Codex Gamicus
This article is about the video game "League of Legends". For the Darts Tournament, see BetFred League of Legends.

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League of Legends is a MOBA game inspired by the Defense of the Ancients map for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne[1] developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows[2] and Mac OS X.[3] It was first announced on October 7, 2008 and released on October 27, 2009.[4] The game was in a closed beta from April 10, 2009 to October 22, 2009.[5] It then transitioned to open beta until release.[6]

Steve "Guinsoo" Feak, the previous designer of the popular Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map, DotA Allstars, and Steve “Pendragon” Mescon, the administrator of the former official support base for the map (, were involved with Riot Games in the development of League Of Legends.[7] Using the original DotA created by Eul (the original Defence of The Ancients map for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos) as a base, Guinsoo made DotA Allstars by inserting his own mix of content, largely expanding the number of the heroes, and adding recipes, numerous items and various gameplay changes. Guinsoo then passed version 6 of the map on to its current developer, Icefrog. Pendragon, who is the Director of Community Relations for Riot Games, helped create the previous DotA Allstars website along with its forums.

Link to register


The idea of a spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients that would be its own stand-alone game with its own engine, rather than another Mod of Warcraft III began to materialize at the end of 2005.[8] League of Legends was born "when a couple of very active DotA community members believed that the gameplay was so much fun and so innovative that it represented the spawning of a new genre and deserved to be its own professional game with significantly enhanced features and around-game services."[8]

Riot Games was co-founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill.[7] They partnered with some of the key creative minds behind the creation of DotA-Allstars, Steve "Guinsoo" Feak and Steve "Pendragon" Mescon.[8] Riot Games officially opened its office in September 2006, and currently has about 40 people working on League of Legends, "including their robust technology platform to service and operate the game as well as a team dedicated to community relations."[8]

According to Marc Merrill, when creating the various champions in the game, instead of leaving the champion creation to just a few people, they decided to open up the champion creation process to everyone in the company based upon a template where they could vote on which champions made it into the game.[9] Speaking at GamesCom 2009, Riot Games declared that they would be supporting the game heavily after its initial launch.[10] Several new heroes and hero skins have been offered as a part of this after launch.



Players are formed into 2 even teams with 1-5 champions on each team. Each team starts at opposing sides of a map, near what is called a "Nexus". A match is won when either the opposing team's Nexus is destroyed or the other team surrenders. To destroy a Nexus, each team must work through a series of towers called "Turrets". Turrets are often placed along a path to each base referred to as a "Lane". Along the way, each player must gain levels from killing the opposing team's "Champions" and "Minions" (small NPCs that constantly spawn and attack the other team) and defeating neutral monsters (some of which grant buffs known as Crests upon death). Also, champions purchase "Items" with in-match gold to improve their champion. In League of Legends, each player starts at level 1 at the beginning of the match and can obtain the maximum of level 18 with their champion, leveling 4 different champion-specific abilities.

Game Modes & Matchmaking[]

League of Legends is a session-based game. Matchmaking occurs based on the average Elo ratings of each individual players, with slight proprietary adjustments achievable through winning games and usage of certain tools.[11]

The game can currently be played in four different modes: tutorial, practice, normal and ranked.

  • Tutorial is the game mode where new player are directed to when they first start the game. It is a private offline game session where the players are taught the basic controls and goals of the game.
  • Practice mode allows players to manually create custom game sessions that other players can find on a game list and join. Players can add computer controlled champions (bots), set password, and set the maximum number of players in Practice games.
  • In a Normal game, players queue themselves to the automatic match-making service either alone (Solo) or as part of a group. The server then automatically creates a game and attempts to populate it with players in a way that both sides have a 50% chance to win.[11][12] The players are rated in a hidden Elo rating based on the outcome of normal mode matches they participate in, and the server uses that rating for future match-making.[12] Only the win count of the player in normal mode is displayed publicly, losses and Elo are not displayed.
  • The Ranked mode became available to player of level 20 and higher when Season One officially commenced on July 13, 2010, but was later changed to only be available to players of level 30.[13] While this mode plays much like Normal mode, two main differences exist. First, the game uses Draft Mode where each team can ban 3 champions from the game (so no players may play them) and the two teams cannot play the same champion (so if team A takes Ezreal, team B cannot take Ezreal). Second, an exclusive, visible rating is calculated based on the player’s performance in Ranked games. The player is placed on the ladder according to his rating, and top teams on the ladder have a chance to compete in the “$100,000 Global Finals” at the end of the season.[13]

