With over 27 million active players and counting, League of Legends is one of the most popular games in the world (if not the most popular). But for those who have never experience a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, they can be a bit daunting because many players already in the community expect you to know how to play the game (and play it well!). So if you’re looking for a quick way to learn the basics of the game and finally make it through a match without someone calling you an uber-noob, then look no further. Here are 15 League of Legends tips for beginners that can help you hit the ground running.
15. Try Out Different Characters
If you’re just getting into League of Legends, don’t worry too much about trying to find the perfect character or position you’re best suited for. Instead, just focus on testing out a whole bunch of different characters. Actually, the more champions you try, the better sense you’ll get of what role suits your playstyle; be it ranged attack damage, melee fighting, or tanky support. Most game options don’t even become available until you get your profile to level 5, so having a young profile makes it a good time to play as many champions as you can.
14. Learn the Map
The main game map for League of Legends is called Summoner’s Rift and it’s made up of three lanes — top, middle, and bottom. The winding paths located in-between the lanes is referred to as the jungle and it’s where certain monsters spawn that can give your champion special buffs if you defeat them. Where you go as a starting position on the map should largely depend on the champion you chose since many are best suited for a particular role. The five main positions in League of Legends are top, mid, jungle, ADC, and support. As the name suggests, top is where the top lane champion starts. Tanks and bruisers fare well in top lane because they can survive on their own and generally either absorb or dish out a lot of damage. Mid lane champions typically focus on ability power (AP) and engage in one-on-one battles with the opposing team’s mid lane champion. The ADC (Attack Damage Carry) plays the bottom lane and needs to concentrate on farming minions early game in order to buy gear and increase their attack damage. The support also plays the bottom lane and has a variety of responsibilities including protecting the ADC, helping the ADC get kills, and placing vision wards to aid in map control. Jungle is the one position that doesn’t have an assigned lane; they’re supposed to level up by killing the monsters in the jungle and then make assassination attempts on enemy champions in lane.
13. Try to Learn One Position Really Well
In order to really learn all the ins and outs of a particular position, you need to play it over and over again. Repeatedly playing the same position will also help you master the champions for that position and help make you a more competitive player.
12. Learn the Hotkeys
Much like in real-time strategy games, using hotkeys will save precious time in League of Legends, and could make the difference between winning or losing a battle. The main keystrokes you should try to memorize are the following:
Q,W,E,R – Champion’s main abilities
F,D – Summoner spells
1,2,3,4,5,6 – Item slots (only work if the corresponding slot contains an item that can be activated)
B – Teleports your champion back to base
Spacebar – Centers the camera on your champion (very useful in hectic situations like team fights)
G – Send a ping to teammates to communicate intentions or threats.
Tab – Opens the stats page for the game in progress
P – Opens the menu of purchasable items
11. Stay Behind Minions
You should think of your minion waves as moving shields that save you from taking damage from enemy turrets and minions. Whenever there are friendly minions nearby, you should let them go into battle ahead of you so they can soak up damage while you concentrate on using your abilities and hitting specific targets.
10. Stay Out of Enemy Turret Range
Staying behind your minions is a good rule to follow in general, but at no time is it more import than when you’re attacking an enemy turret. Turrets are defensive structures that deal increasing damage the longer you stand within their firing range. You should almost never try attacking a turret unless you have a substantial group of minions with you to act as a buffer. Knowing how difficult it can be to attack the enemy’s turret should also make it apparent that it’s a good idea to stay close to your own turret if you’re worried about stronger enemy champions killing you in lane.
9. Try to Survive as Long as Possible
Whenever you get killed by an enemy champion, that champion gets a large chunk of experience and gold. Repeatedly dying gives the enemy a huge advantage because it affords them the chance to to level up and purchase powerful gear more quickly. Not to mention dying takes your champion out of the game for a period of time that increases as the game goes on. If you can find a way to survive an engagement you think you might lose, it’s a much better outcome than just going all out and dying in a blaze of glory. Keep in mind the champion abilities you have at your disposal; some abilities might help you elude enemies in sticky situations. If you find you’re constantly getting caught and ganked by the enemy, try choosing the Summoner Spell “Flash” at the champion select screen. Using Flash allows your champion to teleport a short distance in any direction. It’s absolutely indispensable for getting out of tough spots and is pretty much a prerequisite for competitive play.
