About League of Legends
League of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena (moba) video game developed and published by Riot Games. The game follows a freemium model and is supported by microtransactions, and was inspired by the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod, Defense of the Ancients (DotA).
In League of Legends, players assume the role of an unseen “summoner” that controls a “champion” with unique abilities and battle against a team of other players or computer-controlled champions. The goal is usually to destroy the opposing team’s “nexus”, a structure which lies at the heart of a base protected by defensive structures, although other distinct game modes exist as well. Each League of Legends match is discrete, with all champions starting off fairly weak but increasing in strength by accumulating items and experience over the course of the game. The champions and setting blend a variety of elements, including high fantasy, steampunk, folklore, and Lovecraftian horror.
League of Legends was generally well received upon its release in 2009, and has since grown in popularity, with an active and expansive fanbase. By July 2012, League of Legends was the most played PC game in North America and Europe in terms of the number of hours played. As of January 2014, over 67 million people played League of Legends per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. League has among the largest footprints of any game in streaming media communities on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.tv; it routinely ranks first in the most-watched hours. In September 2016 the company estimated that there are over 100 million active players each month. The game’s popularity has led it to expand into merchandise, with toys, accessories, apparel, as well as tie-ins to other media through music videos, web series, documentaries, and books.
League of Legends has an active and widespread competitive scene. In North America and Europe, Riot Games organizes the League Championship Series (lcs), located in Los Angeles and Berlin respectively, which consists of 10 professional teams in each continent. Similar regional competitions exist in China (lpl), South Korea (lck), Taiwan (lms), Southeast Asia (gpl), and various other regions. These regional competitions culminate with the annual World Championship. The 2016 World Championship had 43 million unique viewers and a total prize pool of over 6 million usd.
League of Legends is one of the largest eSports, with various annual tournaments taking place worldwide. In terms of eSports professional gaming as of June 2016, League of Legends has had $29,203,916 usd in prize money, 4,083 Players, and 1,718 tournaments, compared to Dota 2’s $64,397,286 usd of prize money, 1,495 players, and 613 tournaments.
League of Legends is funded through microtransactions using Riot Points (rp), an in-game currency which can be purchased by players in the client store. Rp can be used to purchase champions, champion skins, ward skins, summoner icons, and certain multi-game boosts. Alternatively, players earn Influence Points (ip), a secondary currency, by playing matches. Ip may be used to purchase all in-game items besides skins, which cosmetically alter the appearance of champions. Conversely, rp may be used to buy all in-game items besides Runes, which provide boosts to the power of champions in matches, and may only be purchased using ip. Runes can only be purchased by ip, but more “pages” that the runes are placed on (in order for runes to take effect in-game) can be bought through both ip and rp. League of Legends is free-to-play and all in-game purchases with a material effect on game-play may be acquired by continually playing the game.
The game’s developer Riot Games was co-founded by Brandon “Ryze” Beck and Marc “Tryndamere” Merrill, who were roommates while they attended the University of Southern California. They partnered with Steve “Guinsoo” Feak, the previous designer of the popular Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map Defense of the Ancients, and Steve “Pendragon” Mescon, the administrator of the former official support base for the map, to develop League of Legends.
The original inspiration for “DotA” was a 1998 mod for StarCraft created by community member Aeon64 called “Aeon of Strife”. After the release of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its subsequent World Editor in 2002, DotA was created by another modder, Eul. He ported and expanded the “Aeon of Strife” mod to the new engine and named it “Defense of the Ancients”. Guinsoo later made DotA Allstars by inserting his own mix of content to “DotA”, greatly expanding the number of heroes, added recipes and items, and introduced various gameplay changes. Guinsoo then passed the mod to IceFrog after accepting a job at the newly formed Riot Games.
The idea of a spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients was that it would be its own stand-alone game with its own engine, rather than another mod of Warcraft III, began to materialize at the end of 2005. League of Legends was born “when a couple of very active DotA community members believed that the gameplay was so much fun and so innovative that it represented the spawning of a new genre and deserved to be its own professional game with significantly enhanced features and around-game services.” – Marc Merrill.
Riot Games officially opened its office in September 2006, and, as of 2013, has over 1,000 people working on League of Legends. According to Marc Merrill, when creating the various champions in the game, instead of leaving the champion creation to just a few people, they decided to open up the champion creation process to everyone in the company based upon a template where they could vote on which champions made it into the game.