While drakes received a major overhaul in the last League of Legends preseason patch, 2021 will feature another big focus—items.
League lead gameplay designer Mark “Scruffy” Yetter shared the 2021 preseason plans today, explaining that the item system will be completely revamped. The dev discussed Riot’s philosophy in creating the “ideal item system.”
“It’s worth saying that there are a lot of satisfying, well-designed items in the current system and that most of the item system’s fundamentals are solid,” Scruffy said. “Keeping the best parts of the system is one of our central philosophies; we only want to improve or replace the areas that aren’t fulfilling their potential.”
While 34 percent of the items will be “retained,” 33 percent of them will be improved and the other 33 percent will be new additions.
Riot feels like the current item system is doing a good job of providing a balanced power curve and it makes the “ascent in power feel earned and satisfying.” But there are some areas that need improvements, such as game-to-game variance, items augmenting a champion’s playstyle, and an intuitive, user-friendly system.
Scruffy laid out several preseason goals to refine the system for 2021. Buying items should be a quick process with iconic equipment staying the same so players don’t have to learn everything over again. And itemization should be exciting, add more player mastery, and force you to make strategic choices every game.
To make sure items achieve those goals, they’ll need to follow specific principles. In 2021, items will have a “clear, unique, and single purpose” with no confusing overlap. And there will be two main archetypes: contextual purpose or kit augment. While players can situationally pick up items like Quicksilver Sash depending on the opposing team, kit augments will be pickable in any game and synergize with champion kits.
Items will also provide interesting build paths and “contribute to an overall healthy game.” Counterplay and weaknesses are necessary to strike the perfect balance and items shouldn’t affect that.
The item shop will also get a makeover for clarity and easy access.