If you follow eSports at all, you probably know the name League of Legends. This incredibly popular MOBA game is one of the most played eSports every year. Professional teams exist across the world, playing in tournaments with multi-million dollar prizes at stake. Thanks to League of Legends, eSports is closer to being on the level of regular sporting events than ever before.
Over 10 years after launch, League of Legends, or LoL, remains one of the most played games on Steam, attracting millions of players each day. If you’re a diehard fan, or if you’re just here to figure out what your grandson keeps talking about, here are 48 facts about everyone’s favorite eSport, League of Legends.
1. Actually, This Town Is Big Enough For the Two of Us
League of Legends is inspired by a popular mod for the game Warcraft III called Defense of the Ancients. This is frequently shortened to “Dota.” Dota essentially invented the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre (MOBA), and it has inspired many imitators—League of Legends included. Its standalone sequel, Dota 2, remains an incredibly popular MOBA and is the number one eSport in the world, considering prize pools.
2. Making That Gaming Money
League of Legends came out in 2009, but the hype for it has only grown. Over 10 years later, it remains one of the most-played eSports every year, with over $70,000,000 worth of prize pools given out across 2,400 tournaments in 2019.
3. Blood and Sweat
The game has an average of 80 million monthly players, with 27 million of those people playing daily. That’s a seriously dedicated fan-base.
4. Bus League
Because of its popularity, League of Legends’ developer Riot Games decided to make a mobile version of the game. League of Legends: Wild Rift will be a more cut-back version of LoL, easier to play on phones. It’s set for release in 2020. The developers said of the development process, “We rebuilt the game from scratch (like… the whole thing). Refreshed models, animations, game systems and more—but keeping true to the core League of Legends gameplay you already know.”
Sounds like a lot of work, but you’ve gotta get your games on people’s phones!
5. Free… With a Catch
League of Legends is a “freemium” game. This means the game is free to download and play, with optional microtransactions that can enhance your gameplay. You can buy new champions, skins, emotes, and other items for use in-game. This has been the case since the beginning, when the freemium model was much less popular in North America.
6. The After-Credits Scene
If you wait roughly a minute and a half after winning a match on the map “Howling Abyss,” you’ll hear a little Easter egg. The Ice Witch Lissandra will start narrating, giving you further insight into LoL’s lore.
7. You Shall Not Pass!
Playable champion Aatrox was partially based on the Balrog from Lord of the Rings. That’s the big sword-wielding thing that Gandalf takes on in the first film. The animator for Aatrox actually worked on some Lord of the Rings games, which could have been where he got the idea from!
8. College League
League of Legends sponsors college teams to compete in tournaments. Like football players, they even offer certain players scholarship money to play the game. What’s not a real sport now, mom?
9. Serious Pwnage
If you’re playing the robot skin for the character Nunu, it spouts a message in binary code when you die. When decoded, that message reads “noob.” As in, you just got pwned, noob!
10. Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo
Five champions in League of Legends share the same voice actor. Zyra, Fiora, Elise, Shyvana, and Cassiopeia are all voiced by Karen Strassman. She’s also known for her voicework in anime like Code Geass and Samurai Champloo.
11. Professional Drop Out
If you follow professional League of Legends, you may know the name George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis. HotshotGG dropped out of college to pursue professional gaming, specifically League of Legends, after his Twitch.tv channel blew up. He now co-owns Counter Logic Gaming, and even made it to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list in 2017.
12. The Beans and Dog Food Special
The champion Zac is a very gooey character. When he walks, the squishing sound you’re hearing is actually beans and dog food in a condom slapping against a wall, according to eSports commentator Leigh Smith. And before you ask, no, there was no better way to achieve this sound. Don’t question it.
13. Twitch Kings
Riot Games’ Twitch.tv channel surpassed all other channels in 2019, achieving a massive 112 million hours watched total. If that doesn’t solidify the staying power of League of Legends a decade-plus after release, nothing does.
14. Hold Onto Your Skin
There are a number of rare skins in League of Legends. The rarest are Rusty Blitzcrank, Black Alistar, and Young Ryze. These skins were only available for a limited time before removal. If you own one of these skins, flaunt it with pride. You’re one of the few able to!
