Why League of Legends Season 13 changes are “less disruptive” than most

Star Guardian Nilah in League of LegendsRiot Games

League of Legends Season 13, and all its changes, have been revealed. While there’s overhauls to the top lane and jungle, as well as plenty of quality of life upgrades, it’s not too “disruptive”. That’s by design according to Riot, due to things like the durability update.

League of Legends Season 13 is introducing a ton of new mechanics into the game ⁠— much like every preseason before it. The main focal points are in the top lane and jungle with both roles getting significant adjustments to try and increase popularity.

For top lane, experience and gold is being adjusted to make it the richest, most leveled role on the map. This is combined with item changes to give tanks more direction, as well as some fighter changes. 

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In the jungle, the role is being opened up to novice players with pathing recommendations and a camp patience rework reducing some of the role’s complexities. Combined with the return of Chemtech Dragon and new jungle pets, and it’s once again an entire rework.

That’s not all ⁠— there’s quality of life changes coming with loadout recommendations reducing the burden on League’s learning curve as Riot simplifies some of the game’s mechanics. However, it’s not quite the drastic preseason as we’ve seen previously with things like the item overhaul in Season 11, or Elemental Rift’s addition in Season 10.

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The “less disruptive” changes were by design, according to Riot, ahead of League of Legends Season 13’s launch: “Preseason is the period of time where we make our largest game system changes in League of Legends,” Patrick Noonan, the product lead for Summoner’s Rift, said. 

“It’s an expected period by players where there will be a bit more change. We’re really excited each year to work towards building a bunch of content to ship to players during that time period.

“Player preference for the amount of change we create in preseason varies quite a bit, both by player type and region. There’s not necessarily a perfect amount of change we create for each preseason so we’re always trying to find out where’s the best balance.”

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Lollipoppy splash art for League of LegendsRiot Games
The durability update forced Riot to reconsider the size of League of Legends Season 13’s changes.

With big changes hitting the Rift in Season 12 like patch 12.10’s durability update, having another big period of an in-flux meta would be too much. So Riot kept things simple enough in the preseason ⁠— changing the game significantly in the roles that needed assistance, but not for everyone.

“We knew we would be doing the durability update and that had the potential to have a large impact on the feel of the game and the meta,” Noonan continued. “We didn’t want to push large amounts of change into the game somewhat shortly after the durability update. Part of that was us spreading the amount of change out across the year. 

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“That’s not the strategy we will always take but because we did know we wanted that big update to drop, we wanted to take a less disruptive approach to preseason and focus on some of the issues we knew were game health problems or things players wanted or needed without making major systemic meta changes.”

Even 13 years on Riot are still trying to find the right tempo of major changes across League of Legends. But for the roles which were neglected ahead of Season 13, fear not as changes for all of them are on the table.

“We are consistently reviewing the game for role balance and satisfaction,” Noonan concluded. “Do people like playing all the roles? Are they at the right power levels? 

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“The reason we have focused on jungle and top lane and tanks this season was they were the roles and classes in most need for changes.”