This guide was created because although I like League of Legends, the so-called newbie guides that the game company made are truly awful with some gaping holes. The other 2 faqs here are good for players with a few games under their belt but also skip some very basic information. This is a step-by-step guide on how to get started playing League of Legends(LoL) and understand some important concepts of the game. There are some good guides on other concepts that I will be referencing. I've only played a few weeks so I am not kidding about this being a NOOB guide! If you have a month or more of experience, I'd suggest reading one of the other solid guides here. Though you may pick up some useful information while you are here. Table of Contents: ================== I. Game Overview II. Comparsion to Defense of the Ancients(DOTA) III. Creating an account. IV. Downloading and Patching the Client V. Logging In VI. Currency and Unlocking things VII. Getting RPs VIII. Getting IPs IX. Getting XPs/Levels X. Your Summoner's Spells XI. Your Summoner's Champions XII. Your Summoner's Masteries XIII. Your Summoner's Runes XIV. Hotkeys XV. Creating Your First Game XVI. First One Minute XVII. The Next 30 Minutes or so XVIII. Discussion of Mechanics XIX. Playing with Others XX. Matchmaking System Analysis XXI. How to Improve XXII. Closing Remarks. I. Game Overview ================ This FREE TO PLAY game is based on the custom map for Warcraft 3 called Defense of the Ancients(DOTA). To re-iterate, League of Legends(LoL) is 100% free to play. It survives off of macro-transactions where you can unlock things faster than by just playing, and also buying 'fluff' items with no real effect on actual combat such as various 'skins' for your champions that make them look different and unique. It is not NEARLY as annoying as other so-called free games where you are pretty much forced to buy stuff to compete. You play as a SUMMONER that controls a single CHAMPION on a team from a top-down perspective and cooperate with 2 to 4 other teammates to defeat a similar team. Each player has a different Champion, which is kind of like picking a pregenerated character in a role playing game. The stats, race, class, etc are all pre-picked but you will have plenty of ways to customize the character. This champion starts at level 1 and can rise to 18 and can choose to level his 4 different skills that he/she/it is capable of learning. You will only control this one champion as opposed to most Warcraft-type games so you can afford to micromanage your champion. When the game starts, the 2 sides constantly generate armies that go down predictable paths and then fight it out. Each side has 3 powerful turrets that help even out when one side gains the upper hand. As a champion, you and your allies lead your armies to victory by helping them destroy the enemy towers and eventually their home base. The opposing heroes attempt to thwart your attempts and lead their own armies to victory. When a hero dies, the killer gets some gold and the dead champion comes back to life after around 30 seconds to 1 minute. As you can imagine, there are several ways to achieve victory. Some champions hide behind their armies and destroy enemy troops(called minions) and force their champions to retreat further and further back. Some are more oriented on killing enemy champions to prevent them from interfering with the battle. Some absorb a lot of damage. They all have their own styles, summarized briefly below: Caster/Nuker - These heroes have powerful spells that do significant damage to enemy heroes and minions. They start out powerful but generally max out early which makes them less powerful later in the game. Ranged DPS - These are long ranged heroes that rely heavily on their normal attack with skills and items to boost their Damage Per Second (DPS). They are frequently 'carrys' which means they are weaker early on (and need allies to carry them along), but are stronger late game (and can carry the team to victory). Melee DPS - Short ranged heroes. They typically are tougher than ranged DPS and have various mechanisms to get close to an enemy and beat them up. Tank - A very tough hero that is capable of absorbing damage from the enemy champions and minions so their more fragile teammates avoid taking damage. Support - A hero that has 1 or more mechanisms to protect or assist others, such as a way to speed up allies or heal or prevent bad effects to them or other such buffs and protections. Disabler - Heroes that have particularly good mechanisms for stopping the enemy from moving or acting. This allows them along with allies to beat up on the disabled hero thus having a much better chance of killing them. Note that one hero may have (and usually does have) multiple roles. Keep in mind the distinction between your summoner and your champion! Each account has one summoner which is your game-name and you can level this summoner from 1 to 30 over the course of many many games. He is 'persistent' so to speak. Each summoner owns various heroes, runes, masteries and other stuff that we will discuss. The champion is the entity that you play with on the battlefield for one particular game who always starts at level 1 and maxes at 18 ingame. II. Comparison to DOTA ====================== * LoL has better graphics. The characters are more well defined instead of being hacks of existing Warcraft game models. Some complain about the graphics, but they are certainly better than DoTA just because they are not limited by the Warcraft engine. * Supported Single Player. LoL natively supports 1 player gaming to some extent. It isn't great but its there. DOTA has AI maps but they are generally buggy and you have to hunt them down. That said, if you are single player ONLY, a good DOTA AI map is far superior to LoL! * MUCH better player matching system. I am scared of DOTA. Roving bands of premades like to do 'pub stomps' where they just beat the living crud out of 5 random noobs so they can feel better about their pathetic lives. Then they post their replays and brag about them. In LoL you can enter a single player queue where it will match up 10 players based on their level, stats, etc. I am not very competitive, but this system is way better than DOTA. You can also make practice games vs bots with your buddies, or challenge others in practice. The hardcore can do premades vs other premades. You can do partial premades too, if you want to play on the same team as another online friend. * Nicer community. I havent seen NEAR the trash talk and bashing as I have in DOTA replays. There are always bungholes but they are more