Riot Shares 2021 Preseason Plans, Will Ship Reworked Shop & Item System

by in General | Jun, 16th 2020

We’re just at the halfway point of the season. Yet, Riot Games is already sharing their plans for the 2021 preseason — a fantastic bit of news that’ll interest anyone who’s currently playing the game regardless if it’s casually or professionally. There’s still a lot that’s being worked on, but Riot wanted to give us an early glimpse into what’s in store, most notably a reworked shop and item system.

These are exciting times if you’re a regular player because we’re talking about two aspects of the game, which were practically untouched for years. They’re not exactly in an awful state, but there’s a lot of room for improvement, so might go for an overhaul.

What You Can Expect

Riot’s lead gameplay designer Mark “RiotScruffy” Yetter shared his thoughts online about “building up and refining one of League’s foundational gameplay systems.” After taking a closer look at the current item system, they realized that there’s a lot of good, mixed in with an equal amount of underwhelming. They realized that certain parts of the system function well, whereas others leave a lot to be desired. This is why they’re aiming to retain and improve about two-thirds of the currently available items and ship a slew of entirely new ones.

By doing this, Riot can provide players with different build paths and options to choose from depending on the state of the game. It’s no secret that most champions have one or two builds that often built without much thought. Sure, you should always adapt in-game, but the core structure of the way you rarely itemize changes. This means there’s minimal variance in the way you build your champions in general, which is an awful thing from a game design standpoint.

Their goal of the 2021 preseason is to force players to think more rather than buy items on auto-pilot. Knowing the strengths of your champion and your opponents’ weaknesses will provide you with a much bigger benefit going forward — should these impending changes pan out, of course.

The entire user interface will also get a much-needed facelift, with each item providing a bit more information regarding why it’s good and why you should build it (along with quick “Good Against” tips for certain match-ups). A change such as this one, while seemingly simple and perhaps even redundant, will help newer players out as they learn the game and improve on the Summoner’s Rift. Items will also be categorized and displayed in a much more logical and visually pleasing way so you won’t have to click and scroll like a maniac to find that one item you so desperately crave.

Overall, there’s a lot to like with the 2021 preseason sneak peek we’ve been given. The changes Riot has in store might not be what we expected, but they’re highly welcome. What they’re doing is polishing every nook and cranny of the game. So after shipping a better (albeit still flawed) client, an updated Summoner’s Rift, and reworking many age-old champions, they have their sights set on the more “forgotten” and less dire aspects of the game. Then again, champion itemization and build diversity have always been a sore point, so it’s about time Riot went for an overhaul.

Go to Riot’s official developer post for a much more in-depth dive into what’s planned and why. RiotScruffy explained things in great detail, and it’s quite a fascinating read if you’re into that sort of stuff. In the meantime, make sure to tune in to the LCS and LEC Summer Splits. The second half of the season is finally here, and if last weekend was any indication, we should be in for one heck of a ride!


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