to play a mini map will appear in the bottom right of your screen, keep a regular eye on this as map awareness is crucial during League of Legends gameplay. There are towers belonging to both you and your enemy placed on the map that will either help defend you and your minions or help destroy them, depending on whose tower it is. The objective of the game is to advance your position to the opposite side of the map, destroying your opponent’s towers along the way, and then destroy the enemy’s inhibitor followed by their nexus. Now we have outlined the main characteristics to the game, we will go into more detail about how to start your League of Legends adventure:
There are two different currencies in the League of Legends world. “Riot points” (RP) can be purchased using real-world money and can be purchased via Riot or in-store (depending on location). “Influence points” (IP) are earned based on your game play and have several determining factors based on how well you play and how long the game is (amongst other things that I won’t bore you with now).
RP can be used to purchase new champions, skins, XP boosts and bundles.
IP can be used to purchase champions, runes and additional rune pages.
We’d recommend not spending your money whilst you’re still a League of Legends newbie. Play with the champions, get a feel for what styles you like and then purchase some RP and have fun spending. There’s nothing worse than buying a new skin for a champion and realising that you’ve found a new champion you prefer to play with. Money wasted.
Completing the tutorials
The tutorials for League of Legends are basic, at best, and don’t give you a clear insight on how to play the game. What they will do is help you familiarise yourself with the on-screen locations of everything we are about to tell you and help you get used to controlling your character, which is especially useful if you’re not generally a PC Gamer. You will start with a choice of champions – Ashe, Garen or Ryze and with “Heal” and “Ghost” as your selected spells. You will be matched with 4 friendly champion bots against 4 enemy bots. The tutorial will guide you through the jungle and help show you how to clear monster camps, fight enemy minions/champions and how to destroy the towers/inhibitors/nexus.
Choosing a Champion
League of Legends champions can be divided into several categories representative of their attack styles. Riot (makers of League of Legends) have an overview of the different champions that will give you all the information you need to know here. As we keep stating, the most important aspect in buying a champion is game time. You won’t know if a champion is the right fit for you until you have played with enough champions to understand their stats. Play with the as many of the rotation champions as possible and when you feel confident enough in your ability to understand the different characteristic of champion, go to the store and purchase your new champion using your IP/RP.
As you already know, each champion has four abilities that are accessed by the Q, W, E & R keys with the R being the ultimate ability.
Each ability, when used, has a cool-down time during which it cannot be used again. The ultimate ability has a longer cool-down time than the other 3 abilities. Your champions abilities can be upgraded throughout a game, as you “level up” due to “XP” earned throughout the game. Every champion has at least 1 “innate” ability which will passively assist your champion throughout the game (this doesn’t need to be levelled up).
Active ability: As the name suggests, this is an ability that has to be actively called upon to be used.
Passive ability: These abilities will affect your champion throughout a game without any need for you to call upon them. There are certain abilities that only work under certain conditions so be careful to read up on your champions info.
We don’t want to confuse anyone just beginning to play League of Legends so we have kept this quite basic and therefore left out a lot of information. Once you are comfortable with the game (level 8+) read a more in-depth analysis here:
Playing the Game
Once you have completed the tutorials it’s time to get started with playing the game. League of Legends has 3 game modes but, as this tutorial is aimed at beginners, we are only going to go in-depth about one, “Co-op Vs AI”. This will allow you to play against bot-controlled champions and hone your skills before battling fellow players. The AI have three levels of difficulty: intro, beginner & intermediate. You may select to go up against them with a team of friends or with randomly selected players. The way we recommend playing is by working your way up the difficulty ladder, moving on only when your selected difficulty becomes easy to beat.
The other 2 game types are:
“Custom” games, in which you are able to join or create a game from a selection of game types and maps.
“PVP” games in which you battle other players under predetermined conditions. PVP has both normal and ranked games with variables in both but, as a beginner, we strongly recommend you stick to fighting bots.