rare. III. Creating an Account ====================== League of Legends is FREE TO PLAY! All you have to do is sign up for an account, using whatever temporary email address if you desire. You are now good to go. IV. Downloading and Patching the Client ======================================== The game is a free download and you simply go to their website to do so. Go ahead and start the client and it will begin downloading all the patches and updates that have occurred since time began. There are GIGS and GIGS of updates! Seriously, once it starts, just leave for an hour or so. It does the updates in a serial manner, which means that even with a godlike connection, it will do 1 update at a time, then figure out what to do next, and proceed. It is unlike just downloading 1 consolidated patch, applying it and being done. Mine occasionally got 'stuck' and I would kill the client and restart it. It would pick off where it left off (instead of starting over at 0% for that patch) and continue on. V. Logging In =============== Go ahead and log in. You are taken to the lobby. The first thing to do is to click PLAY at the top, and select Tutorial. Do the tutorial for the basics of the game. AFTER THE TUTORIAL, read the rest of my guide first until the 'Playing your first game' section. It will really help you understand what is going on. VI. Currency and Unlocking ========================= There are two types of 'currency' which are used to purchase champions, runes, and skins which I will explain in a minute. The first is 'IPs' which are earned by playing the game. The second are 'RPs' which stand for Riot Points. These are purchased with real live cash. In addition, there is 'XP' which is experience points. These are NOT 'spent' but do determine your Summoner Level which has a game impact as discussed later. Every item that can be unlocked has an IP cost and an RP cost, which are different. The first thing I want to do is give you a sense of the scale of costs by an example. A champion costs around 800 to 1400 RPs. The IP cost varies much more and ranges from 450 IPs for easy heroes up to a whopping 6300 IPs. Different skins for characters cost around 500 RPs I believe. Runes take from 15 to 60 IP for a level 1 rune, increasing for level 2 and three runes. You cannot use RPs to buy runes for balance reasons. VII. Getting RPs ================ You can get 600ish RPs for 5 US dollars. This means that every 100 RPs is worth a little less than 1 dollar. But 1/100 is a good enough way to visualize the actual cost of stuff. The whole idea of 'points' is to disassociate actual money with what you are buying. Spending 'points' is a lot easier than actual cash from your wallet! Basically unlocking a champion costs about US $6.50. VIII. Getting IPs ================= You gain IPs by playing the game as follows... PRACTICE GAMES: -------------- If you play ANY practice game and win, you will earn 71 IPs. Losing will give you one half that amount. Some games are so-called IP-farming games where 5 players beat up 5 AI bots to quickly win their 71 IPs. Some just practice new champions against bots with other humans which results in a longer game. You may also set up your own games against AI bots. The IPs stays the same whether it is a 1v1 or a 5v5 no matter how many players are on. There are three conditions though: The game must last 11 minutes or more. Also, the game must have an equal number of players on each team. Even if you and 2 bots beat 5 enemy bots, you will get NOTHING FOR IT!!! This means in theory that a 4v5 might be a better way to practice since it would increase your difficulty and not artificially inflate your level. The third condition is that once you are level 10 you can only earn IPs for 3 practice games per day. NORMAL GAMES: -------------- You will enter a queue and wind up in a battle with 9 other players. (or 6 if you choose the 3v3 map) You will earn 80 IPs for winning a real game. In addition there are several bonuses that are handed out: a) If you keep playing without quitting, you get around +25IPs per game once you are on a streak. This is to reward non-quitters. b) The first time you win a real game, you get a massive 150IP bonus! You are eligible to receive it again in 22 hours later. Hence, playing once per day all week is much better than playing 7 times on Saturday because assuming you win 2 or 3 times, the big IP bonus is the factor. c) You can buy an IP-booster for RPs which gives you bonus IPs for a whole week. This might be more cost-effective than just buying something with RPs straight up if you play a lot that week and you intend to support the game by buying RPs. IX. Getting XPs/Levels ====================== You have a 'summoner' character which is associated with your account. It starts off with absolutely nothing unlocked or usable and at level 1. As you play games you gain XP and thus levels. I will explain what this does later. For now, know that your XP gains are pretty consistent no matter if you practice a lot or play a lot. However your IP gains can vary widely from player to player relative to the same XP gained. Also, you aren't really learning much or getting better by farming bots for IPs. This is worth repeating. If you play 1 game per day and win 4 of them gaining bonuses from 'First Win of the Day', quick victory, no quitting, etc, then you will tons more IP than someone who plays 7 games in 1 day and quits half of them. However, you will have the same XP more or less. I would say NOT to do IP-farming games because you don't want to artificially boost your level, cuz that is what determines the quality of opponents you face to some degree. Plus it is boring. IPs don't really do much gameplay wise, relative to your level. You can unlock runes which are cheap and you will want to save up for champions. X. Your Summoner's Champions ============================= I mentioned that you start off with nothing unlocked. How it works is that there is a REVOLVING pool of 'Free To Play' heroes that changes WEEKLY. This is a very important concept because you do NOT need to spend money/IP just to try out various heroes! It also means that the hero you love today may be unavailable tomorrow when the next rotation hits. Hence, when you discover your favorite heroes you want to unlock them through the store. It is intended that each player will have a very modest assortment of unlocked heroes, and certainly not all 60ish of them! Remember, each hero costs an average of 3000 IPs. At approximately 70 IP gained per game on average, this means over 40 games played to earn a single hero! Be very sure about unlocking a champion! It