So… League Of Legends Is Popular

LoL indeed.
The free to play world, if one can call it a world, has a bunch of success stories, some of them tall, some of them short. The tale that seems to cause them all to pale, however, is the success of League Of Legends. The hero-based multiplayer battle arena game’s developers, Riot Games, have just announced a doubling of their active player based in just four months. That’s up to eleven million active players, with total registrants at thirty two million, which is getting up to Steam sort of numbers. You have to consider that when things get this popular, and are free, a number of people are going to be dipping in to see what all the fuss is about, deciding it’s not for them, and leaving again. Nevertheless these figures are not to be sneezed at, especially when League Of Legends is fairly hardcore in the scheme of things.

Anyway, Riot did a lovely (but info-lite) infographic so that you can see what 32 million registered players means. What it means is that the prize money for season two of the game is five million dollars. And I should imagine that’s a drop in the ocean against what Riot are bringing home. Mmm, cashy.


  1. Hoaxfish says:

    I see they didn’t include the assholes:noobs ratio in their stats.

  2. wonmean says:

    That is some piss-poor infographic, IMHO.

    • Tams80 says:

      I wouldn’t even call it an infographic; just a not even that pretty poster.

      Aren’t at least some of the graphics supposed to be proportional to the info?

  3. fallingmagpie says:

    I like “1,197 YEARS AGO THERE WERE VIKINGS!”. Nice touch.

  4. rei says:

    Weird, I had no idea this was at all popular. It’s somehow passed me by completely.

  5. Kandon Arc says:

    I did download this and play a couple of games but I just couldn’t understand the appeal at all. 11 million people obviously do though so good on them.

  6. mmalove says:

    As a terrible player, chiming in to say I love me some league of legends.

  7. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I remember when lol stood for “lots of love”.

    • MistyMike says:

      Wasn’t that ‘laugh out loud’?

    • Metonymy says:

      I remember when it was socially acceptable to mock DOTA players.

      Because it is so easy to succeed, the temperaments of the players run the full range from “1993 AOL user” to “frothing, slobbering ragemonkey.”

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I remember when the thought of singling out DotA players to mock them was absurd.
      Then I started mocking my DotA-playing friends behind their backs.
      Then that song came out.

    • stblr says:

      Why the face?

  8. cloudkiller says:

    The game is fun and all, but to buy heroes, runes and a nice group of skins it would cost so much more than just buying another game. Sure you can grind for the points to buy heroes and runs but that almost feels like work.

    I think penny arcade summed it up nicely. link to

    • DiamondDog says:

      I’m level 30 and I haven’t spent a penny on it. I’m not sure why you would call it grinding for points, when you get them for playing the game anyway? It’s not like you have to go away to another mini-game to get points, missing out on the fun. You just play matches and spend them when you have enough. Sure you can spend money on skins, runes and champions, but you really don’t have to.

      Having said that I’m not interested in getting at all competitive with this game, so maybe if you’re desperate to reach ranked play you might feel like you have to spend cash to get things straight away.

    • actionthom says:

      I completely agree with DiamondDog. I’ve been playing for a couple of months now and haven’t spent a penny. It’s not grinding, it’s just playing, like getting unlocks in COD or BF3.
      As it is, if they offered skins for a pound, I would have spent at least a tenner by now, but because you have to buy riot points, and a skin is £4 and you get £3.50 in a bundle so you have to buy two bundles to get 1 skin and then you’ve got cash left over and so on, I probably won’t ever spend money on it.

      I wish in-game things cost ‘money’ rather than a points equivalent. It’s one of the few things PSN got right over X-Box live.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Same impression from me. I’m not that high in level, but the regular income of “playing money” with each game is far enough to pay for the regular rune upgrades, and the eventual champion.

      I tend to play the same champion since the beginning, so I don’t really have an interest in spending a lot. And I have fun that way, without it ever looking like a “pay to win” situation.

    • Warskull says:

      Getting unlocks in BF/CoD or unlocking things in LoL are the definition of grind. You are at a disadvantage until you have access to them and have severely limited play options.

      Just because you happen to enjoy the grind doesn’t make it any less grindy.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:


      Not really. Runes provide a minimal advantage and every champ is free eventually. I played up to lvl 29 without ever buying a champion (or anything else), was still usually the best player in the game and ended up sitting on about 34k IP (and at no point did I ever feel limited).

      It’s completely different than BF3.

    • DiamondDog says:

      When I think of grinding for something, I think about repeating some task within a wider game in order to get the currency you need for whatever. The grinding part is usually separate from the actual fun part of the game, like camping the same mobs over and over in an MMO. It’s a grind, because it’s not fun.

