Riot’s Big 5: What this means for the future of Riot and Gaming

   In a large event for 10th Anniversary of League of Legends, an hour long livestream was shown, showcasing the future of League of Legends, the world of Runeterra and Riot as a company, essentially it was an overly long and soapboxy Nintendo Direct. Besides a new Champion for League of Legends,  there are five known game projects that have been announced:

-Wild Rift, which is a Console/Mobile version of League

-League of Legends Fighting game

-Legends or Runeterra, a LoL card game

-FPS with a new IP

-and a Battle Arena Mobile game

There’s also an animated series but that doesn’t count as a game, so to speak. So we’ll be focussing on the other five and my thoughts on these.

   Legends of Runeterra the card game is certainly the most polished and finished game of the bunch. It’s pretty, it’s colorful, and I personally could give less of a shit about it despite some new interesting features. The digital card game market is so over saturated at this point that it’s very difficult to invest yourself into any new ones. Regardless, the artwork looks absolutely stunning, bringing the worlds and characters in a new light. The gameplay does look a bit exciting with a very similar style to Artifact, the Dota cardgame, in the case of planning your attacks around the same time before the cards mash into each other.

   The way you unlock cards is an interesting mechanic in of itself, albeit can be very problematic to the game in the future, given Riot’s background. You essentially pick a Battle Pass route and play games to unlock individual cards. You can switch these routes, based on factions, as you progress to build up your deck. There’s an emphasis on the lack of card packs and unlocking individual cards, which is quite the bold move. However I can’t help but imagine the ways they could mess this up, either by later adding card packs or having you grind for a single card so much that it becomes nearly impossible without wasting hours and hours per day. Hopefully this is not the case, the dev team seems to know and care a lot about card games and they’ll most likely prevent the game from going this route.

   The next one down the line is Wild Rift, a game that I’m quite unironically excited for. Wild Rift is essentially a streamlined and simplier League of Legends that is coming to mobile…. and console. The console part is what I’m really excited for. What I’m most excited for, though, is that the entire game was built from scratch, so you have complete model overhauls, actual facial animations on the characters, and they all look fucking gorgeous. LoL has always had a stigma for the simpliest, cheapest models, so Jinx never has facial expressions even on her most expensive skins, a lot of other champions have awkward 2010 models or very cheap-looking animations and textures.

   The FPS game is probably one of the most disappointing of the bunch. The exact description of “It’s a competitive character shooter set in a beautiful futuristic earth” really only makes you scream out Gee, I never heard that one before. This new IP also looks uninteresting and bland, I’m not sure why they couldn’t just make a League of Legends FPS which would’ve been a very exciting spin on the game and the fps/moba genre. The gunplay looks and sounds fine, but the gun design is absolutely drab to look at, it’s all so basic. Even CSGO has more fantasy-esq weapons than this game. Not to mention that so much of the game is ripping off Counter Strike but with an Overwatch twist.

   It all looks so…. boring. And it’s a shame because the animations look fantastic and the effects look great, but visuals hardly carry games anymore, it’s just the status quo in big budget titles. However, I will give credit that they have a great focus on anticheats and good netcoding, something Riot has always focussed on in LoL. It’s sure to be a smash hit but it just looks so uninteresting to me.

   The second to last one to talk about is the Battle Arena mobile game. These types of games are some of the best mobile games, in my opinion. You get 3 characters of your choosing and you go on a quest of some kind. However this game looks drab and its design just looks like an Unreal Engine indie game with bought assets thrown in with a few uniquely modelled LoL champs shoehorned in. Unless they have some unique features, I’m really not interested in this one.

   The last and the one that’s made me lost sleep for weeks ever since it was casually announced at Evo 2019 just a few months ago, is the League of Legends Fighting Game. THIS baby is the one where I simply can’t wait to play, but it’s also the least developed, with the lead dev even saying that they’re going completely dark and that there won’t be news on it anytime soon. I’m assuming mid-late 2020 is when we’ll even get another sneakpeak on the game. And it’s a shame because this is the only one out of the bunch that feels the closest to an actual videogame. The screenshots and what little development footage we see is to die for. There’s a lot of weird dialog exchanged at the Evo 2019 announcement about how “Rising Thunder was made because the fighting games deserved to be played by much more people” but this Riot fighting game in particular he says that it was made so “that everyone here [at Evo 2019 fighting area] will feel like ‘yeah, this was made for me.’” It’s not super clear which route exactly that this game will take. But I’m very confident that this game will be made for the fighting genre rather than trying to appeal to outside audiences, or at least a more casual and easy-to-get-into style such as Dragonball FighterZ, looking further into the little footage we get, there’s also inspiration taken from Street Fighter 4 as well. Seeing Rising Thunder’s gameplay also gives clues on how the game works. It’s not entirely safe to assume on this one, but Rising Thunder looks and feels great, so I can only assume, with Riot’s budget, manpower, quality netcode and anticheat systems along side, this LoL Fighting game is sure to be a fun smash hit

…as long as they don’t go too heavy on the microtransations

   So that’s all the games for Riot’s anniversary stream. Honestly, this looks to be a fun few years if you’re a fan of League of Legends or even simply interested in its world and characters. The Fighting Game looks very exciting, the rebuilt LoL for consoles (and mobile, but who cares about that) is something to look forward to, a beautiful yet run of the mill-looking cardgame, a battle arena app that doesn’t look interesting at all, and a Counterstrike ripoff with Overwatch elements is… a game. Overally, I’d say the future for Riot is going to be pretty exciting.

   However, I would like you to please consider that Riot is forcing all of their Esports cast and Rioters to not mention the struggles of Hong Kong at all. While they aren’t throwing their small dick around like Blizzard, they sure are doing something scummy. Not only that but they are 100% owned by Tencent, so supporting them will further give money to China. So we should all consider what we’re buying and what we’re boycotting in these dark times. I am not going to purchase much at all in LoL (I haven’t done so in a long time either), and I’ll only spend as little money as possible on the Fighting Game and possibly WildRift. Will I still play LoL? Probably, but not likely because it’s a boring ass game, and I’m only excited for these other games so I can be invested in its world without playing the PC game which has been run into the ground for years.