is a really good idea to play all the free-heroes in practice games to get a feel for them all. If you like a particular one, keep playing it under it rotates out. Once it does though, use the new heroes available. It is probably best to save your IPs until you really have a good idea what heroes you enjoy playing. Note that in the tutorial you get to play 'Ashe' the archer. Even if she is not in the free-play, you can always try her out vs bots by replaying the tutorial and trying her different skills. Finally, you can unlock Tristana for free by 'liking' League of Legends on facebook. You can always make a garbage profile if desired. This makes me very mad because I spent 1350 IPs on her!! Knowing that heroes rotate would have helped a lot too. Seriously, you can NOT find any of this crucial information anywhere in a consolidated new player guide! So, go to your Summoner's stats by clicking the picture next and click his Champion tab. You should see Tristiana unlocked after the facebook thing. You will also see 10 heroes that are still 'locked' but say 'free to play'. This means for this week you can use any of those 10 free heroes, but you would need to unlock them to be able to use them anytime. Now is a good time to find the 10 heroes that are free and then click on them to read about their stats and what they do. It is a BAD TIME to do so when you only have 90 seconds to pick during your first real game!! XI. Your Summoner's Spells: =========================== Your summoner does get to directly intervene in the conflict by selecting two spells from a list that are cast similar to champion spells. The main difference is that these spells typically have longer cooldowns more like the champion's ultimate skill and have modest effects about on par with most champion's regular skills. They may be used to suppliment and complement your champion's abilities. They always cost no mana since they are cast by your summoner technically, not your champion. Hence things like ability power and other champion-related bonuses do not apply. Ironically though several of the spells do have effects dependent on your champion's level. These spells may be viewed through your summoner overview by clicking your summoner's picture next to the shopping card looking symbol. When you level up your summoner, more of these spells are unlocked automatically. XII. Your Summoner's Masteries ============================ Your player gets a number of 'talents' or mastery points. In the lobby, click your Summoner picture next to the shopping cart to get your Summoner overview. Click on the Masteries Tab. You see a talent-tree similar to Diablo/Warcraft/etc. You have 1 point to spend. I recommend putting it into the Improved Smite which will help you make a bit more free gold. Do this for your first game at least. You can reset these points at any time. Every time you gain a summoner level you get another mastery point to spend. YOU MUST SAVE or your points will not be remembered!!! There is never any reason to have unused points since it is free to 'respec' as much as you want. There are several guides available that discuss the pros and cons of these masteries. However, it will take a while for you to have enough points for it to really matter all that much. My advice is to make sure you have the mastery for which-ever summoner spell you choose. Example: If you go with Smite like I suggested, definitely take the appropriate mastery. XIII. Your Summoner's Runes: ========================== Click the Runes tab and you will see a checkerboard looking thing with 4 different colors. You have one slot open for a 'Mark'. Every time your summoner gains a level, you will open up a new 'slot'. It alternates between the various types of runes. Runes are a way to customize your character and provide minor bonuses to your champion. It is needlessly complicated, so hold on tight! First of all, YOU CAN SKIP THIS SECTION FOR NOW! You have no IPs to buy a rune and you don't start with any. So you might want to play your some games and then come back to this later. A rune is a generic name for one object that boosts your character in some way. There are 4 subcategories of runes. Below that, each subcategory contains about 20ish different individual runes that provide a specific bonus to your character. Furthermore, 3 of the 4 categories have certain strengths. For example you could get a Seal that boosts attack power but it won't be near as good as a Mark. Here are the 4 categories: Marks - The red one. These are generally best at physical attacking. Seals - Yellow ones. Best at defense and HP/MP recovery. Glyphs - The blue one. These are best at skill/magic related stuff. Quintessence - The large ones. These are uber-runes that are equally good at any aspect. You have no runes in your inventory at all. You would click on the left to show all runes of a particular type. To help you understand, click the Shopping Cart icon and go to Runes. On the left, filter to only Marks. You will see that there are like 24 types, which all do various stuff. Some are better than others, depending on your champion and the strong-point of that particular rune category. Do this: Show all runes and filter by Function. Say... Attack Power. Compare the Red Mark to the Blue and Green ones. Notice the red one is significantly better? You generally CAN get runes in a subcategory that do anything, but the ones outside of their strong area tend to be much weaker. On the other hand, it might be better to have a weaker boost to an important area as opposed to a stronger boost to a less important one... Oh yeah, there are 3 levels of runes, but you have to be a certain level to purchase higher level ones of course. The level 3 rune is twice as powerful as the level one, with the level two rune being in the middle. Cost-wise, the higher level marks are about 5 times more expensive per tier. Another concept is the by-level runes vs the instant-gain ones. Is it better to have say a flat +6 damage, or to get +1 damage per champion level? The per-level one starts out extremely weak at +1, but can hit up to +18 lategame. You have to decide whether to take the early game advantage or the later game advantage. In any case, the runes are all very weaksauce for the most part. I mean, a rune that gives less than 1/4th of 1 point of bonus damage?!? Gimme a break. Still, mine as well take advantage of them. Obviously as you level up your summoner and get a whole 30 slots filled with level 3 runes then they make much more of a difference. After your first game, you will come buy a nice general-purpose Red Mark. Everyone can use more