      In things like LoL and multiplayer FPS games like Bat 3 and MW, the nature of PvP means you aren’t doing the same thing over and over. Well, other than playing the game over and over, but if you find that a grind then I’d say it follows you don’t actually enjoy the game in the first place.

      Also, you are not ‘severely impaired’. I just think it’s an absolute fallacy that anyone with higher level weapons in a Battlefield game will always win a fight. It just isn’t true. This is not meant to be a boast, but in Bad Company 2 I had no trouble killing people with all the unlocks, just using ‘lower level’ weapons. It’s just all about, you know, learning to play the game. That old thing.

      It’s much the same in LoL. Sure, you want to buy runes if you can afford them, but knowing how to play the game will always help you more than having all the best kit.

  9. Astatine says:

    This game scares me right down to the acronym. Through the distorted glasses of someone who’s never tried it, I see it as a bastion and perpetuator of willy waving and Internet troll culture.

    Am I wrong?

    PvP makes me cross; I shouldn’t bother trying regardless, should I?

    • IAmUnaware says:

      If you don’t like direct conflict between players, you definitely shouldn’t give LoL or any other DotAlike a try. In addition to the constant combat and resource competition with the enemy team, the genre is infamous for its harsh, egocentric, mean playerbase, which will also bring you into frequent direct conflict with your teammates who will instruct you to uninstall the game and end your own life over very small mistakes.

      That said, I enjoy the game, but playing without a full premade team of friends can be… draining.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I enjoy it, but I play with a healthy dose of /mute. I honestly don’t think it’s that much different from any competitive team online game.

    • Maldomel says:

      Yep, your experience can be hard if you do not meet the right people. That said, not all the players are total arseholes and trolls, you get to encounter some fine gentlemen once in a while. Unfortunately, you better be prepared for some intense bashing/cursing between and inside teams.

      But that’s just because it is easier to insult than to prove your skill.

    • Gnoupi says:

      So far, at level 11, I did notice some idiots and name calling people, but they are hopefully not the norm. And the fact that they are in lower number in all my games makes it that they get reported for their behaviour by other players.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      The legends outweigh the reality.

      A large percentage of the games I’m in are fine. One out of every fifteen will have a hilariously terrible player who thinks everyone else is terrible and will rage. But really, it’s mostly harmless.

    • Astroman says:

      One of the great things about LoL is you can just play co-op against bots. The points you earn from beating bots can be used to unlock new champians. The beginner bots are very easy, the intermediate bots are hard enough that a pro with a terrible team can still lose. So there’s no reason for PvP at all if you don’t want it.

  10. zergrush says:

    Are there any third parties sponsoring League of Legends tournaments? It’s a bit weird to see developers giving all the prize money.

    • Maldomel says:

      I guess they have some, you know like brands endorsing players in tournaments or when events are organized by brands. Even if they are racking up lots of money, I don’t think they can really pay 5 millions over a while gaming season just like that.

    • KaptainKnails says:

      Both Razor and Intel have sponsored tournaments.

  11. MaXimillion says:

    Once again, popular != Good.

    Would be interesting to know how much of that playerbase is based in China though.

  12. werde says:

    As someone who has played LOL all the way up to lvl 30 with at least 2 friends on skype, shouting at each other (more fun than it sounds) i can guarantee this is absolutely marvelous. If played with the right people it’s fun even when not winning.

    A fair warning for people that might want to give the game a try by themselves: DONT.
    Find someone, anyone that is wiling to take the plunge with you. Maybe you already have a fried that’s been playing for a while, in that case ask him to give you some tips(play some practice matches with you). Maybe you have a friend that never heard of the game/heard of it but is hesitant in trying it. In that case convince him to try it out and duo-queue or a while and see how it goes.

    Just dont. play. alone.

    • Chris D says:

      This is why I have never played.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Every single solo game has had one loudmouthed idiot (i.e all caps typing) shouting and swearing and calling people noobs.

      I have this wierd issue where my lol only seems to start loading the game once 7 of thepoeple have finished loading (it sticks on teh splash screen for ages), so i’m nto the quickest load, but there are slower and god forbid if you have a slow loading game, they instantly call on teh person to be reported for having a bad computer

      Yes tis that type of game, the same game that has a option to report someone for “being low skilled”

      its fun as a group tho

    • Duck says:

      I hang on the splash screen too- it’s caused by Kaspersky. I stop it blocking the game from loading slowly but it has to be done every update :|
      Also, to be fair, the reporting for unskilled player only affects matchmaking- it’s not bannable (that would be a joke.)

