League of Legends

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photo from leagueoflegends.wikia.com

TL;DR

a brief intro –

League of Legends is currently the world’s most popular online game. Produced by Riot Games,  League of Legends (LoL) is enjoyed by more than 100 Million people all over the world.  This MOBA (Multi-Player Online Battle Arena) game involves choosing a champion from a constantly growing pool of over 130 beautifully illustrated, challenging and witty characters. Then team up with four other people against another team of five. You can play with friends, or make new friends on the Fields of Justice. There are three graphically stunning battle arenas for you to try.

The game is free to play, and there is always a rotating selection of champions you can play for free. You can earn IP ( Points) to purchase new champions and unlock them permanently so that they’re always available for you to play. You can buy (with real money) RP (Riot Points) to purchase champions sooner, or to buy Skins – cosmetic changes to champions that make them fit with a theme. Unlike some other games, nothing you can buy in League of Legends will increase your chance of winning.

Wanna Relate? –

speak their language, understand what this game is about

League of Legends game play is loosely based on the Lore. Available on the website at http://www.leagueoflegends.com, the Lore tells the personal histories and fascinating details of each of the Champions battling on the Fields of Justice. The stories are well-written, complex, and extremely entertaining apart from the game play. The game isn’t completely consistent with the Lore, many champions who would never be on the same team in their “real” lives are happy to play together on Summoner’s Rift. But it’s a great read, and provides the basis for some extremely fun and witty champion banter in-game.  On the link above you can click on any champion’s picture to read his/her/its story.  There are now more in-depth, richer stories also available that talk about the regions and countries that make up the continent of Valoran and the outlying areas of the planet Runeterra. You can read these terrific short stories on the Universe page, new ones are featured frequently – http://universe.leagueoflegends.com/en_US/

The game, when played on Summoner’s Rift, the most popular field of battle, is divided into three Lanes. You’ll either be playing Top, Mid or Bot – top, middle or bottom lane. Or on serious games you might be a Jungler and play in the jungle that separates the lanes. Each lane has two towers, or turrets that fire at opponents, and the idea is to destroy them so that you can get to the enemy’s base camp. The base contains more towers, and some inhibitors, and the nexus which is the team’s huge jewel that they must protect. Each team is trying to destroy the nexus of the other team.

There is a method of normal play called the Meta, and most games adhere more or less to this. There is one Top Laner for each team, and they are typically “tanky” players who are strong, build a lot of defense and attack weapons, and bash at each other for about 15 minutes in the top lane trying to destroy each other’s towers.  There is typically one Mid Laner for each team, and these are often “mages” or magic using champions. They build spells and magical defense, and cast away at each other for about 15 minutes to try and destroy each other’s towers. The Bot Lane typically gets two champions. One is called an ADC (Attack/Defense Carry – or ADCarry) and this person is typically a sword wielding death machine bent on killing the other team’s bot laners as quickly and often as possible. The ADC is joined by his Support whose job it is to keep the ADC from getting killed. The Support champion usually has some type of ability to heal himself and other champions and/or a method of shielding the champions in his/her care. Lots of popular support champions are female. The fifth champion is the Jungler. These are specialized champions who build items that make it easy for them to kill jungle monsters. They wander through the jungle between the lanes, and each monster they kill gives them more strength and some gold. Some of the monsters give their whole team a little boost in strength or health, and some of them require almost the whole team to kill, but give a large boost to the entire team.

Champions have minions in each lane, small groups of little attackers that go forth every few seconds to battle opposing champions and chop away at the towers and other objectives. The minions don’t leave their lanes. Killing the opposing minions gives champions the gold they need to buy various items that make them stronger and harder to kill. One of the first key phrases you learn when playing League is “stay behind your minions!”. They will absorb much of the damage that is meant for you!

