17 October 2014 - 11:10
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Upgrading the Player Experience [Part 2]: Reincarnations

Smurfing has been a major issue in casual League of Legends for a while now. It creates a toxic environment for new players,which creates a negative experience and hurts the long termgrowthof the game.
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Smurfing has been a major issue in casual League of Legends for a while now. It creates a toxic environment for new players, which creates a negative experience and hurts the long term growth of the game. New blood is required to replace the older player base as they either burn or age out. Thus, smurfing isn't just a community issue, it's a Riot issue. Now, in order to find a working solution to combat the negatives of smurfing, it's important to look at why players smurf. Below you'll find a few of the main reasons for smurfing:

  1. To play with friends that are new to the game
  2. For the challenge of leveling up.

  3. To stomp new players.

  4. Change of pace

Smurfing for the sake of stomping new players is toxic to the game, and something we want to eliminate, while the other three reasons are legitimate one that we should try to cater to. I would also like to use this chance to address some of the other issues the community has with the game. Namely the rate at which players earn IP, a lack of things to strive for, and the cost of buying Champions. Taking this into consideration, I'd like to propose a new feature for the game.

Reincarnations

As you can probably guess, this idea borrows heavily from games like Titanfall where you can reset your character level back to one in order to gain new weaponry. I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel here. Reincarnation would be a similar feature that aims to address all of the above issues. In the proposed form, a player would have three lives. Their first life would be the original leveling of their account up to 30. This would be followed by two Reincarnations as outlined below.

Second Life

Requirements:

  • Level 30

  • 500 Normal Games

  • In Good Standing.

How it would work:

  • Player's Level is Reset to Level 1
  • All Champions currently owned would remain playable
  • Mastery Points and Rune Slots are reset, and players gain an additional point/slot with each level just as new players do, with the exception that Reincarnated Players can use level 3 runes from level 1.
  • Reincarnated players have immediate access to all Summoner Spells.
  • Player gains a permanent 10% IP boost (Stacks with boosts purchased from the store)
  • Upon reaching level 30, Player is awarded with a special icon, a limited edition "Reincarnated" Skin and a special name plate for the loading screen.

Third Life

Requirements

  • Level 30
  • 1000 Normal Games
  • In Good Standing.
  • 90 days since last Reincarnation

How it would work:

  • Player's level is Reset to Level 1
  • All Champion's currently owned would remain playable.
  • Mastery Points and Rune Slots are reset, and players gain an additional point/slot with each level just as new players do, with the exception that Reincarnated Players can use level 3 runes from level 1.
  • Reincarnated Players have immediate access to all Summoner Spells.
  • Player gains a permanent 25% IP Boost (does not stack with 2nd Life boost, but does stack with boosts purchased from the store).
  • Upon reaching level 30, Player is awarded with a special icon, a limited edition Reincarnated skin, a special name plate for the loading screen, and a rune page

Functionality

In order to eliminate the toxic nature of Smurfing, an account's Reincarnation status will need to be taken into consideration by Matchmaker. How this would work depends on Riot as they keep the formula Matchmaker uses under wraps. Ideally, I would have Reincarnated Accounts treated as if they are still level 30, with perhaps a slight MMR drop to account for the lack of Runes and Masteries. As the goal is to enhance the player experience, players are allowed to continue using all the content they have already unlocked (like Champions, Runes, and Summoners). Nothing is being taken away. Requiring players to be in good standing with the community prevents new and/or less experienced players from being unduly exposed to toxic players. Requiring a certain number of games to be played ensures players experience the benefits of being level 30 before they Reincarnate for the first time. Reincarnations is meant as a feature for long-standing players to find new excitement in the game, and allow players to unluck content sooner via increased IP gains. The goal is to not have players reincarnate until they are fully capable of holding their own in standard play.

Interaction with Lore

One of the coolest parts of Reincarnations is how the mechanic could fit into the Lore. There is so much that is unexplored in League of Legends. What happens when a Champion dies? Do they have pupils? Do all the Champions exist in the same time line, or were they summoned from various time lines ala Fate/Stay Night (I know they've phased Summoners out of the lore). I've always felt like Reincarnation would fit very well into the Lore of League of Legends. What would a Champion look like in their next life? Riot could design skins around this concept, or even new Champions, with the new Champion taking the essence of the previous incarnation and forming it into their own unique identity. Perhaps there are current Champions that are already reincarnations of past Champions. How does the Void fit into everything? The void could theoretically serve as a portal between time periods, allowing various Reincarnations to meet each other. There really are endless possibilities.

Wrap Up

You'll notice that each of these ideas builds on the previous ones. In part 1, I provided alternative methods for players to gain IP, new features to break up the monotony of the solo que grind and a revamped honor system. Here I've looked to address a specific aspect of the game that creates a toxic experience while providing additional solutions to the IP dilemma. And sticking the the trend of adding value, the Reincarnation feature allows players to unlock additional content as a reward for reaching an achievement.

The next part in the series will revisit my proposal for Summoner Slots and further address the toxic elements in the game and how Riot can eliminate them.

 

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