The Soapbox: What I want to see in Riot’s League of Legends MMO

    
17

It’s finally happening, y’all! League of Legends is getting an MMO! And boy howdy am I excited. While I didn’t follow the game in its infancy, over the past three years I’ve slowly become a fan of the scene, the world, and the lore. I am by no means a MOBA loyalist; I’ve spent more time in Teamfight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra more than League of Legends. And I know there’s people out there who wouldn’t touch the game with a 10-foot pole just because of the studio’s reputation and the community being one of the worst online.

But we cannot deny the power of the League of Legends IP and the love that’s been put into the game’s lore in the last half-decade. Back in 2014, Riot decided to do away with the game’s original story of the players taking the role of summoners using heroes from Runeterra’s history to solve disputes. The writers wrote themselves into a corner with the original lore, and thus they decided to change it up. Players were upset at first. But the game’s lore has grown into a chronicle spanning many eons and a variety of parallel universes.

With the franchise reaching 11 years, this is a prime time to put that lore to work in an MMO. The Warcraft franchise was about 10 years when World of Warcraft came out. And the League franchise is now in an excellent position to jump into the genre.

Will Riot show us how modern MMOs should be done? With the game still quite possibly years away, the only thing its future playerbase can do now is speculate on how the game will play. I really want this game to succeed. So I want to sound off on what would love to see in a League of Legends MMO.

Cithria the Bold is just one of many characters I’d love to meet in the game. Players who would want to level up via questing can join her on her journey.

The story should focus on the world and its heroes

Runeterra is a beautiful yet terrifying world. Within the walls of Ehrenmount, kids grow up under the protection of Demacia’s powerful army and mighty heroes. Yet beyond the walls, creatures of unspeakable terror haunt the dense forests. Ionia has its bountiful fields under protection of spirits, yet on the other side of the planet are the mysterious Shadow Isles where the dead, known as The Lost, reside. It’s a vibrant world filled with mysteries and legends shaped by the actions of gods, heroes, and whole nations.

Much of the lore has been revealed piecemeal through the Legends of Runeterra card game and surprising loredrops hidden in the instructions of the Tellstones boardgame, of all places. But the MMO will most certainly be the best way to show the world in all its glory. Just as Azeroth’s true potential was realized in World of Warcraft, this new MMO can do the same for Runeterra.

With that said, the storytelling needs to be focused on the world and must be shaped by many, not just a privileged few. As messy as World of Warcraft’s lore can get, it does a great job at putting Azeroth and its champions front and center. Case in point: the Lich King. He wasn’t taken down by a single hero; it was a concerted effort between the Horde and Alliance. And it wasn’t the players who donned the helm of domination; it was another hero of Azeroth. It was a collaboration between mighty heroes, not some hyper-powered murder-hobo.

Players who level up via PvP can eventually challenge Draven in the arena

There’s a practical angle to this form of storytelling as well: It will make it easy to bring in new classes for expansions. It could also make the game far more approachable for new players who won’t need to trudge through a story to play the latest expansion.

Consider another example from WoW in the Demon Hunter class. The Demon Hunter’s intro sequence takes place during The Burning Crusade and ends when Illidan is taken down at the Black Temple. Your character is then imprisoned for however long four expansions is and is freed at the beginning of Legion. For me, this was the perfect class for me since I literally just started playing WoW in 2020. I was just as clueless about the lore as my Demon Hunter was, but the objective was clear: kill the demons. Now that’s MMO storytelling.

I would love for Riot to double down on this. Maybe even refine it a bit even. Add different ways to level to max. Players who want to level up through questing will have that opportunity, and players who want to do it through PvP and arena battles can do so as well. Let players experience the world through their playstyle and preference, not how the story wants them to.

Players who want to level up through gathering can follow Teemo as he collects mushrooms throughout Runeterra. Go ahead Riot, you can have that idea.

Make it easily accessible

A major contribution to League’s success is how easy it is to access the game. It was free-to-play and can run on a potato. The MMO needs to be the same way. Riot is pretty good at making some beautiful games while still keeping the system requirements low. And keeping the MMO free-to-play is a no-brainer to me, or if it wanted a hybrid model, why not emulate Elder Scrolls Online free-to-play/pay-to-play options? I wouldn’t mind throwing in a little extra cash the studio’s way with some nice outfits either.

