[For information on certain terms please see our article Game Terms: League of Legends]
In MOBAs the space in between lanes in is commonly known as the jungle. It contains camps of neutral enemies which the jungler role farms while plotting courses to gank for their teammates. The jungle, hidden in the fog of war, creates a space within which players can enjoy a unique farming experience akin to a single player adventure game. Hunting down larger more challenging camps is a constant test of skill and survival when the player is first starting the match. As they grow more and more capable the jungler acts as a guerilla fighter, charging into a lane to finish off an overextended enemy, or to come to the aid of a teammate. The jungle is a realm of constant movement and requires a keen sense of timing and map awareness.
The jungle can produce different roles depending on how it is played and thus provides a unique arena for character development. For example assassins such as Akali can rush to get their kit unlocked to start ganging for their teammates immediately, creating a persistent threat to all lanes. Whereas off-tanks like Nunu remain in the jungle farming up for the late game, occasionally stomping into lane to push back a lane bully or crash a lane as needed. Rarer still are off-supports such as Bard who capitalize on their roaming mechanics to clear the jungle, secure objectives, and gift their teammates with healing stations.
The jungler is the only role whose responsibility is to aid their teammates in fights for every phase of the match. Showing up at the proper times to defend or take advantage of a distracted enemy is their defining contribution. However the teammate to get the kill becomes a contentious point for the jungler role and can drive a wedge between the jungler and their team.
If the jungler is an assassin aiming to carry the team, they may be compelled to go for the kill to improve their KDA. In the worst cases the lane teammates will have pretty much killed their opponent and the jungler comes into ks their teammates. While the jungler may kill their target while ganking, the prevailing concept for a gank is to support their teammate in getting a kill on their opponent. The acceptable exception is if the lane teammate is too weak to finish the fight, then it is up to the jungler to secure the kill.
The critical objectives of the map are the turrets and base structures, once the nexus is taken then the match is over. However the early to mid game objectives are centered around the jungle. Various buffs can be achieved via clearing the jungle camps and these provide a combat advantage which applify the team’s ability to take base objectives. This the advantage that can be gained from the jungle and its objectives, and is one of the junglers main contributions to the team’s success.
While the dynamic can change drastically by champion class and playstyle, by focusing on helping their teammates the jungler ensures a positive team experience. Whether it’s coordinating a gank with a teammate or securing buffs, showing up to a team fight as an off tank to protect their teammate or an assassin to add to the offensive strength, the jungler plays an important role in the team.
Andrew Mantilla is a ludologist and video game journalist for Play Professor. You can check out more of his content on Facebook, and Instagram.
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