Riot Games has been releasing tons of new League of Legends champions lately and players aren’t sure if that’s a good thing. The latest one, Sett, was revealed the day his predecessor, Aphelios, arrived in-game. And Aphelios, for that matter, came almost immediately after Senna, who was revealed and released alongside the True Damage collaboration for the 2019 World Championship.
That’s three champions in a short time span, and that short time span is much narrower than anything League players are used to. Typically, four or five champions will be released across an entire year or competitive season. With Sett, we’ve had three in about two months, and that’s after Qiyana, Sylas, and Yuumi were all released in 2019 already. While this year didn’t hold the most amount of champions released in one season, the timing in between has become much shorter leading into 2020.
This has sparked a debate on Twitter, Reddit, and the League forums: Is Riot releasing champions too fast or is this rapid-fire release schedule a good thing?
Back-loading for the preseason
The timing of the champions is the question, but the answer seems to be the preseason. All of the rapid-fire releases are happening during the preseason, which is good news for professional players, especially. The timing allows them to try out new champs before pro play starts. Doing so will allow more versatility on the pro stage. More options mean more excitement, so the viewers will benefit, too.
Regular players will also benefit from the timing for the same reasons. The preseason releases give players a chance to get more familiar with champs and decide whether they want to carry them into their ranked season. More time makes players more knowledgeable on the champs, which makes for better play for everyone.
Players have previously complained about big changes coming to the game midseason, so doing so now is a smart move on Riot’s part. This has been true for new champion releases and champion reworks. Players are asking for more time to get acquainted with champs before the ranked season—and Riot appears to be listening. Riot taking player criticism and changing things in response is great news and something everyone should definitely be encouraging.
More content isn’t a bad thing
More options allow players more opportunities to find champs that work with their playstyle. Looking at Senna, Aphelios, and Sett specifically shows they’re all different in their abilities and style. Sett is a juggernaut top laner, Aphelios is an ADC with only two abilities (sort of), and Senna is marksman support who can be played in a lot of other positions. Three different champs give players three different avenues to try out. More options give players more ways to hone their skills and their specific preferences in-game.
While more champs are released, this also gives Riot more ways to experiment. Riot can play with different kinds of abilities, which leads to a richer experience all around. Aphelios is a great example of this. Aphelios breaks the mold of standard champs with only two abilities and a custom UI. The mechanics are inherently different and Riot can use it as a test to see if breaking out of its standard design pattern will pay off in the future.
The biggest issue with releasing so many new champs is that the cost of getting them is high. That makes it difficult for new players to get a variety of champs, adding a barrier to the gameplay. League can already be difficult for new players and adding more champs that they can’t buy adds another obstacle to their gameplay. Every new champ is 7,800 blue essence (BE) for their first week and then they drop to 6,300 BE for the foreseeable future. Adding that onto all the other champs that are already in the game (146 at the moment) for high BE amounts creates a larger pool of unusable champs for new players. But that’s an issue regardless of how many champions have been released lately.
It’s smart for Riot to add these new champs as quickly as it is, mostly because of its timing. Players should be glad that Riot seems to be taking their opinions and using them, as well as getting new playstyle options to practice during the offseason.
In other words, we shouldn’t be arguing about this. We should be focusing on what’s really important, like figuring out if Draven is Sett’s father.