Riot is rethinking the frequency at which champions should be reworked in terms of Visual and Gameplay updates.
League of Legends has been in the world for more than a decade. A lot has changed since the earlier days. The rift looks completely new, with the Champion roster more than tripling in size. New items, runes, map changes, objective updates, etc, keep happening now and then. Even in the next season, we are going to witness gigantic, core changes to the game, potentially changing the fundamental approach of every player.
So, it’s quite easy to see why some champions might need a rework to keep up with the ever-changing meta. Most of the new champions released nowadays vastly differ from the primitive ones. This is why champions like Mundo and Pantheon had to undergo VGU to fit better into this ever-changing landscape.
However, things are not so simple. You cannot just pick a champion and rework them. There’s a huge player base for each of the champions. Bringing changes to any of the champions means you are bound to receive a reaction from the community. Balancing expectations and gameplay is very challenging.
In this article, I will write about Riot Lexical‘s recent update on this matter and shed light on their plans for the new season and more.
Challenges Surrounding VGU in League of Legends
Riot Lexical points out an interesting observation from surveys. According to empirical data, a player who likes and mains a champion usually does not want any changes brought to it. Rather the people who voicing in favor of reworks are the ones who ‘want to’ play a certain champion, but in its present form, they don’t find it interesting enough.
This is an issue because, on the one hand, as a developer, you want the game to feel modernized. On the other hand, you risk losing the dedicated mains of the champion, who has invested thousands of hours into the old design. And it is only natural that their dedication stems from their fondness for that champion, no matter how primaeval it is.
This is not the only challenge. Riot Lexical also points out the extra work that comes with a champion VGU. Each champion has multiple skins and chromas. So, reworking a champion means redrawing all the cosmetics that come with it.
So it begs the question, are all these troubles even worth it? The product manager, Lexical, continues by adding that Riot has always been better at creating something new than polishing the existing stuff. So, they are good at coming up with new champion designs and concepts.
And this is pretty evident if you compare the number of champions they release every year vs the number of VGU. Players are also more engaged with new champions than the updated existing ones. Moreover, Riot has to put in 3 times the effort in VGU than in creating new champions.
Under such a scenario, rationality says that Riot should go for more new champion designs than modernizing the dinosaur-era champions. But this again raises the dilemma of overall game quality vs player engagement. Because if you just go all in for player engagement and don’t update Skarner or similar champions who are in dire need of a rework to be relevant, it will paint a great dent in the brand image of LoL
Hence, striking a balance between both of them has proved to be a great challenge. So, Riot will provide an in-depth update on this matter and how they plan to move forward at the start of the new season next year.
Season 2024 Release Date
LoL season 2024 will kick off on January 9, 2024, with the deployment of Patch 14.1 on all servers.