League of Legends: What it is and Why You Should Play

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Lux, Warriors, League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

If you don’t know the first thing about League of Legends, we’re here to give you a basic guide to how you play this game.

League of Legends is the most popular video game and esport on the planet. It’s almost inconceivable that you or someone you know doesn’t know of at least one person who plays the game.

To many, League of Legends is a confusing, chaotic game that seems to have a lot going on and too much information to process. Today, we’re here to give you a very basic overview of how you play the game, link you to some resources to learn more, and let you know what aspect of the game you might be interested in! It all starts with that simple question, though: what is League of Legends?

What is League of Legends?

League of Legends is a massive online battle arena (“MOBA”) that pits two teams of five players against each other. The game is played on one of two maps: Summoner’s Rift (the more competitive map which has a ranked ladder mode) and Howling Abyss (which has the more casual All Random All Mid mode where you’re assigned a random character to play).

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The objective of the game is simple: destroy the enemy’s Nexus before the enemy team is able to destroy yours. However, to get to the Nexus you will first have to destroy several structures that protect the Nexus.

First, you will have to destroy a pair of towers which run through the marked paths of the map, known as the “lanes.” Each lane has an outer tower and an inner tower, which leads to a third tower which guards an Inhibitor.

You will have to destroy the Inhibitor Tower and Inhibitor in order to enter the enemy’s base. There, you will find two more towers guarding the Nexus. It’s important to note that until you destroy those two towers, you will be unable to damage the Nexus itself. In fact, every single structure that we just described will not take damage until the preceding structure was destroyed (meaning you can’t attack an inner tower until the outer tower in that lane has been destroyed and so on).

On Summoner’s Rift, you will be able to advance into the base through one of three lanes, destroying the structures in any (or all) of the lanes to destroy the Nexus Towers and then the Nexus. It does not matter which lane’s structures a team destroys in order to win and you do not have to destroy every structure outside of the base to do so, though you may do so because the more towers and structures you kill the better your chances to win. On Howling Abyss, there is only one lane (hence why it is called “All Mid”) meaning you must destroy every structure on the map in order to reach and destroy the Nexus.

However, the towers will damage and kill you if you attempt to just walk up to them and kill you, which is why you must take your team’s minions (the little critters that spawn from your base every so often) into the tower’s range. That way, the tower will attack them, not you, and give you and your team time to damage and destroy the tower.

That is, at the most basic level, how you play and win a game of League of Legends: get your minions to your opponent’s tower, use that time while the tower is busy focusing your minions to damage and destroy it, proceed to the next tower and do it again until you reach the enemy’s Nexus. Now there are many different things in a game of League of Legends you will have to do to make this task easier, and luckily we have guides for beginners that go into more detail if you are interested.

For instance, certain champions (the different characters you can play in a game of League of Legends) do different things that will allow you to destroy towers more quickly or prevent your opponents from destroying towers. You can make your champion stronger by buying items for him or leveling him up with experience. You can also kill your enemy and kill other objectives around the map that will make your champion stronger, but at the core your goal is to push through the towers on the map until you’re able to kill the enemy Nexus.