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Correct, we only look at reports for “unskilled player” when we fine-tune our matchmaking. If you have technical issues like Kapersky getting in the way, do get in contact with our player support. We have a pretty epic technical support team here and they’ve helped people with weirder issues. is the URL.

    • cyrenic says:

      Hey Daniel, have you guys thought about removing the “unskilled player” option from the report menu? Most people don’t know it’s only for matchmaker tuning and it sends the wrong message, I think.

      And I don’t see how it can be useful to matchmaking with the amount of noise you must get under that report category.

  13. Chris D says:

    Last week’s Three Moves Ahead was on League of Legends. Three Moves Ahead is always worth a listen, but you knew that already. The best bit was when Ryan Scott works out how much he’s actually spent on it.

  14. caddyB says:

    HoN is better in my opinion.
    That said, I don’t understand the hate in the playerbase of these games. It’s like everyone is suddenly a 16 year old asshat when they start playing one of these games. Usual conversation goes like this:

    CaddyB: I don’t like the graphics design of LoL, therefore I prefer other games, namely HoN.
    Random LoL player: That means you’re a fag!
    Random HoN player: LoL players are gay and lolol caddyb only has 1700 rating in hon lol shit dumpster tits kid
    Random Dota player: dota II is going to rape both of your shitty games you cunts! also I oppose every new idea that pushes the genre forward!

    I’m not kidding, someone made a thread on dota2 forums about adding a concede function to the game so you can just give up when you’re getting owned. he got flamed for about 50 pages I think. It is so hard to have any intelligent discussion with these people. And it is even harder to learn the games by playing solo, since everyone will just throw shit at your face if you do anything that is less than optimal in their weird opinions.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Why is a concede button a bad idea? Sometimes you just want to move on, especially if a player leaves or is inactive.

    • Bantros says:

      As a new to Dota style gamse player, the whole community thing did concern me at first especially after reading some of the threads on, even the one you mentioned, and the reputation of LoL and HoN.

      Having played a few games of Dota 2 though, I’ve found a lot of the better players are willing to help out if you are honest, ask a few questions and make an effort to not do stupid things. Haven’t seen any more abuse than any other multiplayer game yet to be fair

  15. The Sombrero Kid says:

    i play it. prolly too much tbh.

  16. Casshern says:

    Only played LoL once, then uninstalled. Felt like the paralymics when comming from Dota.
    Just my opinion though I’m happy for the people that enjoy it.

    • DiamondDog says:

      “Felt like the paralymics(sic) when comming from Dota.”

      So it takes a huge amount of commitment, resolve, talent and determination?


      (also, you are a horrible person)

  17. vee41 says:

    I like it. Wonder how DOTA 2 will do though, with backing of huge company (valve) and platform (steam) that is wildly popular. And even the game is already great in it’s beta form, been playing it a while and it gets better every patch. The whole support structure with matchviewing and stuff that valve has build around the game takes it to whole another level.

  18. Daniel Klein says:

    It amuses me to think that every single minute, 43,000 people die in their LoL games.

    For new players, I REALLY recommend you play a few bot games to get a feel for the game. When you want to go and play against real people, do play some Dominion first. It doesn’t feel anywhere near as bad to lose there.

    (Disclaimer, as always: I work for Riot. I’m super-happy about these numbers. I think Vikings rock.)

    • Jonith says:

      The problem with Bot games is how differant they are to the actual game, the thing is, no matter how many bot games or how good the Bot AI is, it can never replace what a human would do in the game.

      I agree with the Dominion point though, it is a great game mode, easy to get into the game, due to the faster pace and it also shows that MOBA games can develop from the traditional DOTA style game mode.

  19. Bantros says:

    Never played a Dota style game before, probably because Valve didn’t make one. But now they have and it is good, great even. No wonder they did too looking at those LoL numbers, impressive.

    Edit: Forgot to mention, I’ve watched more games than I’ve played in Dota 2 so far. It is insane how easy it is to get lost in the game without even playing it, the spectator system is a joy to use and you can even watch games whilst queuing up for matchmaking. Great for new players trying to learn the ropes

  20. Vinraith says:

    11 million active players, that’s basically WoW’s numbers isn’t it? And I can’t fathom the appeal of either of them. Interesting.

    • DiamondDog says:

      A person doesn’t like the same things as other people.

      No, that isn’t particularly interesting. It’s actually fairly common.

    • Vinraith says:

      Not liking something yourself and not being able to understand why it appeals to other people are not at all the same thing.

    • zergrush says:

      They’re both extremely accessible versions of stuff that had the potential to hook people up but because of some thing or other didn’t.

