One of the LoL community’s favourite pastimes is posting “Ritopls” requests or complaints on Reddit, forums, blogs, or elsewhere. This is not a bad thing; high-visibility negative feedback is an important way to send messages to Riot Games about issues with the game’s user experience, balance, competitive format, and so on. It’s especially valuable when alternatives are proposed.
I have concerns of my own (I think the new “plants” concept that Riot is testing looks like a big, scary downgrade compared to the current state of the jungle), but I also like to look on the bright side of life. To that end, here are a few “RitoTY” statements from 2016.
Instating Bo2 and Bo3 in LCS
The competitive community had been complaining about the “best-of-one” format the NA and EU LCS were using for a long time, and this year, Riot finally took the plunge and moved Europe to a best-of-two format and North America to best-of-three, based on the decisions of each region’s league administration. This was an awesome change, and I appreciate the investment Riot made in hiring the staff and building the facilities to make it happen.
In my opinion, we’ve already seen benefits in the level of play in both NA and EU, with more parity in both regions. With a full year of BoX LCS play in 2017, I’m hopeful that the growth will keep rolling along.
Listening to the Community on Solo Queue, Replays, Training Mode, Worlds Prize Pool, and more
Riot had a lot of PR stumbles this year, but they also proved their willingness to back down from their stance on certain controversial issues when the playerbase was clearly unhappy. Riot gave their “dynamic queue” a lot of time to succeed, but it didn’t live up to their goals, so they reverted. Despite claiming that replays and a training mode were not in the cards, they’ve finally announced that they’re working on both features, at least in some form (though maybe not with the full feature set that the competitive community would truly want). They’ve also boosted the World Championships prize pool with a conservative move towards crowdfunding and opened up some new revenue streams by bringing on some Worlds sponsorship and offering teams some more income via in-game purchases.
These responses are all very encouraging, and while the results haven’t all been perfect, the general movement should give the players and fans confidence that their voices are being heard, even if Riot doesn’t always capitulate. In other words: keep the “Ritopls” posts flowing! (Maybe we’ll get that “plants” idea nixed!)
Bringing the LCS to Canada
Hosting the NA LCS Finals in Toronto this summer was an awesome move, not only opening up the LCS experience to Torontonians but giving a broader group of Canadian fans a chance to attend a live LCS event without having to cross the border.
I was able to attend through my work with theScore esports, and it was an amazing experience. The crowd was super hyped, the atmosphere was amazing, and I’m sure Riot is already thinking about their next Canadian opportunity.
Keeping the Rate of Champion Releases Reasonable
One of my biggest concerns about LoL‘s longevity is the uncapped growth of the champion pool, which continually adds complexity and challenge to new players who want to pick up the game. It’s already hard enough to learn what all of the different champions do, and every time a new champion comes out, a new player has that much more of a barrier to overcome.
This year, Riot released only 5 new champions, the same as in 2015. In 2014, there were 6 new champions, with 8 in 2013.
I think a release rate of 4 or 5 new champions per year is relatively sustainable, and meanwhile Riot has been killing it with (mostly) awesome champion reworks that allow them to boost the pool of relevant champions without actually increasing the number of total champions available.
Eventually, I still think that the number of champions will become a problem for developing new players to feed the pro scene, but for now I’m just glad that Riot has been taking things slow.
What about you?
What are some of the things you’ve appreciated most about how Riot has handled LoL this year?
What do you hope they’ll do in 2017 to improve the game and the pro scene even more?