A First Look at League of Legends: Wild Rift
It’s no news that Riot Games was slow to realize the mobile potential of its most popular game, League of Legends. Ever since 2015, Tencent approached the American game developer with an idea to create a mobile version of LoL, but they refused. The Chinese conglomerate then proceeded to made its own version, Arena of Valor, while another studio, Moonton, also saw the potential and created Mobile Legends. From there onward, with or without Riot, the mobile battle arena genre took off.
Although Moonton lost a copyright infringement lawsuit with Riot, their ML and Tencent’s AoV have been outstanding commercial successes. At the end of 2019, the creators of LoL finally came to their senses and announced that they were working on a mobile version of one of the most iconic MOBAs, which will be called League of Legends: Wild Rift. A tremendous number LoL fans have expressed great interest in the game, while many ML players feel the same. Better late than never, right?
What Is League of Legends: Wild Rift?
Despite being announced no more than a few months ago, we know that Riot’s first attempt to take its most successful esports title to the App Store is already in pretty good alfa condition. Like its parent game, League of Legends: Wild Rift is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) with a 3-D isometric perspective. It may not be as good as DotA, but we can let that slide for now. We’re willing to overlook ancestral faults if the mobile release will be fun to play as it looks right now.
As we speak, the Riot dev team is hard at work adapting every single aspect of the PC game to mobile play. So far, we know that the game is going to be very similar to the original, namely a 5v5 battle arena. Each player controls a champion that has its own role and special abilities. To win, you have to destroy the core building in the enemy base (called the Nexus) after breaking through several lines of defensive structures (towers), just like in the tower defence mod that gave birth to the entirety of this game genre.
While the game is running, both Nexuses continue to spawn NPC minions that charge the enemy alongside three paths – the middle, top, and bottom lanes. Players try to protect their allied minion waves using their champions, all the while destroying enemy ones for gold and hero experience. Between the three main paths there are jungle areas with neutral monsters. The latter don’t attack unless a player is within their range.
Given that some lanes are longer (thus harder) than others, there are a series of champions that fare better in a particular position. For example, the top lane is the one that’s easiest to ambush, so you have to be quite durable and/or mobile in order to avoid feeding kills to your enemies.
League of Legends: Wild Rift Gameplay
So far, we know that the devs want to reduce match times so as to better accommodate mobile play. Their current objective seems to be 15 to 20 minutes, but this might be shortened as a result of player feedback when the beta version becomes more widely available. The first major difference you’ll observe in Wild Rift is the perspective. On PC, your base will either be at the top right or the bottom left of the map. As such, in every LoL match, you’ll either play bottom to top or the other way around.
In LoL: WR, all players will have the same bottom-top perspective in order to make the entire experience much more straightforward. This change will be a bit problematic for PC players who seriously want to compete in the mobile version, as it will take some time to get used to. Initially, the lanes were quite difficult to distinguish from one another, but the game design team has caught onto this fault with the help of alpha testers and have since addressed the mishap. Props to them for taking care of a problem before it becomes a serious issue.
To shorten the game time to the current 20-minute mark, the gold gain was exponentially increased. It’s basically LoL on turbo/easy mode. The map is definitely smaller, but the champion speed relative to the terrain has been kept pretty much the same. Consequently, you should expect power-spikes to happen much more frequently and, overall, the game to be more fast-paced. A particularly nice touch from the dev team is that they kept most of the items and combos from the PC version.
The control system Riot opted for is the twin-stick one, whereby your joystick responsible for controlling character movement is on the left of the screen and the right-hand side features the heroes’ abilities, basic attacks, any items you might have in the inventory, as well as pings. Preventing too much clutter on this side of the screen might become an issue later on.
Some champion abilities have been converted from point-and-click style to skill shots, meaning that when you click on them, an individual joystick appears around them so you can aim in the desired direction. Another awesome addition we currently see in the alpha game is that you can choose a preferred target for your auto-attacks and then just chomp away without worrying about switching targets. Much like aim-assist in FPS games, this is a quality of life-improvement that keeps the game fun despite scaling it down to mobile platforms.
As is the case with all MOBAs designed for mobile devices, switching to an emulator will give you a consistent edge in terms of accuracy and casting speed. As more game updates and a beta version become available, you can rest assured our diehard fans one the BlueStacks team of reviewers will bring you the latest news. So far, Riot is showing us a promising adaptation of their most played title and, even though they missed the start on the App Store genre, this doesn’t mean they can’t make a historical entrance. Like we said before, better late than never.