League of Legends is one of the most immersive games in the world. As of the beginning of the year, it boasts of over 100 million players. This makes it one of the largest MOBAs in the world, with more players playing it than the population of a great chuk of countries. Being the way it is, beginners often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they have to digest in such a short amount of time. Don’t worry, though. Nobody gets good overnight. This is an (almost!) complete guide to helping you get on your feet by avoiding some of the most common mistakes beginners make and following in the feet of legends. These Tips for League of Legends Beginners are the perfect start of your journey to level 30 and beyond.
Work on the first five levels
In order to access the greater bulk of League of Legends gameplay options, you first have to make your way to level five. One of these functions is the heart of the game – player vs player. In other words, anything you do before you get to level five only serves as a precursor to the main game. Don’t stress yourself out about which character you should specialize with or what position is going to suit you the best.
Before then, your focus should be on trying out as many characters as you can and getting a feel of them. Try and figure out what your preferred playing style is – melee or range. What class of heroes do you prefer – assassins or mages? These are just some of the most fundamental questions that you should have in mind while getting a feel for the game.
Study the map and get used to the different positions
In order to effectively communicate with your teammates, you’ll need to know what you’re going to say. Of course, you’d expect a community as large as League of Legends to have a lot of lingo. And you should expect it. Don’t worry about getting too good too fast either, because an essential part of learning the League of Legends jargon is getting to know the general layout of Summoner’s Rift.
The map is comprised of three lanes – the top, middle and bottom. The area in-between this lanes is referred to as the jungle. The team bases can be located at the bottom left and top right corners of the map. The position you play on the team is determined by the champion you select and the part of the map you decide to begin the game. There are five main positions you can start the game from, and which you’ll be hearing every so often:
Top: This refers to the champion that remains at the top lane. This role is normally taken by bruisers/tanks – who are, by the bay, melee characters. These are guys that deal/take a whole lot of damage. Some of them even fill both roles at the same time
Mid: These champions, obviously, spend most of their time in the middle lane. Mid-lane champions usually have AP, (solid ability power).
ADC: This is one of the two champions who occupy the bottom lane. ADCs have the assigned role of farming minions early into the game, leveling up and buying additional gear as often as possible in order to increase the range of their attack.
Support: Like ADCs, support champions also occupy the bottom lane. Despite the flack they are often given, supports are a crucial part of a typical LoL game. They help keep ADCs alive and land kills, and they can also place wards on the map in order to increase the visibility of the team.
Jungle: Junglers don’t have an assigned role like tops and mids. These guys move around the jungle killing anything that walks and can go into any lane to help out their teammate. This way, for instance, they make pretty decent stealth players. They can sneak up on an unsuspecting opponent help out their mates.
Try and play every position before specialising
When playing the game, you don’t have to dive into the game head first. For the first thirty levels, at least, you don’t necessarily need a concrete, well-detailed plan into how you’re going to beat the enemy. It wouldn’t hurt, but often times, newbies spend too much time trying to strategize that they forget to have fun and explore different characters. At the same time, going in blind isn’t something you should be too fond of, either. Once you’ve decided which position you like the most, you can begin to specialize. The more you play a single position, the more you master the finer details and the better you get.
However, of these positions, the least recommended to specialize at early on is jungling. It may seem pretty simple at first – fun, even, but when playing with pros, it’s a much more specialized role then the others. It requires very specific items, skills, champions and experience. The latter three can only come as a result of repeated exposure and practice. The only thing that sets in-game items apart is that you only need to be at level 20 to access them.
Maintain constant location awareness
Another thing you’re going to have to learn early on is awareness of your surroundings. In League of Legends, this is done via the map. Sure, it’s important to know what’s happening in your immediate surroundings, but you should have a sharp eye for what’s going on off-screen as well. This prevents situations where the enemy takes you by surprise or missing an opportunity that would have helped you break through enemy lines.
Practice with your champions often
Together with positions, another thing that can only come with loads of practice is champions. The best way to learn how and get used to a specific champion is to play five to twenty games with them at a time.
But don’t get so lost in a single champion you forget to explore the rest. Diversity is as crucial within the game as it is in real life. However, there’s so much stuff in the game right now there’s no realistic way to experience everything at once. The most sound advice you can get regarding this is up to twice a week, try the feel of a hero you’ve never used before – for instance, if that champion is on the free rotation.
