Timeless or Complicated: Ten Years of League

Loading screen for “League of Legends” featuring 12 characters from the game.

Believe it or not, the Windows/macOS free-to-play game, “League of Legends”, has reached its tenth anniversary. The game was published back on Oct. 27, 2009 and remains a fan-favorite game to this day. The League of Legends World Championship, the competitive e-sports scene for “League of Legends”, was held through this October and November in different locations in Europe. On Nov. 10, the game’s Youtube channel released a music video in collaboration with famous music artists such as Becky G. and Soyeon of G-Idle featuring characters from the game. The song, titled “Giants”, has garnered almost 30 million views since then.

What is it that makes a ten-year-old game so remarkable in a digital world with so many other options? 

Is it really free?

Unlike other popular video games, “League of Legends” is completely functional without spending money. The installation is free, the characters are free and even in-game customization can be free. While the software itself is free to download and characters can be purchased via in-game currency gained from playing, Riot, developer of “League of Legends”, still has microtransactions. Champions can be bought entirely with in-game currency, but the process of earning this currency is painfully slow. Some of the more expensive champions might take days or even weeks of games to unlock them.

Riot offers an alternative; pay real money and get the characters for way cheaper. A similar process applies to skins, unique in-game costumes for the game’s characters, and they too can be acquired by just playing the game. However, these free skins are random and it will most likely be for a character you don’t use. To pick the skin you want, you have to purchase it.

Still, at the end of the day, skins are purely cosmetic and offer no in-game advantage. Having a skin will not make a player more likely to win.

Gameplay: Revolutionary or Just Confusing? 

“League of Legends” is a multiplayer RPG-style team game. Trust me when I say that this game’s core mechanics are daunting for newbies. The objective of the game is to infiltrate the enemy base and destroy their power supply, or Nexus. Three lanes of enemy turrets stand in your way, which you must destroy before getting into their base. In the meantime, you have to worry about farming minions, keeping your vision score up, ganking, getting dragons, baron, leveling up, buying items, etc. It’s a lot for a newbie player who might not even understand what all these terms mean. I’ll even admit that I sometimes forget important gameplay components because there’s so much to deal with. Plus then there are roles that every player must declare. Mid? Support? Jungle? Not every champion can play every role and not every player can be good at multiple roles. 

Even my friends who are at level 100 and above still fail to grasp every single facet of the game. With nearly 150 characters in the game and more to come, it’s impossible to know how to deal with every matchup. Then again, with so many characters, there are enough characters to appeal to a diverse audience. 

Final Verdict: To Play or Not to Play

League has a certain phenomenon that draws experienced players and new players alike. The game, for what it’s worth, is completely playable without spending any money (though you are going to want those sweet customization options, trust me). There’s a clear reason why the game has around 100 million active players. While “League of Legends” has a very steep learning curve, people are compelled to master such a hard game. “League of Legends” also offers a unique experience to every single player, no matter their level. That’s why you should play, but please, just try to find some friends to help.

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