It’s hard to believe that League of Legends (LoL) is fast approaching its eighth birthday in October this year. In fact, when the developers at Riot first conceived the idea of this online multiplayer battle arena game way back in 2009, they surely couldn’t have predicted the rise to success that would shortly follow. By July 2012, League of Legends had officially become the most-played PC title in both Europe and North America, with LoL gamers logging just under 1.3 billion hours of gameplay. In doing so, it was already beginning to outperform established franchises such as World of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft, as well as securing regular spots on awards shortlists year after year.
To this day, the LoL fanbase continues to expand and remains among the most active of any online multiplayer game, particularly in the world of eSports. The seventh instalment of the LoL World Championships is coming up in September and, even if the average LoL gamer isn’t able to compete at such a high level, they now enjoy more options than ever when it comes to participating in the action. Online live streaming services such as Twitch regularly feature League of Legends tournaments in their most viewed sections, while mainstream sportsbook operators such as Betway are among those that have quickly developed their offering to include betting options for all major LoL tournaments and invitationals. For instance, various odds are now on offer for the LoL Summer Split league, a pathway to the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational.
The fact is that League of Legends’ massive popularity must be somewhat attributed to its status as an ever-evolving game, and the developers’ ongoing commitment to introducing new champions and items. It’s this extra discretionary effort that prevents the gameplay from stagnating over time. As you might expect then, die-hard fans were overjoyed at Riot’s announcement that they will finally be updating the LoL honour system as part of the long-awaited 7.13 patch, due to land on June 28. Let’s take a closer look at what’s actually involved…
What does the new honour update contain?
As regular gamers will know, the current honor system has been in place for years, and was never really the most engaging. Honour is shown through tiny badges and numbers, neither of which have ever been fully explained in relation to one another, and the actual option to honor other players has always been hidden out of sight. With the new honor system, players will enjoy a more sophisticated approach to levelling and will be automatically prompted to give each other honours after every match. This in itself could be said to foster a more sportsmanlike attitude towards gameplay.
The update will also introduce a new missions feature, whereby players are set objectives such as achieving a certain character grade in order to unlock prize skins and loading screen mods. For an even more complete overview, Riot developer Andrei van Roon recently laid out a few other possible tweaks in a neat little rundown on League of Legends’ Dev Corner, notably an adjustment in AD builds which may see their damage revert to 50-150 + 1.2 bonus, instead of 5-125 + 0.75 total AD, changing the low health effect to be a multiplier on the existing damage, rather than a percentage of the target’s missing health. In all, the patch promises to be an important development for the standard of LoL gameplay and the evolving rewards system, which should ultimately help to retain the game’s legion of fans for the foreseeable future.
Charting the future of eSports
The new patch will be in place well before the next instalment of the LoL World Championships kicks off in September later this year, and it even contains three unlockable championship skins to mark the occasion. In fact, now seems as good a time as any to dig a little deeper into the incredible momentum that the world of competitive eSports has been gathering for the past five years or so. Global competition has undoubtedly proved to be a major development for the LoL fanbase, particularly when you consider that the game now boasts one of the largest annual championships of any gaming title. As of June 2016, League of Legends had accrued a whopping $29,203,916 in total prize money, 4,083 players, and 1,718 tournaments, making it by far one of the most lucrative arenas for competitive gamers anywhere on the web.
The amount of prize money on offer, coupled with the popularity of the game as a spectator sport and the fact that online bookmakers are now hosting dedicated eSports sections, is enough to suggest that competitive gaming – whether for LoL, or any other game – is much more than a mere flash in the pan fad; it seems here to stay. A cursory glance at the new international eSports calendar hosted at major sports network ESPN reinforces this idea even further. And as long as the developers keep putting in the hours behind the scenes to keep things fresh, the thriving LoL fanbase isn’t set to deplete anytime soon.