attack speed or armor penetration so that that one. Some runes just suck. As an example, at level 1 you typically hit for 50 damage and crit 5% of the time with some runes. A crit does double damage. Which of the following sounds better? These are just contrived examples. a) +1 damage per hit. b) +5% attack speed c) +2% critical hit chance d) +6% critical hit damage. a) 50 to 51 is a +2% damage increase that makes it easier to kill in 1 hit. b) 5% attack speed is a 5% damage increase. c) 2% crit chance is a 2% damage increase that is bursty. d) If you only crit 5% of the time, this is a 0.05 times 0.06 increase or 0.3% damage increase. This changes if your champion can crit a lot. Hence you need to do a bit of math to figure out what works best for your favorite champion. List of the Most Efficient Runes per type: ------------------------------------------- MARK - Alacrity, Desolation, Furor, Insight, Malice, Might, Strength SEAL - Clarity, Defense, Evasion, Fortitude, Lucidity, Regen, Replentishment, Resilence, Vigor, Vitality GLYPH - Acumen, Celerity, Focus, Force, Intellect, Knowledge, Potency, Shielding, Warding One final note: You start with two 'pages' of runes. A page means a 'configuration' effectively. Ideally you will save off two different configurations. One for say tank characters with lots of defense and another for offensive spellcasters. Before a game you can select which page or set you want to use. Once again, you MUST SAVE after placing runes for it to count! A decent comparison of runes can be found here: http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Runes There is also a rune transformer. On your rune page, click the button at the bottom right. You can transform 2 runes of the same level to 1 random rune of that same level. Or you can transform 5 runes of a level to get a random rune of the next level up. This is nice because you can transform and use a rune WAY before you could ever buy it. The bad news is that there are lots of lousy runes and randomness sucks. Furthermore, runes are very expensive for that next tier relative to what you actually get for it. A level 1 mark costs 15 IP at the cheapest. You can thus pay 75 IP for a random level 2 rune. Even the cheapest level 2 rune costs 80 IP so you can actually save IPs! You will lose a lot more though by getting garbage runes though. Note that Quienessences can be gotten in the same way. If you bought 375 IP worth of level 1 marks, you could transform them into a single level 3 rune. That rune could be worth anywhere from 400IP to 4000(!) IPs for a level 3 Hit Point boosting Quienessence. Unfortunately, you are more likely to wind up with a bunch of garbage runes. But if you want a slight advantage around level 6 or so, use your IPs to convert a bunch of junk marks into level 2 runes. Note that converting 2 runes will give you a random rune of a RANDOM TYPE. This means that you can NOT convert 2 quienessences into 1 random quienessence. Instead you will likely wind up with a stupid Mark or Seal or Glyph. XIV. Hotkeys ============ Hotkeys are extremely important in this game. You just can't afford to click buttons with a mouse and all the keys are clustered around QWER so it works out nicely. Q,W,E,R always cast the 4 spells for all champions in order from left to right. In the forums, they will talk about Tristiana's W, or 'maxing W'. That means her Rocket Jump which always maps to W. Hence they become synonomous. D and F cast your Summoner spells. These along with your 4 champion skills means you have 6 skills. A is attack-move. Moves your character towards an area until you encounter something that you can attack. Character then stops and auto-attacks. Sometimes this is quicker than right-clicking a specific foe or for moving a longer distance towards minions. S is STOP. Halts your character and they stop attacking. This is key for last-hitting. That means your character will not attack and stand in place. When a minion is almost dead, you attack to finish it off and collect the bounty! 1,2,3,4,5,6 use your items. The numbers are right above your QWER where your fingers should be resting. Besides heal/mp potions, a few items have Active properties and this is the best way to take advantage. Get used to using items thru hotkeys by using your heal potions this way (even though it isn't really necessary to do so). Note that you can drag items around to reorder them as desired. 'B' for back will cast your free 'return to base' spell which takes 8 seconds. Much better than walking back to base! Using the hotkey is good practice because manually clicking it will take an extra second or two... which might be enough for an enemy hero to hit you and knock you out of your recall! Occasionally used hotkeys ------------------------- Spacebar - Centers the screen on your champion. F1,F2,F3,F4,F5 - Centers the screen on you(F1) and your 4 allies (F2 thru F5). When you have a breather this is a quick way to check and see what is happening with your allies. If you do this often, you might prefer to remember F1 instead of spacebar to center yourself. Tab or O - Shows a quick score summary. Basically you are looking to see how many minion kills you have gotten vs others. You can also see how the rest of your team is doing based on their kills/deaths. G - Pings your location. Notifies your allies of something. As a new player nobody you play with will care anyways, so don't sweat this one for a while. Lesser priority hotkeys (in my opinion) ---------------------------------------- Control plus Q,W,E,R - levels up the appropriate skill. Seems more error prone to me so I level manually by clicking the plus above the skill. Alt plus Q,W,E,R - Smart Cast the appropriate skill. This will cast a spell either on you if possible or whereever your cursor is. I highly recommend rebinding this to your G,X,Z or some other either unused or rarely-used key on a champion-by-champion basis. For example, say you have the 'E' ability to cast a shield on someone that prevents damage or whatever. You don't want to click E then try to click yourself in the middle of battle or when a big scary-looking projectile is headed your way... Fumbling around for the ALT-E is probably a bad idea too. Instead, you want to instant-cast it on yourself to instantly have access to that skill. You want to train yourself to know that this particular reserved key is your self-cast one for all your champions and then rebind it to your 'Q', 'W', or 'E' skill depending on your champion. You could do this for 'skillshots' too. Instead of pushing 'E' then aiming then clicking to shoot a special attack which usually results