League of Legends: History & Game Design
What is League of Legends?
Combine a high-speed and exhilarating online competitive game with the intensity and briskness of certain RTS and RPG genre elements and you get one of the most successful MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) of all time, League of Legends. At its most basic level, this free to play game pits two teams of powerful champions against each other via various modes and battlefields.
The creators of League of Legends, Riot, have done a phenomenal job of engaging their player base by continually balancing champions, introducing new characters, creating cutting-edge content, and expanding an ever-evolving tournament scene. No matter your skill level, League of Legends offers endless replayability and content.
Globally League of Legends is also one of the most played games. Over the past half a decade, Riot has done a marvelous job of developing their product in other regions. The Asian market, mainly China and Korea, has expanded significantly in this time frame.
The European market has also seen sustained success, with the Australian/New Zealand market well underway towards capturing a large audience. Since League of Legends is such as globally expansive game, the competitive scene has blossomed tremendously, with competitive games even being featured on ESPN channels.
League of Legend’s Infancy
League of Legends first launched in October of 2009 and included the original 40 champions, the 5vs5 Summoner’s Rift map, and the 3vs3 Twisted Treeline map. As the player base grew, Riot saw an opportunity early to capitalize and create their first competitive scene.
During July of 2010, Riot released the single biggest content update that League of Legends has received to date and initiated their first competitive season. Draft mode, Ranked Games, and the Ranked Ladders system were all introduced at this time.
The first notable competitive event for League of Legends was the WCG Finals in October of 2010. Over 3,000 gamers were invited to participate for a prize pot of $10,000 and a WCG gold medal. The first official tournament sponsored by Riot and hosted by Alienware followed the next month, with first place receiving $5,000 as a cash prize.
Season one of competitive play concluded during June of 2011, with finals taking place at DreamHack in Sweden. The best League of Legends teams from around the world were invited to battle it out for a grand prize of $50,000, with Fnatic (a European team) ultimately winning. The first Season One Championship (as it was called then) had an overall viewership of 1,690,000 people.
The Season Two Championship took place in Los Angeles, California and the grand prize increased twentyfold to $1,000,000 (won by the Taiwan team Taipei Assassins). Viewership also quadrupled to over 8,000,000.
The Season 3 World Championship was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as well. With the same grand prize of $1,000,000 as season 2, SK Telectom T1 (based in South Korea) were the eventual champions. Astonishingly, viewership again quadrupled from the previous year to an astounding 32 million views.
The World Championship 2014 (also known as Season 4 World Championship) was played in Singapore and Taipei before finishing in Busan, South Korea. Samsung Galaxy White (from the Korean League of Legends region) were the eventual champions. Viewership maintained at 32 million views.
Season 5 World Championship took place in Berlin, and SK Telecom T1 became the first eSports organization to win two World Championships.
How do I play?
A League of Legend’s match begins with the player selecting one of over 150 champions that have unique design, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Players will then battle head-to-head, using teamwork and communication to outperform the enemy squad. The team that can combine the best coordination, strategic thinking, and competitive tactics – all the while displaying lightning reflexes and reaction timing – will find themselves on the winning side.
Regardless if you’re a new player that is learning the ropes in League of Legend’s Co-op vs. AI mode (also referred to as bots) or a veteran player climbing the competitive ranks, League of Legends will always match you with players of your proportionate skill level.
All new players start with a level one account, gaining experience as they play each game and build towards level 30, unlocking new masteries and rune slot capabilities. Regardless of your account’s level, at the start of each game every champion begins at the same level (generally this is level one, except for certain game modes like Dominion where you start at level three). Team composition is crucial, and different champions perform specific roles.