League of Legends: Wild Rift AMA

Wild Rift is coming to the end of its Regional Alpha, and we are grateful to the players who helped us in this initial stage, but we bet you're wondering what's next. While you can sign up for updates here, we thought now would be a great time to let the team take the reins and answer some of your pressing questions for the future of Wild Rift.

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Why doesn’t the game have the [feature]?

We got a lot of questions like this! At this phase in our development, we're not considering it "step 1"—this is more like "step 0.5." The Regional Alpha is just a small slice of the game that we plan to launch with. A bunch of features were deliberately left out of the Alpha version, so we could make sure to focus on stability. As we head into the game going live for more players, we'll be developing with your feedback in mind and adding features as we go. More info later this year!

  • Riot Draggles, Communications Lead

Why do some champs look and play differently compared to PC?

One of the really awesome things about being able to rebuild everything from the ground up is that we got to take a look at some of the designs that we felt could be buffed up a little, so they’re more in line with what players expect of these champs in 2020. So for champs like Malphite, there's been some awesome new lore for him recently that really gives him much more depth, bringing him from a kinda goofy rock monster into an ancient being with ~real feelings~. For champs like Miss Fortune, we wanted to use the design you might have seen recently in Legends of Runeterra or the Tales of Runeterra animation series, as that's the design that we (and many players) feel really delivers on her fantasy of a swashbuckling bounty hunter.

Check out the /dev Diary above for more context on this, but when it comes to gameplay, we start with looking at the champion and our first approach is to default to parity. If nothing should be changed, we leave the champion as-is. However, if we are making changes to champions, we want it to feel deliberate and intentional. There are a few ways we look at this:

  • Playing on a phone or controller is a very different experience from mouse and keyboard, and because of these button constraints, we wanted to make sure we didn’t have any purely passive abilities in Wild Rift. Champions still have passives, but we’re talking about core abilities on their kit that just passively work, like Vi’s Denting Blows or Twisted Fate’s Stacked Deck—so we added active abilities to all of these.
  • Sometimes we see an opportunity to really make the most of the dual-stick controls, and this means we can convert some point-and-click spells to skill shots, as they’re a lot easier to cast with Wild Rift’s control scheme. You’ll see this manifested in abilities like Miss Fortune’s Double Up or Annie’s Disintegrate, and in more opportunistic ways, such as being able to steer Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow in the air.
  • Finally, we need champions to adapt to Wild Rift’s game length, the smaller map, or make the most of a champion’s end-game fantasy if they only have 15 to 20 minutes to get there. For instance, Nasus stacks his Siphoning Strike faster, Shyvana gets unique bonuses based on which dragons her team takes, and yes, Lux’s laser covers the full span of the map.

We hope that all these don't draw too much away from Wild Rift truly feeling like an authentic version of League that's worth your time, and we'd love to hear your feedback on how these changes are landing as you get to play with them in the future.

  • Riot FeralPony, Design Director

Will Wild Rift influence League PC?

"Like the balancing on a champ showing positive results and possibly doing the same balancing on LoL. Or will it be two completely parallel games, with different decisions? If an older champion on League PC who is also in Wild Rift undergoes a rework (Shyvana, for example), does this mean that the champion will also undergo changes on mobile, or the two games will not be interconnected in this sense?"

On a high level, we're aiming for the gameplay to feel very familiar, as we don't want players to have to re-learn how to play League going between WR and PC. Currently the Wild Rift map, including structures, jungle objectives, and terrain, are different from (but very close to) Summoner's Rift, so we're targeting keeping the experience similar moving forward. Spoiler, don't tell anyone yet: we are exploring Dragon Souls for the future for Wild Rift. 

For champions, we're trying to make sure Wild Rift is an authentic League experience, but we also know that this is an opportunity where we can experiment with new ideas or improvements. For the most part, we will be taking champion designs from LoL PC. In some cases, if the League PC team thinks the changes are suitable, then Wild Rift changes would be applied to League as well, and vice versa. Wild Rift will have its own balance. As some of our champions have slightly different skills and base stats, and the Rift features new terrain overall, we will not be able to have exact balance parity. As part of that, we also have to account for the fact that Wild Rift's controls make champions very different to balance for.

