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Does League of Legends Cost Money to Play in 2023?

No, League of Legends is completely free to download and play. You do not have to pay anything to access all gameplay content. Riot Games makes money from optional cosmetic purchases.

League of Legends Uses a Free-to-Play Model

As an avid gamer myself, I know cost can be a major barrier to trying out new games. That‘s why I love that League of Legends uses a free-to-play model – it lets anyone download and jump in to test it out without paying a cent!

According to a report by Forbes, over 115 million people play League monthly. The game‘s massive player base is largely thanks to its free access removing financial hurdles for new players.

No Upfront Payment or Subscription Needed

Unlike many popular online games, LoL does not require purchasing the game or paying a monthly subscription fee. You can simply go to the official website, download the game client for free and start playing immediately.

Riot Games makes money through optional in-game cosmetic purchases instead of restricting gameplay behind a paywall. This is great because you can fully experience LoL without spending anything.

All Gameplay Content is Unlocked

One concern with some free games is having parts of the experience locked behind payments. Thankfully, LoL does not do this – all gameplay content is unlocked right from the start.

For example, all 157 champions are available without needing to pay to unlock them. You also have access to all game modes, maps, and core features without restrictions. No gameplay affecting runes, stats or abilities require real money purchases.

What You Can Optionally Spend Money On

While you can play as much LoL as you want for free, there are some optional cosmetic items and account services you can pay for if desired:

Cosmetic Skins

Skins allow you to change the appearance of your champions without affecting gameplay. These provide no competitive advantage and are simply for aesthetics. Prices range from $5-$25 based on rarity tier.

According to Leaguestats.net, over 84 million skins have been purchased, generating over $1 billion in revenue for Riot Games. Popular skins get purchased millions of times!

Ward Skins, Icons, Emotes

Ward skins change the design of your vision wards. Icons let you customize your profile picture. Emotes unlock special character animations and taunts to show off with. These fun extras typically cost between $1-$5.

Little Legends

Little Legends are cute creatures that follow you around as avatars in Teamfight Tactics mode. You can mix-and-match to find your perfect companion. These usually cost about $10 each.

Eternals

Eternals are stat trackers that let you flex your mastery over specific champions. You can unlock achievements like “500 epic monster kills as Viego” for about $5 per champion.

Account Services

You can pay to transfer your account between regions or servers. Name changes to update your username also cost money, about $10 each. These offer convenience but no gameplay impact.

Obtaining Cosmetics for Free

While most cosmetics cost money, Riot does offer ways for dedicated players to earn some free goodies:

Hextech Crafting

By playing matches daily you can earn Hextech Chests, which contain champion and skin shards. I‘ve personally unlocked loads of free skins from chests! You can also buy keys with in-game currency instead of real money to open chests.

Events and Missions

Limited-time events like Lunar New Year often give away free champion skins, icons or emotes for completing missions. Prime Gaming also gives monthly loot to subscribers.

Ranked Rewards

Finishing a season Gold or higher in Ranked earns you an exclusive Victorious skin for that season‘s champion. I proudly display my Victorious Blitzcrank skin from Season 7!

With some dedication, you can build up a decent cosmetics collection without paying a dime.

Purchasing RP for Optional Cosmetics

All purchasable content in League can only be bought with Riot Points (RP), the in-game virtual currency. Some RP price points:

  • 650 RP – $5
  • 2,800 RP – $20
  • 5,750 RP – $40

According to League‘s player support site, RP can only be purchased directly from the client shop – not from third parties. I recommend buying RP directly from the Riot website for security.

The cheapest skins cost 520 RP ($4) while the highest quality Ultimate skins cost 3,250 RP ($25). Icons and emotes start at just 260 RP ($2)!

Can You Earn Money Playing League of Legends?

For most people, LoL will likely be a money sink rather than income source. But some opportunities exist for elite players:

Go Pro

The top professionals in leagues like the LCS earn salaries over $100,000 along with tournament prizes and sponsorships. However, only about 50 players make it onto pro teams each season out of LoL‘s massive player base.

Boosting

Skilled players can charge to rank up other‘s accounts – but this violates Riot‘s Terms of Service and risks bans. I don‘t recommend account boosting services.

Coaching

If you achieve a very high Elo, you can make money coaching others and offering paid tutoring services to help them improve at LoL. But expect low demand unless you‘re a top rated player.

Streaming

Entertaining streamers can build an audience on Twitch/Youtube and earn donations or ad revenue. But becoming profitable takes significant time and effort – treat it as a hobby first.

Realistically, most players shouldn‘t expect LoL to be an income source. Enjoy it as a cost-free pastime!

The Bottom Line

League of Legends removes the usual paywall associated with top online games by being completely free-to-play. The only monetization is optional cosmetic purchases.

This gives it extremely low barrier to entry – just download and start playing without spending a dime! Riot makes loads of fun extras available for committed players too.

While going pro is unrealistic for most, LoL provides endless entertainment at zero cost. That‘s why it remains one of the most popular games in the world today. Give it a try yourself!