League of Legends: Wild Rift – What We Know So Far (and What We Want)

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League of Legends: Wild Rift – What We Know So Far (and What We Want)

League of Legends is a household name even among those who aren’t esports fans. After all, it’s one of the biggest competitive scenes in video game history, having grown to 100 million unique viewers in 2018 (more than that year’s Super Bowl), and boasting prize pools over $6 million for its biggest events. Yet for all the influence this one PC game title has in the competitive game scene, there are still territories into which this game franchise has not yet ventured. Hard to believe, I know, but for all its success, League of Legends hasn’t conquered all it can conquer yet.

Hoping to rectify that issue is the recently announced League of Legends: Wild Rift. This “new game built from scratch” (or so developer Riot Games claims) is being designed for both the console and mobile game markets. The mobile version is expected to hit phones sometime in 2020, with the console version arriving soon after. Pre-registration for mobile early access has already started on Google Play (the game is supposed to come to iOS devices as well but there’s no early access on Apple’s App Store).

So what can we possibly expect from this new version of League of Legends? Riot Games has promised a new experience built around the strengths of consoles and mobile devices, but what does that mean exactly? The official website for Wild Rift is already live, and with it has come the following marketing lines:

Confirmed Information

-Over 40 champions at launch. No exact number has been specified yet but at least 40 is off to a good start. Some fan favorites were confirmed to be part of this launch roster, such as Nasus, Twisted Fate, Annie, Fizz, Lux, Garen, Jinx, and Nami. (A full known roster can be found at the Wild Rift Fandom Wiki.) By comparison, when competing MOBA game Smite from Hi-Rez Studios launched on console in 2015, all of the gods on PC (around 70 at that time) were available to play. To be fair, though, the controls for Smite were easier to transfer from keyboard/mouse to gamepad than is probably the case for League of Legends.

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-The free-to-play model will be present on Wild Rift. Riot Games confirms that all champions in the game can be earned for free through gameplay. Cosmetic items for champions are of course paid items. If you previously played League of Legends on PC, playing Wild Rift will earn you additional rewards.

-There will be a Ranked mode. This Ranked mode will have unique rewards for those that climb to the top.

This is all well and good, but as someone who has played MOBA games on console (more specifically Smite and Genesis on PlayStation 4), this writer feels there are some additional features Riot Games must implement to truly overtake the MOBA genre on consoles. Here’s a list of what we want out of Wild Rift that would put it ahead of the pack on launch.

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What We Want from Wild Rift

Smooth, responsive and polished controls

Smite on consoles already has responsive controls, but when I played Genesis, which has the same top-down view Wild Rift will have, controlling my character felt sluggish. It felt like slogging through mud and my abilities had a delay in being activated. If Wild Rift hopes to at least blow Genesis out of the water, the controls should be extensively tested to the point where they feel responsive and satisfying to use. Well-tested net code will also be essential here to assure this.

A Comprehensive In-Game Tutorial

One of the flaws Smite has with its console version (and continues to have to this day) is the lack of an in-depth tutorial on its traditional game mode Conquest, comparable to League of Legends’ Summoner’s Rift. This lack of in-game information on how to properly play what is considered the default game mode in which characters are balanced around is a huge source of frustration for new players and veterans of Smite alike. One way Wild Rift can directly compete with Smite on this is by having an in-game tutorial that covers everything one needs to know about the classic game mode, so new players aren’t left in the dark about key aspects of the game. Common strategies and the best champions to play in certain situations should be covered by this as well.

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Champions Unique to Wild Rift

Riot Games claims Wild Rift was built from the ground up for mobile and consoles. They can prove this by demonstrating some originality when it comes to champion design for Wild Rift, and not simply recycling every single champion in League of Legends. Obviously not every champion in League of Legends can translate directly into Wild Rift anyway, but Riot Games can definitely demonstrate they know what they’re doing by designing champions specific to Wild Rift. It would demonstrate that Wild Rift is more than a side project and show how committed Riot Games is to providing a tailored experience.

Crossplay Between Consoles

Riot Games has already stated there won’t be any cross-play between Wild Rift and standard League of Legends, which is to be expected, but Smite allows crossplay between all platforms. While we shouldn’t expect Riot to implement crossplay between PC and console, they should make efforts to ensure that console players can play with each other regardless of what console they’re on. In other words, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 console players should all be able to play with each other.

Wild Rift is a bit of a way off – the official website said the full mobile version is expected to drop “by the end of 2020,” which is quite the ambiguous release date, with console versions “coming sometime after.” So Riot Games has plenty of time to implement these features we want. Let’s hope Riot does their best to make sure Wild Rift is as fun as, if not more fun than, the original League of Legends it’s based on.

Phillip Miner
Phillip has been a freelance writer covering video games for over a decade. He's had video game articles published in places from local newspapers to The Escapist. Call of Duty has been a passion of his since the first Black Ops. You can learn more about Phillip on our About page.