RiotPhroxzon talks about Riven’s purpose and overall state of play at present and how to improve her in the future.
League of Legends is an ever-evolving game. The items, champion pool and champions’ abilities, system, map – everything is subject to change over time. And we have seen how the game looks and feels completely different from even 5 years ago. It looks like a different game entirely if you go 10 years back.
A champion’s role in the game can change without even direct modification to her kit, simply through changing the other elements of the game. For example, when the original Spear of Shojin was removed from the game, a lot of bruisers like Renekton. Riven lost their core gameplay style and had to adapt to the new meta.
Speaking of Riven, RiotPhroxzon has recently tweeted about her purpose in the game. If we look at her win rate, it’s at around 48%, with approximately a 2.5% pick rate across all ranks. Riven, due to her high skill cap, is played mostly by one trick. And despite that, the win rate is not above 50%.
This just goes to show how poor of a state she is in right now. In the last 3 or so years, there have been significant changes to the game. The entire item rework and Drake changes for example, shifted the core meta. The subsequent follow-ups to those changes further complicated the situation for Riven and some other champions.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at her current state and possible future direction.
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Present Challenges with Riven
As stated before, Riven is one of the champions with the highest skill floor. To put it into perspective, the famous fast Q mechanics require people to spend 10s of hours in the practice tool. For casual players like me, that is enough never to try her after one match. Not to mention her other similarly tough combos, such as TheShy combo. And that’s only talking about her basic abilities. With the in-game terrain, she can perform many interesting interactions with her Q that Riven mains have been mastering for years.
Now, the challenge isn’t that her kit is skill-heavy. In fact, Riot is quite happy to have such diversity in the skill floor among the champions. Having such a hard-to-get-into champion is well-liked by many people since it gives them a sense of accomplishment when they finally pull off those flashy moves. The game becomes more fun with them.
However, the issue arises when there’s no equivalent payoff for climbing that high of a mountain that is Riven’s learning curve. There used to be, though, before the game changed massively in recent years. If you are a somewhat old League of Legends player, you know how dreadful it was to deal with that 1 kill-fed Riven. She would totally take over the Rift post-mid-game if she was given even a slight advantage early on. There are so many montages on YouTube out there showing how brilliant Riven looked while consistently overwhelming 1v5 fights.
But in recent years, I don’t see that kind of play nearly as often. In fact, if I go to my match history, I don’t see people picking Riven at all. Why? Because Riot has released so many new champions with a relatively simpler kit that can do what Riven does, with way less investment in the practice tool. Look at K’Sante, for example. He has tankiness, dash, damage, everything, and despite having a somewhat complex kit, it’s not nearly as hard to master as Riven.
Now you see where the issue lies. The issue isn’t Riven’s kit. Rather, it is the system itself. Riot, hence, is concerned about how to make Riven adapt to the change.
Future Direction with Riven
And so, Riot’s future plans include finding ways to bring necessary changes to her. Now, the challenge lies in retaining the inherent complexity in her kit while also making her viable to master. So, the 100s of hours spent on one-tricking her should not be wasted due to the new changes. The one-trick Riven players should feel like their efforts are rewarded proportionally.
Moreover, riven also needs to have a certain ‘purpose.’ By that, I mean having a strategic role that serves as her identity. She used to have one, as I described earlier, regarding her taking over the game from mid-game. This was done thanks to her versatile kit with dashes, shields, and supporting damage to maneuver almost any situation. When she was at her peak, this kind of combination in a champion was rare to see. Not to mention, the additional value gotten through mastering her fast Q was exclusive to her and could turn around any teamfights.
However, with new champions and items interaction, this uniqueness is lost. That’s why Riot is thinking of viable ways to bring her uniqueness back to the game while keeping her fans satisfied.
In conclusion, Riven is in a pretty awkward spot right now, but Riot has not forgotten it. So, expect significant changes coming to her soon.