  • Riot JCM1117, Gameplay and Balance Lead

Is there an order or list of when certain champions will be released?

"Will there even be an order? What would be the thought process of deciding which champion to Wild Rift (Popularity in PC, kit easy to translate on mobile, etc)."

We have plans to release a ton more champions after launch, but they won't be in any specific order. Choosing which champs we added was a really hard process! As you can imagine, narrowing a roster of 140+ champions into "the first 40" was really hard when players have so much attachment to their mains. There's a lot that went into this, but basically, we wanted to have a wide variety of champs from PC. We want players to have a broad range of role and class diversity with different champion archetypes across the board, so yep. We've got Ahri and Jhin and Lux, but also more niche champs like Gragas and Aurelion Sol.

One other objective was to avoid crossover, meaning that there aren't clumps of champs that occupy the same space for players. We think there should be something for everyone in the opening roster. From the development perspective, we specifically picked some champs that we thought would translate well to twin-stick controls, and on the flipside, some that we wanted to test our limits on to see if we could make them work on mobile (like Yasuo or Zed). We're hoping they feel just as good as they do on PC!

  • PapaSmoothie, Champions Product Manager

Who is the most difficult champion to put on mobile?

There are two types of "difficult" champions we had to manage. The first type concerns the champions that are "hard," regardless of platform such as Braum, where his ability interacts with every single other champion in the game. The second type of difficult champion are ones that were previously optimized for mouse and keyboard controls and we were faced with platform limitations. Here, it would be champions like Jhin or Ziggs, where their super long range abilities pushed us to explore new camera tuning, or Yasuo where his rapid ability casting needed special attention.

  • PapaSmoothie, Champions Product Manager

Where is Teleport?

Teleport, one of the summoner spells in League PC, is now an enchantment “item” for boots, along with many other actives like Gargoyle Stoneplate, Redemption, and Zhonya’s Hourglass. We made this shift because we wanted active item enchants to be meaningful choices that vary from game-to-game based on matchups, and we think for Wild Rift specifically that Teleport falls into that category.

  • Riot JCM1117, Gameplay and Balance Lead

Why are matches only 15-20 min?

When we asked League of Legends players why they would want to play on mobile or console, time and availability to play were consistent trends. Players wanted faster games that are better suited to mobile or console, i.e. games you can play on a lunch break, on a commute, or anywhere you can find time to play without compromising on the depth or fun you've come to expect from League. This is why we looked at maintaining the moments and core experience of League PC but with faster game times to better support those opportunities.

We’re also continuing to fully support both League on PC and Wild Rift, so for folks who love the long back and forth fights in a 30-40 minute PC game, we know their needs are largely being met with League on PC, and we want them to continue to play and enjoy the game there.

  • Riot FeralPony, Design Director

Why is the minimap laggy?

As we were prioritizing performance in-game first and foremost, we didn’t get time before the Alpha began to fully optimize the minimap. This is one of the “trade-offs” we chose to make to ensure we could release the Alpha on time. We'll have the minimap fixed for future releases.

  • Riot JCM1117, Gameplay and Balance Lead

Why does Wild Rift have a mirrored map?

We tried many different designs and combinations of different maps and cameras, with the objective of restoring that true League experience, while fitting the needs of portable platforms. We think the current mirrored map design is the best one for a few reasons, but the main one is pretty simple: when you’re playing on “red side” (i.e. playing from the top right to the bottom left), most of your aimed skills will run into the twin-stick controls HUD… and we figured you’d rather focus on battling against the enemy team, not your left thumb.

  • Riot FeralPony, Design Director

Will there be Wild Rift exclusive champions and skins?

For launch, we're focused on really buffing up the fantasies of a few of players' favorite skin themes. With Wild Rift's rebuilt models, textures and animations, along with the 3D model viewer in the collection page, players will have more ways to interact with their favorite skins than ever before. Going forward we're definitely looking to create skins that are exclusive to Wild Rift. As for champions, it's definitely something we're interested in doing, but won't be any time soon.

  • Riot Draggles, Communications Lead

What does ranked look like?

"Why is Wild Rift's system different to PC?"

