League of Legends (also known as League or LoL) is free to play RTS video game published by Riot Games. It was released to the public on October 27, 2009 for the Windows OS. The game itself is based off the Defense of the Ancients map from the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft. It has captured the world by storm in a small amount of time. It is definitely one of my favorite video games to play and I have been addicted to it since the day I downloaded the game. In this article, I will go over all the mechanics of the game and talk about my favorite champion, Caitlyn, and why I like to use her in battle.
You, the summoner, are able to buy champions with in game currency called Riot Points (RP) and Influence Points (IP). You have to use real money to pay for RP, but IP is earned through playing the game, so you do not have to use money to buy it. You then use a champion (which has their own unique abilities and attacks) to battle against an opposing team and hopefully win experience points and gain levels (the maximum level you can get to is level 30) and IP.
In Classic mode, a player will enter a matchmaking queue, and through that will enter either a team of 3 or 5. A player now has the option of choosing a champion that they have unlocked with RP and/or IP or one that is part of the free rotation week. You also have the option of choosing which rune and mastery pages you want to use, along with what spells you want to enter combat with. Upon entering the actual game, each team will begin on opposing sides of the map on a spawning pool. On that spawning pool, you can click on the shop icon and buy whatever items you need to make your champion stronger in battle with gold. You can acquire gold by killing someone on the enemy team, destroying turrets, and killing monsters and minions.
Playing in Co-Op vs. AI mode is virtually the same as Classic mode except that you battle against bot champions and can only play in a 5 vs. 5 format. In Summoner’s Rift, the map (referred to as the Field of Justice) is divided into 3 lanes (often referred to as Top Lane, Mid Lane, and Bot Lane) and a vast jungle area that contains neutral monsters that when killed, will provide the player with gold and experience points. Certain monsters, when killed, will also give you a buff (a buff is an effect that that helps you in your performance and is quite beneficial) reward. Your goal is, along with your teammates, is to make your way through the lanes and jungle, defeat all the minions (units that battle the enemy team and act as a barrier so you don’t get killed as easily) and enemies in your way, take down all the turrets, and when you get to the enemy’s base, destroy their inhibitors and take down the turrets that guard their Nexus. Once a team destroys the opponents Nexus, the game will be over. If you and your teammates are struggling against the opposing team, you may have a surrender vote. 4 team members must be in favor for the vote to pass.
The Twisted Treeline is also another map that you can play on. You are only able to engage in 3 vs. 3 battles on this map. Twisted Treeline only has 2 lanes compared to the 3 that Summoner’s Rift has. It also has a larger forest/jungle area than Summoner’s Rift. You do the same thing, destroy all the minions and enemies, take out the turrets, inhibitors, and the Nexus. Since there are less lanes and it is more compact you really have to pay more attention and watch out for enemy champions that like to gank you. Most of the champions I like to use as my mains are squishy (Meaning that they have low HP and defense and can be killed easily) and since Twisted Treeline is condensed into a smaller space; my main champions can get killed easily by tank champions, so I do not like to play on the Twisted Treeline too often.
If you are a summoner that is at level 30, you can compete in Ranked mode. Players can play in a 3 vs. 3 or a 5 vs. 5 format. Each team has a captain and they are able to ban up to 3 champions with each team having alternate picks. It is mandatory that no one plays the same champion, so you and a player on the other team cannot both play Ashe, for example. Unlike the Classic and Co-Op vs. AI modes, you can see the enemy’s champion picks before the actual game starts, so you and your team has a chance to strategize which champion should go mid, which one should be in the jungle fighting monsters, etc. If you are familiar with certain champions, you can use that information to pick a champion that could potentially annihilate them. You are matched up to a team based on your ELO rating. In the 3 vs. 3 format, you must already be a part of a complete 3 person team to be able to compete. In the 5 vs. 5 format, you can join the queue by yourself, with 1 other person, or just already have a 5 person team that you are a part of. After each team bands and selects their champions, there is an option to trade champions with another person on your team. This is a good idea if you want to prevent the other team securing a really good champion. The ELO rating system is calculated for each player and through that matches up players with equal skill levels and constructs a team based off that. As you win more matches you get more points add to your ELO score, however, if you leave matches or lose, you will get points deducted.
