League of Legends is almost 13 years old and yet it’s still the biggest and fastest-growing MOBA game on the market internationally. How Riot Games made League of Legends relevant through a generation where most players jump from one game to another easily makes a person wonder if the company is doing something right to make people keep playing the game despite a fraction of its fanbase claiming they hate it. Let’s take a look at some reasons on why they’ve done such a good job at doing so.
League of Legends Through the Years
League of Legends arrived in the middle of the popularity of MOBA games, namely – the height of DotA. This iteration of MOBA games sat really well with fans of DotA that wanted to player with more people in an online setting which gave it its initial popularity. While the break-away of the playerbase began the DotA vs LoL debate that would forever spark arguments online, these two games have remained relevant through the years but League of Legends remained ever more so until today.
While DotA broke away from being just a mod for Blizzard’s Warcraft III and became an independent entity for Valve in DotA 2, their growth is extremely slow compared to League of Legends. League of Legends began as a virtual clone to the original DotA but they eventually started branching out to create their own identity while retaining the core of MOBA games. If players take a look at the game in 2009 compared to today, they might think it’s a completely different game altogether.
Riot Games has introduced many unique patches throughout the years to keep League of Legends relevant in the online-game community. Years of listening to their playerbase and content creators has made Riot Games one of the companies that can retain keeping a large portion of their users satisfied with the game. Even though a lot of players still get sick of the same formula, the fact is that there are more players joining the game every day compared to those that are leaving.
Riot Games is also creating new events and other pieces of media to help keep League of Legends relevant for the years to come. Nowadays, League of Legends is simply the origin point for a lot of popular games, series, and other points of interest in the gaming community. Even though people don’t have the same drive to play as much of this game as they had before, these same people still find themselves coming back to the game regularly to play a few games.
How Riot Games Kept League of Legends Relevant
The history of how Riot Games kept League of Legends relevant through the years is only a summarized version of the entire story. For people that want to understand how this company has continued to dominate the market for so many years, we’ve prepared some points that has really helped in the effort to keep people interested in the game. Despite the original playerbase getting older, they still find ways to keep users of all ages interested in this game and the methods are really creative.
We believe that Riot Games will keep League of Legends relevant for the years to come because what they are doing now is simply a step towards multiple paths towards success. We project that League of Legends is a game that will remain at the top in the next 5 years because of the influence it has over the gaming community. When people look back at how the game has begun, they can only attribute the dedication of the company as the sole reason why they are still such a beloved title.
The Growing Esports Scene
Naturally, the League of Legends esports scene is the primary reason why so many players are still connected to the game. Just like sports fans, players are still connected to the game by supporting their favorite team even if the said individual no longer plays the game itself. The connection that these fans have with the game allows League of Legends to become a continuous topic in forums and social media which attracts new players to try out what all these people are talking about.
The esports scene does not only give non-active players a means to be connected to the game, it also gives incentive to active to players by giving them an ultimate goal. Any League of Legends player would be lying if they say that they have never thought about being a professional esports player even once in their lives. The dream of playing for a team and being both rich and famous from something you’re good at is definitely something that anyone wants to have.
Introducing New Mechanics
One thing that long-term games always do is introduce new mechanics to prevent a game from being stale. The same is true with League of Legends since the developers release huge patches at the end of every season which gives players a different way of playing the game. Changes on the map, mechanics, and gameplay while still retaining the core essence of what makes the game enjoyable is a formula that Riot Games has definitely mastered over the years.
Mechanics are the most important part of any game and if a developer doesn’t find a way to spruce it up, the game will most likely only be relevant for a good 2-3 years and they’ll be forced to either release a sequel or face an ever-declining playerbase. League of Legends’ patches are really good and even though a lot of people complain about it at the beginning of the season, they end up liking the changes along the way. New champions also provide a good way for players to try the game out again every so often.
Creating Engaging Events
Events are practically the lifeline of any online game whether it’s a PC, mobile, or console game. Companies need to introduce new and engaging events every few months to keep the players interested and give them something new to do without it changing the game too much. Since events are temporary, it gives players a sense of urgency to complete them and earn all the event rewards before the time period expires which invites players to play more during that period.
