League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) that plays like many traditional sports of today. Before getting into the specifics, let's start small. The game at a very top-down level is as simple as this: Two teams fight in an epic battle to destroy each other's Nexus. (seen below). To get to this point, you must battle the enemy tooth and nail to destroy each other's turrets, and destroy the opponents if they choose to get in your way. Each game lasts anywhere from 25 - 45 minutes.
Each team consists of 5 players with their own unique role on the team. These roles are called "Jungler", "Attack Damage Carry" (ADC), "Support", "Top Laner" (Top), and "Mid Laner" (Mid). Much like traditional sports, there are common traits among the roles.
THE JUNGLER: often a selfless player with a hint of aggression- if you're familiar with soccer, think of these guys as a midfielder. Their goal is to enable their team and to always be a step ahead. The team with the more cerebral and tenacious jungler will always have the advantage.
THE ADC: This player is your attention seeker that needs a lot of setup, but when given the shot, they will take it every day of the week. This is often your star player. In LoL, this role starts the game as the weakest, but by the end of the game, they're the strongest.
THE SUPPORT: This player is your rock. Their job is to help the ADC get to a point where he's confident and strong, while also adding the most utility elsewhere on the map. This position and the jungler work together to develop good strategy on the fly.
THE TOP: The Top Laner is your boxing expert in the group. They are put on the furthest point of the map by themselves without much, if any, help. In the one-on-one against the other top, they will box it out, constantly swinging and trying to get the better of their counterpart. This player must be resilient and strong-minded or they will falter.
THE MID: The Mid Laner is your well-balanced point guard. They're going to be cerebral, fast, able to take shots from anywhere, and must be completely flexible. Much like the jungler and support, this player must be intelligent and able to study the field.
The game starts with each team spawning near their nexus. After 15 seconds, the gates are opened, and the game begins. The map consists of 3 lanes, each of which are occupied by the different roles described above. The ADC and Support head bottom, the Mid Laner heads to the middle lane, and the Top Laner, you guessed it, heads towards the top lane. The Jungler begins in the forest, or "jungle", region. Let's take a look at the map below to get a better idea.
Once everyone has gotten to their lane, minions (little soldiers that fight for your team) begin to spawn on each side. You earn gold (currency) by destroying these soldiers. This gold can go towards buying items such as swords, bows, or armor. These make you stronger, quicker, healthier, and overall a better warrior as the game goes on. You can also earn a huge lump of gold by slaying an opponent.
During the beginning of the game, tension builds as each team tries their best to earn the most money in whatever way they can. The jungler is fighting jungle monsters, the laners are fighting each other and trying to take minions, and everyone is trying their best to get stronger for their team. As everyone is getting stronger and more items, people tend to get more confident and decide it's time to fight. This is when the real fun begins!
Fighting typically happens around two side objectives on the map. If you check the map below, you'll notice two pits in the center river of map. These pits contain two GIANT monsters called "Dragon" and "Baron". Teams love to fight over these because they give very special power-ups for your team that can last the entire remainder of the game. Some of these give you extra speed and strength, while others let you damage towers and even the nexus more. This is how the game picks up speed and is a driving force behind many of the greatest battles in League of Legends.