Another mode included in League of Legends is Dominion mode. It is played in a 5 vs. 5 format on the Crystal Scar map. The Dominion games are shorter than Classic and Co-op vs. AI, Dominion game usually only last 15-20 minutes. There are many other differences compared to those games. Everyone playing in a Dominion games start off at level 3 with 1375 gold, increased stats, more gold gain, and the Recall spell (which you use in all games to teleport back to the spawning pool to recover HP and Mana and buy items) time is reduced. There are also many items that are exclusive to just this mode and are not available in Classic or Co-Op vs. AI. In Dominion mode, you and your team work together to destroy the enemy Nexus. The nexus holds a certain amount of life points. It will lose life points if your team holds more capture points than the opposing team. There are several points on the map that act as capture points. You can claim capture points by right clicking on a certain tower that is located on the map. Your champion will start channeling from the tower and capture points will then be transferred to your team. However, if you are in the middle of channeling from the tower and a minion or enemy champion attacks you, the channeling will be canceled and you will not be able to get those capture points, but after a cool-down period, you will be able to come back. The capture point towers act like the turrets that are featured in other modes because they cause damage to attackers, but not as much, so you have less of a risk if you try to charge and get points. You can also gain points for your team by performing other tasks like killing minions, interrupting a channeling, etc. When you get the enemy team’s nexus down to 0 life points, then your team will win.
You can also play in Custom Mode. It is exactly the same as Classic mode, except you can invite your friends and create your own game. You can battle against your friends or have them on your team and battle against bots. There are custom games you can join, or again, you can make your own. One downside about Custom mode is that you do not earn as much IP or experience points as Classic or Co-Op vs. AI. I usually use Custom Mode as a way to test out certain champions, especially one that are in the free rotation that week. If I’m thinking about buying them with my IP or RP, then playing with them in Custom Mode gives me a great way to test their abilities.
Now that I have gone over the maps and modes of play, it is time to talk about spells, runes, and mastery pages. In every mode of play, when you get to the Champion Selection screen, you have the option of choosing 2 different spells for your champion to use. You do not have to use mana to cast them, but they have high cooldowns. Be sure to choose your spells wisely. For example, Ashe and Miss Fortune, who are ranged characters and can attack from a distance, have the ability to slow their enemies with some of their attacks, so having Exhaust (which slows enemy movement speed and attack and ability damage) will make them even more deadly. One of my main champion Caitlyn’s moves is called the 90 Caliber net, and it slows enemy champions and launches her in the opposite direction, so equipping her with Exhaust is great. It also helps if you use her Ultimate move, Ace in the Hole, so you don’t have to be so far away when you execute it. If your champion tends to be very mana hungry, or is a support champion, having Clarity (which restores a certain amount of mana to you and your nearby allies) will come in handy. If your champion is squishy or has low HP and is laning against a tanky champion, Heal (which is self-explanatory) and Flash (which teleports you to your cursor’s location) are great spells to have as well.
Each summoner has a Rune book. A Rune book consists or Rune pages where you can place categorized Runes like Marks (offensive), Seals (defensive), Glyphs (magic), and Quintessences (utility). Each of those runes can affect gameplay. If you have a champion like Caitlyn, having runes that affect attack speed and critical damage work great. You can purchase more Rune pages from the store if you wish to do so. Having different rune pages for different types of champions is a good thing to do. If you have a rune page that is dedicated to a mage champion like Annie or Morgana isn’t going to have an impact on a tank champion like Amumu, so it is a good idea to coordinate your rune pages so they correspond and help different types of champions.
Masteries are coordinated into skill trees. Every time you gain a level, you will also earn one mastery point. Those mastery points can be put towards learning different masteries. Like rune pages, masteries can make a slight impact on the champion you choose to use in battle. There are 3 mastery trees: Offensive, Defensive, and Utility. You can add and/or deduct points from each level of each individual tree to get the mastery you want. Also like rune pages, it is good to have each mastery page dedicated to a different type of champion.
