League of Legends is an online MOBA game developed by RIOT GAMES in 2009. Since then it has earned several awards in the world of E-Sports such as the BAFTA Games Award for Persistent Game and the Golden Joystick Award for Online Game of the Year. In 2014, it topped the charts of the E-Sports industry, shooting to number one all while breaking the $1 billion mark in micro transaction revenues, beating the likes of World of Warcraft, Runescape, among other industry giants. A global phenomenon, League of Legends has brought a new trend to the online multiplayer gaming community with their development of the E-sport scene. Every year the top teams from each region battle it out to win the first place title, as well as prize money in excess of one million USD.
The objective of the game is to conquer the nexus of the opposing team by battling on the “summoners rift” using one of the champions available in their wide pool of characters. A match comprises of two teams with a group of 5 players per team. One can enter a game with premade teammates, or use the matchmaking system to find teammates as well as opposition of an equal skill level. Once in game, one must gather coins by killing the opposing teams ‘minions’ or players, as well as capturing global objectives on the map. This gold is then exchanged for items that can be used during that game to strengthen a player’s abilities, with the goal of gaining an advantage over the competition. On top of this, there are also seasonal events that allow players to take a break from the competitive nature of the standard summoners rift game mode. Once a player reaches an account level of 30, they are qualified to play the same summoners rift games, but then in a ranked format. During ranked games, players will be able to climb the competitive ladder, and potentially one day become a ‘professional gamer’.
[one_half padding=”20px 5px 0 0″]The League of Legends game sets on Runeterra, a world of fiction consisting of a number of countries and cities, locked in a chain of rivalry, war, alliance and conflict. Each character has its roots in one of these fictional places. Among these characters are both heroes and villains, each with their own back story – also known as the games ‘lore’. The back stories of many characters intertwine, and riot games has placed many easter eggs within the gameplay. These range from abilities to animations and character speech. There are two powerhouses that run this world, Demacia and Noxus, who have waged battles since the dawn of time and are currently in a state of cold war. Other places well-known in Runeterra involve the forefront of technological advancements – also known as Piltover. The neglected darker version of Piltover is known as Zaun, while the icy northern domain is known as the Freljord. The peaceful Bandle City is where the race of Yordles reside – often considered as a safe haven. The island of Ionia is a land of unspoiled beauty, natural magic, and harmony. South of Ionia is the pirate-themed port town known as Bilgewater – notoriously known for Gang Plank. The magically corrupted Shadow Isles lies on an island in the north west of the map. The ancient Mount Targon is the mightiest peak in Runeterra, a towering peak amid a range of summits unmatched in scale anywhere else in the world. Located far from civilization, Mount Targon is utterly remote and all but impossible to reach save by the most determined seeker. The long lost empire Shurima, once the center of Shuriman society; an oasis in the desert, it fell to ruins after Xerath’s flawed Ascension. It has risen once again with the resurrection of Shurima’s long lost emperor, Azir. The city was built around the ancient Sun Disc and is the home to ancient beings called the Ascendants. The fallen empire Icathia is considered mythical by most and is known as the home of the void. With only two characters to have been there, Kassadin the Void Walker and Malzahar Prophet of the Void – Icathia has a lot of mystery behind it that is yet to be told in the lore.[/one_half]
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Game meta and Competitive Edge
League of Legends provides players with a highly competitive battle ground to test their abilities with their wide range of advanced game mechanics available to challenge them. Players rely on their usage of runes, masteries, summoner spells, itemisation knowledge, as well as character knowledge to gain a competitive advantage within the game. Similar to many other games, League of Legends uses multiple classifications of characters (Marksman, Tank, Fighter, Mage, Assassin and Support) to identify different characters as well as their strengths and weaknesses. It is of key importance for each team to balance these roles in a way that gives them a competitive edge – finally leading to a win at the end of a 30± minute match. The common meta over the past few seasons has been a tank/fighter in the top most lane. A mage or assassin in the mid lane. A marksman and a support in the bottom lane. And to top it all off, a fighter or tank in the jungle – with the occasional mage or marksman attempting an off meta jungle position.
Ranking and Regional Competitions
Once a player reaches level 30 and obtain the required number of characters, they will become eligible to participate in the ranked system. These are classified into 7 Tiers, each of which have 5 Divisions. The 7 Tiers consist of Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and Challenger – each of which are divided into I, II, III, IV, and V.
Most players are situated somewhere in between bronze and gold, a combined 90% of the league of legends community. Bronze holds 21%, Silver holds 45%, and gold holds 24%. Beyond this stage, numbers become significantly less with 8% of players server wide are in Platinum, 2% are in Diamond. Only 1000 players from across all servers are currently in masters tier, and a mere 200 per region are in challenger. Most players in challenger and master rank group are approached by professional teams to play for them, and many of them also actively stream on Twitch, Mixer (Previously Beam), HitBox, YouTube, SmashCast (Previously HitBox and Azubu), and Mirrativ.