Riot Games' 2014 League of Legends World Championship is about to begin, drawing in 16 teams from across the world for a final end-of-year bout. This year, the tournament's split into three parts: eight-team group stages each in Taiwan and Singapore, a quarterfinal showdown in Busan, South Korea, and a climatic semifinal and grand final in the capital city of Seoul.
Behold Azir, the ancient Emperor of the Sands, commander of the Shuriman armies, and the latest Champion to fall under the League of Legends Champion Spotlight.
League of Legends has held up pretty well over the years, but it's getting a little long in the tooth. So with the Summoner's Rift update working its way through the Public Beta Environment, Riot has decided that it's time to slap a fresh coat of paint on its older champions and skins.
Last week, we wrote that Riot Games was throwing out the lore League of Legends has built up over the past five years and replacing it with something new. Now we know what that something is, or at least what’s coming first in LoL’s rebooted fiction: a gameplay event tied to the desert empire of Shurima, which includes the launch of a new champion named Azir and a new game mode called Ascension.
I hope you're not too attached to the lore behind League of Legends, because it's about to be chucked out and replaced with something new. As the rest of LoL has changed over the years, Riot Games say that the original lore has held them back, leading to "creative stagnation, limiting the ways that champions, factions and Runeterra itself could grow and change". So the lore's being updated to give Riot more freedom, allowing them to tell (hopefully) more interesting stories, and to give their characters better justifications for battering each other across a series of lanes.
Members of Riot, the dev team behind the popular MOBA League of Legends, gathered at PAX Prime 2014 to talk about their design philosophy and how they carefully balance the game’s dozens of playable characters. With over 27 million players logging into LoL per day, they cite player feedback as one of their key guides.
Professional athletes, because of the demands of pro-level sports, tend not to have very long careers. It's even worse for professional gamers, who are typically past their prime well before they hit 30. But what do you do with yourself when you're a formerly top-ranked League of Legends player who's retired at 27 years of age?
You know what? Gnar is pretty cute. Just look at him. I don't want to get sentimental about Gnar, because he's a League of Legends champion and not say, a loved one, but I'm not sure watching Gnar die is something I'm prepared for. The video says Gnar has a "sweet cuddly face" with a "terrifying temper". Sounds like a cat to me.
An awful lot of game studios and publishers these days seem to view free-to-play as the holy grail, but finding the sweet spot between giving the store away and taking unfair advantage of your players is a tricky business. League of Legends is one of the few games that really seems to have nailed it, and yet Ubisoft Blue Byte's Teut Weidemann says it's not a game that other publishers should emulate.
The League of Legends 4.13 patch is a big one, but rather than making any big changes, it implements a whole lot of little ones instead. Riot's Chris "Pwyff" Tom said the latest tune-up is all about breadth instead of depth, as the studio seeks to "promote more diversity in competitive play."
A fearsome new League of Legends Champion known as Gnar has broken free from an icy tomb, but who—or what—is it?
I can say with a good degree of confidence that you don't need to be a League of Legends fan to appreciate the surprisingly brutal six-minute cinematic A New Dawn. I'm almost as confident that if you are a non-fan, you'll be at least slightly more interested in the game after watching the video than you were before.
The League of Legends community has an unfortunate reputation, but Riot Games is eager to change it. Lead Designer of Social Systems Jeffrey Lin has tweeted that the studio will test new disciplinary measures today (July 21), with a view to introducing them permanently should they prove effective. Punishable offences include "intentional feeding, racism, death threats (and) homophobia."
It must be strange, for those on the outside, to see just how passionately lane-pushing fans care about seemingly the smallest changes to the games they love. Simple tweaks, buffs and balance changes can cause wild, uncontrollable forum fury. When Riot do finally release the new Summoner's Rift, I'm expecting the streets to fill with angry protesters in Pentakill t-shirts.
In patch 4.12, League of Legends received jungle timers—an easy way for players to check the spawn time on certain jungling monsters. In a new "Patch Rundown" video, some of Riot's development team try to reassure Evil Geniuses' Snoopeh that there is, in fact, any point to this whatsoever.
Riot Games says fraudulent and abusive activity by third-party sellers of rare and limited-edition League of Legends skins is becoming increasingly problematic, as fans pay exorbitant prices for content they can't even be sure they'll actually get. Since Riot can't stop people from throwing their money at whatever shiny bauble catches their attention at any given moment, it has decided to attack the problem at its source by deactivating skin codes entirely.
Between RP sellers, scammers and Elo-boost spam, the League of Legends public chat rooms are a serious mess. Too much of a mess to be allowed to live, Riot has decided, and so it's shut them down completely while it tries to figure out how to turn them into something "useful and accessible."
League of Legends announced that this year's World Final would take place in South Korea back in November, but the actual venue was kept quiet until now: The Sangam Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, also known as the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
The popularity of eSports has taken off in recent years but even so, the addition of League of Legends to the varsity sports lineup at Robert Morris University Illinois represents a big step toward mainstream legitimacy. The program, the first of its kind, offers qualified gamers scholarships worth up to 50 percent of the school's tuition, room and board.
Summoner's Rift is League of Legends' version of the classic three-laned DotA map. Naturally, it's the game's most popular playing field, and, as a result, any changes to it are a big deal. And so, this: a video tour of what Riot are doing with a new version of the map, currently in testing on the game's Public Beta Environment.
Sometimes, even a dream job doesn't work out quite as planned. Maybe it's more mundane and soul-deadening than you expected, or maybe all your new coworkers are jerks, or maybe you're a jerk who just can't play nicely with others. Regardless of the specifics, it happens sometimes. But if that dream job happens to be at Riot Games, the studio responsible for League of Legends, at least you won't have to go away empty-handed.