Riot Games created and released League of Legends (LoL), sometimes known as League, a multiplayer online battle arena computer game in 2009. The creators of Riot were motivated to create a standalone game in the similar genre by the Warcraft III custom map Defense of the Ancients. League has been a free-to-play game since its inception in October 2009, and it earns money through the sale of customisable character skins. Both macOS and Microsoft Windows support the game.
A demonstration of League of Legends built in
the Warcraft III game
engine was completed in four months and then shown at the 2007 Game Developers Conference. There,
Beck and Merill had little success with potential investors. Publishers were
confused by the game’s free-to-play business model and lack of a single-player
mode. The free-to-play model was untested outside of Asian markets, so
publishers were primarily interested in a retail release, and the game’s
capacity for a sequel. In
2008, Riot reached an agreement with holding company Tencent to
oversee the game’s launch in China.
League of Legends was announced October 7, 2008, for Microsoft
beta-testing began in April 2009. Upon the
launch of the beta, seventeen champions were available. Riot initially
aimed to ship the game with 20 champions but doubled the number before the
game’s full release in North America on October 27, 2009. The game’s full
name was announced as League of
Legends: Clash of Fates. Riot planned to use the subtitle to signalwhen future content was available, but decided they were silly and dropped it before launch.
of Legends received
generally favorable reviews on its initial release, according to review aggregator website Metacritic. Many
publications noted the game’s high replay value. Kotaku reviewer Brian Crecente
admired how items altered champion play styles. Quintin Smith of Eurogamer concurred,
praising the amount of experimentation offered by champions. Comparing it
to Defense of the Ancients,
Rick McCormick of GamesRadar+ said
that playing League of Legends was
“a vote for choice over refinement”.
Given the game’s
origins, other reviewers frequently compared aspects of it to DotA. According to GamesRadar+ and GameSpot, League of Legends would feel
familiar to those who had already played DotA. The game’s inventive character design and lively colors
distinguished the game from its competitors. Smith concluded his review by
noting that, although there was not “much room for negativity”,
Riot’s goal of refining DotA had
not yet been realized
A lifelong gamer, Brandon Beck cofounded Riot Games in 2006 with a vision for a game that would become League of Legends and a game company that would redefine the way video games are developed, delivered, and supported for players.
Brandon and cofounder Marc Merrill attended the University of Southern California together and bonded over their love for video games. Roommates after college, they pursued their shared dream and founded Riot out of their apartment in Los Angeles.
Riot’s debut title, League of Legends, has grown into one of the most-played games in the world and a driver of the explosive growth of esports. In October 2019, Riot announced a slate of new games including Legends of Runeterra (a digital card game), Teamfight Tactics (a leader in the emerging autobattler genre) for mobile devices, and VALORANT (a tactical first-person shooter), as well Arcane, Riot’s first animated series which aired its first season on Netflix in November 2021 and is currently in production on season two.
In addition to company leadership responsibilities, Brandon serves as executive producer on Arcane and has helped guide Riot’s creative vision across games and entertainment including music, comic books, board games, books, and now television.
Brandon has been a champion of Riot’s social impact efforts and serves on the boards of several non profits. Brandon is married to his high school sweetheart Natasha and they have three young children and eagerly await the day they can queue as five.
What is League of Legends?
League of Legends is one of the world’s most popular video games, developed by Riot Games. It features
a team-based competitive game mode based on strategy and outplaying opponents.
Players work with their team to break the enemy Nexus before the enemy team breaks theirs. League of
Legends is a complex game which involves both high-level strategy and fast-paced gameplay. Skilled
players know how to beat the opponent in front of them, while keeping the macro-elements in mind to
support their team to victory.
How It’s Played
Each team assigns their players to different areas of
Summoner’s Rift, the most commonly used map in
League of Legends, to face off against an opponent
and attempt to gain control for their team. As the
game progresses, players complete a variety of
tasks, including collecting computer-controlled
minions, removing turrets (which protect each
team’s side of the map respectively), and eliminating
champions (player-controlled characters). Players
use the gold they earn from these objectives to
power up their champion and increase their teams
control of the game. When a team is able to use those advantages to move into the enemy team’s base and break the Nexus, they secure the victory.
An item is a modular enhancement that the player can equip in-game, usually purchasable for Gold. Items are often fashioned into objects from Runeterran lore, otherwise following the theme of the game’s background setting. Items can be purchased from the shop. The player’s inventory can contain up to six items and one trinket at a time, making the choice of items an important factor in a champion’s strength.
Most items provide buffs to champions. Some buffs improve the stats of the champion, while others provide other types of benefits.
- Stat buffs improve the champion’s statistics. Most items grant some form of stat buff.
- Passive effects are constantly active while the champion has the item equipped, like champion innate abilities.
- Auras are buffs or debuffs that affect nearby friendly or enemy units, respectively. All aura effects are unique. (The holder of an aura item is not affected by the aura and thus can still benefit from an aura. This allows auras to stack up to twice on champions who possess the aura themselves. Other allies don’t benefit beyond the first aura.)
- Active effects function similarly to champion abilities. They are activated by clicking on the item or by pressing the item’s hotkey. Like champion abilities, active effects have cooldowns. Once the item has been activated, it goes on cooldown and cannot be triggered again until it has come off cooldown. The cooldown of active effects is affected by Item Haste. (Some items−such as Consumable−can utilize charges that limit the amount of activations. These charges may be restocked either automatically, or require repurchase. In the case of repurchased charges, the item will be destroyed when charges are depleted.)
Item Quality Tiers
Items are primarily organized by quality tiers. This excludes Consumables and Boots.
- Starter – These items are intended as effective starting items at the beginning of the game. These items usually do not build into higher-tier items.
- Basic – These items provide a single stat attribute or special effect.
- Epic – These items provide additional stats and/or a special effect. Some epic items offer lesser effects of the legendary item(s) that they build into.
- Legendary – These items provide the greatest stats and a significant special effect. They do not build into any higher-tier items.
- Mythic – These items are similar to Legendary items: they provide the greatest stats and a significant special effect, but additionally provide stats for completed legendary items. Only one item of this tier can be equipped at a time.
Most items can be upgraded by paying the cost in gold. Some, however, cannot be purchased and are obtained solely through the process of transformation – a unique effect that occurs under a specific condition, either gaining a specified amount of stacks on the item or completing explicit quests.
Before the start of each game, players select from a pool of over 140+ playable characters. These
“Champions” all have their own strengths, abilities, and personalities. Their imagery varies from
human-like to fantastical.
League of Legends Esports History
League of Legends (LoL) was developed and launched by Riot Games on October 27, 2009.
Following its 2009 release, LoL esports had humble beginnings. The first competitive scene was played online with LAN tournaments hosted by ESL, IGN, and MLG, among others. The primary competitors came from North America and Europe with some of the most iconic esports teams we know of today, like Team SoloMid (TSM) and Counter Logic Gaming (CLG), founded to compete in LoL.
The 2011 Season One League of Legends World Championship, which had a $100,000 prize pool, was the game’s first major tournament. It was held at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden. The top three teams from North America and Europe, as well as a representative from Singapore and one from the Philippines, made up the eight teams who competed in the Season One World Championship. It was held at DreamHack Summer in Jönköping, Sweden. The top three teams from North America and Europe, as well as a representative from Singapore and one from the Philippines, made up the eight teams who competed in the Season One World Championship.
The Season One World Championship attracted 1.69 million unique viewers in total, of which 210,000 dropped by to watch Fnatic defeat Against All Authority (2 – 1) and take the first League of Legends World Champions title.
League of Legends: The Growing of Esports Internationally
Player expansion outside of Riot Games’ domestic markets in North America and Europe was one of the company’s top priorities going into Season 2. With the successful launches of the Korean and Chinese game servers in late 2011, the game was made available in two of the largest gaming marketplaces in the world. A significant change in competitive LoL would result from the entry of Korea, which at the time had the most developed esports environment in the world thanks to its history with the real-time strategy game “Starcraft” from Blizzard Entertainment.
On the other side, the world’s second-largest economy, China, was set for a breakthrough as it attracted non-endemic ownership worth billions of dollars. The game immediately became the most popular esports title in the nation, attracting millions of players, and as many as 100 million domestic viewers watching as the Chinese team FunPlux Phoenix win the Summoners Cup in 2019.
As part of creating a competitive ecosystem, Season two marked the launch of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), which consists of two competitions, one in North America and the other in Europe, each with eight teams. Prior to Riot Games switching the North American league to a franchised league system in the middle of 2018, the LCS had a promotion and relegation system. The League of Legends European Championship was rebranded at the start of 2019 along with the similar change to the European LCS (LEC).
The League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) of South Korea would become well-known after the creation of professional regional leagues, becoming the most competitive league in the world with a substantial skill difference when compared to other areas. Azubu Frost and NaJin Sword were sent by the LCK to the Season 2 League of Legends World Title in its inaugural year. Azubu Frost advanced to the Grand Finals but lost to the Taipei Assassins in the championship match. Despite the sad outcome, Azubu Frost and Najin Sword previewed the potential the region had for producing championship contenders.
Fast forward to 2013, the year marked the beginning of an era for South Korean LoL with the
creation of two of the most successful teams in Worlds history, SK Telecom T1 (SKT) and Samsung Galaxy Pro-Game Team (SG). Several teams from North America, Europe, and China actively recruited South Korean players to enhance their rosters during this time in an effort to imitate the international success seen from teams in the LCK.
By multiple metrics, League of Legends’ esports future remains bright, and it is set to remain the leading esports title into the next decade.
Country of origin
Riot games is an American video game developer which is headquarted in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in 2016 by Marc Merill and Brandon Beck. However, it is a subsidiary of Chinese multinational technology conglomerate Tencent Holdings.