Fields of Justice[]

Maps in League of Legends are called Fields of Justice.[14] There are currently two Fields of Justice that the players can choose from:

  • Summoner's Rift resembles the DotA map. It has 3 lanes and supports 5 players per side.
  • Twisted Treeline is a smaller map with only 2 lanes. It supports 3 players per side. Because of the shorter average lifespans of games in this map, you receive 22% reduced XP and IP when you finish the game.[15]

There are also two other maps, the map where tutorial is carried called Prooving Grounds and the new map that its on development with the name of Magma Chamber.

A match puts two teams with a fixed number of players against each other. Each team has its base, which contains the re-spawn point, item shop and nexus. The two bases are connected by lanes. Periodically, waves of minions spawn from the nexus. Minions are AI-controlled troops that walk down the lanes, engaging any enemies they encounter. The lanes are lined with turrets that engage enemies within range. Once a turret is destroyed, it cannot be rebuilt. A new element in League of Legends is the inhibitors. Each lane has an inhibitor on both ends. If a team destroys the enemy inhibitor, more powerful "super minions" will spawn for that side. Unlike turrets, inhibitors respawn after a fixed amount of time.

Besides the lanes, the maps also contain "jungle" areas. Neutral monsters inhabit the jungle. These monsters can be killed by a champion for bonus gold and experience. Some powerful neutral monsters grant the killer a buff that will help them in battle. Another special terrain feature is the brush. Brush blocks the line of sight of units, allowing champions to hide and set up an ambush.

The goal of each team is to destroy the enemy Nexus. The first team to achieve this is the victor. It is also possible to surrender using a voting system.


A Champion is a hero unit that levels up over the course of the match. Each Champion has unique abilities and is tagged with properties such as 'tank' and 'silence' to describe their play style and notable ability traits.[16] The game was released with 40 Champions, but Riot continued to create new champions post-release using a development pipeline. The pipeline allowed Riot to release a new champion every few weeks even though it take much longer to develop one.[17] There were 95 Champions as of March 31, 2012.[16]

At the start of each match, every player chooses a champion to fight for him in battle. The choice of champions is limited by what the player has unlocked. Each week, certain champions are made temporarily free so that players can try them out without unlocking them.

Champions gain experience by killing enemy minions, champions or buildings. After reaching a certain amount of experience, the champion levels up. Each level increases the champion's stats and adds an ability point that can be spent to improve one of the Champion's unique abilities. The maximum level for a champion is 18.

Players are given base gold at a slow rate throughout the game, and they must acquire more gold either by landing the killing blow on an enemy minion (also known as "Last-Hitting"[18]) or by killing a champion. Some abilities and items also generate extra gold. The acquired gold can be spent at the item shop for various items. Some items can be combined into more powerful items by following predefined recipes[19] These items empower the champions and buying the right items for a champion is a main part of the game's strategy. Numerous large websites are made by fans to share and discuss item/champion combinations.[20][21]

Persistence and meta-game[]



A filled mastery tree.

The Summoner acts as the persistent element in the game, to be used to track statistics and scores for each player.[22][23]

Summoners gain experience points and Influence Points for each battle they participate in. They level up by getting enough experience, unlocking new ways to influence battles.

