About League of Legends
League of Legends is one of the most popular esports titles in the world. It’s an evolving game that matches two teams of five players against each other to see who can conquer the opponent’s base before they do the same. While the map (in esports at least) is always the same, the huge roster of over 150 characters (titled champions) makes no two games the same. These champions allow players to pick a playstyle they enjoy and fill roles within the game to benefit their team.
Players are rewarded for their teamwork, creativity and especially their practice and eventual mastery of each champion. The game is from a top down perspective rather than first person which makes it easy to see what’s going on when you want to watch rather than play.
Back around 2012 the playerbase started to skyrocket and overtake other huge games dominating our screens like World of Warcraft. As a free to play game it took over the world with even non gamers having heard about it. Passionate fans created communities to bond over their love of the game including here in New Zealand which has had meetups, quiz nights and even viewing parties to watch the World Finals just like you would watch a rugby match with mates. These days while other esports titles might be catching up, League of Legends still remains at the top.
While esports certainly existed before League of Legends, it was the game that truly brought it to more players than ever before. It only took two years before the Staples Center in the USA was sold out for the World Championship and that was only just the beginning. Since then the League of Legends (LoL) esports leagues have been touring the world packing out stadiums in North America, China, Europe and more. Nowadays there are multiple regional leagues that have teams playing the game full time to ultimately represent their region at the World Championship which in 2021 was in front of 73 million viewers around the world.
Players at the very top competing in these national leagues can earn some serious money with plenty of salaries reaching the hundreds of thousands in US dollars and that’s before they’ve even earned any prizes. Prize pools for top regional leagues also all sit in the range of hundreds of thousands with China being the highest just shy of $700,000 in 2021. But those are all the gateways for international events, the two biggest being the Mid Season Invitational and the World Championship which each run annually with Worlds reaching $2,225,000 USD.
Here in New Zealand our very first televised esports league featured League of Legends as the game of choice and even included a live grand final at MOTAT in Auckland. Soon after the game was chosen to be played by both secondary and tertiary schools in their own inter-school leagues which have also included their own live finals at events like Armageddon.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
A typical League game will last from 20 minutes to sometimes over an hour with the average games coming to about 30 minutes. In competitive matches even choosing your characters takes a lot of strategy which can’t be rushed. Communication, memory, hand eye coordination and even mental fortitude are all skills players will develop even in casual games with their mates but certainly in competitive matches like the ranked mode or when competing against another school team.
Most players in LoL play it casually which is actually quite different to competing. There is a ranked mode where players will try their best to win but even that is usually on their own. When played as an esport LoL can benefit from a huge variety of talents outside of playing the game. These can include things like coaching and managing a team but also extends well beyond to anything from commentating the game, refereeing a match or even being the “spectator” by controlling the in-game camera for the viewers.
League of Legends is a T rated game with light combat that lacks any real violence on screen despite the big swords and powerful wizards. League of Legends features matchmaking where the game finds both opponents and any extra teammates you need for your match. This allows players to queue as a team of up to 5 together or play solo with 4 random players. In casual games players can get by with just using the chat in game but when playing seriously they’ll need quick communication so will usually jump into voice chat in a third party program such as Discord.