in your stopping, you might prefer faster results by moving the cursor somewhere and clicking Z or whatever. Directional arrows - Moves around the map. I don't like this because it 'unseats' my hand position. Generally better to use the mouse to screen scroll. Mouse wheel - zoom in and out. You start zoomed all the way out and it should generally stay that way. Y - Camera lock. I prefer to have more vision towards the direction of the enemy when laning and like to control manually. Z - Shows chat history. Unless you are AFK I don't see much use for this. Shift-L toggle health bars. I keep these always on, so no need to know this. Ditto with H for minion health bars. Not having these always on is idiocy. Shift-K toggles summoner names. Who cares? Alt-click - Control your pet. Only applies to the very few heroes that have 'pets'. They are always only temporary so this is of little use to most players. Good to know if you play Annie though. P takes you to the shop. I shop after a Recall where I am right there anyways, or when dead. Since its a right click to shop, I see no reason to know the hotkey. XV. Creating Your First Game ============================== For this walkthrough, I will assume you have Tristiana unlocked for free through the facebook offer. It is very easy and quick and gives us an easy, always available, common hero to discuss. Click the giant red PLAY icon. Select PRACTICE game. Click CREATE GAME. Type in some garbage for the game name and add a password of aaa or something. The pulldown should read 'New Player' or 'Difficulty' 'Champion'. So what exactly does this mean you ask? It does NOT mean you are adding a new player who is champion difficulty. Instead it means you are adding a new bot with a 'New Player' level of difficulty. If you wanted to specify a certain champion for them to use you could do so, but it is a waste of time. Click 'add' to fill your team with Bots. Do the same to add 5 bots to the other team. Should be 5v5. In the future, change this from 'New Player' difficulty to 'Easy' when practicing. That makes it slightly more difficult. *** IMPORTANT NOTICE: Are you getting a message about '6 players minimum needed to start a game!"? This is why. During very high server load, usually after patching, they lessen the load by trying to serve as many players as possible. Since a 1 player with 9 bots takes up just as much bandwidth and server capacity as 10 players duking it out, they TEMPORARILY limit these. This only happened once to me so far in 2 weeks and lasted 1 day. However, there was no explanation why this was occurring. Now if you see this you will know why. If this is your first game, just put it off and play tomorrow. Any game you play will likely be crap... you can't even join a 5player vs 5 bots! Its 5 players vs 4 bots plus YOU, which makes for a total garbage game. For future reference, they ONLY HAVE FIVE bots programmed with AI and the AI is not that good. Hence the bots will NOT PICK CHAMPIONS. They will take their namesake automatically. That is why picking their individual champions earlier is a waste of time. This also means if you want to practice with Sivir for example, DON'T INCLUDE SIVIR on your team! Otherwise you could not pick her! Just remove her and re-add until she is not present. Or, manually pick the non-sivir champion that is left. Note also that the RYZE bot is by far the most effective. Watch out for him! Click go and get ready! You have 90 seconds to pick stuff. First, pick Tristiana as your champion. Second, click the Summoner Spells, the 2 icons in mid-bottom screen. Pick Heal and Smite in that order. These will be D and F keys respectively. Third you would pick which rune configuration or 'page' you want. Nothing to do here yet. Fourth it shows your masteries divided into offensive, defensive, utility. Make sure you have 1 point in one category. Otherwise you forgot to SAVE your mastery! When done, LOCK IN your choice to skip the countdown. In the future when playing with others you want to lock in as soon as you have your choices. Others get irritated when they lock in within 10 seconds and have to wait 80 more seconds for the new guy to lock in when they are just sitting there. Get ready to go! XVI: First One Minute ===================== Right-click the Shop right next to your character. Click Offensive, Damage, and doubleclick Duran's Sword to buy it. Then go back, back, Consumables, and buy one health potion. Note that there are 6 items listed under Recommended. Duran's Sword will be one of them. You could just doubleclick that instead to buy the item. Buy your first skill, Explosive Shot which is hotkey 'E'. Anything you kill will blow up and you can also actively select it do deal damage to a foe. Wait for minions to spawn and see which way the AI bots go. They should split up into 3 groups, one pair and 2 solos. Go ahead and follow one of the solo bots, preferably the one on the side. The middle lane is usually reserved for the 'solo' or the player that is by themselves. Soloing in the center is much better than doing so on one of the sides so you always want to leave the center player alone. XVII. The Next 30 Minutes or so =============================== The minions will start fighting and you will see the bots on both sides try to get the killing shot. This is how you make gold! This is a key skill called 'last hitting'. Get up closer to the fight and click S for stop. Wait for a minion to be almost dead. Then right click them to shoot at the last second. Don't use your champion special abilities on the minions! The tutorial has you doing this and it is usually idiocy unless you can get the killing shot on a large group of them. This is very hard on your mana supply. However, go ahead and use SMITE on one of the melee guys for a quick kill and some gold. Do this whenever smite is off of cooldown. Ideally use it on the big tank-looking thing when it is under 1/2 health for the big money! You will see the enemies come in to cast a spell or attack a minion. Next time they do, click E and click them. Don't go chasing them around to do this, but you should have several opportunities to nail them. Then run back. They will take 100 damage over the next 4 seconds which is about as good as two or three of your auto-attacks. If the enemy is melee range, definitely shoot them when possible. Note that the enemy minions prioritize YOU when you attack an enemy hero! This includes either auto-attacking or using an offensive skill. So generally stay on your side. In the same way, your minions will beat up a hero that foolishly comes onto your side and attacks you. Use your healing potion when you take some damage. It heals 200 HPs OVER TIME (20 seconds or so), not immediately. If you get too beat up you may have to retreat back to heal. Eventually you will do so anyways to buy stuff with all the gold you are getting. If you have less than 900 gold, buy Movement, Boots of Speed?