Riot Discusses Its Wild Rift Diversity Efforts And The Power Spike Update
League of Legends: Wild Rift was released in October 2020 and already has over 20 million average monthly players. Wild Rift allows users to utilise League of Legends characters such as Ahri, Senna, Lucian, Vi, Jinx, and Caitlyn, among others, in mobile team matches. Wild Rift, if you're unfamiliar, is based on the League of Legends core, but employs different game mechanics, game length, and even character selections than the PC version.
The characters resemble their PC counterparts both mechanically and cosmetically. Wild Rift battles last approximately 15 minutes as opposed to the standard 45 minutes in League of Legends. Wild Rift is essentially a streamlined form of playing League of Legends on a mobile device, yet it thrives on its own, attracting players from all over the world with its mobile accessibility. Recently, GameSpot participated in a roundtable discussion regarding Wild Rift's latest patch, 3.14: Power Spike. This patch is now available and adds new items, characters, and balance changes to the Wild Rift roster.
Check out the Champion Adjustments for Wild Rift 3.4 for a comprehensive breakdown of the actual changes to the game's balance, as well as the specific buffs and debuffs to characters' stats. You can view the patch notes here, but below you can hear straight from the developers about what's new and on the horizon for Wild Rift.
With patch 3.14, the following characters will be added to the roster of Wild Rift: Power Spike. Gwen, the Holy Sewer, and Yone the Forgotten debuted in Wild Rift on September 15 and September 22, respectively. David Xu, the product manager for Wild Rift, joked about the imminent releases of Gwen, Yone, Vex, and Warwick as edgelords in the year 2022.
Gwen and Yone are the newest Wild Rift characters launched in September.
Gwen wields her legendary Hallowed Mist with her iconic scissors in hand, allowing her to annihilate foes. Yone wields two swords and a lively technique for cutting adversaries with elegance, grace, and speed. “2022 will be mainly focused on bringing what we consider to be some of our heavy hitters—the most desired Champions,” Xu stated. “In 2023, we will begin to introduce Champions with specialised abilities. We're searching for champions that fit specific thematics or gameplay [mechanics] more closely. In subsequent milestones, other League of Legends PC Champions will be introduced.
The Gameplay Alters
With Elemental Rift, Wild Rift gets its first significant map upgrade outside of the Power Spike release. We made significant modifications to the objective system as well as the terrain during the game.
Unlike League of Legends PC, Wild Rift has various difficulties and priorities to address, such as the pinging system. In comparison to the PC version of League of Legends, there is less functionality for communicating with teammates on a mobile platform, according to the creators. “For Wild Rift, there are many problems and differences that are unique to Wild Rift in comparison to League. Adnan Mirza, the gameplay producer for Wild Rift, stated, “We really wanted to modify Elemental Rift to give players more control over their games and make them feel better in terms of tempo and game stress.”
Mirza provides the example that communication between players on mobile devices is often more difficult because the audience dislikes speaking or using headsets. Occasionally, this necessitates modifying elements of League of Legends that are currently functional so that they function better on mobile. “Whenever [players] encounter any material, even if it's from League PC, we're constantly considering how it would fit into Wild Rift. “For instance, we've eliminated some of the game's intricacies and decision points because they were causing our players a great deal of tiredness.”
On mobile platforms, team-based game communication might be difficult, but this update to Wild Rift will provide new ping system choices. These new choices are in addition to the normal options and do not replace them. “Improving communication will always be a priority for us,” added Mirza.
Similar to League of Legends PC, the most recent update to Wild Rift will offer new items to the game. New item releases can help provide enhanced benefits to gamers that older items were unable to match. Sometimes, specialised roles require more alternatives for equipping goods in order to be in a better state for the match or the game as a whole.
“We sought to improve the gameplay experience for support characters. To introduce new Enchants, fine-tune some aspects of the game, and now add support items, we made a number of balance adjustments in these spaces. Mirza stated that the supports now have a greater capacity to influence their own experiences and greater agency.
Developers of MOBAs such as Wild Rift routinely get user feedback, and the Riot team wishes to consider any feedback or concerns players may have while playing Wild Rift. Mirza stated, “We've been experiencing [greater] success with player feedback and the other metrics we use.” A perfect example is player feedback indicating that employing supports in-game is more difficult compared to other positions. Future Wild Rift content will not be derived completely from League of Legends PC, but it will have League of Legends PC-based basic features.
Skins have been a League of Legends PC staple for years. They are meticulously, lavishly, and exquisitely produced themes or alterations to the appearance of already-released Champions. The Power Spike update introduced several new skins, including Space Groove Gwen, Crystal Rose Yone, Bewitching Vex, and Superhero Jayce.
“We want to continue releasing fan-favorite skins from PC that people really liked, and we want Wild Rift players to be able to choose something that truly resonates with them or speaks to them in a specific way,” said Wild Rift game director Jared Berbach.
Berbach, like other Wild Rift creators, is excited for future releases in 2023: “Our story is basically about how we can produce things that feel more Wild Rift-specific and are perhaps even exclusive to Wild Rift. Just a small bonus that we hope our player base will enjoy.” Berbach stated, “We have a large number of players who want to stick with us [exclusively] on Wild Rift, and we want to reward their loyalty with very fantastic, new thematics they can appreciate.”
History and Variation
League of Legends, and Wild Rift in particular, is played by players from all over the world, representing several minority groups, marginalised identities, and ethnoreligious heritages. In the past, Riot Games' releases of characters have been plagued by blatant instances of whitewashing involving heroes of race, such as Lucian. Even white characters have received Orientalist aesthetics, tropes, or skins over the years, for instance in Lunar Moon.
Berbach responded, “To reach a global audience, we must be able to represent all of these marginalised groups.”
Riot has created RIGs (Riot Interest Groups) with the intention of bringing together groups of individuals to represent marginalised identities. “They are always a part of the process we utilise to create champions and skins. “For instance, when we created Lucian, we had a really thorough discussion between the game team and the RIG to explicitly support them, their opinions on how we could truly bring that character in, and avoid many of the clichés described by [Veerender Singh Jubbal],” Berbach explained.
Mirza added, “I worked on a large portion of the gameplay and have less direct participation with the art, but I do observe the discussions and the feedback. I am also South Asian and am aware that colorism occurs on occasion; I am reminded of popular marketing slogans in Urdu, such as “Of Gora hoga.” They will now have light skin or fair skin. Something I am fully aware of, and from my perspective, [Riot Games] has never made it feel particularly purposeful.”
Concerns or issues can arise when a corporation moves across mediums due to the introduction of new teams or developers into the creation process. Until a character is playable by the general audience, a tremendous amount of creative effort is invested in its concept art. Errors such as authenticity may not be completely translated throughout the procedure.
“Sometimes, I believe there is a loss in translation when moving from one medium to another, whether it be in-game or 2D art. Occasionally, these [aspects] do not align perfectly, but the team works extremely hard to stay ahead of them, and when mistakes are made, you work very hard to correct them.” Mirza said. “I definitely have a sense of sensitivity because of the culture from which I come. We never promise to be flawless, but we work very hard and listen to criticism to make adjustments when particular arts don't exactly match their intended purpose.