League of Legends (often abbreviated as LoL, and sometimes as LofL) is an action RTS video game developed and published by Riot Games for Microsoft Windows, inspired by the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) map for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It was first announced on October 7, 2008, and released on October 27, 2009. The game was in a closed beta from April 10, 2009, to October 22, 2009. It then transitioned to open beta until release.
Players are formed into 2 even teams with 1–5 Champion(s) on each team. Each team starts at opposing sides of a map in an area called the "fountain", 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 gains 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). Killing enemies allows champions to purchase "Items" with in-match gold to improve their statistics. 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.
Maps in League of Legends are called Fields of Justice. 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.
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 temporary buff that will help them in battle (such as slowing the enemy and gaining more attack damage, increased damage and increased health regeneration, or an increased mana regeneration and spell cooldown reduction). 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. Victory is also attained if your opponent surrenders, using a voting system, but only 15 minutes (Twisted Treeline) or 20 minutes (Summoner's Rift) or more into the game.
The Summoner acts as the persistent element in the game, to be used to track statistics and scores for each player.
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. These spells significantly impact gameplay, and have a high cooldown while costing no mana. All spells can be improved by masteries.
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. As of May 23, 2011, players were allowed to have multiple saved mastery pages.
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. More rune pages can be purchased from either Influence Points or Riot Points, however the 7 rune page combo can only be purchased with Riot Points. 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.
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