Try to use champion’s abilities in more than one way
One of the other things you’re going to find out with time is that specific champions’ abilities are more useful in some situations rather than others. For instance, Caitlyn’s move, where she fires a net from a rifle, can be used as a defensive tactic to slow down an enemy target. At the same time, it can be used when retreating since it has a powerful kick that knocks her backwards.
Basically, as you continue to play with your champions, try and notice the fine print in their abilities. There’s a great chance you might be missing something. Don’t get too comfortable in a single place. Does the player’s special attack come with a character buff that’s not too obvious and may in fact be more valuable? Is there a greater impact on mobility than the damage that the attack is dealing? How did you opponent use a certain character that made them so difficult to attack or defend against?
Look for character-specific walkthroughs
League of Legends, being the way it is, means there’s no shortage of resources online on how to build different characters. Probuilds, Mobafire, Lolking and Lolfinity are some of the great resources for poking around to get a good head start. If you’re a Redditor, the summoner school sub also contains lots of resources for newbies. The main difference between League of Legends and most other games is that walkthroughs aren’t these step-by-step manuals that show you how to do what to do. For that matter, they are more of frameworks rather than walkthroughs. Use them to learn which gear to purchase and which abilities to level up first. Some guides extend as far as detailing how you’re supposed to play certain roles.
Triple-check every piece of advice you get
When you’re just starting out, it’s normal to feel like you know nothing about the game and everyone else has been playing it since forever. Well, you’re just starting out, so you technically don’t know anything. However! One thing you may learn over time is that lots of people in the League of Legends space have no idea what they are talking about. So, if, for instance, someone starts yelling at you to buy thornmail in the heat of the moment, you can listen to them, or don’t. Once the game ends, though, check their advice over to decide whether they duped you or actually made sense.
Playing Morgana in the mid lane is very different from using her as a support alongside an ADC. Make sure your sources back up their big talk before you start taking advice from them.
Have a plan for what items you need pre-game
The aforementioned walkthroughs are essentially shopping lists that are tailored for certain positions and play styles. With time, you will likely know everything offhead. But as you start off, you need to have certain items beforehand, often specific to your champion.
Along the same lines, it will do you a lot of good to remember the cost and availability of the items you use the most often. For instance, a common tactic is to stay in a single lane until the player has enough gold to buy a B.F. Sword when playing as an ADC. It gives a much-needed boost to attack damage early in the game.
Don’t have an overly-detailed plan since people are unpredictable and it likely won’t go the way you think. However, having a loosely-structured plan is much better than going in blind or picking whatever looks coolest.
Master the controls
There isn’t a lot to be said regarding this other than you should have the hotkeys stored up in your muscle memory by the time you hit level 30. For the sake of completeness, these are the ones you’ll likely use the most.
Q, W, E, R: these hold your main abilities you use in the game.
B: Call back your champion to the base.
G: Ping your teammates over text.
P: Open the shop window.
S: Stop your champions from doing whatever they are doing.
Y: Focus/unfocus the camera on your champion.
Tab: Open the stats page.
Spacebar: Focus the camera on the champion without locking the camera.
The League of Legends lingo
As language does, there is often a need to simplify the most commonly used phrases in the game. These comprise the League of Legends jargon and learning them is the easiest way of assimilating yourself into the League of Legends culture. Remembering them may be a bit of a task at first, but nothing it won’t be too much work if you put your mind to it. Part of the assimilation process is learning the anagrams and lexicon that come up the most often:
As the meaning of the word suggests, this is the action of luring an opponent into a trap, most times by making them thinking you’re weak then jumping in for the kill.
CC: Crowd control
These are abilities that are used to limit an enemy champions’ ability to fight. This includes moves that stun, blind, disarm or root opponents, for example.
Farming refers to a champion killing as many champions as they can in order to gain gold. Keep in mind though, that some champions have abilities that make them better at farming than others.
Gold will only be granted to the champion that gets the last shot or hit before a minion or monster dies and is aptly named ‘last hit.’
