I played League of Legends from late beta through around 2015 or so. I eventually quit the game due in part to frustration with teammates and the long 40-ish minute commitment I’d be signing myself up to with each match. Having to stay in a game for potentially 40 minutes with people who were already arguing and feeding in the first five minutes was just not something I had the time or inclination to deal with.
Still, I did love the characters and world that Riot built around its MOBA and the studio has only done more in the intervening years since I put the game down to expand on the lore of its IP and richness of the characters that inhabit it. This was a concerted effort by the studio and I feel its paid off. I play the digital card game, Legends of Runeterra, and it doesn’t feel like the studio is stretched to find material to use in its game. It’s a testament to how interesting Runeterra is as a world deep enough to stand on its own in different titles.
We’ve known for a couple years now that an MMO of some sort was in the cards for Riot, but now that it’s been confirmed real, I’m pretty stoked. Not only because I work at a website covering MMOs and Riot is a large enough studio that it could lead the way to a resurgence of the genre, but because I genuinely want to play in the world Riot’s created. What could that MMO look like, though? Let’s work through some of the potential options.
Traditional vs. Modern
Riot’s decision here would obviously inform the rest of the design. Is Riot working on a League of Legends MMO in the spirit of games of the past? Large, open worlds with deep character progression and tons of content and systems underpinning a (hopefully) very social experience? Or are we looking at the sort of MMO lite we’ve seen in recent years in games modeled less after World of Warcraft and more after Destiny. Smaller, hub based games focused more on session play with a couple of players at a time.
Personally, either one works for me, but I’d like to see something that hews more towards the traditional MMO experience, mostly because we haven’t had one in so long, and if it does well, it would be a great case study for new money to flood back into the genre proper.
Create-a-Character vs. Champions
This is the one I have the most trouble with when thinking about it. It’s not too hard to give players options of races to play in a League MMO, from various types of humans, to void creatures, to the chimeric Vastaya, Yordles, mechanical contraptions, and so on. But it is a bit more difficult to distill the various kits of League’s 140+ champions down to a couple of playable classes. It’s not impossible to create the sorts of MMO class archetypes we’re used to seeing, but I wonder how compelling that would be for people.
At the same time, it’s also difficult to imagine that Riot would offer up all of those champions (even over time) as playable options in the game. A curated list is a possibility, and I feel this direction is more likely if we end up in the modern MMO scenario (think Marvel’s Avengers or Marvel Heroes, even). A more traditional MMO would be likely to feature classes of some sort with the champions serving as important characters in the story.
One thing’s for sure, though. I refuse to group up with any Teemo players and I will totally tunnel on a Teemo in PvP and get shroomed to death just like I do in League of Legends proper.
What do you think a League of Legends MMO might look like? What would you like to see Riot do with their MMO? Share your thoughts in the comments below!