Items are used by your champions to enhance their performance in battle. You can only obtain them at the shop that is located at your team’s spawning pool. Only 6 items are able to be carried at one time, so be sure to get the most out of your gold. Each item will grants more power to your champion in certain ways. Boots will boost your movement speed, a Blasting Wand will make your champion’s ability power (the effectiveness of a champion’s abilities) stronger, the Guardian Angel will give your armor and health, etc. Some champion’s abilities can enhance their performance and add to an item’s effectiveness. If you are using Ashe as a champion in battle, since she has a great slowing ability, having a Frozen Mallet (which increases attack damage, health, and slows an enemy by 40%) will give her an even more powerful presence in battle. If you are a ranged champion like Ashe, Kog’Maw, or Caitlyn, it is good to find items to boost their attack speed, attack damage, and critical strike. Buying Phantom Dancers and Zeals are key for those aspects. If you are playing a tank champion like Volibear, Leona, or Amumu, using items to build health and armor should be a priority. A Guardian Angel, Frozen Heart, and Giant’s Belt would be great for that.
I think Caitlyn is a great champion to use in battle. Granted, she is a bit squishy and mana hungry at first, but if you have a support champion laning with you like Soraka or Lulu, you should have no problem with those aspects. She is a ranged champion and has high damaging attacks. The build of items I usually use for her is pretty cheap, and through that build, she is able to get a Bloodthirster (It grants you more attack damage, and for each champion you kill, you get more stacks of attack damage and life steal) and Vampiric Scepter (Which has the life-steal ability, meaning every time you attack and kill a minion, a little bit of health is returned back to you) early on, which can help you and your team out tremendously. Then, one she obtains a Zeal and Phantom Dancer, it’s basically game over. Once she gets to that point, she gets so overpowered that she can kill squishier champions like Ahri or Annie in 3 shots with a normal attack.
Her Innate ability Headshot is great because it grants her more attack damage and critical strike. It is good to use the Headshot ability wisely as the critical strike and higher attack damage is only available after every 8th, 7th, and 6th shot (depending on your level). So, if you are just farming and killing minions and your headshot is ready, save it for the enemy champion that is laning against you. Caitlyn’s Piltover Peacemaker attack is great because it has excellent range and even if an enemy is a bit further away and you can’t chase them or flash over towards them, this attacks still deals a little bit of damage. Once you build Caitlyn’s attack speed and damage, you can spam this attack a little bit more. If you use Caitlyn’s Yordle Snap Trap, you will be able to set a trap on the map. It is visible to your team and the opposing enemies as well. When an enemy steps on it, it immobilizes them and deals a small amount of magic damage. Each trap lasts for 4 minutes. It is a GREAT idea to place these traps in brush and in the jungle because the enemy team may try to lurk around and gank a member of your team, and if and when they step over a trap, they will reveal their location. The traps are also a great escape tactic if you are getting chased down by an enemy, you can quickly lay a trap down.
The 90 Caliber Net is a great escape tactic as well. Using that ability will make Caitlyn fire a net, which will slow down the target by 50% and knock her back in the opposite direction. Again, if you are getting chased down by an enemy champion, using this will give you a leg up and let you escape more easily. Now, my favorite part about Caitlyn: her Ultimate attack: Ace in the Hole. You can steal kills from your team members SO MUCH with this ability. Due to Caitlyn’s amazing range, an enemy can be halfway across the map and you can still use this, and it will deal an INSANE amount of damage. Even if an enemy has supposedly found a safe place to recall and head back to their spawning pool, as they are running away, you can use Ace in The Hole and just kill them and gain more gold. It takes 2 seconds to pull off, so it is good to have a little distance between you and the champion you intend to use it on. An enemy champion can also intercept the attack from your intended target, so make sure you have a clear path to your target, or make sure you are laning solo with an enemy. I just think squishiness and mana hungriness aside, she is dangerous early game, dangerous mid game once she obtains the right items, and just plain awesome late game. She is definitely my favorite champion and is a pleasure to play with.
League of Legends is an amazing game with a great concept. It has captured the hearts of millions of gamers around the world, including me. If you are looking for a great, fun, challenge computer game, this is a great one to check out. I will be posting a video in the coming weeks of me playing an actual game of League of Legends and going through every aspect and detail of the game, so that will give you better insight into what the game is like. So, keep a look out for that video, and thank you again for reading my article. See you later gamers.