League of Legends developer Riot Games celebrated April Fools Day in a very special way this year. And no, the giant half-crab, half-mutant that fires acid rockets wasn’t the goofiest part of it.
It launched something called URF Mode. The new gameplay type, which stands for “Ultra Rapid Fire,” has 80 percent reduced spell cooldowns across the board, along with zero spell costs, and increased attack speed for non-spell slingers. The style of game it leads to is chaotic, with players able to abuse their spells to do much more damage than in a typical League game. Instead of having to wait for an iconic spell to come off cooldown to use it again, most spells are available almost immediately, which makes the game both more fun and action-packed, but also more unbalanced and unpredictable.
Riot took things even further with a special URF showmatch between the top two North American teams, Cloud 9 and Team SoloMid.
The game quickly became one of the most-talked about of the day, and forums like Reddit were flooded with discussion about the exciting matchup. Here’s the top five moments:
1) Level 1 Flash Invade Party
The game got off to an exciting start when Cloud 9 decided to do a group invade of Team SoloMid’s jungle, utilizing their teleporting Flash spell. In regular games, Flash is a precious commodity only to be used in the direst of situations, but with an 80 percent faster cooldown, they knew it would be available again in a flash. This move led to a very intense initial battle between the two teams.
2) EU Caster Takeover & NA Caster Comeback
Midway through the game, the North American broadcasters were interrupted by their European counterparts who did an invade of their own. Broadcasting from Germany, the crew in EU took the reins of the broadcast for a couple minutes before the Los Angeles broadcasters regained control.
3) Rise of Urgot
Urgot is not a popular champion, in fact, he’s almost never picked to play in the LCS. But that didn’t stop Cloud 9’s William “Meteos” Hartman from snagging him as his URF jungler. The giant crab-mutant hybrid that shoots acid rockets quickly stole the show with now-spammable spells and abilities that left his opponents in disarray. Hartman ended the matches with eleven kills and only two deaths.
Stunned by the amazing match, one spectator became frozen mid-bite.
5) “In Your Face” Interviews
Not to let silly things like playing the game get in the way, the broadcast team decided there’s never a better time to interview a player than while he is behind the keyboard. First, caster Sam “Kobe” Hartman-Kenzler got “In Your Face” with Team SoloMid’s Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie , going so far as to perform a vision test mid-game.
But all hell broke loose when another caster, David “Phreak” Turley, asked Hartman if he could take control for a while. Bisland began barking commands to his new Cloud 9 teammates, including demanding that they kill a player who was already dead.
All in all, it was easily one of the better corporate April Fools’ Day antics this year, not the least because it was actually fun. But the real takeaway is how these kind of joke innovations can impact the actual product: Many people are now clamoring for URF to stick around. A majority of the comments on Riot’s own announcement, along with many threads on Reddit, emphasize just how much fun the new mode is, and how much players want it to stay playable.
“Please please please don’t get rid of this game mode,” begged one fan. “Please!!! It’s such a fun break from the normal game.”
Due to the unbalanced nature of the new mode, URF will likely disappear at the end of the week as promised, much like the One For All mode that was well-received last year. Riot still wants to maintain the integrity of the game they’ve carefully balanced over the course of years. Still, the company has promised a constant flow of new game types for players to have fun with, along with bringing back favorites. For this week, at least, League will be full of laughter and chaos, even if just for a little while.