I think they should also aim for a younger crowd too. I teach freshman, and only one of my students plays MMOs. The other kids know about MMOs too, but get this: It’s because their parents play them. Look, Crowfall and Final Fantasy XIV are awesome games, but I highly doubt a pack of 14-year-olds would want to play them when they could play Apex Legends or Roblox. I would not be upset if this game came out for consoles too. The more the merrier, I say!

Aside from specs and business, I think it would be best to keep player skills between at least 8, but no more than 15. A limited skill set similar to Guild Wars 2‘s would keep skills impactful. Heck, if the devs want to maintain that League of Legends feel, keep it at four skills that can’t be swapped outside towns, a single passive, and six “item slots” that can be filled with items that provide passive benefits or ones that need to be activated and can be changed while outside of combat. We want to keep it simple when piloting our characters because in any Riot game I want and expect competitive play.

Avenues for competition

This is Riot Games we’re talking about. This company knows esports, so any MMO it built would be lacking without a variety of competition. PvP is obvious. It needs to be there, and it needs to be good. I know the company will knock that out of the park.

But I would love to see its take on competitive PvE as well. Of course I’m talking about competitive raiding. I’m a fan of watching world first races, and I can imagine just how heated Riot could make them. I’d love to see how it can interpret its own version of Mythic+ dungeons as well. That would be my jam! I think this might end up being the main selling point too: opportunities to get to the top through high-end content for all party sizes for all types of players. Heck, I would not be against some kind of Riot-supported home-decor competition either.

Of course, this would bring into question what kind of players Riot “wants” to play the game. Just because I’d like the studio to do what it’s best at doesn’t mean I want to see other playstyles left in the dust. Ironically, for all of League’s accessibilitythere will be some players who can’t engage with the franchise simply because they don’t want anything to do with competition. A good MMOs needs to learn how to accommodate all types of players. And that leads me to my final point.

Imagine Aurelion Sol as a raid boss

Don’t just reinvent the wheel

This isn’t a knock on Riot, but it’s always been best when it refines something that’s already there. League of Legends at its core is a DOTA clone. Valorant is Counter-Strike with a dash of Overwatch. And Legends of Runeterra is a TCG without typical monetization. The MMO genre is filled with great and terrible examples to learn from! Riot should take notes on how each of the big five succeeded, adopt those systems, and add so much more.

Riot. Please. Include dungeons, instanced content, fun quests, side activities, crafting, gathering, a housing system (that doesn’t suffer from a never ending shortage), challenging small party content, world quests, dailies (but not too many), awesome festivals, and inviting visuals. Focus on precise snappy controls and attacks that hit with weight and a certain je ne sais quoi.

Don’t include autoplay, a gacha system, overt pay-to-win mechanics, or excessive RNG. Stick with what works, don’t be controversial, and let the world you spent the last decade building shine in this upcoming MMO. Runeterra is already a rich world, and I believe that the game will succeed on the merit of the game world and its lore, not some out-of-this-world mechanic that’ll “innovate the genre.” Focus on great execution.

I’ve got a lot to say and have high hopes for this game. What about you? What would you like to see in this upcoming League of Legends MMO?

Everyone has opinions, and The Soapbox is how we indulge ours. Join the Massively OP writers as we take turns atop our very own soapbox to deliver unfettered editorials a bit outside our normal purviews (and not necessarily shared across the staff). Think we’re spot on — or out of our minds? Let us know in the comments!
Advertisement

No posts to display

17
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Scorp Gang

I am hoping to inject some sort of interface directly into my Brain.

Reader
Robert Mann

Given Riot, I expect to see a pretty standard fare. Nothing that will impress much, but a decent status quo MMO.

Which isn’t what I want to see, but what I expect to see.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ryan Allgood

I’m curious how the game will end up doing player characters.

Like I’m worried that, in a world with such rich, unique, interesting characters, we’ll just end up with boring options like Warrior and Rogue and Mage.

