League dev admits removed Arena mode was meant to “rebuild player trust”

Carver Fisher
Soul Fighter Sett

In an interview with Polygon, League of Legends developer Eduardo Cortejoso claimed that the Arena mode was meant to “rebuild player trust” after what was a “rough patch” for League of Legends, and that they plan to release more limited-time modes in the future.

League of Legends’ Arena mode was a short-lived but fun alternative game mode that brought some much-needed variety to the incredibly popular competitive multiplayer title.

Considering standard matches of Summoner’s Rift are so competitively focused and can drag on for an hour or more at times, having a shorter, more digestible mode that makes it easier to quickly queue a game with friends without the stress of Summoner’s Rift.

It’s since been revealed that devs viewed League as being in a “rough patch”, and that they thought the Arena mode would be a great opportunity to “rebuild player trust” as they tried to get the game in a better spot.

League devs wanted to “rebuild player trust” with Arena mode

Soul Fighter Viego enters the arena

League of Legends has certainly had a rough go of things in 2023. Balance changes that haven’t been too well received by some, declining viewership when it comes to the esports scene (particularly for Western audiences), and a cyber attack that crippled the patch release schedule, it hasn’t been an easy year.

On top of all that, recent monetization moves like the “$200” Jhin skin paired with the disappointing return of the Blue Essence Emporium has rubbed players the wrong way. All that said, the Arena mode was incredibly well received before its removal and will be returning in December.

In an interview with Polygon, League of Legends dev Eduardo Cortejoso shed some light on Riot’s decision making with the game mode and why the developers decided to revisit limited-time modes. According to him, Riot tossed previous metrics for how successful a mode was and how much money it made them and instead focused on creating a fun game mode.

“With Arena, especially how League was going through a rough patch at the earlier part of the year, we really wanted to use this as an opportunity where our goal was to rebuild player trust.”

League of Legends 2v2 arena

Before League’s LTM-dedicated team was sent to work on developing TFT, there were a ton of modes that allowed players to cooperate and take down big foes with their friends. Things like the Odyssey event, Dark Star Thresh mode, and many more were regular features of League in the late 2010s. But modes like these have since disappeared.

While Arena is a wholly different experience, serving that player base that was hungry for more casual options seems to have been a big goal for the team.

“We’re refocusing our efforts a little bit for modes on trying to explore some of the more underserved audiences or unmet expectations or motivations,” said Cortejoso in the Polygon interview. “This is why you’re seeing something like Arena where we are explicitly targeting something that has a shorter time frame and is much more randomized through the augment system.”

That element of randomness is something that kept the mode fresh and casual, to the point where many players already miss it and were calling it one of the best things to happen to League of Legends.

Cortejoso concluded by saying that the dev team is going to be doing “a lot of learning” over the course of the next few years and that they plan to release more modes. With Nexus Blitz returning in October and Arena getting reworked before its return in December, it remains to be seen what League’s devs have in store for 2024.