      DotA has a somewhat high skill level requirement for people to start having fun, LoL removes that by taking the more skill based mechanics out and giving heroes relatively higher resistances, health pools and escape mechanisms, it’s pretty much like DotA with training wheels. WoW did the same thing for MMOs.

    • Rhin says:

      It’s possible you can’t understand because you’re a more hardcore player who can’t appreciate the simple mechanics of LOL or WOW compared to their peers.

      It’s possible you can’t understand because you don’t think anyone would like a teamwork system where the failure of one player almost guarantees the failure of the team, whether it’s a newbie in LOL who keeps dying and feeding experience points to the other team, or a guy in WOW who doesn’t aggro the right mobs.

      It’s also possible that you don’t like multiplayer games and don’t understand why people would want to play them, or you HATE PALINDROMES.

    • Vinraith says:


      That actually makes a lot of sense.


      Well, palindromes did murder my parents.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Vinraith just hates other people and especially games which involve other people. Nothing new to see here.

    • mouton says:

      Why is hate a bad thing all of sudden?

    • Spider Jerusalem says:


      DotA with training wheels? I tend to think of it as DotA without the terrible design decisions that people came to worship simply because it was a part of the whole.

    • zergrush says:

      The lack of denying, lower overall damage and universal escape mecanisms make the game feel a lot slower and less dynamic than dota for me. When I played LoL it felt much easier to escape a gank and stay alive. I don’t think the differences are necessarily bad, but I tend to enjoy games with a faster pace and more action over passively farming and taking towers so DotA is more satisfying to me as a player ( and I freakin LOVE denying experience ).

      I don’t “worship” anything, but mechanically DotA already feels like a pretty basic game to me, I don’t really see LoL’s changes as a step up.

      That said, I just started downloading LoL again. It’s pretty much impossible to get a decent pub in DotA and HoN is too fucking ugly, so I’ll dust off my account and see if I can still pwn some n00bz with Annie ^^

    • DiamondDog says:

      “Not liking something yourself and not being able to understand why it appeals to other people are not at all the same thing.”

      Well, fair point. It’s still not interesting.

    • Mopo says:

      I believe WoW has 11.5 mil subscriptions not players. There are people that have more than one paid account, but I am sure it is a small percentage. You really can’t compare the two, since those 11.5 mil WoW subs pay every month and LoL they do not give us how much an avg person spends. I would probably say it is the 80/20 rule. 20% of the accounts spend 80% of the money.

    • KaL_YoshiKa says:

      Seems a bit hypocritical Zergrush that you complain about the easiness of LoL’s mechanics but then admit to playing one of the universally easiest champions in the entire game.

  21. Wang Tang says:

    Incidentally, I wanted to delete my account a few days ago. There was no option, and support told me they can lock the account, but not delete it ._.

    TBH, I have only played the game when it came out, 2 times or so; back then it was buggy as hell and I don’t fancy PvP very much outside of shooters. That said, 32m (or 11m active/month) is impressive.

  22. SimSim says:

    32 millions inactive players is nothing, but 4.2 million daily players is a blast! For example that quite popular free-to-play pay-to-hat game peaks at 40-50 thousands players.

  23. Imperialles says:

    “especially when League Of Legends is fairly hardcore in the scheme of things.”

    No. You are terribly wrong, sir.

  24. Ricc says:

    Poor Teemo.

  25. porps says:

    teemo dies 1389 times a day.. so usefull to know :) they fully deserve this success imo

  26. Robin_G says:

    I’m sure my account that is stuck in limbo is counted in those figures. I never had a chance to play the game, when I try to log in I’m told the account doesn’t exist. When I try to create it they tell me that email address is already in use. Emailing them resulted in them refusing to delete the account so I could start fresh, instead insisting I create a new email account to sign up with. One would almost think they were trying to inflate the numbers.

  27. jrodman says:

    Could this game be satisfying for those of us who derive no satisfaction from pvp at all. Ever. Ever?

  28. Natus says:

    As an overall pretty crappy LoL player, it’s hard to figure out why people find this game unappealing barring, of course, the community. The champions are charming and innovative, the gameplauy is pretty simple, but also varied, you can play against bots if you like and not spende a dime (though, god knows, I have).

    Yes, if you hate PvP of any sort or LOOOVE denying, this isn’t the game for you, but I highly recommend it IF you can deal with the asshats. For some reason, there are less on the 5-player map Summoner’s Rift, so it’s easier to ignore them. A surprising amount, really…a Kayle who ended the game 3/14/8 was raging at me last night for being a bad tank and not following her into every obvious trap the enemy had set. Yikes!