League of Legends

Common Sense Media says

Online fantasy warfare game with bloody violence, text chat.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This is a team-based "blood sport" wherein killing is the goal. A higher kill count is the road to gaining achievements and increasing levels.

Positive role models

The game's characters all are violent, bloodthirsty fighters with few redeeming qualities.

Ease of play

The game is easy to pick up and learn. The controls are intuitive, and the few available arenas can be quickly memorized. That said, mastering the game is another thing altogether. There are a large number of characters, all with their own unique skills that players need to learn to counter. A good deal of hand-eye coordination and quick tactical thinking are required to win.

Violence

The goal of this game is to kill enemies and destroy structures. Players accomplish this with fantasy weapons such as spears and swords, as well as magical powers -- and occasionally guns. There is plenty of splashing blood, and there are combat sounds such as slashing and explosions. One vampire champion's attacks cause a large blood-pooling effect, and, as your character is close to death, the edges of the screen turn blood-red. However, the top-down perspective and the common desire to see more of the battlefield by scrolling outwards to a higher view mitigates the blood effects considerably.

Sex

Several female characters have form-fitting and revealing outfits. Character dialogue can be racy. Examples: "Is that a rocket in your pocket?"; "Sorry boys, I left the fuzzy cuffs at home"; and "For $2.95 a minute, I will leave you breathless."

Language

This is an online game in which players can text-chat with other players, so there's no telling what kids will encounter. The game provides a way to mute other players, should there be a need.

Consumerism

The game is free to download and play, and it cycles through a large stable of champions as whom players can select to play in each match. However, a permanent character has to be purchased, and there are premium characters as well as cosmetic "skins" for each that can be bought with real money.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One character has a "drunken rage" ability, which is used to reduce inflicted damage. The character's idle animation drinks from a large cask, and his signature quote is, "The only time I have a drinking problem is when I spill it." Some characters are depicted with smoking pipes and lit cigarettes.

Privacy & safety

Moderate to serious privacy and safety concerns. Players interact with each other using online text, and private messages can be exchanged. Players may team up with either friends or strangers.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that League of Legends is a Teen-rated online fantasy war game in which kids team up with strangers to challenge other teams in arena-based combat. The goal of the game is to kill opponents -- both the player characters as well as the computer-driven "minions" -- so there's a lot of blood and violence. However, the game is presented from a top-down perspective and characters typically appear pretty small. These factors mitigate the blood effects considerably. A stream of player-authored comments scrolls on-screen throughout and occasionally includes profanity. Parents should also know that online combat games are quickly growing in popularity. E-sports events are held all over the world with large cash prizes. This may make the game even more attractive and draw kids to view televised tournaments online.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This online game is fast-paced, provides immediate feedback, and is graphically attractive. User controls are intuitive.

Learning Approach

Kids learn about strategizing by playing and experimenting. Winning requires quick thinking and excellent hand-eye coordination, as well as teamwork.

Support

The fan community is huge, and kids can watch uploaded video replays of successful matches to learn from them.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Kids can learn about planning, how to analyze situations, how to evaluate opponent strengths and weaknesses, and how to make decisions based on the information at hand. Players will also communicate with one another and work together to develop successful tactics. However, while League of Legends focuses on teamwork and strategic reasoning, its constant fantasy violence makes it a questionable source for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Carolyn Koh

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

LEAGUE OF LEGENDS is a competitive online game that blends real-time strategy with elements of role-playing. Known as MOBAs -- multiplayer online battle arenas -- the genre is based on Blizzard's Warcraft series of games. Players pick characters known as champions from a stable, form a team, select an arena (all are similar, with three lanes through which players can move toward enemy forces), and are pitted against either another team of players or, if they choose, a computer-controlled team. The goal is simply to rack up kills and destroy the opponents' base. Launched in 2009, several expansions to League of Legends have extended gameplay with the addition of new characters, new arenas, and new game modes. The growth of e-sports (complete with sponsors, large prizes, and commentators) has brought the popularity of the game to a new high, with events held across the world and telecast on the Web.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Part of the reason behind MOBAs' popularity is that everyone starts on a level playing field. All characters begin at Level One, with a set amount of gold with which to purchase items and upgrades. High kills net the player more gold to upgrade their characters and allow them to move to higher levels, opening up new skills and powers. This allows new players to be competitive with established players once they learn the game.

Now five years old, League of Legends is an established game that has worked out its early quirks, bugs, and balance issues. Kids will find it visually attractive and appreciate the broad selection of characters. Plus, the low computer-specification requirements and free-to-play nature of the game make for a low barrier to entry. This game is popular for a reason. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the team-based aspect of this online game. Do you enjoy cooperative games? Do you play with your friends or strangers?

  • Families also can discuss the importance of online safety and what kids should or should not be sharing with strangers.