CS: “Creep score”
When a champion manages to get the last hit, it increases the creep score. Early on in the game, this metric can be used to gauge how well a player is doing against their opponents,
Drake: Short for dragon
You probably already know what a dragon is, but we’ll still tell you anyway. To borrow the definition from urban dictionary, it’s a ‘big scary monster that breathes fire’ and that you will want to kill in order to receive pretty decent bonuses. It can only be killed with the help of others, so if you see this, someone wants help killing one.
This refers to getting all the credit for doing quarter the work for killing a boss someone else spent all their time to beat.
MR: Magic resist
Magic Resistance is a stat that’s common to all units – minions, buildings and monsters. An increase in magic resistance leads to a reduction in the damage you can deal on a unit.
Technically ‘Gang Kill’ in full, this is a surprise attack on an unsuspecting opponent.
Kiting refers to the act of both dealing damage and running away at the same time.
This is a method that involves attacking monsters in the jungle to reduce their health or distract them, all the while leaving the last hit to the jungler.
This is an ability possessed by some champions, which enables them to kill a whole wave of minions is a single sweep (or otherwise pretty fast).
Sadly, new jargon comes and others die. This list isn’t exhaustive. The only way to get fluent at LoL lingo is to speak it and be exposed to it as much as you can.
Use ARAM and co-op to test out new stuff
ARAM refers to ‘All Random, All Mid.’ Every player is assigned a random champion for each game and it’s a one lane map, again, hence the anagram. Additionally, you can only buy items when you die.
There’s also a unique snowball ability that’s only allowed inside ARAM. Including this and games against bots, people are a lot less serious about the results. Based on that, it’s the perfect place to test out something you’re not quite sure about yet.
The Social Aspect
Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re new
It’s no secret that MOBAs are full of jerks, trolls and idiots. As with any society, though, these kinds of people form a small percentage of the total. A greater deal of LoL players will be glad to help newcomers. Don’t be scared to ask your fellow players how to do things you aren’t entirely sure about. Besides, this information will also help your team know you’re still in the process of figuring out the game.
Keep the communication with your teammates up
You don’t necessarily have to become friends with every person you ever play the game with. In fact, if personal experience is any indicator, you likely won’t! However, communication is an extremely important part of the game. Call your desired position before the game starts, strike up a conversation, call out someone being a jerk. Some people will be unresponsive, but give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen by setting a good example, after all?
The voice chat option in League of Legends, released in March this year, is still pretty young. It’s also limited to pre-made teams so you can’t exactly communicate with everyone. If you want more mature (but unregulated) options, there’s always Discord, Skype, Teamspeak, Mumble and Curse Voice.
On a similar note, if you’re really serious about getting good at the game, you may need a serious update to your game peripherals. A gaming mouse (seriously! It makes a big difference!) and a mechanical keyboard are the two best places to start. If you can afford one, a great headset wouldn’t hurt to have.
Mind your friends
League is much more fun when you play with people you know. However well you may know someone though, when a duel can only be settled at Summoner’s Rift, things tend to get messy. If you’re a newbie, and play with someone who’s played the game since the betas came out, you will likely meet very advanced players. Getting your ass kicked like that obviously take a whole lot of fun from the game.
Make sure you can stay at your desk for a whole game
Most games on Summoner’s Rift last for about 45 minutes. If you’re playing with people who really know what they are doing, though, it can go for as much as an hour. Predictably enough, there’s no pause button. Once the game gets going, you will have to brave the whole thing out – commit yourself totally to the task. Failing to pay attention to the game even for a few seconds could lead to a great oversight.
For that reason, it’s a great idea to get rid of anything that might distract you. Keep anything that might make you leave the desk or look away from the monitor as far away as possible – run to the bathroom, have a meal, lock the dog out of the room and have your phone on silent. Remember that quitting the game while an event is ongoing (even inadvertently) could lead to penalties like temporary suspensions.
Keep your life going
This one’s a bit obvious, but staying alive in the game is critical to winning a match. When you die, whoever killed you gets a great percentage of the gold and experience you’ve already amassed, making them more powerful. Additionally, dying will make you sit through cooldowns and prevent you from doing a bunch of stuff like getting gear, gold and generally makes you useless. You know, like ordinary death.
