League of Legends remains one of the world’s most popular games

League of Legends champions

League of Legends has become one of the longest-running and most popular video games in the world.

Few games have aspired to the reach and popularity of League of Legends. Played by many millions of players across the world and supporting a vibrant international esports scene, the game has become the model for sustainable competitive games, and is one of the gaming industry’s most prominent successes in free-to-play models.

Its origins date back multiple decades to custom game modes in other popular games. Made independent of its roots and refined by its developers, the League of Legends has elevated itself from a promising upstart, to the world’s biggest MOBA, to one of the world’s biggest and most prominent video games to date.

What was League of Legends’ release date?

League of Legends was first released by developer Riot Games in North America on October 27, 2009. The game was crafted over the course of multiple years, and was inspired by a custom game mode in WarCraft 3.

Blizzard’s WarCraft 3 had been a significant success with a vibrant multiplayer community, and the game allowed players to create customized modes of play. Among the most popular of these custom modes was Defense of the Ancients, which saw opposing teams of players control individual hero units with a variety of special abilities.


Riot Games founders Marc Merill and Brandon Beck were inspired by Defense of the Ancients to create a new game based on this custom mode, and to craft it in such a way that the game could be updated and monetized indefinitely.

This idea, creating a game as a service, was relatively new at the time. It has since become widespread in the video game industry, particularly with regards to multiplayer games like League of Legends. Other examples include Riot’s own Valorant, as well as Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.

How many champions are in LoL?

There are now more than 160 champions in League of Legends, and that number is increasing every year as the game continues to receive updates.

League of Legends was originally planned to launch with only 20 champions. By the time of the game’s release in 2009, that number had increased to 40 champions. It has continued to balloon ever since, with new champions continuing to be added to the game over time.

League of Legends’ champions represent a variety of archetypes and play styles. Some are deadly assassins, while others are helpful supportive characters, with great variety between. Riot Games continues to iterate on these archetypes in new and different ways, and this increasing variety is one of the biggest reasons League of Legends has remained popular over the years.

How to download League of Legends

League of Legends is free-to-play and free to download. Players need only visit the official Riot Games website in order to download an installer for the game.

Riot Games now uses an official Riot Games launcher for all of its games, including League of Legends. This launcher works similarly to Valve’s Steam launcher and Activision-Blizzard’s launcher, and is required in order to play League of Legends.

Prior to the launch of the Riot Games launcher, League of Legends launched and ran independently. The game can still be launched directly after the Riot Games launcher is downloaded and installed.

What is League of Legends’ gameplay like?

League of Legends is a MOBA, or multiplayer online battle arena. Developer Riot Games popularized the term “MOBA” to describe this type of game. Other notable examples of MOBA games have included competitors Dota 2 and Heroes of Newerth.

League of Legends’ gameplay is based around two teams of five players who compete to destroy the opposing team’s defensive structures, starting with defensive towers and leading to inhibitors. Once a sufficient number of these defensive structures have been eliminated, the last remaining goal is to destroy the enemy team’s nexus. Destroying the nexus ends the game.

Players control individual champions, each of whom boasts unique abilities that grow stronger over the course of the game and as the champion accrues additional experience. Players can also use gold to buy items that strengthen their champions. Gold is accrued by achieving various in-game objectives, from felling opposing players to taking down neutral monsters on the game map.

The gameplay in League of Legends is constantly evolving as the game receives continuous updates, which helps to keep players invested over time.

How to download League of Legends patches

Patches for League of Legends will automatically download to the user’s Riot Games client upon launching the client whenever a new update is available. Players don’t need to manually search for updates, nor do they need to manually elect to update their game.

League of Legends patches must be downloaded and installed in order to play online after each patch is released. Patch installation is mandatory so that all players are able to join the same servers and play the same version of the game.

It’s through constant patches that League of Legends is kept fresh for players after many years of play. Each patch updates the game’s balance through a variety of means, such as changing champion stats and abilities, or affecting how much items cost and how items work.

Major patches go even further, changing the game’s map and how some objectives work. These larger patches are typically reserved for between ranked seasons, during the “preseason” period as the end and beginning of a calendar year.

Author image

Written by Jared Wynne

Jared Wynne has been covering gaming and esports for the past two decades. He's a former competitor in Counter-Strike, and still counts it among his favorite games along with RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Mass Effect. He studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, has been published at such outlets as The Daily Dot and The Esports Observer, and is the former Editor-in-Chief at You can find him on Twitter / X at @JaredWynne.

Twitch streamer Amouranth

Who is Amouranth, the controversial Twitch star and OnlyFans model?

Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 splash

Here’s how popular Fortnite is in 2023 and how many people play it