Ask your Summoner which “role” they play (top, bot, mid, adcarry, support or jungler) and who they “main” (which champion they’re best at playing or play most often). This can start the conversation. If you start playing, ask their advice often on which champions you should try, which role those champions play most often, and which items you should “build”. Players love giving this type of advice, and are always happy to help another Summoner get started. Part of the Summoner’s Code is Leave No Noob Behind. (Noob is short for newbie)

Wanna Play? –

how to get started

League is easy to play, and really challenging to master. Just hop on over to http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en if you’re in North America, and choose Play Now. You’ll be prompted to set up an account and choose a Summoner Name. Choose wisely!!!! You are encouraged not to change this, and it will stick with you for a long time. Try not to choose anything that’s easily made fun of, that spells anything unfortunate, or that is too kitschy. You may have to try several times before finding an available Summoner Name.

Be sure to go through all of the tutorials to learn the game. It’s a little tricky, and you’ll want to be comfortable with the controls before playing with real people. You’ll need a keyboard, a two-button mouse (most of the game is right-clicking) and a PC or Mac with the best internet connection you can get. Riot just introduced a new Practice Tool that is fantastic, it makes it easy to practice those skills (like “last-hitting” minions to get their gold) that are harder to master in the heat of battle. You can also play against (or even with) bots (robots) in order not to encounter real people in your game. But sooner or later, you’re going to want to wade out on to the Rift in search of real foes. GLHF (good luck, have fun)

Be Safe! –

stuff that moms really want to know

ESRB Rating:  The Entertainment Software Ratings Board rates League of Legends T for Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco. The synopsis of their rating can be read HERE.

Online Interaction: League is a live game, played with real people in real time. You’ll only be playing with other people on your server. There are currently 11 servers, each serving a geographical region like North America (NA) or Western Europe (EUW). Each game can take up to an hour or more, so don’t expect your child to “pause” the game when you have something more important for him/her to do. When a Summoner (as the players are called) leaves the game, he is considered AFK (away from keyboard) and this seriously disadvantages his teammates. It’s very difficult to win a game when your teammates disappear to eat dinner or take out the trash. If your teen is playing a “ranked” game, meaning he’s over Level 30, this can actually be disastrous to his teammates. Losing a ranked game can mean losing your current rank, or your progress towards the next level, and this affects the whole team.

Playing Discipline/Time Management: In order to avoid ruining the game for the other people on your team, young Summoners should become used to checking with parents before starting a game. It’s helpful to engage in dialog with your teen such as, “Before you start a new game, we are going out to dinner in 10 minutes.” or “When you finish this game, I need you to take the trash out and feed the dog before you start a new one.” Players should, in fact, be encouraged between games to stand up, stretch a bit, use the restroom, have some water. Many young players will battle on the Fields of Justice for several consecutive hours if they’re not guided to make good choices.

Trolls and Ragers: Teams on League of Legends are able to type in a chat box in order to facilitate teamwork and explore their game strategy together. Unfortunately, the Chat can be a source of a great deal of colorful language and discriminatory attitudes. It’s a good idea to help your Summoner understand that some folks are just unhappy people, and that a positive attitude and the ability to turn off the chat can go a long way towards keeping them from becoming part of the problem. It is best not to engage players who are particularly toxic. Just finish the game to the best of your ability, and then take the opportunity to report the behavior when the game is finished. Riot has very strict standards for people who damage the game environment, and they will contact a particularly difficult player, and even level a ban against them if the infractions are severe. If everyone reports bad experiences, the whole game atmosphere will be improved.

Another possibility for teams who hit the Rift together is to use a Discord server or Skype. This allows gamers to chat with each other verbally, and it saves the trouble of typing in the Chat box while playing. Your teen can meet many sorts of people on this type of communication channel, so if they are younger, it might be a good idea to monitor this conversation while they are playing. The safest way to play League is to join with a team of four friends and play together. This involves some coordination, but the family that plays together… you know the rest.

Costs: While the game is free to play, you can also spend real money on League of Legends. There aren’t any advertisements on this game, the company makes most of its revenue from the sale of champions and cosmetic “skins” that change the look of champions. Skins can cost from $10-$30 each. There is also a Store on the League of Legends site selling fun merchandise like plush toys, posters, T-shirts and more. Riot sells gift cards if you’d like to enhance your favorite Summoner’s life with some RP (Riot Points). You can buy these at stores like Best Buy, GameStop, 7-Eleven and others. Find out more here – http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/community/prepaid-cards

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