League of Legends: 10 years of memories



By Ethan Alonzo, <element style=

As we get older, it gets more and more difficult to hold onto what we enjoyed in our youth. Using dolls to play house, building structures with legos, and playing pretend defined what it meant to be a kid. However, as we enter adulthood, it becomes inappropriate to do those very things we loved. However, there are certain things we can still enjoy that we enjoyed when we were younger, just with a more mature filter.
Building structures with legos has become drafting projects for architects. Playing pretend has become acting in theater and film. Instead of playing house, we create our own families, akin to the ones we created in our playrooms.
Even video games, something we used to see as a break from responsibilities, has become a booming industry where people can find jobs in design, marketing, or even as professional players.
In the video game world, it’s rare when a game can be popular for more than a couple years. Franchises like Super Mario and Call of Duty have had to constantly invent new game mechanics in order to stay current and exciting for the average gamer. League of Legends, created by Riot Games, is a perfect example of a video game that had to adapt and change with the times.
League of Legends, one of the most globally known video games, is currently celebrating their 10-year anniversary.


League of Legends, or more commonly referred to as League, is known as a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA for short. The basis of every MOBA is as following: the map is split up into 3 lanes with lanes separated by covered areas of the map, known as “jungle.” The goal of the game is to destroy the enemy team’s base by taking control of the map. Most MOBAs have little monsters who you can kill to gain gold in order to buy items that make you stronger.
The beauty of MOBAs is how much variation there are in games. Depending on which characters you choose or which items you buy, the way the game is played can be affected.
In the MOBA playing community, many believe that League has defined what a MOBA should be, while it wasn’t the first game to use the format.
The playable characters, which are referred to as champions, each have a skill set that is specific to them. While each champion is diverse in looks, multiple champions have abilities that are similar. While it feels like the game creators are lazy, it makes learning the new champion much easier, as the player is already used to that skill from a previous champion.
Some champions benefit off of high damage that can be done in a blink of an eye while others are stronger in fights that take more time. Other champions are better off pushing their lane forward while others need to move around the map and help others.
Within multiplayer games, there is a concept known as “meta.” The meta of a game defines how the game should be played based off of what is strung during the current form of the game. League is no different. Sometimes assassins who can go into a fight, do tons of damage, and get out alive are what is strong in the meta. Other times beefy characters who can absorb every spell and attack without dying is what is considered strong. However, something League of Legends has done that has affected the majority of MOBAs played is how you seperate the teams within the lane.
In the early days of League, there was no definitive way to play the game. It wasn’t until they introduced a ranking system, a year after League became available to the public, where the game’s meta started to define itself. But once that system of play established itself, it shows no sign of changing. There are three main ways you can buy items to change the way your champion acts in game. You can build attack-damage, magic, or tanky. There is always a solo player in the top and middle lane, a player who traverses the jungle areas in between the lanes, and a duo in the bottom lane.
The person in the top lane, is usually a champion that buys items to add to the amount of health, armor, and magic resist they have. Sometimes they can be a champion that is better at longer fights, whose damage increases the longer the fights progress. The person in the middle lane can choose to be an assassin, a battle mage, someone who builds magic and uses spells over basic attacks, or a support style mage that helps the team in larger fights.
The duo who occupies the bottom lane are known as the Attack Damage Carry, ADC, or the Support. The ADC focuses on dealing physical damage to targets while Supports keep them alive long enough to do the damage they need to do in fights.
Lastly, the player who plays in the Jungle, which is referred to as the jungler, has one of the more diverse ranges of paths. They can choose to be heath and armor focused like the player in the top lane, they can go as an assassin like the middle lane, or take on a more supportive role like in the bottom lane.
Balance is one of the most important aspects of MOBAs. If everyone chooses champions that do physical damage, then all the enemy team has to do is build armor and they can overwhelm the attacking team. Same goes for magic. If all the champions benefit from engaging in fights first, using champions that have stuns or slows can dictate who wins the fight.