15. Breaking Off the Training Wheels
In an interview with League of Legends developers, the team said that the game was made, “because a couple of very active DotA community members believed that the gameplay was so fun and innovative that it represented the spawning of a new genre.” They were definitely onto something!
16. Find Your Fleshling
According to lore, champion Blitzcrank hosts a “Fleshling Compatibility Service,” League of Legends speak for dating service. You can actually use this service through the official website. On the page, you answer a series of questions and Blitzcrank will match you up with a Champion! For such a scary-looking golem, the guy’s a real sweetheart.
17. Ok Then
Each champion has a specific set of dialogue. Rammus has the least, mostly just saying “Ok.” Originally he had more lines than this, but the voice-over team was so embarrassed by their first “hillbilly-sounding” attempt they re-recorded it quickly, ending up with the Rammus we have today. They meant to change this eventually, but the “ok” dialogue became a meme among LoL players, so they decided to keep it.
Another point for memers!
One of Heimerdinger’s lines of dialogue is, “42… there’s just something about that number.” This is a reference to the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which jokes that the number 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
19. In The Cards
Not only is there a mobile LoL game coming, but also a digital card game! Legends of Runeterra will be a collectible online card game for PC and mobile. It follows in the steps of popular card games like Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering, and Gwent.
20. You Are Not the Father
Sett is one of the latest champions added to the game. When announced, many fans theorized that Sett is the son of another champion, Draven, based on their similar appearances, and the fact that Sett’s father left him at an early age according to lore. Devs confirmed, however, that this is not the case. Looks like the hunt for Sett’s father continues!
21. Here’s to You
Riot Games released a skin for champion Jax called the Jaximus skin. The proceeds of the skin went to Make-A-Wish in honor of a patient, Joe, whose favorite character was Jax. They gave Jax a line of dialogue, “Here’s to you, kid,” in honor of the boy, who sadly passed.
22. More League For You
If the mobile and card game aren’t enough for you, Riot games has even more League of Legends spinoffs coming down the pike! They announced they were working on a fighting game, an e-sports management game, an animated series, and a “secret project” based on the series. Ravenous fans rejoice!
23. History: Doomed to Repeat Itself
One of the basic items in League of Legends is the B.F. Sword. This is a reference to a weapon in the game Doom called the B.F.G. The “B.F.” in each case stands for the same thing: Big…you get the idea…
24. Maybe a Little Too Dark
Originally, the champion Amumu was supposed to be a mummified child. They probably realized this was a little dark, and instead made him a fully-grown Yordle, a creature from League of Legends lore.
25. Grossly High
League of Legends is the 14th highest-grossing game of all time at the time of writing. It has grossed an estimated $9.89-billion since its release. Very impressive for a game you can download for free!
26. On the Fence
Champion Fiona, a fencer, was probably inspired by fencing master Fiore Dei Liberi. Liberi was highly influential to martial arts. He was the earliest Italian master of any martial art, and his fencing manual, Flower of Battle, is one of the oldest fencing manuals in existence.
27. Eternal Dibs
Champion Tryndamere is named after Riot Games president Marc Merrills’ Everquest nickname. His wife Ashley also has a character, champion Ashe.
28. That’s It, I Quit
The average salary for a League of Legends Championship Series player is around $300,000 US. The base salary, apparently, is around $75,000. Gaming certainly has come a long way.
29. Getting Bougie
World-renowned fashion company Louis Vuitton designed the trophy case for the League of Legends World Championship in 2019. They also designed a series of in-game skins and made a League of Legends collection of their own clothes. Talk about fancy!
30. Internet Legends
Four champion skins in the game are named in reference to popular web browsers. Foxfire Ahri for Firefox, Chrome Rammus for Google Chrome, Explorer Exreal for Internet Explorer, and Safari Caitlyn for Safari.
31. No Spoilers!
Riot Games takes spoilers seriously. Nearing the release of Avengers: Endgame, they temporarily banned a player for spoiling the end of the film during in-game chat.
