League of Legends - Esports
Welcome to the Summoner's Rift
Created by Riot Games in 2009, League of Legends was inspired by Defence of the Ancients, a custom map on another one of their games - Warcraft III, and has since gone on to become arguably the world's biggest esport. The game boasts more than 115 million players, with 50 million of those playing daily, as well as 13 professional tournament leagues running around the world.
League of Legends sees two teams of five players battling it out to defend their area of the map while attacking their opponents'. In battle, each player controls their own champion with each champion having its own unique abilities and styles to how they play. To win a game, a team has to destroy their opponent's nexus, a structure each team has in their area of the map.
The 2019 League of Legends World Championships final saw a prize pool of more than $6.4m up for grabs, which helped bag an audience from across the world with more than 44 million viewers! It's fair to say that there are rich rewards on offer for the games best players!
Getting Started in League of Legends
To get started with League of Legends you'll need to sign up for an account - the process asks for an email address and your date of birth, and gives you a chance to get a password set up. Once that's all sorted, you'll be able to download the Windows or the Mac installer.
A key thing to understand before you play League of Legends is the roles that the players play. If you've ever looked at an esports roster, you'll see there are five roles: top, jungle, mid, ADC, and support. The roles see players specialising in certain aspects of the game, and Stuart Bridges's explainer article covers them really well.
Another thing you'll need to think about before you get up and running with a game is how the games are actually laid out - and it ties in quite closely with the role positions players take on. The map is divided up into lanes, and players will move through those lanes through the game. Where players spend most of their game time is usually determined by the role they're playing.
Start Playing League of Legends
Even though League of Legends is a 5v5 team game, you don't need to have your friends by your side to get playing. If you're flying solo, head to the solo queue and the game will automatically match you up with other people looking to play.
Once you start playing League of Legends, there are few things you'll need to remember to make sure you get settled into the swing of things. Doing battle generates you and your team gold - killing an enemy champion is the best way to do it. The gold you earn can be used to power up your champion or buy items in the in-game store... so you'll be able to increase things like your damage output or your defensive stats. Whatever the game calls for, there's probably a way to do it with gold!
Meanwhile, the different combinations of champions chosen by the teams means that every game you play will always feel a little different from the last. With more than 140 different champions to choose from and each representing a different play style, the combinations are almost endless. Learning the best combination of champions is an ever-evolving skill and something even professional players work on.
Improve Your Skills
Like any game, the best way to improve your skills is to keep practicing, but blind practice probably won't lead to making much headway. The first step of improving at anything is understanding your current skill level. OP.gg is a platform that automatically tracks your in-game performance, and provides lots of data and analytics that can highlight areas you can work on to improve.
Sometimes, self-improvement can only take you so far and leaning on someone more experienced can give you a helping hand. Coaching sessions are a great way to help you improve your League of Legends skills, and platforms like Gamer Sensei connects coaches and players together to help make the magic happen... though most coaches charge an hourly fee for their services.
As well as playing on the game's ranked latter - the solo queue mentioned before - playing in events and tournaments can be a good way to expose yourself to new ways of playing and new strategies. Broadening your League of Legends horizons can help you grow as a player. Joining an organised esports team like Team Norse Thunder could also be a good idea!
League of Legends at Team Norse Thunder
League of Legends is a big part of life at Team Norse Thunder. In January 2021, the team appointed Eric Enlow to help set up the team's esports program and a formative roster launched in the USA before switching to becoming UK-based.
Team Norse Thunder now has an elite-level WildRift team and a community-level PC-based LoL team. The best way to keep up with their progress and see how they're getting on is by following the team's Twitter account or liking the Facebook page.