The Summoner can also choose two summoner spells to bring with it into an in-game session on the Fields of Justice.[22] These spells significantly impact gameplay, and have a high cooldown while costing no mana. All spells can be improved by masteries.[22]


Masteries are perks that affect gameplay, they are commonly referred to in other games as "skill-trees". All of the masteries are passive effects although some augment summoner spells, which can be activated. They are grouped into Offensive, Defensive, and Utility categories. Each group has 6 tiers, within a group all but the first tier are locked when you first start, with a successive tier opening with each 4 points spent in the same group. Lines in the mastery tree imply additional unlocking criteria. The summoner can put one point per level (up to level 30) into masteries. Masteries can be re-distributed at will between battles.


Similar to masteries, runes affect gameplay in minor ways. Runes are categorized into Marks (offensive), Seals (defensive), Glyphs (magic) and Quintessence (all-purpose). They are also grouped into 3 tiers, higher tiers requiring a higher Summoner level. Runes must be unlocked in the Store and it is possible to have more than one copy of a rune. Summoners must arrange their runes in the Runebook to benefit from them. The Runebook has limited number of slots for each rune type. The book has two pages, allowing two different rune builds to be saved and the appropriate one chosen before a battle. A combining system exists for runes: combining two equal-tier runes produces a random rune of the same tier, while combining 5 equal-tier runes produces a higher-tier rune.


The League of Legends Store allows Summoners to purchase additional options through Riot Points (RP) and Influence Points (IP). Riot Points must be bought using real money, while Influence Points are earned by playing the game.

  • Champions can be unlocked for either RP or IP.
  • Skins are alternate looks for champions that can be unlocked for RP only.
  • Boosts to IP and XP gain over a period can be purchased for RP only.
  • Runes can be purchased for IP only so as to not "sell power".
  • Others only rune pages at the moment.
  • Bundles that unlock a large selection of champions can be purchased for RP only.
  • Riot Points can be recharged by credit card or PayPal.


Riot Games has signed deals regarding the distribution of League of Legends in Asia, Europe, and North America. The game is expected to be released in the rest of the world also. The game has already released and is distributed in Australia, USA, Canada and Europe. No public announcements regarding other regions has yet been made.

In Asia, Tencent Inc., China's largest Internet value-added services company, best known for its QQ Instant Messaging client will be in charge of the distribution to Tencent’s growing 300 million Internet user base through its leading QQ Game portal. The deal is one of only a handful of partnerships to bring a U.S.-developed online game directly to China.

In Europe, Riot Games has signed an international licensing partnership with GOA, the videogames department of Orange’s Content Division and Europe’s largest gaming portal. On October 13, 2009 GOA and Riot announced that they would start channeling server access for players located in Europe, to GOA's dedicated servers.[24] This restriction meant that players located in Europe would not be able to play on Riot's servers in the United States. Due to negative community feedback, the channeling decision was rescinded October 16, 2009.[25] In North America, Riot Games will self-publish and operate the game and all of its customer service aspects.

On May 10, 2010, Riot Games announced that they would take over distribution and operation of the game in Europe.[26] To do so, Riot Games established a European HQ in Dublin.[27]

On July 14, 2009, Riot Games announced that the game League of Legends will be free with "no catch".[22][28] There will be a digital copy for download, but there is also a Digital Collector's Copy that will be available to purchase that contains exclusive skins, $10 credit for Riot Points, and 20 champions to access without unlocking them normally via gameplay as well as 4 "special" runes; the Collector's Pack is currently available for $29.99.[29][30] Even though the game is free, Riot Games "plan[s] to continue to add content (characters etc...) with a full production team at very frequent intervals."[31] The game will be supported by microtransactions rather than ads or boxed copy sales.[32]

On 25 February 2010 Riot Games announced that League of Legends will be distributed in South East Asia by an unspecified publisher and blocked SEA IP addresses pursuant to its distribution agreement.[33] The community has raised a number of concerns about the deal and the immediate IP block. On July 16, 2010, Riot Games announced that Garena will publish the game in Southeast Asia.[34]


The Game has won numerous awards including:

