League of Legends is a game that has been inspired by a Warcraft 3 mod known as Defence of the Ancients. It is funny how a mod can become more popular than the main game itself, but it is like Counter Strike in Half Life. The game became so popular that the creators split off to different companies. Some went to Riot Games to make League of Legends, Some went to S2 Games to make Heroes of Newerth and some went to Valve to make Dota 2.
Defence of the Ancients is a 5v5 team game on a map with three lanes which are split symmetrically so each team has their own side with their own towers and base to defend. The objectives is to either group up as a team or go into lanes to gain the upper hand over their opponent by gaining gold from last hitting minions, harassing with abilities/attacks and going in for kills. Once an advantage is gained it becomes easier to take out enemy towers until you reach an inhibitor, which when it is destroyed will deploy ďSuper MinionsĒ to aid you in destroying the teams Nexus. If you destroy their nexus, you win the game.
This game is considered an RTS and when I see that word, it is sort of off putting to me. However, In League of Legends you only have to control a single unit instead of having to remember hotkeys and multi-task organising multiple groups of varying units at once. The minions in this game have their own AI and will attack the first enemy they come across, which are usually the enemy minions. If an enemy champion attacks you with auto attacks or abilities your minions will attack them, unless they use a single target spell that has no on-hit effects. I donít know where you are taught that single target spells donít draw aggro, as it doesnít seem to be covered in the tutorial. The towers work in a similar fashion apart from single target nukes will draw aggro and towers will do extremely heavy damage early in the game. This means that you need to be careful when diving in after a champion with low health.
When I first started playing LoL I found that the tutorial was really poor at showing you what to expect in an actual game. The tutorial consisted of a single lane against a dumb AI enemy champion and the game would tell you that you should wait for minions to push the tower so that you can approach it with safety by showing a friendly AI dying without minion support. However, no visual example is given of turret aggro when attacking champions, only a text description. When you play a game on Summonerís Rift 5v5 map, you will see your allies splitting up into different lanes. As a newcomer, you may not know which lane to join or the reasons why certain champions go to different areas. A typical team has a strong early game champion in mid-lane, because mid is where you solo for some reason. Bottom lane usually will have a carry with a healer support champion to allow them to kill minions safely. Usually there is a Jungler who will gain gold and exp in the forest and come out to gang up on players, leaving top lane as a solo lane as well.
When I first started, there was no such thing as the Battle Grounds and it took me a while to know where Jungle minions were or that you needed specific runes and masteries to do them. However, I believe Riot reduced the strength and xp gain from jungle creatures and also xp gain from being solo so that players who are new to the game wonít need specific runes or masteries for Jungling and that there is less benefit of doing so.
Each champion has specific roles that they can provide for their team. A Carry is an item dependent champion that is weak early in the game and usually requires support to do well in a lane. These champions shine late game and are usually the main priority targets to kill in a team fight. These Champions generally build all-out damage or ability power as their items scale heavily with their abilities making it so that they need to be shut down quickly, which is relatively easy due to their low health pool.
A Tank is the initiator of the team that has an ability to draw aggro to them, making use of their armour, magic resist and health items that they usually stack. These champions generally have abilities that can stun enemy teams, giving you an opportunity to take advantage of the team fight.
A Support champion usually provides a Heal for the team and shields. These and Junglers are usually expected to buy wards to prevent ganks from happening and watch for major neutral monsters such as the Dragon and Baron Nashor who provide significant gold and buffs respectively.
As a strategy game you have to think of what Items will benefit you most against the enemy team. Usually, in low level games you will see that the enemy team has 3-5 mage or melee all-out carry champions, meaning that you will benefit more from magic resist or armour dependent on their setup. If you come across a team that stacks health, then carrys may decide to buy %health damage items instead of typical damage and critical builds.
There is no ďIĒ in team and even if you play perfectly, you may still lose badly to the enemy team due to your allies. This is why games like these bring out the worst in people and abusive comments are even made in normal games where your stats donít even matter. I think it would be stupid to hate a game because of the people that play it, but these games draw people who are competitive and are likely to rage at anything they perceive to be a mistake. Because this is the case, there are those who play badly on purpose to annoy such players and laugh when they get mad. On top of abusive and ďgriefingĒ players, there are occasions where a player fails to connect to the game giving the opposing team an advantage for the whole game.
Whether you enjoy this game is dependent on whether you enjoy competitive twitchy action games and how long you can tolerate playing on the same map over and over again. There is the standard 5v5 map and an unpopular 3v3 map which takes a long time to get a game going and their new game mode of Dominion, which I think is easier for newcomers to start on. So Iíd say itís a choice between 5v5 and Dominion and you may get tired of seeing the same maps and get bored of playing the same game. Some will argue that each champion has a unique play style so the game will feel fresh as long as you rotate between them, but Iím sure that isnít enough for some. The game is fun to play with friends, but the same can be said of a poorly made MMO; anything can be fun with friends.
I think it is a decent MMO RTS and being free it is worth a try. It isnít pay to win, but runes and masteries make it so that a max level 30 player will have an unfair advantage over a level 1 player but matchmaking will try to put you with players of the same level and if you have fun then it wonít seem so long to get there.