/dev: Arena Round Three

What you need to know about Arena’s prismatic return.

Hey hey! I’m Eduardo “Riot Cadmus” Cortejoso, Product Lead for Modes. Last week we gave you all a little preview of what the team’s been working on for Arena (and we gave you a sneak peek at our upcoming mode, but we’ll share more about that at a later date). But there’s a lot more in store for Arena’s return, and I’m here to share more details today.

Arena Round Three… FIGHT!

Over the last few runs, we’ve learned a ton about what players like and don’t like in Arena and we’re confident we have a clear path forward to improve this game mode for players in the future. A few examples of some problem areas that we have heard you loud and clear on are:

  • Builds and team comps become stale the higher up you go. The game state can generally trend to get more repetitive the more games you play.
  • Certain strategies are too reliable and uninteractive  for a broad majority of teams that go against them.
  • “Emergent gameplay” (that’s you, cameos) can be hit or miss—it feels particularly frustrating when a player has no agency.
  • Within a specific game of Arena, running into the same team can feel boring, and actively gets worse if it’s a particularly uneven matchup.

We’re continuing to explore how we could make Arena a permanent mode, but that's going to take us some time to experiment. To that end, we’re viewing the current iteration (and the previous ones) of Arena as “early access” builds of the mode—where you play and have fun while we learn what you like and don’t like. Using those learnings, we’ll re-release the mode with new systems and features that we think will move us closer to the healthiest version of the mode.

We see Arena’s healthiest version as one that aspires to the following:

  • Compelling, well-paced gameplay that is very easy to jump into for League players.
  • Build paths that allow you to experiment in ways you wouldn’t be able to elsewhere.
  • Foster adaptability to different situations over following a specific script to success.

To that end, we’re making some pretty significant changes to Arena that we believe will get us closer to that healthy version we’re aspiring to.

One more thing to note: Arena is going to be live MUCH longer than previous releases. We want to give all of you more time to play. And that way we’ll learn how you like to play over a longer amount of time (or maybe learn about what we’re missing that could cause players to lose interest over time). We’re currently planning for Arena to be live for the entirety of Split 2. This will start a little before with patch 14.9, going live on May 1st, while hitting PBE two weeks earlier.

When it goes live, you’ll notice some major changes that we hope will help improve the longevity of the mode. And we feel that a full split will be enough time to see if you all feel like it’s worth your SUSTAINED play time. When we go for shorter run times, the general trend is that modes spike dramatically and drop off as people are “done” with an event, so we’re going to measure Arena’s staying power this time around.


Our most noticeable change is that we’re doubling the size of Arena, going from four teams of two players to eight teams of two. We believe that by introducing more teams and players, you’ll see a wider diversity of team comps, strategies, and scenarios. That should help each game of Arena feel much more distinct from each other, and it should even make rounds within an individual game feel less repetitive than before.


We’re also introducing a slew of UI changes to better scout the lobby, and your opponents, as well as keep track of everything that’s happening. So get ready to jump in and see if you can be the last team standing!

The most notable of these changes is with the tab scoreboard, as it will now focus on the team you’re up against while highlighting their match history and recent selection and purposes. You can still scout other teams as well by clicking on their team icon in the right-hand team health panel.

We’ve also made some pacing changes to make sure that despite the increased lobby size, games of Arena still feel similar in length compared to what we had before. Expect changes to a variety of areas, including gold rewarded for wins/kills, starting health, health gained(?!)/lost, and more!

Prismatic Items

We’re introducing a new item tier, called “Prismatic” items (original, I know). These are build-defining items that should allow you to achieve build fantasies that you normally wouldn’t be able to. You’ll see some new items… as well as some familiar faces that have made a return as Prismatics in Arena.


You may be wondering, “well… clearly there is always a mathematically best build” and… you’re probably right, but don’t worry, we thought of that. Prismatic items won’t be outright purchasable, instead they’ll be presented to you in a specific round, functionally similar to augments. You (and your enemies) won’t be able to reliably make the same build every game, so Arena is going to be less about following a specific build and more about making the best of what is presented to you!

