What to Expect from League of Legends: Wild Rift in 2021
League of Legends: Wild Rift still hasn’t been fully released and yet it’s already making waves across the globe, and it’s fair to assume that it’ll grow even bigger throughout 2021. Heck, maybe that’s even an understatement. If mobile gaming is the future (and it really is, based on recent revenue reports), then Wild Rift stands a chance of becoming the de facto mobile MOBA regardless of region. That’s why Riot and Tencent have been working around the clock to deliver a polished experience that has near-total feature parity with the full-fledged game — and they’ve done astonishingly well in a very short amount of time.
Mark our words: 2021 will be the year Wild Rift becomes a bona fide phenomenon!
It’s League of Legends in the palm of your hand. What’s not to like? You can play a game of Summoner’s Rift while standing in line at the supermarket, or even climb the ranked ladder during your daily commutes to work or school. What was once a far-fetched dream is now finally a reality, and it’s bound to generate record interest upon its official release.
Fortunately, Riot has been pretty outspoken when it comes to their plans for Wild Rift in 2021, which means there’s a lot of ground for us to cover! So, without any further ado, let’s get down to business!
An Open Beta in North/South America
Wild Rift is currently in open beta in many different regions across the globe, but North and South America aren’t on the list, unfortunately. This omission will soon be fixed, however! Both regions will have full access this March, so hold tight — you’ll game soon enough! Plus, you’ll get a host of in-game capsules and goodies if you connect your existing League of Legends account, meaning you won’t have to build up your collection from scratch. In other words, you’ll be well-equipped for both casual and competitive play alike!
A Consistent Influx of Content
Riot plans on releasing two new champions per month, meaning we’ll get (at least) twenty-four new additions to the game by the end of 2021. That’s quite an impressive number, all things considered! It harkens back to the olden days of League, when Riot used to churn out new champions like it was nothing! A steady influx of content (champions, skins, events, and everything in between) is absolutely necessary for the game to continually flourish and attract new players. If Riot wants Wild Rift to succeed (and they really do), they know that adding something new to the game on a consistent basis is one of the most important steps they need to take.
Fortunately, they’re well aware of the fact!
Katarina and Rammus, in particular, are next in line for release after the Bandle City event concludes. This means that Wild Rift will have 57 champions by the end of January (of mid-February at the latest) — a respectable number, given the fact that they’re rebuilding each champion from the ground-up!
In any case, if you’re enjoying Wild Rift, things will only get better and better throughout 2021!
Expanded Itemization Options
Right now, as things stand, itemization isn’t all that complex in Wild Rift. In fact, it’s pretty simple and straight-forward. That’s not to say that you don’t need to think a bit before investing your gold, but it’s definitely one of the least polished aspects of the game. Simply put, there aren’t many items to choose from. You’re pretty much pigeon-holed into one or two builds game after game, and while that’s forgivable given Wild Rift’s incomplete nature, it’s still a flaw that needs to be mentioned.
Fortunately, Riot knows this as well, and they plan on fixing it at some point in 2021. This means they’ll include more items from the full-fledged game, but also introduce the vast preseason changes most players are still getting accustomed to — Mythic items and the whole nine yards. This is quite an exciting thing because we know how and (approximately) when the game will change. Having a broader set of items to choose from will definitely make Wild Rift even more layered and nuanced than it currently is, which is obviously a big plus.
ARAM Is Coming!
In a twist that no one saw coming (but most of us hoped for), Riot is working around to clock to bring the entire Howling Abyss experience to Wild Rift! This, in short, is absolutely spectacular news. And, frankly, it also tells us just how much they’re investing to translate nearly every aspect of League onto mobile devices. That’s not an easy thing to do, but if you’re one of the biggest developers in the world — who’s backed by Tencent, of all companies — then “impossible” becomes a pretty relative term. It seems that all of these issues and challenges can be solved and overcome by ample financial backing and some insanely talented devs and engineers!
They’ve already found a metric ton of success with Summoner’s Rift, and ARAM feels like a natural next step. There is one question though: will it stand shoulder to shoulder with Summoner’s Rift, or will it offer a different kind of experience? The thing is, ARAMs are fast-paced and often don’t last longer than fifteen minutes (give or take). If it’s a complete blowout (in today’s meta), you can win (or get embarrassed) in less than ten. And if it’s a truly competitive back-and-forth game then we’re talking around twenty-five to thirty minutes maximum.
Wild Rift, however, is already fast-paced, with most 5v5 games ending around the fifteen minute mark. So, should we expect an even faster version of ARAM? Or will we get a game mode that’ll last about as long but just offer a different gameplay experience — everyone skirmishing non-stop in a single lane? Both options are perfectly fine, but it’ll be interesting to see which route Riot will ultimately opt for.
Lunar Beast Event in February
If you’re into in-game events then you’re in luck: Riot plans on having a bunch of them throughout 2021! Even better, they’ll have near identical timings with the ones in regular old League, and we might even see a bit of cross-game promotion. Still, Wild Rift is its own thing, so expect a bunch of WR-only skins and cosmetic goodies over the coming weeks and months!
The first event of the year is right around the corner — we’re getting the Lunar Beast event in February! We’ll also venture into Targon and the Shadow Isles at some point in 2021, and you can expect Viego, the Ruined King to make an appearance in Wild Rift as well!
Talk about a stacked release schedule!
Wild Rift Esports
Finally, Riot is seemingly aware of the vast potential that lies within Wild Rift. If you’re a Western fan of esports, then you’re probably unaware of just how big mobile gaming is over in Asia. Honor of Kings (also known as Arena of Valor) made $2.45 billion in 2020. That’s a lot more than League managed ($1.75b) and the same goes for PUBG Mobile (also known as Peacekeeper Elite) which generated a whopping $2.32b.
That’s the thing: Wild Rift didn’t come into existence because Riot had an inherent need to translate their biggest IP onto mobile phones — it exists because it’s an ingenious business decision and an undertaking that will pay off tenfold in record time. And esports will play a big part, too. Riot didn’t shy away from talking about their ambitions esports-related plans for Wild Rift during the most recent “Season 2021” dev video, and it’s easy to understand why. It is, after all, a logical pairing.
There’s still a whole lot that we don’t know about this whole thing, but the folks over at Riot seem pretty stoked about it. In any case, we’re bound to learn more over the coming months, so stay tuned!