There are 3 lanes in the game's main map, Summoners Rift: Top, middle and bottom. There are five positions that players will want to take during the match that you will undoubtedly see them call out in the pre-game lobby. The reasoning behind these positions isn't relevant for you right now, all you need to know is each champion will have its preferred position based on its abilities. If you are unsure of which position to take for a champion ask a fellow player, they're generally a helpful bunch on League of Legends. The different positions are:
Top - This champion will take the top lane, alone. The best type of champion for this role is a melee unit that can deal a lot of damage (Tank).
Mid - This champion will take the middle lane, alone. The best type of champion for this is someone with strong ability powers (AP), usually a mage or assassin.
Bottom - Two champions take the bottom lane, one dealing damage (ADC) and one providing support (Support). ADC is best suited to a marksman, they get the kills and try to level-up as much as possible to stay relevant in the game. The support role is all about supplementing your ADC partner, you want to ensure they stay alive by casting spells that assist them in their pursuit of kills and help defend them from enemies.
Jungle - This champion will move around the jungle killing monsters and assisting teammates, when possible. This is not a position for beginners and we don't recommend attempting to jungle until at least level 20, therefore we will not go into further detail.
Spells, Masteries & Runes
Masteries are split into three categories on your “masteries page” and assist your champion by increasing certain abilities. You are allocated one point for every level you achieve (max. 30) which you use to select certain masteries. These are not permanent choices and points can be added and removed at any time, so you want to start to use your mastery page from the onset. For different champions, different set-ups can be advantageous therefore you are able to build up to 10 mastery pages to allocate as you see fit. Our advice is to view each mastery and see what it offers you and then try it out to see if it is beneficial for your game-play style, by doing this you’ll soon get used to the best set-up for you.
Runes are used to enhance the abilities of your champion. Runes can be purchased using IP only yet we don’t recommend purchasing any until you are at least a level 15 (ideally 20) so for now, we wont go into further detail.
There is a selection of different spells that are available to you from which you will be required to choose 2 to battle with. The attributes of these spells are constantly evolving, the selection at the moment is:
Clarity (Level 1)
- Restores 50% of your champion's maximum Mana. Also restores allies for 25% of their maximum Mana.
Ghost (Level 1)
- Your champion can move through units and has 28-45% (depending on champion level) increased Movement Speed for 10 seconds.
Heal (Level 1)
- Restores 90-345 Health (depending on champion level) and grants 30% Movement Speed for 1 second to you and target allied champion. This healing is halved for units recently affected by Summoner Heal.
Mark (Level 1)
- Throw a snowball in a straight line at your enemies. If it hits an enemy, they become marked and your champion can quickly travel to the marked target as a follow up.
Barrier (Level 4)
- Shields your champion for 115-455 (depending on champion level) for 2 seconds.
Exhaust (Level 4)
- Exhausts target enemy champion, reducing their Movement Speed and Attack Speed by 30%, their Armor and Magic Resist by 10, and their damage dealt by 40% for 2.5 seconds.
Cleanse (Level 6)
- Removes all disables and summoner spell debuffs affecting your champion and lowers the duration of incoming disables by 65% for 3 seconds.
Teleport (Level 6)
- After channeling for 3.5 seconds, teleports your champion to target allied structure, minion, or ward.
Flash (Level 8)
- Teleports your champion a short distance toward your cursor's location.
Ignite (Level 10)
- Ignites target enemy champion, dealing 70-410 true damage (depending on champion level) over 5 seconds, grants you vision of the target, and reduces healing effects on them for the duration.
Smite (Level 10)
- Deals 390-1000 true damage (depending on champion level) to target epic or large monster or enemy minion.
Short cuts & Codes
Q, W, E & R - Abilities
D & F – Summoner Spells
Y – Unlock or re-lock your camera
L – Life
Spacebar – Center the camera on you Champion
B – Return to base
P – Opens Shop
G or “Alt + Left Click” - Ping
S – Stop your Champion moving or auto attacking
H – This is a temporary version of “S”. It will only work whilst you have the H button held down.
1,2,3,4,5,6 – Inventory Items
C – Champions Stats
Tab – Game Stats
Enter – Opens chat
Shift + Enter – Allows you to send a message to everyone – including enemies
There are other, more complex, commands and hotkeys that can be used whilst play League of Legends. We recommend that, for now, you get to grips with the basics above before you move on.