League of Legends isn’t a typical game. If you’re interested in playing, you might start to feel overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of information you’re suddenly expected to have at your fingertips. Don’t panic.
Follow these guidelines as you begin your long and exciting journey to level 30 (and beyond!) in League of Legends and you’ll be just fine.Don’t fret about specific characters and positions. At least for the first five levels.
You have to get to level 5 in your League of Legends player profile in order to access the majority of its gameplay options. This includes player-vs.-player games. Everything you do before that point only serves to help you get your feet on the ground, so don’t stress yourself trying to figure out what character, or what position you’re best suited for. The only thing you should focus on is: trying out different characters to see what feels best for you. Do you like melee champions? Or ranged ones? Mages or assassins? These are the sorts questions you should be asking yourself at the very beginning.
Understand the basics of the map and different positions.
In order to talk with your teammates, you need to know what you should actually say. You don’t need to become an expert overnight, but a good place to start learning the core League vocabulary is by familiarizing yourself with the general structure of Summoner’s Rift and the positions one can play on it. Here’s the map:
It’s comprised of three lanes—top, middle, and bottom. The area in-between the lanes is the jungle. Team bases are located on the bottom left and top right corners of the map. Your position on the team is determined both by the champion you choose to play as and the specific part of the map you choose to begin the game on. Here are the five main positions that’ll come up in conversation on your way to level 30:
Top: The champion who sticks to the top lane on Summoner’s Rift. Normally played by tanks or bruisers—i.e., melee characters who can either take, or deal, a lot of damage. Or both at the same time!
Mid: Like top, except for the middle lane. Mid-laners are usually champions with solid ability power, or AP for short.
Jungle: The one champion who doesn’t have an assigned lane. Instead, junglers move around the jungle, killing the monsters inside and dropping into any of the three lanes to help their teammates by, say, assassinating an unsuspecting opponent.
ADC: One of two champions assigned to the bottom lane. ADCs are supposed to spend the early part of a game farming minions, leveling up, and buying as much gear as possible to keep increasing their attack damage.
Support: The other champion who plays on the bottom lane. Supports do lots of nice things like: keep ADCs alive, help them land kills, and place wards on the map to increase their team’s visibility.
Look at the mini-map every few seconds.
Map awareness is crucial for pretty much everything in League of Legends. Understanding what is going on in your immediate vicinity is obviously important, but you should keep track of important events that are taking place off-screen as well. If you don’t do this, you can easily be taken by surprise by an enemy you should’ve seen coming. Or miss out on an opportunity to help your team through a difficult fight nearby.
Try all the positions, but focus on one.
You don’t have to head into League with a fully-formed plan of action for how you’re going to spend your first 30 levels. But taking a scattershot approach to your first experiences with the game isn’t a great idea either. Playing a single position over and over again is the best way to learn about its finer details, which helps you improve your abilities in the game and makes it more fun to play.
Don’t get serious about jungling until level 20 (at least).
The one position I wouldn’t recommend starting out with in League is jungling. It’s a more specialized role than the other positions—one that requires specific skills, experience, champions, and in-game items. The first three of those only really come with time. As for the in-game items, you need to be at level 20 to gain access to them.
Find a few favorite champions and play a ton of games with them.
Similar to the team positions, the best way to learn up on a specific champion is to play five, ten, even twenty games with them at a time.
Keep trying new champions, too.
There is so much stuff in League of Legends at this point that you’re not going to be able to experience all of it at once. That doesn’t mean you need to play the game with blinders on, though. At least once or twice a week, you should try out a character you’ve never played as before—say, one that’s on the free champion rotation that week. I’ve found it particularly handy to keep trying out different champions for a single position as they appear on the free rotation.
Try to use champion’s abilities in more than one way.
A cool thing you’ll start to discover with enough time and practice is that champion’s abilities are often very useful in totally different ways depending on the situation you’re faced with. Caitlin’s E move, for instance, shoots a net from her rifle that slows down an enemy target. Just as importantly, however, the shot has a powerful kick that knocks Cait backwards. This makes it an incredibly effective tool for making an escape from a tense situation.
As you play with a champion and mess around with their abilities, keep asking yourself if you might be missing something. Does that special attack come with some sort of passive character buff that’s actually more valuable? Is the impact on your champion’s mobility greater than the damage some attack is dealing? What was my opponent doing with this dude in the last game that made him such a pain in the butt?