Joining the League of Legends: An Overview of the Global Phenomenon

Have you ever wondered what goes into setting up a League of Legends competitive league and how the eSport operates? The premise of the game seems pretty straightforward –  strategize with your team to take down your opponents’ base.

But a look into the game itself reveals an incredibly complicated world with a rich history and devoted fanbase. Frankly, it can be overwhelming to someone who is just starting out. Here are a few details as to how LoL operates as a competitive eSport.

League of Legends was launched in 2009 by Riot Games. The idea for the game was conceived by two University of Southern California business students who were huge fans of the game Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a mod for the game Warcraft III.

The game had somewhat humble beginnings, and it has encountered several setbacks, which could have made the whole thing fail. But they didn’t.

Instead, LoL is one of the most played multiplayer games in the world, and the biggest eSport by far. Much of this success can be attributed to the way the company responded to the issues that arose as the game grew, from how to monetize to how they’ve responded to player misbehavior.

Understanding League of Legends General Gameplay and Competitive Ruleset

Understanding League of Legends General Gameplay and Competitive Ruleset

So how is the game played? Like we said before, the premise of the game is simple: two evenly matched teams of five members each work their way across the map to attempt to capture the other team’s base, called a Nexus.

Team members gain power along the way as they complete objectives and purchase items. Sounds fairly straightforward, but with 160 champions to choose from, and each player having a unique playing style, the variations in the game experience are nearly infinite.

This unique mix of simple controls with complex gameplay allows for a wide spectrum of players, from beginner to seasoned professional. And if you’re new to the game, you don’t need to feel intimidated by all there is to learn.

Simply choose “normal” game mode, and the server will match you up with other players of equal skill level. You can also opt for a “custom” game, where skill levels are selected by the players. If you’re feeling brave though, there is a “co-op” option that will randomly select players of any skill level.

However, competitive matches are ranked, requiring that players achieve a level 30 ranking. A word of warning: if you’re thinking you will join as a newbie and work your way up to the professional level, keep in mind that the game has been evolving in the hands of players for nearly 13 years now, so the knowledge required to succeed in the top tier is pretty extensive.

Each player controls a single champion during the game; every champion has their own characteristics and is labeled with certain attributes, but they can be played in a variety of ways. An interesting quirk of League of Legends is the Picks and Bans phase.

Players choose a champion based on what is available to them and what they have unlocked. Not only can players pick their champion, but they can also pick one champion to ban from their opponent’s lineup. This choice is a key strategic element in the game and makes for some interesting strategic decisions for which characters to get rid of based on the team you are playing against.

Domestic League of Legends Leagues around the World

Domestic League of Legends Leagues around the World

Currently, League of Legends has 12 domestic leagues throughout the world that participate in the months-long race to the World Championship. They are are located in North America, Europe, Korea, China, Turkey, Brazil, Asia Pacific, Russia (CIS), Japan, Latin America, Oceania and Vietnam.

Just like other team sports, LoL leagues crown a season champion once regular season play is complete. At that point, crowned champions proceed to the larger World Championship competition. This is the highest level of play in League of Legends, and each league sends their top teams to compete each year.

The 12 leagues are divided into four regions and all have different ways of determining eligibility for championship. LPL is China’s league and is known for its wildness and volatility. They play a best-of-three series for their season.

LCK is the league for South Korea.They also do best of three, and they had a stint for a while as the reigning champions. LEC is the top European league, and LCS is North America’s pro league.

Tournament format can be complicated, but it is more or less the same from year to year. In the end, there are always 24 teams who compete, and only one wins. When the first tournament took place in 2011, Riot Games boasted a $100,000 prize pool. That number has grown to roughly $2.25 million today.

League of Legends continues to succeed as an eSport by catering to the highest level of competition. Along with the satisfying gameplay loop, LoL has cultivated one of the strongest competitive communities from the ground up. Riot Games has backed the expansion of competitive leagues around the world, which is shown by the wide breadth of domestic competition.

Do you play League of Legends, or are you interested in getting started? We’d love to hear from you! Leave any insights, questions, tips or tricks for competitive play in the comments below!