League of Legends events are really fun because they provide a lot of things for the player such as new game modes, skin lines, lore pieces, and are often in-line with other events such as big tournaments, game releases, and new champion releases. Most players are interested in the new game modes but Riot Games profits from the fact that a lot of money goes in whenever they release a skin line featured in the event, giving them more budget and incentive to make the game better and introduce more stuff that the playerbase likes.
Developing the Lore Through Media
At the early stages of League of Legends, the lore wasn’t such a big part of playing the game with only a small portion of players actually caring about it. However, as the list of champions grew bigger, the pieces of lore started becoming more connected and the universe started really coming to life that the players actually became interested in learning about the backstories of certain characters and their relationship to the world or with other champions in the game.
Riot Games made League of Legends relevant by giving the lore multiple platforms to come to life. The Arcane series is only one example of the company bringing League of Legends lore to the public since they’ve been doing this for the past few years. For example, the Spirit Blossom event featured the much-awaited backstory reveal of Yasuo and how he became known as “The Unforgiven”. Champion trailers also provide such an interesting way to expand the universe in ways that most players can appreciate.
Creating Spinoff Games and Titles
One thing that’s indirectly keeping League of Legends relevant is the introduction of spinoff games. Even though people think that a lot of people think the introduction of new games divides the playerbase, the fact that they are all made by Riot Games will give players the urge to play League of Legends. Even Valorant, a game that has no direct connection to LoL, introduces new players to League of Legends simply because they want to try out other games from the company that made this game.
For actual spinoff games such as Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, and the upcoming Hextech Mayhem, they always push players to bring their favorite characters in those games to life by making them play League of Legends. Arcane is a show that has already raked in a ton of new players ever since it rose to become the #1 Title on Netflix in multiple countries. Even the upcoming League of Legends MMO aims to do the same.
Announcing Future Plans Regularly
Riot Games constantly making announcements probably don’t feel like it’s doing much but it’s actually one of the most impactful things they are doing to keep League of Legends relevant. Announcements give the players something to look forward to and prevent them from thinking that the company doesn’t care about the game anymore which urges players to quit while they’re ahead. These announcements are made regularly and they make sure that it’s spread in platforms where they will reach players.
Going too long without any announcements is something that most games do and it affects their players’ morale very badly. In-game banner announcements are also bad since it will make the players feel like they are not connected with the people behind their game. This is why most Riot Games announcements are done by the staff behind the project they are planning or by a member of the Riot Games casting staff such as Phreak, with whom the League of Legends community has a deep connection.
Promoting Affiliated Content Creators
Content creators play a big part in promoting League of Legends and is arguably their biggest source of exposure. Without these streamers constantly making content about League of Legends, the game wouldn’t have made it this far and continue to grow towards the future. Even though most of the content creators say that they hate the game publicly, Riot Games still understands that as long as the streamers and YouTubers continue to play the game, whatever they say will only attract more players to try this game out.
Riot Games incentivizes content creators by giving them platforms to work on such as inviting them on the esports scene to provide some insight about the game via the analyst desk, podcasts, or on minishows. The annual All-Stars Event also invites a ton of content creators from around the world to join alongside famous esports players. This benefits both parties since both will gain a ton of exposure from the other party.
How Long Will League of Legends Stay Relevant?
Even though a lot of players claim that League of Legends is already dying, the amount of new players joining every day means that it’s only growing. A lot of famous personalities have already moved on from the game but new names rise up every day to continue what the old generation started. The veterans may think that League of Legends is already so different from the one they played all those years ago which turns off most of them since they feel like the game has already forgotten about them.
Remember that any game will always aim towards attracting new players so its goal is to keep the game appealing to the new generation. Even though games like CS:GO and DotA 2 have found success in keeping the game loyal to their original versions without changing too much over the years, it’s difficult to keep most players satisfied with the game feeling stale for how many years. Riot Games’ strategies should keep League of Legends relevant for the next 5 years at least and might probably last even longer than that.