Learning Curve in League of Legends: Basics, Champions, Strategies & More
Riot Games’ League of Legends is a game that is ever-growing, dynamic, and has unique gameplay potential. The game currently has 159 champions and the latest champion that is soon entering the Summoner’s Rift is Bel’Veth, who is currently on the Public Beta Environment. With so many champions at play and with runes, masteries, and items to top it all, the game might seem intimidating for a new player. In all honesty, League of Legends is a game that is simple to learn but is hard to master.
The learning curve of League of Legends is pretty flat and is not all that steep. Where things get really interesting and difficult is when players try to master certain champions or achieve a particular rank in the game by using specific strategies.
Learning the basics
The basic idea of League of Legends is to take down the Nexus of the enemy. It is the primary objective across all game modes. The Nexus has 5500 health and 20 health regeneration per second. However, it does not have any other stats. Killing the Nexus is not a direct task in the game. Before this step, players need to work through a series of Turrets, Inhibitor Turrets, Inhibitors, and lastly, the Nexus.
Players are also split into two teams of five on the map and every player assumes a specific role like that of a top laner, jungler, mid-laner, attack-damage carry (ADC), and support. There are champions for every role in the game and players can select a champion accordingly.
Killing champions, monsters, jungle camps, taking down structures, and neutrals will grant gold, which in turn can be spent to buy items in the players’ quest toward the enemy Nexus.
It is fair to say that these are some of the bare necessities to play a game of League of Legends and it is easy to understand these facets. There are game modes like Coop vs AI which can help new players understand the game. Players can also hop on to the tutorial mode or the practice tool present on the game’s client.
Runes in League of Legends
Runes are enhancements that buff up champions and give them new abilities. Players can change their runes before the start of a match or set it accordingly during champion select as well.
Runes are divided into five paths:
Precision for improved attacks and sustained damage
Domination for burst damage and target access
Sorcery for empowered abilities and resource manipulation
Resolve for durability and crowd control
Inspiration allows players rule bending and gives them access to creative tools
Different classes of champions use different runes in the game. In fact, players can customize runes according to their lane opponent as well.
League of Legends champions
As discussed earlier, the game has too many champions at play. But Riot makes available almost 10% of playable champions for free each week. That being said, some champions are very straightforward and some of them are hard to play because of their highly mechanical kits. For example, let us look at two very similar ADCs - Ezreal and Zeri. While Ezreal is easy to play, Zeri is extremely hard.
The following graph was cited by Riot Games in one of their developer blogs in 2020. According to Riot, the closer to vertical the initial curve is (eg. Neeko), the fewer games it takes for players to reach stable performance—meaning the champion is easier to learn. The more diagonal the curve (eg. Yuumi), the harder the champion is to learn. Please note that these win rates and game numbers are from 2020 and would have naturally changed over time.
The learning curve of League of Legends gets dense after a point when players start to think about counter picks, wave and creep management and macro plays. There are ideal times when players need to recall to base and things like this matter a lot in higher ranks and not so much in the lower ranks of Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
If you are looking to get into League of Legends, your best bet is to play with a few friends who have already played the game or spam Coop vs AI games until you get familiar. But, it will still feel difficult if you are playing against new champions in the game and it might take you a fair amount of time to figure out what each champion does individually.