(the level 1 ones) to speed you up. The first level of boots boosts your speed by +50! Level 2 and 3 speedups only boost an extra +20 per level so the first level of boots is the most important. If you have 1000 gold, buy OFFENSE, DAMAGE, Pickaxe to increase your damage. If you have 1350 gold, buy both Pickaxe and Boots. If you have 1850 gold, buy OFFENSE, DAMAGE, BF Sword for a big damage boost. You might buy a few health potions too with leftover money. Go ahead and play. Once you have more gold and shop, click on your Pickaxe or BFSword. It will show you the various items you can potentially make and the remaining cost! This is a really cool feature. Click the Infinity's Edge item. If it is highlighted you can afford the whole thing. Just double click and it will buy any other necessary items and the recipe and combine them for you. If you can't afford the whole thing, then go ahead and buy any of the other necessary items that build into it. i.e. the Cloak of Agility, BF Sword, and Pickaxe. These individual items will be highlighted if you can afford them. Be sure to NOT buy duplicates of what you already have though! The items don't un-highlight if you already own them. You might notice that since Infinity's Edge is a recommended item that it will become highlighted in the recommended section if could afford it. In which case a double-click will more quickly buy it for you. Win or lose, you now have enough IPs to click the Shopping Cart, click Runes, filter by Marks, and buy an attack speed rune, or armor pierce, or whatever else you want. The bonus is very minor so don't expect much. Back to the rune section and put it in your Mark slot and save. XVIII. Discussion of Mechanics ============================== Now that you have actually played a game, we will do a very brief discussion of the game mechanics. I want to point out a few non-obvious things that I have not seen consolidated elsewhere. First, unlike most systems there is NO Strength, Agility, or Intelligence! Instead, each champion starts out with differing amounts of various stats and they ALSO gain differing amounts of stats every time they level up. So a "Strength-based champion" might have high damage to start and leveling up, but a slower attack and movement speed with less mana. It is effectively the same, but makes things a bit simpler by skipping intermediate stats. I mean, "Strength" is pretty meaningless except for the end result of Damage, HPs, etc. Damage - This is how much damage your character does on a normal attack. Starts at about 50, and gains about 3 per level on average. Range - Kind of a hard stat to find out about a champion. More is better. Crit Chance - Chance of doing a double-damage critical hit. What is interesting is that several champions gain crit chance as they level up! Took me a while to figure this out. As such, some champs benefit more from critical hit items. Attack speed - Pretty much all champions start off the same, but some gain significant boosts to their attack rate as they level. This explains why a champion that has a maxed out 'Attack' bar on their quick-stats starts out with a 45 damage attack and doesn't progress any faster than anyone else. It usually means they get a natural big boost to their attack speed as they level. This ability has a hard cap in that you can only stack so much attack speed boosting before the extra is ignored to prevent machine gun/ginsu knife ridiculousness. Cap is 2.5 attacks per second which is still pretty fast. Ability Power - One of the more confusing ones. All champions have various 'spells' that deal damage. Ability power boosts the damage or effect of these spells. The confusing thing is that each power has an Ap-Factor. A certain spell might gain +8 bonus damage for every 10 AP you have, whereas another champ's spell only gains +4 for every 10. Or a big ultimate might deal 15 for every 10 AP. This is a pretty big semi-hidden factor that can make certain champion's spell significantly more powerful than others. Note that NO champion EVER gets "Free AP" as they level. This is why spellcasters typically get weaker endgame. A level 9 caster does 300 damage say with their level 5 nuke. The same caster at 18 STILL only does 300! ALL AP gains come from Runes and Masteries(minor) or Items(the big one). Even with items, spells will still barely keep up with the natural HP progression of most champions. Armor - Increases resistance to physical damage. Champions do get increased armor as they level up for free. Without over-complicating things, armor gives a percentage-based decrease in damage that diminishes per point: 20 armor = 16.7% reduction. 50 armor = 33% reduction. 100 armor = 50% red. 200 armor = 67% reduction. 500 armor = 83% reduction. Note that many items/runes/masteries/skills can reduce or ignore certain flat amounts or percentages of armor. Magic Resistance - Same as armor except against magical damage which is almost always from champion's skills and items. Note that even physical champions such as someone who uses a gun will still usually deal MAGICAL damage with their skills. Same formula as armor. Movement Speed - There is a lot of chasing and running so this is important. Most champions have about a 300 speed. Level 1 boots add +50. Each level past that adds +20. Some items, skills, runes, masteries add move speed but after a certain amount the benefit starts getting reduced. So stacking tons of speed boosters will still make you faster but not blazing fast. HP/MPs - Nothing special to say about these. The differences between champs can be pretty significant, moreso than the other stats. HP/MP Regen - All champions regenerate HP and MP over time. They have a base rate of regen. Items/masteries/runes/skills can increase this regeneration. Some items and skills provide instant HP and MP recovery as well. XIX. Playing with Others ======================== Play a few more games against the computer, reread sections of this guide and I think you have the basics. A good next step is to join a practice game that says "bots" or something. Keep refreshing while looking. This will be a game with 5 real players against 5 AI opponents. You can then lane with another player to see more how real players react. I would AVOID any "IP Farm" type games because those are filled with good players who are just