As the game goes on, and the more you die, the cooldowns subsequently get longer and longer. Death isn’t to be treated lightly. Retreat will always be the better option, rather than sticking around when you don’t think you’ll make it.
Don’t let yourself become food
Another thing you should note about death in the League of Legends franchise is that the more you die, the more the opponents prosper. This can lead to a snowball effect that spirals out of control faster than you can say ‘out of mana.’ If a single champion somehow manages to kill you two or more times, you will have ‘fed’ them. This turns them into chaotic unstoppable monsters that will need your whole team to bust.
On the second death, you should start noticing that they are targeting you in order to feed off you. The best strategy is to ask for help and curb the situation as soon as possible. Retreat as much as you can from the feeder whilst remembering to farm. Once you’ve racked up an adequate amount of cash, you can head over to the base again and get some gear that will enable you deal with that foe.
Learn from your mistakes
One fact you’ll have to accept, no matter how good you get at the game is that you’re going to die a lot. Best you can do is get used to it and make it a learning experience. It’s an excellent place to decide what you should and what you shouldn’t do with a certain champion or when faced with a certain opponent. It’s essential to respond appropriately to multiple deaths at a certain foe’s hand.
Whenever you’re confused about who may have killed you, just click on the ‘death recap’ option that usually pops up after your deaths. It should result in a window like so:
It’s not necessary to memorise everything that’s presented to you on screen, but it’s extremely useful for keeping track of recurring trends. One of the main things that seperates newbies from experienced players is the learning part. Good players always reflect on what they may have done wrong and adapt.
Stay behind your minions!
This is perhaps the most useful piece of advice anyone could ever give you regarding strategy inside League of Legends. Minions can act as an incredible cushion to shield you from all kinds of damage – from opposing champions, other minions and even towers. Whenever you can, let a group of minions attack the foe before you jump into the foray. They are especially great for distracting enemy towers and blocking special abilities when your opponents try to unleash them upon you.
Also, don’t forget to keep track of your minions’ health bars, especially those in your immediate vicinity. The last thing you want is for them to end up dying and leaving you stranded.
Keep away from the towers
Staying behind your minions is an important strategy often utilized by players in the League of Legends space. However, the most important time you’re going to need those helpful minions is when trying to take down enemy towers. Towers are perhaps more responsible for more deaths in the League of Legends space than any other defensive structure. This is thanks to their ability to eat away great chunks of your health at a time and they can’t be damaged with special attacks. The only real approach towards taking down a tower is with a premeditated plan and a solid wall of minions before you.
Similarly, you can always push back to the closest tower for support if you’re being overwhelmed by an opponent. Hugging a tower like this fashions you an extra layer of offensive power, helping to wipe out waves of minions while keeping foes at bay.
Learn how to last-hit
Despite what it may look like when you’re watching others play, killing minions isn’t just right clicking until your opponent falls on the ground and dies. The game is more about efficiency than it is brute strength alone. Auto-attacking is a thing, sure, but it’s not a very effective thing. It won’t do you a lot of good and it’s perhaps the least productive way imaginable of taking out your opponent.
The only thing that matters if you want to reap that sweet sweet gold (and experience) from farming minions is focusing on the killing blow. Monitor the enemy’s health closely wherever you encounter a group of them together. Even more importantly, make sure to aim and land your attacks so you’re the one that lands the killing blow on them. This is normally indicated by a little jingling sound and a number popping up to indicate how much gold you earned from the kill, like so:
Pay attention to your Creep Score
At the same time, being a good last-hitter isn’t a skill that you’re going to perfect overnight. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error, and, by extension, a lot of practice. Creep Score is a metric that helps you keep track of how efficient a farmer you are. You can find out your score by pressing the tab button to open up the stats window during a game. If you prefer to be bleeding edge, you can wait till the game is finished and checking up on your match performance in the history page:
Using this, you can even calculate your CS/min by using how long the game lasted as a dividend. A good average is 10 CS/min unless you’ve gotten really good and can reach as much as 15CS/min.
Don’t blindly push lanes
Yet another reason you shouldn’t just set your champion in auto-attack mode to farm minions is that it cuts short the rhythm of the battle between your team and the NPCs. Getting a last hit merely steals the killing blows from your minions, whilst auto-attack pushes your wave of minions forward. All the while, recall that there’s no direct way of controlling your minions, meaning if they start heading into enemy territory, you’ll follow them blindly and increase the risk of getting yourself slaughtered by a whole ton.