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:Free/Micro-transaction
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Riot Games
Release date:October 27, 2009
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco (Windows)

This review of League of Legends was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 15 year old Written byLtFrostbite April 27, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Great game, big learning curve

League of legends is one of the biggest games out there right now. That said, it has one of the biggest learning curves in all the games out there right now. Games of League consists of teams of 5v5 or 3v3 matches that can last up to an hour. The goal is to destroy the enemy team's nexus which is guarded by several towers and other enemy champions. The game boils down to a lot of complex decision making and teamwork. That said, the game takes a longer time than most games to learn and excel at. There are over 100 playable characters with 5 different roles for each. Granted some champions are made for certain roles more so than others, but you can understand that learning this game is not easy. Another negative is that other players can be extremely toxic, swearing and calling names. There tends to be a lot of misdirected hate in games, especially when losing. The thing is, one person with a great attitude can uplift an entire team, a great exercise in working with other people. The violence in league is very minimal. Blood tends to be very cartoonish and mainly a danger indicator. The most gory part is probably when one champion, Vladimir, turns into a pool of blood. It's basically just a red circle that slides around, nothing bad. Death animations are also very benign, the character just falls to the ground in some manner, grunting. There is a bit of sex appeal in league surprisingly. Some of the female characters are rather scantily clad. More so in some "skins" - customization items. An example is a champion named Riven. Her default skin, she's rather covered up, wearing quite a bit of bulky armor. However, in her "Battle Bunny Riven" skin, she's in a playboy bunny suit. It's all mainly for cheap thrills and adolescent pandering, distasteful at worst. If you're really concerned about it, just google a list of the champions and you'll see it's really not that big of a deal. All in all, it's a great game that teaches teamwork, strategy, and working with other people. It has its moments of intensity with very little violence. It has a little bit of scantily clad but can be overlooked easily.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old June 14, 2014
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Very fun, requires skill, patience, and mercy.

League of Legends is a somewhat suggestive MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) Third-Person game. This means there are millions of players out there. You have to be careful about giving out information too, since you can private chat players. I have made several friends in League, and I have also seen some quite "toxic" (bad tempered, cruel) players as well. League of Legends is a skill required game. You can't start playing and be amazing, you need to practice a lot. A lot. It is very addicting, and I must recommend limits on playing--NOT TIME LIMITS. League of Legends is a game that takes time. And average game (5v5) is typically 40-60 minutes. I recommend, if you set limits, a game limit, NOT time limit. If you give your child, say, a two-hour time limit, and they finish two forty minute games, they can't use the rest of their limit! I recommend you give them, maybe, a two or three games per day, or if you exercise for an hour, an additional game. Now let's talk about toxic players. There are some pretty cruel people out there, especially those hiding behind computers. Those people can be common in League of Legends, but you can ignore (/ignore) people from chatting in-game, and report them afterwards for being mean. Ok, I admit, I'm making this game sound bad, it's not! It is AMAZING. In League of Legends, the main mode (there are other less popular modes you can play, which I'll talk about later) is called Summoner's Rift. This is a large, "forest themed" map where two teams consisting of five players battle. Each player chooses one of 100+ champions to use in the battle. The goal is to destroy the enemy "Nexus", guarded by "Towers". You use abilities to attack the other players (not gory at ALL) and you gain gold and experience when you kill them (not gory at ALL). If you win, you earn Influence Points to buy other champions, and experience to level up. Level 30 is the max level. You can also purchase Riot Points with real money, and buy Champions or "Skins" which CAN be suggestive but can make your champion look cooler. All in all, I recommend this game for people over 11.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Educator and Parent Written byMast3rShake February 4, 2015
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

The Real Scoop

I had to comment here because I have no idea how it received a 4/5 for drugs/alcohol/tobacco. There is one character who carries around a keg of suds and drinks from it and that is it! Does that warrant a 4/5 rating? Is a kid really going to start mimicking the game by walking around with a wooden keg drinking from it? C'mon. I was going to start a League of Legends club at school but unfortunately you have to install Adobe Air which has too many vulnerabilities that the district does not want to deal with so we aren't able to load the game on the computers. Outside of that if you really want to play the game as a team in a constructive environment it is an extremely challenging game. You are talking about a game in which a second feels like forever and clicking half a second too slow may cause your team a fight. The coordination it takes is incredible. However, as with most video games that teenagers are involved in there are people acting like teenagers. People will swear in chat (it is blocked out), rage in the game, argue, and even troll (make the game bad for his or her own teammates to his or her enjoyment), but that is the internet. The violence in the game is fantasy violence that is unrealistic so I wouldn't be concerned about that (unless you are the type of person that wouldn't let your kid read Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings). Overall it is a very challenging game the does demand quite a bid of time if you want to be a top tier player. I think it is a great game if you have five people and need to learn to work as a team because it is extremely challenging in that aspect.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools