League of Legends Wild Rift Gameplay Discussion


by in League of Legends | Jun, 1st 2020

One of the biggest things to come out of this weekend in the gaming sphere is the gameplay reveal for League of Legends Wild Rift by Riot Games. League of Legends Wild Rift is a mobile/console version of the titular MOBA and looks to be channeling the energy of games like Arena of Valor. It’s going to use the tried-and-true mobile game controls we’ve come to expect.

That means a thumb joystick to move, and buttons to click for abilities on opposite sides of one another. It makes sense because this is a mobile game. The idea is that it is as easy as possible to jump into. But this is not a one-for-one remake of League of Legends though, and they make sure to point that out.

They released a developer diary to show off exactly how things are progressing, and what we can expect, as players. You know, before I dive into that, you know what’s exciting about Wild Rift? Not having to see people type racial slurs and other nonsense into chat! People will, hopefully, be too focused on getting through the match to type trash like that.

Champs


Papa Smoothie (David Xu) talked about champs in League of Legends Wild Rift in this gameplay dev diary. They want the champs to feel authentic to what we remember in League of Legends and only make changes when necessary. On that note, we can expect some champions to not be carbon copies of the original. Some of these changes are to account for a dual-stick control scheme.

So far, the actual controls look very fluid and tight. Aiming looks solid, and easy enough to do.

Perhaps this could also help us indicate when/where PC versions of the champs will be updated/reworked. I doubt that, though, but it would be fascinating. These changes are also to take into account the smaller map, and a faster pace of gameplay. So with that in mind, don’t expect to see everyone in the game right away.

The complete list of champions:

  • Ahri
  • Master Yi
  • Lux
  • Annie
  • Garen
  • Fiora
  • Vi
  • Blitzcrank
  • Camille
  • Jhin
  • Ezreal
  • Janna
  • Soraka
  • Nami
  • Braum
  • Anubis
  • Miss FOrtune
  • Graves
  • Jinx
  • Alistar
  • Olaf
  • Gragas
  • Jax
  • Malphite
  • Shyvana
  • Aurelion Sol
  • Orianna
  • Fizz
  • Ashe
  • Tryndamere
  • Twisted Fate
  • Vayne
  • Xin Zhao
  • Zed
  • Yasuo
  • Ziggs

How are these changes going to feel? Well, one of the things they discussed was Anubis, and his Raid Boss feel. He’s going to gain stacks faster! While I hate this personally, it makes sense. These matches are not going to be all 20-50 minute slogs, so he still needs to retain some of the “infinite scaling” potential he has.

Another change that I think is interesting, is Miss Fortune’s Double-Up is now a skillshot. This takes great advantage of the dual-stick control scheme and lets Miss Fortune players show off their ability to play the champ. I’m sure some MF mains might rail against this change, but it allows for greater control of their character, and I’m about that.

The experience looks similar, accurate to the PC, but is sped up for the mobile experience. I’m glad that it won’t be complete reworks of everyone for the sake of it.

Gameplay


Gameplay, so far, looks pretty similar, even down to champion select. We still have Summoner Spells to use. Most of them are pretty similar again, though Smite was changed. Runes are going to feel similar too but stripped down/simplified. There are also some unique-to-Wild Rift runes, which are pretty awesome.

After completing four major camps, you as a jungler choose between Challenging Smite or Chilling Smite, so you can choose the one that’s right for your style of jungling. That way, it won’t take long to get into the ganking part of the game.

However, there is one huge change to the map, known as Wild Rift: No Nexus Turrets! That’s right, once you’ve pushed into their base, you have to simply destroy the Nexus. Honeyfruits, Buffs, Blast Cones, those are still very much a thing. The variety of Dragons still exists, too. With the large ability buttons, I can hope that people will take advantage of their wards.

Maybe that’s too much to hope for. But the actual base gameplay is the same. We’re still looking for teamfights, picks, warding, getting dragons, and securing tower destruction. Speaking of familiarity, items! You can only buy them in the fountain, of course.

The stats and order may be different, but the base use of the items is the same. Rabadon’s Deathcap for example is still the go-to major AP item. There is also a pre-order button for your items, where you can put the gold forward for the item, and pick it up in base.

Speaking of items, there’s a new Tear of the Goddess item for Tanks (so you know already that I’m on board). Thimble Winter grants you a shield when you crowd control someone, so that’s beautiful. It could probably be abused, but it sounds great for me, at least, from the outset.

Players can only purchase one active item, though. These are purchased as a third tier for boots, but you can mix and match whatever you need for the moment. This includes Locket Enchantment, Glorious Enchant, Protobelt Enchant, and Quicksilver Enchant. Those probably sound mighty similar to Locket of the Iron Solari, Quicksilver Sash, et cetera. Those active items are still around in spirit, at least.

We don’t want too many buttons to clutter up the UI, so this makes sense. It makes me sad as a Taric player though, because most of my items in the build are activatable. He’s not even in the game yet though, so that’s fine! Those are only a few of the Active Items! Most of the “active” gear pieces are shown off in this enchantment.

The Alpha will have a tutorial, co-op versus bots, player matches, and can even test out Ranked. There’s a whole lot of depth it looks like, but I won’t lie, there’s one thing here that I’m not excited about: buying champions again.

Since this is a free-to-play mobile game, I can’t imagine we’ll be able to link our accounts and keep all the characters that we already had access to (at least, ones featured in the mobile game).

Monetization/Final Thoughts


One of the things in the League of Legends Wild Rift gameplay video that was discussed was “monetization.” Whew, that’s a scary word, especially in mobile games. Far too many use this as an excuse to milk their audience for as much money as possible.

They look to whales (the 1% of a game’s population that spend thousands per month). Whether it gives them an advantage, more items, etc, that’s a scumbag’s way to develop a game. Christina Wun (Obiwunkenobi) points out that they will have plenty of ways for players to express themselves, without it being pay-to-win.

This is great because I have never felt that League of Legends was pay-to-win. I won’t go into the actual skins because that’s not important to the gameplay experience. They do however look gorgeous. I dare say that the mobile version of League looks better than the PC version. Maybe I just like this animation style more.

I’d be willing to accept that. Final thoughts, though! The actual gameplay looks pretty great, and they have a lengthy cast to start. One of my worries though is the cost of champions. I don’t want to pay the same price again for champs on mobile/console that I did on PC. I assume the mobile and (inevitable) console versions will be linked so you don’t have re-buy again.

Frankly, I like this version of League of Legends. I spend more time in-game than I’m willing to admit, and despite being Silver-locked, I still very much enjoy the game. Not having to spend potentially an hour in every match.

I like the idea of the twin-stick controls, and it should offer control and precision. Being able to aim like that in the middle of a hand-held fight should be easy to do for anyone. I’m very curious to get my hands on it. League of Legends Wild Rift doesn’t look like a cash grab. It doesn’t look like they re-skinned someone else’s game and slapped their art assets over it.

Gameplay looks easy to understand too. You have the two sticks on either side, the buttons laid out in a traditional half-circle around the right stick. They look easy enough for any-sized hands to be able to tap quickly.

I have to say, right now, I’m feeling pretty positive about it. I’m not excited about re-buying champs and skins, but that’s just how it is. Maybe they’ll discount them/make the grind more reasonable. That’s what we’ll have to see.

I want to end with this: If they’re going to steal any ideas right now, take Hi-Rez Studios’ “Ultimate Gods Pack.” For $20-30, they give players access to every champion forever. Let players have that option to just spend that one bulk price. We know enough that there will be more than enough champs to make it worthwhile.

Then they can spend less time grinding for champs and more actually playing the game and enjoying it. Just some food for thought. Beyond the worry of money, I’m feeling good about Wild Rift.

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