Riot’s esports management game, LoL Esports Manager, is likely a gacha

RNG won’t be the only RNG present in this gacha game.

lol esports manager
Image via Riot Games

Riot Games has opened pre-registration to its Chinese audience for its esports management game, LoL Esports Manager, and revealed additional details about the title. It’ll likely be a gacha game that requires players to invest substantial amounts of time or money to obtain characters. It’ll also be a mobile game available on the Android and iOS platforms.

Riot previously revealed LoL Esports Manager during League of Legends’ 10-year anniversary event. The game will use China as a testbed, releasing for the LPL in 2020. Thus, the official website and quickplay guide are only available in Mandarin right now. Translating the information available allows us to get a quick overview of the game, however.

Image via Tencent

After pre-registering, the website prompts you for a QQ or WeChat account, both of which are popular social media platforms in China. Registering provides players with vouchers, energy drinks, gold coins, and a seven-day coupon for “assistant coach” Yu Shuang, the host of the LPL. These items will likely provide in-game benefits for the player.

The vouchers appear to be the premium currency in the game, while the gold coins are likely going to be used for upgrading players and equipment. Energy drinks imply the existence of an energy system where the players will have to spend the resource to play matches, thus artificially capping progress.

Image via Tencent

There are ongoing stretch goals for the number of pre-registered players. If LoL Esports Manager reaches 12 million registered users, players will obtain a mysterious SSR-player token. SSR stands for “super super rare” and is a commonly-used quality in various gacha games on the market.

In gacha games, characters are usually differentiated by tiers and rarities and they’ll usually be capped in terms of stats and levels. A higher-tier character, generally, will always be stronger than a lower-tier one. The same character can even take on different forms and thus wildly vary in terms of power and looks.

The quickplay guide goes into the mechanics of LoL Esports Manager. All 16 LPL teams will be present in the game and players will build their own rosters from the available pool of players. The game will be updated accordingly during the competitive season, which likely means that the ratings of players can rise and fall over time. 

The pool of players isn’t limited to active competitors, either. Legendary players like Liu “Mlxg” Shi-Yu will be available, allowing LoL Esports Manager players to rewrite history.

Image via Tencent

Each match will last about five minutes. Players will be in charge of the pick and ban phase, with indicators like hero matchups and champion familiarity. Once the match actually gets underway, players can dictate the strategy of their team, including commanding their characters to take actions such as ganking another lane or defending their carries.

Almost every League match explodes in a tense fight that seals the teams’ fates. While you probably can’t control your public teammates in League, you can select your team’s strategy in LoL Esports Manager, such as four-protect-one, flanking, or control.

Riot promises to include mystery content and Easter eggs in the game. It seems that the players will quip during the match, but there’s no indication as to whether the pros will actually be voiced by their real-life counterparts.

While fans might be disappointed that the game isn’t a hardcore simulation like Football Manager, LoL Esports Manager appears to be appealing to a more casual fan base. Despite the gacha trappings, the game does seem to have some innovative mechanics that will entice and attract League’s massive esports fan base. Some fans will undoubtedly be turned off by the gacha gameplay, but it’s not an inherently bad system even for players unwilling to pay a dime.

LoL Esports Manager will likely be released in 2020, with an official English translation further down the line.