League of Legends: Wild Rift launched in October 2020 and has already garnered more than 20 million average monthly players. Wild Rift takes many favorites from League of Legends, such as Ahri, Senna, Lucian, Vi, Jinx, and Caitlyn to name a few, and allows players to use them in mobile team matches. If you’re not familiar, Wild Rift runs off the core of League of Legends as a basic foundation, but uses different mechanics, gameplay, and even character options than the PC game.
The characters, however, stay true to their PC counterparts mechanically and aesthetically. Wild Rift matches last around 15 minutes compared to League of Legends’ standard 45 minutes. Wild Rift is basically a fast-paced version of League of Legends on your phone, but it blossoms into its own, grabbing players from everywhere with the ease of playing on mobile. GameSpot recently participated in a roundtable discussion about Wild Rift’s newest patch, 3.14: Power Spike. This patch adds new items, characters and balance changes to the Wild Rift roster and is available now.
If you want to check out the exact balance changes and specific stats that match/adjust characters, you can check out Champion Changes for Wild Rift 3.4 which details all of your numbers needs. You can go here for the patch notes, but below you can find out what’s new and on the horizon for Wild Rift directly from the developers.
Additions to the Wild Rift roster will be added over time with patch 3.14: Power Spike. Gwen, Hallowed Seamstress, and Yone the Forgotten debuted in Wild Rift on September 15th and September 22nd respectively. “2022 will have a lot of edgelords,” said David Xu, product manager at Wild Rift, of the upcoming character releases of Gwen, Yone, Vex, and Warwick.
Gwen wields her legendary Hallowed Mist with her iconic scissor in hand and is able to blast enemies away. Yone brings his dual swords and witty mechanics to slay enemies with elegance, grace and quick death. “2022 will be heavily focused on bringing in some of what we believe are some of our heavy hitters – the champions that are in high demand,” Xu said. “In 2023, that’s when we’ll start bringing in some more specialized Champions. Champions that fill more specific themes or a specific game [mechanics] that we are looking for. Expect to see some of the other Champions treasures from League of Legends PC in upcoming milestones.”
Aside from the Power Spike update, Wild Rift also received its first major map update with Elemental Rift. “We’ve made huge changes to the objective system as well as the map that changes throughout the game.”
Wild Rift itself has different issues and priorities to deal with than League of Legends PC, such as the ping system. There is less functionality on a mobile platform to communicate with teammates than in League of Legends on PC, the developers said. “For Wild Rift, a lot of times, there are unique challenges and differences to our game that are specific to Wild Rift compared to League. We really wanted to coordinate [the] Elemental Rift to help players gain more agency in their games and feel better overall in terms of pacing and how much tension there was in the game,” said Adnan Mirza, Gameplay Producer for Wild Rift.
One example Mirza offers is that communication is generally more difficult between players on mobile devices, as audiences don’t like to talk or use headsets. Sometimes that means changing things that work in League of Legends to better suit mobile. “Whenever [players] we’d see any content, even if it’s from League PC, we’re always thinking about how it would fit best in Wild Rift. [For example]we have adjusted some of the complexities of the game and some of the decision points because it was causing a lot of fatigue for our players.”
In-game communication in team-based games can be a pain on a mobile platform, but this Wild Rift update will have new ping system options. These new options do not replace the default ones, but are additional preferences. “Improving communication will always be great [aspect] for us,” Mirza said.
Similar to League of Legends PC, the latest Wild Rift update will add additional elements to the game. New item releases can help provide improved benefits to players who couldn’t deal with previous items. Sometimes certain roles need to be given more item options for gear so they can be in better shape for the match or the game as a whole.
“We wanted to make the game experience better for support. We’ve made a lot of balance changes to these areas to add new Enchants, tune some parts of the game, and now add support items. “Supporters now have a better ability to control their own experience and have more action,” Mirza said.
Player feedback is always given to developers for MOBAs like Wild Rift, and the Riot team wants to take into account any feedback or concerns players might find while playing Wild Rift. “We have seen [increased] success with the comments of the two players [and] the other different metrics we have,” Mirza said. A prime example is feedback from players who have a harder time using supports in the game compared to other roles. The developers would like to bring future Wild Rift content that is not exclusively from or has previous foundational elements from League of Legends PC.
Skins have been a mainstay of League of Legends PC for years. They are meticulously, extravagantly and beautifully crafted themes or cosmetic tweaks for already released champions. Some of the skins released in the Power Spike update are Space Groove Gwen, Crystal Rose Yone, Bewitching Vex and Superhero Jayce.
“We still want to keep releasing fan-favorite skins on PC that people really liked and make sure that Wild Rift players have the opportunity to choose something that really resonates with them or speaks to them in a special way,” Jared Berbach. said the game director for Wild Rift.
As the other Wild Rift developers stated, Berbach is also looking forward to future releases in 2023, “Our story is really, how can we make things that feel more unique to Wild Rift and potentially even exclusive to Wild Rift? Just a treat for our player base that we want them to enjoy.” Berbach said, “We have a lot of players who choose to stay with us [exclusively] in Wild Rift, and we want to reward that investment of our time with really cool, new themes that they can enjoy.”
History and Diversity
League of Legends, and specifically Wild Rift, is played by players from all over the world, with many different color groups, marginalized identities, and ethno-religious backgrounds. In the past, Riot Games has clearly had problems releasing characters, where there is a widespread de-ethnicization of characters of color like Lucian. The company has even had white characters get very oriental aesthetics, tropes, or skins over the years with the Moon revelations, for example.
When asked if they cause more foresight when creating skins for Wild Rift, Berbach said, “We know that in order to reach a global audience, we need to be able to represent all of these underrepresented groups.”
Riot has established RIGs (Riot Interest Groups) with the idea of bringing together groups of people to represent people with underrepresented identities. “It’s always part of a process we use [the] creating Champs and skins. For example, when we created Lucian, we had a very extensive process between the game team and this RIG to specifically support them, their thoughts on how we could bring this character authentically and avoid a lot of the tropes that [Veerender Singh Jubbal] describes,” Berbach said.
Mirza said from a personal perspective: “I worked on a lot of the game and have less direct involvement with the art, but I see the discussions and the feedback. I’m also a South Asian and I know that colorism comes through, sometimes, and reminds me of some pretty obvious marketing slogans in Urdu like ‘Of Gora hoga’. They will be light or light colored now. Something I know all too well and from my own perspective it never really seemed intentional [Riot Games].”
When you move media within a company, concerns or issues may arise solely from switching different teams or developers in the build process. A huge amount of creative effort goes into a character’s concept art all the way until it can be played to the public. Errors such as authenticity may not be fully translated into the entire process.
“Sometimes I think there’s a loss in translation when you go from one medium to another whether it’s in-game or 2D. Sometimes these things don’t line up, but the team tries very hard to catch up [aspects], and when you mess up — you try really hard to fix it.” Mirza said. “I have a sense of sensitivity from my senses because of the culture I come from. We never claim to be perfect, but we try very hard and try to listen to feedback [to] make changes when these different arts don’t quite fit what they’re supposed to be.’
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