Our hope is that this will go a long way to tackle concerns voiced around the game state getting too stale or repetitive. Even in a scenario where you run into similar teams, they will likely be building different items and choosing different augments each game, so try your best to figure out any specific game’s current conditions to come out ahead. Players who adapt best will come out ahead, as opposed to those that rely too heavily on a specific strategy!

Additionally, due to the power Prismatic items hold, they’ll unlock new build paths that you’re not going to get elsewhere. Wanna run full armor, tank Master Yi? How about on-hit Bard? The possibilities are endless, and we’re excited to see what builds you can cook with Prismatics giving you the foundation to do so.

You’re probably wondering how you get Prismatics (and how they won’t be crazy overpowered). Don’t worry, you don’t buy these outright, instead you’ll get them using our new way of acquiring items in Arena: Anvils.


One of the other changes we’re making to the core experience is a new shopping experience in Arena in the form of Anvils. They’re purchasable consumables that, when used (or automatically consumed), present three randomized selections within a defined category (similar to how augments present themselves to you). You can always re-roll… but this system will share re-rolls with your augment selections, so make sure you do so wisely!

There are three main types of Anvils:

  • Prismatic: Randomized choice between all Prismatic items.
  • Legendary: Randomized choice between Legendary items within your desired category.
    • Categories will use the shop classification for classes (fighter, mage, etc).
  • Stat: Randomized choices between raw stat upgrades.



Legendary Anvils will generally be a good amount cheaper than outright buying items, so if you know what you want, be ready to spend more to buy the item outright! Stat Anvils on the other hand are a way to use some spare cash for a boost that will persist across rounds. If you need a specific win in a round… stick to juices for sure, but maybe also just buy a Stat Anvil to get that missing bit of additional Ability Power the build you’re going for isn’t letting you get otherwise.


By introducing a bit of randomness to the way you approach your item builds, we also expect this to improve the variety of builds you’ll make, and ones you’ll run into. Try to press your luck and save up for a second Prismatic item… or maybe you know what you need and you should spend some spare income on a safe bet. Spend your gold wisely on your way to victory!

Map Update

With more people, comes a need for more room. To that end, we’re adding a new map we’re dubbing “The Koi Pond” because… well a picture will speak for itself.


This map should feel pretty different than what you’re used to. You can’t always easily access areas of the map, but what we’re calling the “Bloom Bridge '' will open for you to run across throughout a particular round.. You COULD use portals and blast cones… but you might find yourself outnumbered if you play too aggressively.


In addition to a new map, we’ve also added a new shop area…

Not only is the map much larger to fit all the new teams, it’s going heavily themed for our upcoming returning universe: Empyrean! We’re really excited about exploring more map updates in Arena that align with thematics throughout the year and with MSI just around the corner, we knew we just had to make some cool call-outs!

Ranked and Matchmaking Update

We’re going to experiment in this run of Arena with a one-patch “preseason” before we start the Arena Ranked season alongside the Summoners Rift one in patch 14.10. We’re interested in seeing how things play out without the leaderboard system, or Gladiator points for these first two weeks, as we shape the future of what Arena progression and Ranked can look like!

Apart from the season reset, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind with regards to matchmaking:

  • Players will be able to queue up with party sizes between 1-8 players.
  • Players CANNOT queue up with party sizes between 9-15 players.
  • Players can queue up as a full 16-player premade party.
    • They will not see changes in MMR or Gladiator Rank.

Quality of life updates and more!

In addition to everything laid out above, there are a bunch of QoL changes to look out for, with spectators and replays now enabled as well as being able to surrender in case things aren’t going your way. We’re going to be continuing to revisit polishing up the rougher edges!

You’ll also see some adjustments on a few existing features coming to Arena:

  • The following cameos will be enabled: Lux, Sett, Thresh, Pyke and Jhin,
  • Champion-specific balance adjustments,
  • Legendary item adjustments to reflect changes made on Summoner’s Rift.
  • Removal of Mythic items.

What’s next after Arena?

We’ve been investing more into Modes and the team is hard at work to make sure we deliver new stuff by the end of the year, including our first bullet heaven PvE game mode this summer.

We’ll hold off on details for now, but we’ll be back later this year with a State of Modes update where we’ll talk about things like how Arena went, rotating game modes, future plans, and more.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Rings of Wrath!