League of Legends is the game everyone is talking about. Despite Valve pushing Dota 2 to the limits with the by far highest prize pool in the history of eSports, Riot Games is still making the news with both their own league, the LCS, as well as the game itself, which has become the biggest thing around in the world of online gaming with 27 million daily players according to Forbes back in January.
The last year or so has seen changes in way in which Riot has promoted the game. At first, only new champions were announced, along with some impressive – but usually solely game-related – art. However, now League of Legends has gone beyond the point of merely being liked by its players, in good part thanks to Riot’s creation of more shareable promotional content, now aimed at a wider audience.
Got Jinxed or Pentakilled yet?
The beginning of this new era was marked by the animated music video Get Jinxed, which celebrated the release of the eponymous new champion. While being a very freaky and well-characterized champion on her own, this video earned her an iconic status almost right away. The video was widely shared, and Jinx fast became a character that both artists and cosplayers chose to portray more frequently than others.
This was recently topped by the rework of Karthus and fleshing out of the incarnation of his band Pentakill. Along with Karthus’s visual update, both Sona and Mordekaiser got their Pentakill skins slightly updated to complement the look of the other band members. However, Riot didn’t draw the line there. The band made it out of League of Legends into the real world, releasing their first album. Smite and Ignite, featuring 30 minutes of League of Legends-themed metal, made its appearance thanks to the contributions of Jørn Lande, singer of Avantasia, Masterplan and more.
Releasing this album for free on various platforms coupled with additional artwork and an in-game icon for fans of the the music or skin series was just another step in spreading word of League of Legends to those who might not have heard about it yet.
A whole new world
Not only League of Legends’ marketing has headed to the next level, with Riot’s update teams constantly reviewing champions, their skins and even the world their battles are set in. While older champions are steadily being reworked both visually and mechanically, Summoner’s Rift is now facing a big overhaul which should be finished in time for the pre-Season 5 play rework.
Riot has increased its standards of both play and visual design over and over again. Usually, drastic changes like the overhaul of Summoner’s Rift or similar would be done during the off-season, when players have the chance to adapt to changes and test new ideas in a less important part of the competitive year. Now, shortly after the beginning of the EU and NA LCS Summer Splits and in the lead-up towards the World Championship, this update looks like it could make its way to the live servers way before the Worlds, thus drastically changing the look of the game before the biggest League event of the year.
Hand in hand with this, changes to the itemization of both AD carries and supports have been announced, with a number of deep changes to very common items for both roles within the game. Just like the big visual changes to Summoner’s Rift, these are usually done in between seasons. However, this season is different, with Riot setting up these pretty huge changes to be rolled out right in the middle of the all-important Summer Split.
Polishing for the big show?
It looks like this year’s League of Legends World Championship is something that Riot wants to show in a new light. If the same amount of classical press coverage is going to happen for this World Championship as it did for last year’s, it means another big chance to showcase the game in a fresh, new light. Additionally, presenting a constantly evolving game at a point where millions might be getting a glimpse of it for the first time is another chance for Riot to open new doors and persuade more people to try the game than ever before.
Are these drastic changes during the season too much or just the right way for Riot to show players how much they care? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!