32. A True Loss
League of Legends pro Maria Creveling, aka Remilia, passed in 2019 at the age of 24. She was the first woman to qualify for and play in the LoL Championship Series. Her legacy will always be remembered.
33. It’s Only Fair
In 2019, Riot Games came under fire for a gender discrimination case. Allegedly, female employees were passed up for promotions and paid less at the company for years. In December of that year, Riot reached a $10 million settlement with the female employees involved in the suit.
34. A Rocky Development.
Things didn’t always look hopeful for League of Legends. Partway through the development, three of the four core team members left. According to Jeff Jew, an intern at the time of development, all of the people who left simply wanted to make a “DOTA clone” and their “quality bar was low.” Ultimately, it was probably a good thing they hit the road.
35. Too Simple
The original name for League of Legends was Onslaught.
36. Changing for China
Riot Games faced more trouble when LoL players found out terms like Uighur and freedom were banned in in-game chat. China’s censorship laws were being scrutinized on the internet at this time, and considering LoL’s heavy Chinese player-base, this came across as the company bowing to Chinese censors. They addressed the issue and uncensored the chat shortly after.
37. The Politics of Gaming
New York House of Representatives member and social media sensation Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plays League of Legends! She revealed this by sharing a screenshot on her Instagram Story showing off her promotion to Silver IV rank in the game. Congrats, AOC!
A recent episode of The Simpsons saw Bart getting into the eSports scene. The game played in the show, Conflict of Enemies, is LoL in every way, from look to gameplay. The Simpsons’ team even consulted with Riot Games to get the episode perfect.
39. That’s a Rap
In a decidedly…interesting move, Riot Games has developed a virtual hip-hop collective comprised of League of Legends champions. They go by True Damage. The group includes champions Qiyana, Akali, Senna, Ekko, and Yasuo, and real-life musicians Becky G, Soyeon, (G)I-dle, Keke Palmer, Duckwrth, and Thutmose perform the songs. True Damage isn’t just an online act either—they played their song “Giant” at the 2019 LoL Championships in Paris.
40. Also, K-Pop
True Damage actually aren’t the only LoL-based musical act. K/DA is a K-pop group made up of LoL characters Ahri, Kai’sa, Akali, and Evelynn. Riot Games tried to make sense of this choice, saying, “[…] we thought this was a great opportunity to surprise players as far as what we could make for people.” It certainly is a surprise.
41. Team Plants Forever
Some LoL players may have noticed a nod to popular game Plants Vs. Zombies when playing. If zombie champion Sion defeats plant-based Zyra or vice-versa, the player gets an extra two pieces of gold.
42. The Goal
One of Riot Games’ goals with LoL is to make it as prevalent in the US as baseball. Based on the popularity, it may happen faster than anyone can imagine.
49. Elder Singed
According to Steve “Udyr” Mieczkowski, a producer at Riot Games, Singed the Mad Chemist was the first champion designed by the team. Singed remains a popular choice by LoL players to date.
44. Moving on Over
The HBO series Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson, featured League of Legends in an episode. The episode saw a former NFL player wanting to become a professional LoL player instead. Definitely a safer sport to take up.
45. Ranking Up
Ranking up in LoL can be hard, and gets harder as you continue to climb. If you’re struggling though, just remember the odds are in your favor. In 2018, about 70% of bronze players managed to climb to silver, and 50% climbed from silver to gold. It takes the average player around 25 games to climb to silver, and 29 to climb to gold. Just keep gaming!
Riot Games is always adding skins to the game. None, however, exist for one champion: Ornn. This will change in 2020, when LoL will see over 120 new skins, including, finally, some for Ornn! About time!
47. Mustache Juice
Poros are one of the cutest critters you’ll find in League of Legends. If you’re ever playing the Howling Abyss map as Braum, try feeding a Poro a Poro-Snax to see the creature grow a mustache! As an added bonus, if you wear the Dragonslayer skin, Poro’s mustache will be orange instead!
48. Minion Mass-Grave
During the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, player Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi set a new record by defeating 690 minions in one game. For those who don’t play the game, that’s a lot of freaking minions.