This article is sponsored by ESL Gaming.
League of Legends has come a long way since it first hit the scene back in 2009. With 150 million registered players, 117 million active monthly players, and 11 million active players daily, it is now arguably considered the world’s most popular game and the world’s most popular esport.
And it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Its huge player base, its massive role in esports, ever-evolving nature, and new mobile iteration League of Legends: Wild Rift, means it’s continuously drawing in more users.
Jumping into a game with so much history and such an experienced player base can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. To ease the growing pains, we’ve compiled a few handy tips. But before we get into it, here’s the most important tip — have fun. Don’t stress too much if you don’t get the hang of it right away, it’s a game after all. So relax, enjoy yourself, and remember, everyone starts somewhere, and even the most seasoned among us are prone to the odd mistake. We’re only human. Well, most of us anyway.
On that note, let’s dive in, shall we?
Not checking if you actually have time to play the game
We’ll get a proper amateur one out of the way first. News flash — you can’t pause League of Legends. And while most matches last between 30 to 45 minutes (and anywhere between 15 and 30 for Wild Rift), there’s no fixed time limit.
So make sure you’ve stocked up on Red Bull and Twisties (chicken flavour, obviously), that you’ve emptied your bladder and your bowels, that no one’s going to bother you, and you don’t have prior commitments — or you’ll end up being the person who leaves the game early, screwing not only yourself, but your teammates too. Don’t be that person. No one likes that person.
Picking the wrong time to fight in lane
One of the simplest mistakes people make, not just in League of Legends but any MOBA game, is randomly punching on with their opponent. Sure, it’s handy to get in free damage where you can — if they’re not in a spot to respond, why not?
But there are times when you want to pick a fight, and there’s absolutely the worst time to pick a fight. It all depends on where your minions are at any given moment, but also the difference in levels between you and your opponent. If your enemy has just hit level 3, and you’re still stuck on level 2, then you want to play relatively safe until you level up. The opponent has access to better or more skills, and against certain champions that specialise in capitalising on the early game, you need to respect their power. Being behind a level isn’t great, but the amount of experience and gold you lose from dying is even worse.
Another time you don’t want to pick huge fights is when your direct opponent — that is, the hero or heroes in your lane — have built up a large wave of minions. As your minions edge closer to the enemy tower, you’ll generally notice (especially in the early game) that your wave will thin out and the enemy’s wave will become enormous. If you pick a fight around that time, and die, you’ll miss out on an enormous glut of XP and gold when that minion wave eventually marches forward.
Kills are never guaranteed. Minions are.
Attacking turrets like you’re Rambo
Listen, kid, love the enthusiasm, but in case you haven’t noticed, attacking turrets without a plan is suicide. Beginners sometimes fail to take into account the fact that the longer you stand in front of an enemy turret, the more damage it deals.
So what should you do? Stay out of turret firing range, stupid. Or, make use of your minions to get closer in without taking damage, which brings me to my next point.
Use minions to your advantage, and don’t forget to last hit
Many greenhorns fail to realise that you can basically use your minions as hum– er, minion shields. Seriously, if you’re near friendly minions, just get in behind them and let them charge into the battlefield first. That way they soak up opposition attacks, and you advance into a better position without taking damage. Everybody wins. And don’t worry about the minions, they don’t have souls.
And while it feels good to mindlessly destroy these little suckers like a rampaging god, but relax — think before you rampage. Experienced players know that the final killer blow dealt on minions is the one that deals the most rewards for you, the minion slayer. And killing minions is often safer than trying to go for a risky gank. Killing 15 minions is roughly equivalent to the amount of gold you’ll get from a single kill — and you don’t have to roll the dice on potentially dying, losing XP from not being in lane, or putting teammates at risk to do it.
If you can maximise your amount of final-blows, or ‘last-hits’, then you’ll maximise the amount of gold you earn, and will therefore be able to afford better items. Do you see where this is going? So keep an eye out on minion health bars and make sure to swoop in when you see an opening to one hit-kill.
Kills don’t mean everything
Sure, hitting a massive combo and watching the enemy team get lit up is one of the best dopamine rushes in video games. But too many players — not just beginners — often obsess over their own stats, and not the situation at hand.
While it’s always a bonus to get one or two kills early on, you win or lose as a team. There’s no point getting that early advantage if you don’t move around the map and help your teammates snowball too. There’s also no point being a couple of kills ahead if you don’t pressure your opponent in lane, or you spend so much time wandering the map that they’re able to farm enough minions to counterbalance that earlier disadvantage.
Always think of the team first. Everyone has a different job, every champion has different strengths and weaknesses, and every player on a team will be in a slightly different situation. But you all ultimately need to work together to win.
Sticking to the same character
It’s a natural human inclination to stick to what we know, so when starting LoL for the first time, you could be tempted to keep your experimenting to a minimum when it comes to characters.
Here’s why that’s a mistake — the more champions you try, the more overall experience you’ll have, and you’ll be able to tell a lot quicker what type of champion you’re most suited to. You’ll learn the weaknesses of every champion type, and you’ll get a handle on what their basic attacks and combos are. That’s super handy in battle: you’ll know how much distance you need to stay safe, keeping you alive for longer and having more fun.
So go on, get experimenting.
Now that you’ve taken your first steps towards LoL mastery, why not test your newfound knowledge on the big stage? ESL is hosting a huge League Of Legends: Wild Rift mobile tournament — the League Of Legends: Wild Rift Oceania Championships presented by ESL Mobile Open.
And don’t fret if you think you’re not good enough for a tournament, the competition is open for veterans and newbies alike — so it’s the perfect chance to test your skills in a competitive yet welcoming atmosphere. Good luck! You’re going to need it.
I kid, I kid — I believe in you. Now go and make me proud.