When watching a game of League of Legends, you’ll often hear terms like “micro” and “macro” thrown around. And no one bothers to explain what the hell do they actually mean. Well, the concepts themselves aren’t that difficult. In fact, both of them come from Real-Time Strategy games, although they take a slightly different meaning in LoL.
Micro (stands for “micromanagement”) is everything that deals with controlling your champion. Last-hitting minions, landing your abilities, and being quick enough to pull off the hardest spell combinations are all essential parts of micro. Having good micro means that your play is impeccable, and you can execute even the hardest of moves.
Players with good micro tend to overwhelm their foes with pure talent. They know exactly what they need to do in order to make a play happen and are competent enough to actually do it. In lane, they will always be looking to go on the offensive and push their opponent into the corner with clean combos, great kiting, and well-timed summoner spells. But they can also shine in teamfights by relying on their superior skill to dodge attacks, dish out damage, and get out of harm’s way by the slimmest of margins.
In short, micro is the raw strength of a player combined with a short-term understanding of how to use it.
But while micro is the brawn, macro is the brain. It stands for “macromanagement” and covers everything that involves strategy and long-term planning. Players with good macro will constantly be in the right place and at the right time, ready to take down enemy turrets and move on to other objectives. Placing wards in the right spots, tracking the enemy jungler, knowing when to push your advantage, and realizing how to work together with your teammates are the trademarks of good macro.
Of course, there’s a limit to how much a single player can accomplish in this regard, so the concept is much more applicable to teams. A lineup with good macro knows how to teamfight, siege enemy turrets, and move around the map. In theory, a team like that can even take the game without getting a single kill since all you need to win are objectives.
Think of macro like playing chess, except instead of pieces you have five different players that have to be completely in sync to succeed.
Rotations are a part of macro that involves moving in a correct way. The best LoL teams don’t just aimlessly wander around the map. Instead, they’re looking for opportunities to secure leads, no matter how small they might seem. So when you see a jungler and a mid laner come down to the bot lane to catch their enemies off guard and destroy their turret, that’s a textbook example of a good rotation.
In the end, both micro and macro are important parts of the game. Players that are good at micro will be able to secure monstrous advantages through sheer talent, but they will struggle to close out the game without proper macro. On the other hand, even a strategic genius can’t do much if he isn’t adept at the game. So the best League of Legends teams—and players—are usually good at both.