When was League of Legends released?

League is one of the most recognizable games of the last decade-plus.

Image via Riot Games

League of Legends, one of the most well-known and historic games of the 21st century, was released on Oct. 27, 2009. Based on a modded map for Warcraft III called Defense of the Ancients, League was one of the first standalone titles of the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. League helped pave the way for other games in the genre such as Smite, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm

League was originally released with a roster of 40 playable champions. Today, 12 years into the game’s lifespan, there are 159 champions to choose from, with anywhere between four and five new champions being released each year, on average. 

In 2011, Riot Games hosted the first esports season for League competitions. The first League World Championship lasted only three days and featured just eight teams from three regions: North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Ten years later, the League World Championship has become one of the world’s most prominent annual esports events. The month-long tournament attracts 24 teams from around the globe each fall, with over a dozen professional leagues around the world being represented at Worlds, and countless more competing in regional tournaments year-round. 

Photo via Riot Games/Getty Images

League has inspired several spin-off games from Riot—most notably League of Legends: Wild Rift, a mobile version of the game released in 2020. League’s fantasy world of Runeterra has also served as the backdrop for an autobattler titled Teamfight Tactics, as well as a card game, Legends of Runeterra. Single-player role-playing games have been inspired by League, too, including 2021’s Ruined King and the yet-to-be-released Song of Nunu

There are over 180 million players engaged with games based in the League universe as of November 2021, according to Riot.