While League of Legends helped popularize the MOBA genre, that doesn’t mean it’s the best MOBA that you can play. League of Legends and fellow MOBA Defense of the Ancients 2, or Dota 2 for short, are heavily debated over which one is better. The first Dota was originally a modification done to video game Warcraft III. League of Legends used the same format, then Dota 2 was released as its own game instead of a modification. Unlike League of Legends, Dota 2 used less cartoonish graphics, so for those who crave a more mature looking game, Dota 2 might be the way to go.
Smite, created by Hi-Rez Studios, was yet another title in the growing list of MOBAs. Unlike Dota 2 and League, which created original characters, Smite took inspiration from different pantheons of various religions. This created an interesting concept as some matches could pit Thor, Norse God of Thunder, versus Amaterasu, the Japanese Sun Goddess. Smite also introduced an over the shoulder third person view, versus the traditional top down perspective that League and Dota 2 used.
With all these competitors in what feels like an over-saturated genre, one may ask themselves, how is League still around?
Compared to 10 years ago, League was a completely different game than it is now. The impressive 145 roster of playable champions, with a new champion set to be released in the coming weeks, was a mire 40 at the games start.
However, it isn’t just the amount of playable champions that has changed within the game. The look of the map itself received a major upgrade, being rebuilt from scratch in Nov. 2014, five years after the game’s release. New items were introduced, while beloved items were taken away. Champions that were already in the game were reworked to fit League’s ever changing format.
League of Legends uses the term “seasons” in order to declare big changes that are coming to the game. The seasons change each year and with them comes new and exciting ways to how you can play the game. This forces players to learn new skills, while still retaining their old game knowledge, and keeps the game from getting too stale. There will be times where older players will reminisce on the years prior and recall aspects of the game they are glad are gone and other times are saddened by the removal of the parts they miss. As with everything that changes, there will always be the good old days.
League of Legends, and by affiliation Riot Games, has grown to be more than just an online game played among friends on a Saturday night. With the ever growing popularity, League has a well established competitive circuit, finding its roots in North America, Europe, and Asia. The latter housing powerhouse regions, Korea and China, which have dominated the World Championship since 2013. Smaller competitive regions have been growing in recent years, with teams coming out of Brazil, Australia, and Egypt.
Almost every competitive match can be streamed online, allowing anyone to view their favorite teams play, regardless of what country they are in.
In 2018, the final match of the World Championship for League brought in 99.6 million viewers, just 3.4 million shy of the viewership for the Super Bowl, according to the competitive gaming news outlet Dot Esports.
Some big names in athletic sports entertainment have begun to show interest in the esports scene. Rick Fox, former small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Bay Area’s own Golden State Warriors have owned professional League teams.
In the years League has been around, the community around the game has also grown. People have cosplayed as their favorite champions, countless videos and memes have been created online about the game, and even a documentary has just been released about the game on Netflix. Music artists Imagine Dragons, Zedd, and The Glitch Mob have created songs for the World Championships. Individuals have created careers around playing the game online on live-streaming sites like Twitch.tv.
Though League has its list of successes, they aren’t without their failures. League is notorious for having an extremely toxic player base. Gaming news site Game Skinny lists the League gaming community as one of the worst online due to its emphasis on skill over fun.
“The way I see it, the problem is often caused by elitists (yes, that word again) who believe they are the best players in the world and get super frustrated when they don’t do well or their team is faltering,” Alec Pearce of Game Skinny writes. “They then proceed to take their anger out on their team instead of using the chat in a cooperative or constructive manner.”
It isn’t just negative player attitude that has affected League’s reputation on the online gaming platform. During May of 2019, over 150 Riot employees staged a walkout over Riot’s treatment of their female employees.
Even after 10 years, Riot Games is still introducing new projects and ideas that their fans are excited for. In their recent 10 year anniversary stream, Riot unveiled projects that they have been working on, in secret, to the public. A first person shooter, a role-playing style adventure game, a League of Legends online card game, a fighting game, similar to Street Fighter and Tekken, using League champions as characters, and an animated series which takes place in the game’s universe are among the things they have announced.
As Riot Games branches out of the MOBA genre of video games, it is safe to say after 10 years, they show no sign of slowing down. Through countless changes and a long list of criticisms, League of Legends has stood the test of time. From its humble beginnings to the video game giant it is today, League has created countless memories for its player base. After 10 years, Riot Games is still able to make their players ask: So what’s next?