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League of Legends’ new tutorial is excellent

On-boarding players is about to get much easier

Riot Games

Players have been memeing on the League of Legends tutorial for longer than I’ve been playing League. When I first started in 2013, the tutorial was the same Ashe-building-Thornmail piece of garbage it is today. But Riot has recently been talking about a new initiative for a better tutorial. That tutorial hit the PBE this week and it’s excellent.

The new tutorial is broken out into three separate missions: Welcome to League, Power Up, and Shop for Gear. Each new tutorial does a great job of breaking out specific ideas and building on something we all take for granted. All modern players likely learned 10 times more from friends and the internet than they did from League’s in-game tutorial. But that could finally be changing.

The first mission drops you into a single lane on Summoner’s Rift as Miss Fortune. After standing still for a moment (keep in mind I tried to break this thing and make rookie mistakes as much as possible), the announcer voice will tell you what to do and an on-screen prompt will appear.

Eventually, you’re asked to take down a Sion, not a traditional Miss Fortune duel. But the tutorial does a great job of heavily inflating your stats, making it feel fun and stress-free. Whenever you do anything wrong, like walking into a tower, a prompt kindly suggests not to do that.

Riot Games

All of this is coupled with a lovely quest log on your right, which you can mouse over to view objectives at anytime. You’ll finish out the first tutorial by killing the nexus with a group of allies.

Tutorial two is great, but it’s the third tutorial that gets a bit problematic. You’re asked to buy some starting items and then last hit 12 minions. The problem is that it never really draws your eye to the CS counter, making keeping track of this quest frustrating and confusing. If someone was new to League, it’s very easy to see where this step could confuse them.

It actually gets a little worse after that step. The quest then prompts you to earn 3500 gold from killing enemies, but also never does a great job of pointing out your gold total. Basically, if you don’t know what to look for, it’s easy to get lost and simply feel aimless.

Riot Games

Once you actually have the gold, the game prompts you to return to base and asks you to buy. But it never says what to buy, or why. While that might be too much info, it would be nice to have the announcer suggest two items and say something like “Miss Fortune gets great use out of damage items, like these.”

But once you leave the fountain with your new gear, the rest of the tutorial is aces. If you walk through the jungle, you can look at all the neutral monsters and mouse over them, which immediately feeds you details about what the camp is, how it attacks you, how long the respawn is, and, if it’s Blue or Red, the type of buff it gives you. It’s incredible and offers you a chance to learn at your own pace.

Everything melts in front of you once you’ve bought items, since the tutorial seems to artificially make enemies easier to kill. It really sells the importance of purchasing items and spending their gold once they get into a real game.

Ultimately, it’s going to be impossible for a veteran player to truly test this system’s limits. But from my very skewed perspective, this may actually be exactly what League needs to help people get in. No tutorial that Riot ever makes is going to be enough to get players really into League on its own, it’s simply too complicated to accommodate that. However, this is the best tutorial we’ve had so far.