  • Gamespy Gamer's Choice Award for PC Game of the Year.[35]
  • IGN Reader's Choice Award for PC Best Strategy Game and PC Best Multiplayer Game [36]
  • PC Gamer's DotA-Style Game of the Year
  • NeoGAF MMO Game of the Year [37]
  • GamersNexus RTS Game of the Year [38]
  • MMOSite Reader's Choice Best MMORTS and Best New MMO 2009 [39]

Reviews of League of Legends have primarily been positive, especially with regards to the gameplay. Most criticism has been related to either the relatively unproven business model, the intense competitiveness and moderate learning curve of the game, frequent server issues, or the amount of content available at release.

IGN awarded League of Legends 8.0 out of 10, highlighting an enjoyable game design, inventive champion design with good customization options and lively visuals. However, the confusing launch was criticized: It was felt that the title was released too early, with some features missing and others to be removed. The chargeable "collectors edition" was also questioned, as at the time of writing it had the same set of features as the free version (which has been changed since[40]). Finally, the reviewer noted that high level players in the game have "little patience for newcomers," though the reviewer believed that matchmaking (not implemented at the time of review), would solve the problem by matching players of similar level together.[41]

See also[]


  1. Nguyen, Thierry (2009-09-01). Clash of The DOTAs. Retrieved on 2009-10-21
  7. 7.0 7.1 Riot Games Insider Team. Riot Games. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Ford, Suzie (2009-01-23). League of Legends: Marc Merrill Q&A. WarCry Network. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  9. 2.o (2009-07-07). E3 ‘09: League Of Legends: Clash of Fates - Riot Games Founder Inteview. True Game Headz. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  10. League Of Legends To Be Heavily Supported After Launch. Gaming Union date = 2009-08-26. Retrieved on 2009-08-26
  11. 11.0 11.1
  12. 12.0 12.1 League of Legends Matchmaking. Riot Games. Retrieved on 2010-05-04
  13. 13.0 13.1 , 
  14. League of Legends Fields of Justice. Riot Games. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  15. Twisted Treeline now available in matchmaking. Riot Games. Retrieved on 2010-03-30
  16. 16.0 16.1
  19. League of Legends FAQ. Riot Games. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Riot Games Summoner Page. Riot Games (2009-07-14). Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  23. League of Legends FAQ. Riot Games. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  24. IP Restrictions in Europe. GOA (2009-10-13). Retrieved on 2009-12-10
  25. GOA and Riot Rescind IP Restriction Decision. GOA (2009-10-16). Retrieved on 2009-12-10
  26. Riot Games to Publish League of Legends in Europe. Riot Games (2010-05-10). Retrieved on 2010-07-26
  27. Riot Games Inc establishes EMEA Headquarters in Dublin. IDA Ireland (2010-07-15). Retrieved on 2010-07-26
  28. League of Legends is Free. Riot Games (2009-07-14). Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  29. Pre-Order the League of Legends Digital Collector's Pack. Riot Games (2009-07-14). Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  30. League of Legends is Free thread page 12. Riot Games (2009-07-15). Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  31. League of Legends is Free Forum page 7. Riot Games (2009-07-14). Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  32. League of Legends is Free Forum page 13. Riot Games (2009-07-15). Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  34. Riot Games Partners with Garena to bring League of Legends to Southeast Asia. Riot Games (2010-07-16). Retrieved on 2010-07-27
  35. PC Choice Award Gamespy
  36. [1] IGN
  37. [2] NeoGAF
  38. [3] GamersNexus
  39. [4] MMOSite
  41. Butts, Steve (November 6, 2009). League of Legends Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-05-23 “The strategy elements are sound, and it can be fun to just pick a lane and start chewing through minions as you work your way towards enemy towers and champions. But sometimes it feels like League of Legends throws too much at the player, both in terms of the number of champions and the general confusion of the larger battles. While that's not enough to dampen your enthusiasm of the game, the vague status of the launch and the more-than-occasional hostility of the community just might.”

External links[]