League of Legends has been around since 2009 and was one of the driving games behind the eSports movement. It was right alongside the StarCraft franchise as one of the first game competitions to draw a true esports crowd along with sponsors. It is easy to forget that League of Legends’ humble origins.
Riot Games developed League of Legends. This Indie game developer is based out of Las Angeles. The development team consisted of veteran developers from DotA, Defense of the Ancients, and even some former Blizzard employees. With such a strong team behind the release of their first title, it is no wonder League of Legends continues to grow in popularity with no signs of slowing down.
League has always been a free-to-play game. When it was released, there was no cost for the game or subscription. Riot makes their money off of microtransactions in the game. Many players never make any purchases, while others have spent more on microtransactions than they would have on a retail game. This model has allowed Riot to thrive without ever having to charge for their game.
League of Legends did not immediately take off upon release. Initially, subscription numbers were relatively low, but as interest grew, so did player counts. By 2007 League of Legends had over 10 million active players. By 2017 that number had grown to over 100 million.
This massive rise in popularity is no doubt, thanks to its place in the esports community as one of the most popular games to play. Not only are there more League players now, but there are also more fans of the game streaming it through Twitch and other streaming platforms.
League of Legends offers players two separate game mode for different play styles and goals. The first is the Classic mode. This mode is a simple base defense style gameplay. Players must defeat the enemy Nexus before the enemy overruns their Nexus. To do this, you must help your minions get to the enemy base by using inhibitors.
Inhibitors are defense towers. These towers are too much for minions to destroy and require a Champion. Once you destroy the Inhibitor, minions are free to move further down the map.
The second game mode is Domination. When playing in Domination the objective is not to directly attack your enemy’s Nexus, but instead to capture and hold key locations on the map. When you capture a site from the enemy, their Nexus will suffer damage.
What Made League of Legends So Popular?
Several factors contributed to this, but here are some of the main points regarding the meteoric rise of League.
First, the game offers a wide range of playable characters. Where most modern games only provide a few base choices which can be customized as you progress, League has over 90 Champions to choose from.
Second, it is easy to learn. While some Champions do have a steep learning curve, the game itself is easy to master.
Perhaps one of the most significant driving forces in the success of League is their use of championships. Gamers are naturally competitive, so giving them a free-to-play game with a wide range of characters, good graphics, and simple gameplay mechanics is an excellent way to incite competition. Riot took advantage of this by giving them a platform to do so.