With ranked we want to build a competitive experience which feels familiar to League PC players, but it is easy to get into and set goals for players who are new to League. We’ll have a ton more to share about this as we get further into testing, but we’ve heard your feedback on Ranked Marks, premade group sizes, and your experiences in other games

The only way we'll know if Wild Rift’s systems are working out is to test them at scale, so we don't want to make any hasty decisions on this yet based on our small-ish testing pool. We have a lot of controls to tune and deliver the most fair and fun competitive experience possible. We hope that folks approach Wild Rift as a new experience that we are going to grow together. If things are unfair or unbalanced, we will make changes. Believe me, if you aren’t happy, we aren’t happy.

  • MartianSpider, Around-Game Systems Designer

I want to know how the reporting system looks!

"What kind of punishments it will be executed in-game? Because every 5 matches there is someone AFK and that ruins the game a lot."

That sucks, I'm sorry you had that experience in game. We take unwanted and/or negative player behavior very seriously. From reports to auto-detection, we will support a variety of mechanisms to reduce or remove unwanted behaviors in game. Many of these systems are still in development and weren't available for our regional alpha. Some will be online for launch, and more will be coming in subsequent patches. More details can be shared as we get closer to launch.

  • MartianSpider, Around-Game Systems Designer

Will there be synced events between PC and Wild Rift?

The short answer is yes! For specific moments throughout the year, we are looking into ways to collaborate with other teams at Riot to celebrate big moments together. However, it's important to note that even if we do sync events with League PC, our content might be different so that we can offer unique and exciting ways for you to enjoy the event with a Wild Rift twist.

  • Riot Jennisaur, Events Lead

How did Riot design the controls? Can you add tap controls?

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to support mobile and console players with our control scheme. As a result we put all of our effort into getting the core twin stick experience feeling great which we feel is ideal for these platforms. One of our goals is to restore League PC's control scheme, specifically of using a mouse to click and select a target, and bringing that feeling to touchscreens and controllers. That's why you'll see features like the yellow crosshair indicator when selecting a target. We will be adding some additional customization so players can match their preferences (and will continue to expand these options over time), though it’s unlikely we’ll add a completely new control scheme such as tap controls because the game has been designed specifically for a twin-stick setup.

  • Riot FeralPony, Design Director

Are you going to add voice chat?

Yes. You can expect it to look (or... sound, I guess) a lot like League PC's, but more information on that later this year.

  • Riot Draggles, Communications Lead

Why did content creators get access before regular players?

We wanted to make sure that a few content creators got access to the game on day one of the Regional Alpha. We did this because content creators have a unique connection to games, developers, and their own communities that we truly think is a foundational part of how games are made in the 2020s. It’s very important to us to collect feedback from a range of creators—and crucially, their fans and communities—on what they want to see in Wild Rift moving forward.

Throughout the Alpha, we've been inviting waves of players frequently, but our very first ones earlier this month were small so we weren't overstressing our servers. In our first wave, around 10% of the invites went to content creators (that's likely why we got a bunch of well-deserved "streamer only" memes in our inboxes), and after that we've been inviting thousands of pre-registered players with each wave.

That said, we didn’t communicate this well, and we know many players feel like we’ve heavily weighted the invites. As of this message, around 99% of the invites are in the hands of randomly selected players, and we’ll be more clear about our rollout strategy in the future.

  • Riot Draggles, Communications Lead

Will a greater variety of configurations be made available in the game?

"For example, to which the player can move or even change places where the skills are?"

We'll definitely be offering more options for this as we progress further into development. We know that varying phone (and hand!) sizes can make Wild Rift's default button layout a little inaccessible to some players, and sometimes you might just have a personal preference from other games. We're not going to allow fully free movement of everything on-screen, but we want to make sure you can customize your experience to something that feels good to play.

  • DjangoUnjaned, In-Game Product Lead

Do you intend to add the dubbing of each country & server?

"Or will English be standardized as in some other mobile MOBAs?"

We're definitely working on localizing voiceover for the game! Due to the implications from COVID-19, we were unable to record Portuguese voiceover for the Regional Alpha, but you can expect to hear more languages as we head towards our next rounds of testing.

  • Fragzav, Localization Producer
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