I’m probably the odd one out, but I’d almost like to see something like a 3D (non isometric) style of game with some similarities to Marvel Heroes. Where you have a whole bunch of characters and can switch easily between them. Hell I’d even like it if you built out a team and could switch between them in combat (on a cooldown of course).

I’d just hate to see the game devolve into hyper generic fantasy classes when LoL has everything ranging from your standard archer, to a snake woman, to a living tree, to a tiny ninja, evil scientists, rock monsters, bear demigods, giant robots, etc etc etc.

Reader
Bruno Brito

There’s a chance they just use the soul system from AA/Rift or go with a SWG-like profession system. I don’t think they’ll go for straight classes.

Reader
Harbinger_Kyleran

All I want to see is the game being released sometime in this decade.

😄

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

I want awesome art direction with amazingly beautiful world design, great combat system with balanced classes and options for highly competitive PvP. Also the game being unique, not another “been there done that”. Make me enjoy exploration

Reader
Lethality

I get depressed when new MMOs are announced, and players hope for slightly different or subjectively “better” versions of games they’re already playing. Sigh.

On the other hand, Riot doesn’t strike me as one to take a chance on a simulation in a sandbox world with advanced AI and a dynamic economy :)

So, I guess, then, they have no option but WoW it up.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

If anything Riot is far more likely to take a risk on making an MMO that isn’t a WoW clone than most companies.

They can afford it, they won’t be pressured to play it safe by investors who don’t understand video games, and they actually understand gamers.

Reader
Bruno Brito

They can, but i don’t think they will. Riot made it’s name being a better Blizzard. They’ll stay being a better Blizzard.

Reader
Rndomuser

They can afford it

Riot also could afford to make a different multiplayer FPS game, with larger combat scale than even Planetside 2 and an improvement of BF’s “Commander Mode” system through mobile apps (which was something actually revolutionary in a field of multiplayer FPS games and which EA has unfortunately abandoned). Instead they created a very simplistic clone of CS:GO (with few extra character abilities borrowed from existing small team FPS games), which is not fun for majority of casual players and which is mostly targeted towards esports players.

Reader
Sorenthaz

If anything Riot is far more likely to take a risk on making an MMO that isn’t a WoW clone than most companies.

If they were far more likely to do so then they wouldn’t have made Valorant so similar to CSGO with Overwatch elements baked in to keep it different enough. Doesn’t sound like Legends of Runeterra reinvents the wheel either and takes a lot from Hearthstone or other digital TCGs.

They also have Ghostcrawler on board so the desire will almost definitely be to try and make a WoW clone that feels closer to WotLK or Mists of Pandaria.

Reader
Jetra_Virsai

The thing I want to see is doing away with the level progression which would not only open up the game for almost everyone, but also frees up a lot room for creative visions.

Also, bring back spiddy who got lost with the removal of Twisted Treeline. be a great raid since I remember it being tougher than Baron Nashor which you can solo while sleeping given the insane damage numbers now.

However, given the trend of lobby-based animu fighters coming out, going to put bets that this is going to be either Genshin-inspired (big world, climbing a maybe, they’ll probably opt for straight flight) or something like WoW (because ghostcrawler, that’s what people like, yadda yadda)

Can’t imagine raids are going to be terrible though and probably what they’re going to put the most effort into. I’m imagining that character creation is going to be akin to SAO: FB where you have parts of your favorite characters and can make Kirito and Asuna especially since you can get their outfits.

One more thing, cosmetics are going to be P2W. Not sure what I’d like to see from the cash shop cause honestly I have enough skins in League and care not for looking pretty. Maybe extra inventory?

I swear to god if I see a Pool Party Ahri costume in the shop in the MMO…….

Reader
Rndomuser

I’d like to see many things. However, seeing how Riot always kept everything simple and just cloned everything, with Valorant being the best example (it’s a blatant CS:GO clone with few extra abilities), I don’t expect seeing any of the things I’d like to see in their new MMORPG. Most likely it will be just another WoW clone but with more focus on various instanced small scale PvP arenas for the “competitive esports” type of people.