For instance, the safest position to be in on the bottom lane is any place that’s behind the river that divides the map in two. The way the game was designed, you can use the terrain to your advantage – as a natural barrier against advances and ambushes. Pushing your minions beyond the halfway mark is diving in headfirst into the danger zone.
At times, though, pushing your lane is actually a good idea, so you can suppress an offense or go on the offensive yourself. At the end of the day, though, you have to be considerate about the kind of risk management strategy you have. The most common mistake made by beginners when they get an edge and start to push to the offensive is jumping in without a plan. It’s the most sure way to get yourself and possibly your teammate obliterated.
Never stop farming
It’s tempting to think of minion kills as something you only need to worry about at the very beginning of the game. But you should always be farming in-between other activities. Taking out waves of enemy minions is important in the late-game phase because large groups of them can easily decimate one (or more) of your towers if your whole team is off fighting on another part of the map. Clearing a wave or two of minions to get some more gold might also be a better use of your time than making the trek over to another part of the map to join into a team battle.
In-game currencies and items
Don’t use up your RP needlessly
RP (Riot Points) are one of the many in-game currencies you can use in the League of Legends franchise to permanently unlock champions, among other things. The other currency that can be used to unlock champions is BE (Blue Essences). BE can easily be acquired inside the game the more you play. However, this isn’t so for RP. The only way of acquiring RP is spending real-world money. It’s pretty easy to fall into the temptation of spending RP to unlock champions, typically when you’re just starting out. This is especially dangerous because you’re just starting off, and you may later find that you’re more suited to a different character, anyway. The best way to test out which characters best fit your playing style is taking advantage of the free weekly rotations. Stick to your favorite champions and unlock the others with time as you accumulate more BE.
The free to play scheme is one of the biggest money sucking ploys on the planet. It’s pretty easy to fall into the pit of wasting tons and tons of RP (and subsequently, cash) on League of Legends. A good rule to follow is to be careful with how you spend your RP and don’t spend RP on anything you can buy for BE. The only time you’ll end up spending physical cash on the came is the optional upgrades like skins. Even then, don’t invest a whole lot of cash on those until you get down to your most solid personal preference.
Don’t worry about runes until you reach level 20
While still on the topic of things you should be staying away from, there’s the all important topic of runes. Runes are enhancements that help upgrade a character’s abilities at on basic level stats. This includes critical damage, attack speed and critical strikes.
Don’t get me wrong, runes are extremely important, but only much later in the game. At the beginning, they don’t do so much for you. Save yourself the headaches and keep them in your pocket for later use. Yes, even in the face of those never-ending notifications about runes every time you level up, just store them safely. In fact, whatever you do, absolutely disregard Tier 1 and 2 runes. Once the Tier 3 runes roll around (ie. at level 20), these become practically pointless to have any longer.
Pay attention to your masteries from the start
Mastery points are another kind of in-game currency that are available for use to enhance your characters. The main difference between Mastery Points and the rest is that there is a fixed number of them for every level. 30, to be exact. Additionally, they don’t cost anything to access.
So you’re basically free to use them as you wish as soon as you get any amount of them. And just like using champions and the like, you need to be wise in your allocation. Luckily enough, it’s just a matter of finding the right guide in aiding you through the process.
Follow along with the patch notes
Another thing that’s different about the way Riot handles the game, as compared to many AAA games is that the game changes pretty often. In other words, patch notes are pretty important since they are the only true way of keeping track of these changes. Anytime you log in and are prompted to allow the client to download anything, it’s a good time to fire up your browser and see what’s so different about the new version. It will probably save you the unpleasantness of being nerfed into oblivion.
Surrender is always an option
If you’re in losing form, or otherwise similarly anticipate to lose a match, trying to salvage the remains of your loss isn’t always worthwhile. Save yourself the heartache and time by firing up the menu and hitting the surrender button. Not all wars can be won.
Remember to say ‘GG’ in the chatroom,
It’s common courtesy, like pretending you really enjoyed a meal when you’d really rather have starved to death while simultaneously dying of hypothermia in a desert.