8. Learn How to Last-Hit
Many players who are new to League of Legends might think it’s fine to just sit back and auto-attack minion wave after minion wave until you’re in a position to attack the closest enemy turret, but this approach will surely cost you in the long run as you level up your profile and get matched against more skilled players. To really get the most out of minion waves, you should be focused on getting the killing blow on each possible minion because that way you get a gold bonus for the kill. This gold adds up quickly (especially if you’re the ADC) and can translate into your team getting the upper hand both in lane and in team fights. Keep an eye on enemy minion’s health bars and make sure you’re ready to attack when you see one low enough for you to kill with a single shot. The only position that shouldn’t be as concerned with last-hitting is the support because their job is to help the ADC get the last-hits.
7. Learn the Language
Once you’ve been playing for a while, you might notice some players using specific acronyms or shorthand to describe different things in the game. Communicating this way saves keystroke, which saves time, which could give your team the competitive advantage in a tough match. Here are some of the key terms you should be familiar with.
LoL – League of Legends
CS – Creep Score (the number of minions a champion has killed in the game)
Gank – Short for “Gang Kill” (surprise attacks that leave an enemy champion outnumbered)
CC – Crowd Control (any abilities that render enemy champions unable to fight for a duration)
MR – Magic Resist
Wave Clear – Refers to a champion’s ability to clear waves of minions quickly
KS – Kill Steal (dealing the final blow to an enemy champion after a teammate does most of damage)
Leash – A technique used to help junglers that involves dealing damage to, but not killing, a monster)
Drag – Short for Dragon (A tough monster that gives a powerful buff but usually requires teamwork to kill)
AFK – Away From Keyboard
6. Communicate With Your Team
If your team can communicate with each other effectively, you’ll have a much better shot at winning than simply playing in silence. This doesn’t mean you all need put on headsets and get on a group chat, but you should always do things like call out what position you want to play before the game starts, or announce when the enemy champion(s) you’ve been fighting are missing from their lane. Of course, not everyone will always be as chatty as you want them to be, but that doesn’t mean they’re not benefiting from the information you give them.
5. Make Sure You Have Time to Play a Full Game
Typically League of Legends matches last from 30 to 45 minutes but sometimes they can take over an hour. Since there is no pausing the game once it begins, you should make sure you can spend the entire duration of the game at your computer. You should also try ridding yourself of distractions by doing things like turning off the TV and putting your cell phone on silent because even looking away from the screen for few seconds could result in a critical error. Never start a game if you think there’s a chance you’ll have to bail on it in order fulfill a prior obligation like school or work. Leaving a game before it finishes not only greatly reduces your teammates chances if winning, it can result in penalties that make you have to wait a certain period of time before you can play again.
4. Find a Favorite Character and Look Up a Guide for Them
There are tons of online resources for League of Legends, each with their own guides for how to “build” specific champions. Most guides should be viewed as flexible templates in terms of which special abilities to level up and what gear to buy in-game. Keep in mind that many champions can fill several roles and positions, so make sure you’re using a guide that’s in accordance with the position you’re playing for that champion.
3. Have an Idea of the Items You Want to Buy Before the Game Starts
After spending some time looking at champion guides you will likely get a pretty good feeling for some of the key items you should be buying on a regular basis. At this point, start trying to memorize the cost of those particular items so you’ll remember how much you need to save up before returning to base to buy them. Keeping a loose price index in the back of your mind helps you become more efficient when deciding to buy items and can afford you the opportunity to get the upper hand on your opponent in lane.
2. Be Cautious About Pushing Your Lane
Another reason why you shouldn’t just auto-attack waves of minions is because you could end up pushing your lane too far out. If your lane is pushed out it means you’re closer to your enemies turret than they are to yours — making you a much more susceptible to ganks by the enemy. If you look on the mini-map you will see a river that cuts diagonally across the entire map. This river serves as a good landmark you can use to determine if you’re in a safe zone (ie. closer to your turret) or a danger zone (ie. closer to the enemy’s turret). You should always try and keep one eye on the mini-map to try and see where the enemy jungler is. If you can see the jungler is all the way on the opposite side of the map, than you can probably assume it’s pretty safe to push your lane and do some turret damage if the opportunity presents itself.
1. Farm Continuously Throughout the Game
During the middle and late stages of a game you might find yourself frequently leaving your assigned lane or jungle to try and complete objectives like destroying a tower or killing the dragon. During these times it’s easy to forget about farming minions because you’re more focused on helping teammates and winning team fights. But keep in mind you should always be farming in-between these other activities because it’s easy for a large groups of enemy minions to pile up and overpower your turrets if a lane is left unchecked (especially late-game). Clearing a large minion wave might actually be a better use of your time if you’re far away from the rest of your team because, chances are, you won’t be able to reach them in time to be of any help and clearing large minion waves can get you a lot of gold if you do it correctly.