beating the computer in 11 minutes for fastest IP-farming. You won't learn much that way. So let's say that you join a 5v5 vs bots game. Or after a few of those you are ready for a 'normal game'. There are a few things to be aware of: a) Other teammates might take 'your' favorite champion! ESPECIALLY if that champion is either on the free-play rotation for that week, or is Tristiana who is 'free'. When joining a real queue game, it will be very helpful to know exactly where your character is! For example, if you have been practicing with Gangplank, note during practice that he is say the 4th character from the left. That way as soon as you join (everyone joins about the same time unlike practice) you can know where to click immediately and take your favorite. This can be important when you are new and don't have many unlocked champions or the current champ rotation you are inexperienced with. Later on, you will find a few champs that you really like and have them unlocked. If a hero is not on free-play, you generally won't have competition for them. b) Team composition is slightly important. You need to pay attention to who is on your team. You don't have to know exact details, but you should learn quickly at the very least what the free-play heroes do. i.e. Ranged carry, melee, support, caster, etc. A team with 3 tanky heroes and a caster really needs a ranged carry or you will be gimped in the late-game. If someone already has 2 other ranged physical characters and 2 spellcasters, it would be really nice to have a tanky character that can start team fights without dying immediately. This becomes more and more important as you level your summoner and start fighting stronger opponents because teamwork becomes more prevalent. c) You can 'queue drop' by clicking the X found where the large PLAY button normally is. This forces everyone to rejoin the queue in a Normal game and you cannot join another game for 5 minutes as punishment. In a practice game, there is no penalty so if you see 5 players on 1 side and you and 4 bots, DROP QUEUE immediately! Some players drop queue when they recognize a particularly bad player on their side, or great player on the other side, or because they 'dont like' a particular champion on their side who 'always sucks', or most commonly because someone beat them to clicking on their favorite character. Also, maybe their buddy just invited them to a premade game so they drop queue to play with their friend. Course they will have to wait 5 minutes. Anyways it happens so don't sweat it. Once you are in the champion-selection phase, you will need to quit the entire program and log yourself out. There is no easy quick-drop that I know of. d) Don't Quit! Quitting the game ruins it for everyone including you. If you personally suck, your teammates might be doing just fine. Tell your allies you are switching lanes cuz you are 'feeding'. Even if the whole team is getting bent over, youve already invested 15+ minutes into the game right? Just ride it out, play super defensive or sit AFK in your base moving occasionally until you lose or surrender. Even losing, you will get 1/2 the IPs and XP for the game plus bonuses for a 'no quitting streak' which is better than quitting. Quitting also is reflected on your permanent record. I don't really advocate AFKing by the way, but even that is better than quitting. e) AFK is the devil! On the other hand, if you go AFK, make wise usage of it. Sometimes you will just have stubborn teammates that won't give up. But you never ever ever ever want to immediately AFK at the beginning of a game. This is truly the most awful thing you can do. It really hacks everyone off and you are guaranteed to be reported and hopefully banned. If you get killed in the first 30 seconds of the game, quitting or going AFK is friggin ridiculous. Request a lane-change if it is sooo hard where you were or go in the inbetween and kill the neutral creeps or something. Only AFK when there is absolutely no chance of your team winning, NOT because your personal record is not looking good. Remember... after everyone is level 10 or so, players start sticking together and roaming. You can still contribute by sort-of staying up with others and then sticking with other people as they move around. You aren't stuck facing a lane against that Uber-Player forever. f) Don't feed! Feeding is when you play too aggressively and get killed during the early game. Where most learn from their mistake the feeder continues to try try again except the opponents are now higher level and have more gold. Failure ensures quickly and the opponents continue to gain gold and XP from repeatedly killing you. This is different from a gank, where enemies come from nowhere from their respective lanes and kill you. Yeah they gain some gold and XP, but they also lose the gold and XP they would have gotten by staying in their lane. So it is not as much of a net gain as you might think. g) Surrender. After 25 minutes have elapsed (see game clock top right corner), your team can give up. If you see a surrender vote you can type /surrender (with the slash) to vote yes. You can initiate such a vote too. h) If you find someone who is really cool, decently skilled, and you play well together, they might invite you to be their 'friend', a la facebook. You can then play games with them. (or you can 'friend' them) You would then join as a 'premade' vs a 'solo' queue. More on this later. g) In general, for every 10 games you play, you are going to win 50% of your games. Not much better, not much worse. This is due to the matchmaking system. If you have a losing streak, you will play weaker foes (and allies!) and if you win a lot in a row, prepare to get hammered soon! XX MATCHMAKING SYSTEM ANALYSIS: =============================== In a 'normal' game you will join a solo queue and based on your ranking and level, total win/loss and recent win/loss, you will be matched with a theoretically equal other players. This is not always the case, so do not despair! Some players will want a new name or feel they wasted IPs so they will make a new account. Some just want to "pwn noobz". Hence a level 1 player may be someone who has played for a year! They will also be the ones that yell at allies and complain about them being noobs, when their intention was to play at a noob level by starting over. Go figure. Due to the matchmaking system that player will quickly wind up against better and better opponents. The IP/RP and XP system does discourage this behavior though since they lose all their heroes and unlocking stuff from level 1 takes quite a bit of work. Here is how it works: The game tries to find 10 people that are close to the same 'rating' and level but with the following adjustments: * Recent wins boost your 'rating' and recent losses drop it. Overall win/loss matters too but for most players it will equalize out to 50/50. If things get too hard, try out some new characters in real play. As you get owned for a few games, the matches should become a lot easier. Remember though that your ALLIES will be worse too, not just your opponents! * It tries to match equal TEAMS moreso than players though. So if it is having a hard time finding 10 equal players it will add a few more experienced and a few less experienced vs 5 normal players for example. The point being that a team is assembled and has a 'team rating' which is used to find an opposing team. There might be a few low level noobs or the occasional higher level person. * As time drags on, the system will be less picky about matching. Hence a team might be slightly mismatched either against a tougher team or wimpier one. This is more likely during really odd hours. I've never had a match take longer than a minute or two to set up. * Premades are considered 'better' than random soloers as they theoretically have more teamwork. They boost the overall 'team rating' based on what percentage the premade is of the whole. Two buddies playing together on a 5v5 doesn't make a huge difference typically so maybe their individual ratings are boosted by 15% or so for purposes of matchmaking. So the opposing team is slighter tougher than normal. A full premade usually has good teamwork and thus is rating significantly higher. They will be against other premades or 5 randoms that have higher rankings and levels. Two buddies playing 3v3 will get a much higher rating boost than in a 5v5 map for purposes of the system determining their 'team rating'. XXI How to Improve? ==================== a) Reading guides about a particular champion can be pretty helpful. The list of Champion Guides can be found below. MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE POSTING DATE! Champions get modified and tweaked all the friggin time, so an older guide might be very inaccurate. These guides give you a good idea what order to take the skills in and also recommendations for which items to buy and in what order. You can skip all the stuff about runes and masteries. http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=68225 b) Learning the mechanics. Knowing how Armor, Magic Resistance, attack speed, damage, and so forth can really help you understand the game better. I guess since I went back and added that to my guide you should be off to a good start. But you can always learn more about the caps, stacking of percentages, etc. c) Find a champion that works for you. Everyone has different playstyles. Since you get 10 heroes for free every week, you can save up your IPs and then unlock a champion that you particularly like when you find one. This is a very quick overview on the different heroes and what they do, along with a youtube clip of them. http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=194210 d) Learn how the items work. When not playing, take a look at an item guide and then read the wiki articles on items. They give you a general idea so that you can compare items. Knowing what to shop for makes a big difference! http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/League_of_Legends_Wiki e) There are youtube videos that have guides on different characters. In particular a search for 'league legends commentary' should bring up a long series that someone did that has commentaries for most of the heroes in the game along with a 7ish minute tutorial on their proper usage. f) There are 2 other guides right here you can read. One discusses a great many heroes in some detail. The other is a more general overview of more complex concepts like Rune and item specifics. They are worth a read definitely. g) During a practice game, there is a long delay before minions spawn. If you click your champion's icon at the bottom left corner, you will pop up a Full Stats display that shows ALL his stats. Keep in mind that these are TOTAL stats, so it includes stuff from Runes, items, level-ups, etc. But as a new player you won't have much of that anyways. At least it tells you what your range is... It is also nice to check your armor, spell resistance, and other stuff while playing to see your progression. h) Runes and Masteries are not super important but here is a good link for comparing and making more sense out of runes. http://leagueoflegends.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Runes Here is a decent analysis that is easier to understand: http://runeterra.com/forums/index.php?topic=1137 i) Check out the New Player's Forum. In particular there is a 4 part PDF introduction to the game with lots of screenshots. http://www.leagueoflegends.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=29 j) It is really important to play a game or two with each free-hero vs the bots. When playing a new character in a normal match, you are playing against opponents of the same skill level as your OLD character that you are good at. Playing a new champion will make you very weak in comparison. At least 1 practice game is a good idea to see how you like the character and how it works. I recommend even playing with the crap characters you don't want to. You learn how they work, how to play against them, and you might even be pleasantly surprised by one and like em! k) The league of legends website has a 'learning section' that has SOME stats on all champions and items. However in my opinion it is not all that great because it is missing several important stats. Like RANGE for example. It's kinda important to how IF a champ can shoot and how far! You can also access it by going to Champ information then clicking the "More information" link which pops up your browser. XXII. Closing Remarks: ====================== Hope you enjoy playing! If you see me ingame as "Warrrax" (yeah someone took Warrax) then please give me a shout out! Or laugh at my noobness when you pwn me which shouldn't be that hard. I am old and slow after all... Direct any comments to: joemamaNOSPAMPLZKTHX at hotmail.com Obviously getting rid of the NOSPAMPLZKTHX part. :-) I am definitely NOT an expert so for any questions, I'd ask the strategy forum. But mistakes and additions and props and slops will certainly be taken into consideration and appreciated! Well, maybe not the slops. ;-) Legal Stuff: This guide is not to be sold or used for profit. It is a free contribution to the league of legends community.