From changing Summoner’s Rift with Rise of the Elements, to building up and refining the item system with the Mythic Forge Update, the last two Preseasons focused on reimagining and revamping long-standing elements of League’s base game. This year rather than focusing on re-envisioning one particular area of the game, we are focusing on places in our current systems (both in- and out-of-game) to strengthen and expand on.
In short, here are our high-level goals this Preseason:
While we’re not doing a giant, sweeping overhaul this Preseason, we’re also not downscoping the level of work this year. We're happy with the foundations we laid in our past couple Preseasons, and we think going back and strengthening a few of them is the right call for 2022. But this doesn't mean we won't have another big revamp-y Preseason in the future. This year's Preseason is just going to be a tad different.
So let's get into what you can expect in Preseason 2022!
Our original goal was to increase game-to-game variance by creating a variety of distinct and memorable environments for players to master. Rise of the Elements brought us map terrain transformations, new powerful Dragon Souls, and a game-ending Elder Dragon buff. These changes largely succeeded in making each game feel more unique than the last. With that said, we think there’s room for us to expand the possible unique environments players find themself in on Summoner's Rift. We have a couple of goals in mind while we examine potential new additions to the dragon space:
You can expect more updates and thoughts on our work on dragons later this year.
The Mythic Forge Update brought a lot of change to itemization. We originally set out to ensure that all champions are able to make different strategic decisions through item choice in every game. While we continue to think this is the right goal, we've heard your feedback that having to make a strategic decision about every item in your inventory isn’t always desired or possible, especially in high tension games.
We still want you to make a meaningful choice at the Mythic level for every champion, but we don’t want Legendary items to be held to the same standard. Some Legendary items should be perfect for a few champs, instead of being okay for a lot of them. There are currently a few gaps that we’ve noticed with this goal in mind, so we’re exploring the following spaces:
We’ve continued to monitor both the use rates and power levels of runes across the system and we think there are some good, targeted changes we can make to the system. Most obviously, we feel the Inspiration tree’s identity has been fairly unclear, and we’d like to broaden its keystone use cases. During Preseason you can expect:
Champion bounties act as a way to even out the game by getting extra gold from killing enemy champions that have gained a lead. They’ve been around for a while and have been successful, so we don’t plan on making changes to them. But we think we can give you additional ways to get back into a game when the going gets tough... Namely in the form of Objective Bounties. The goal of these are to:
We know there could be some concerns about Objective Bounties, the main one being game length. Generally speaking, we think average game length is in a good spot right now and don’t want to impact it. We also don't want to invalidate the big advantages caused by skill gap. If you're just that good and dominating your lane opponent and snowballing the game, that advantage shouldn't just disappear altogether. So we’ll keep an eye on these changes and listen to your feedback to make sure we keep Objective Bounties balanced.
One of the new systems we’re hoping to implement during Preseason 2022 is Challenges. Through the Challenges system, a player will be rewarded for all of the challenging (hehe), unique, and fun goals they achieve throughout their games. We’ve designed the system to assess a broad spectrum of League feats so no matter what your playstyle is, there’s something uniquely "you" to shoot for and celebrate.
Not much of a Ranked player, but love collecting skins and champions? Are you amazing at CSing, but leave the kills to teammates? Or maybe you're known for being the ultimate skillshot dodger? Challenges let you personalize and show off the exact type of player you are. Some specific goals we want to accomplish with the final version of Challenges are:
Earlier this year, we introduced the Progression Identity changes aimed at adding more customization options for players. If it wasn't clear already, a lot of this was foundational work for Challenges!
Part of the concepts and explorations we showed you included a series of identity changes that’ll allow you to customize who you are to others at a glance. This includes showing off your accomplishments in specific Challenges through tangible elements in and around the game with things like titles, tokens, and rank. It also includes an overall score of all the different Challenges you’ve climbed through in the form of a tiered progression crystal.
We used this update to really examine the visual elements of our existing identity system—the progress for which we shared earlier this year. Right now we're focusing on providing more clarity while making improvements in places like Ranked and Prestige levels to ensure they feel and look cohesive.
That being said, we've heard your feedback on the desire to integrate champion-specific affinity to the personalization options, as well as doing more with banners in the lobby. We’ll explore what that could look like in our current iteration of Challenges in the near future.
The aim of the Challenges system is to provide broad goals and visual representations across everything within League for you to complete... and compete against each other over. This includes integrating systems like Champion Mastery, Eternals, Ranked, Levels, Events, and Collection into one umbrella so everyone has something to shoot for.
This system—though it may feel similar to Eternals—is designed to highlight and work with other systems. With this broader focus, the unique space carved out for champion-specific skill, like Champion Mastery and Eternals, will still be an important part of the League experience. So you’ll be able to develop and display your investment in your favorite champs over time. The approach we’re taking lets us continue to provide more targeted gameplay goals and activities. This way we can serve very specific player types (i.e. collectors, one-tricks, ARAM-only players, etc.), while still rewarding broader groups of players who do a little bit of everything.
Right now we're tracking towards having Challenges included as a part of Preseason 2022, but things may change based on your feedback. If Challenges don’t ship with Preseason, we'll definitely look to introduce this system in early 2022.
Like past years, we hope to reveal more of our plans as early as possible and have regular touchpoints prior to the changes later this year. At the very least, you can expect more Preseason info in the following places soon:
Thanks and make sure to tag us on @loldev on Twitter with any thoughts or reactions!