Buckle in League of Legends fans — Riot Games has “no plans” to stop designing new champions for their flagship game, even after clearing a whopping 155 unique characters that LoL players can pick just last month.
There’s no denying League of Legends boasts one of the biggest character rosters in modern gaming, spread across its five Summoner’s Rift roles.
Even iconic series like Mortal Kombat and Smash Bros only have 97 and 80 respectively, and even Netherealm’s gory fighting franchise sticks with just two dozen in any given release. Close rivals like Apex Legends (17), Overwatch (32), and even Rainbow Six Siege (60) barely hold a candle to LoL’s flame.
Even Riot’s own FPS title, Valorant, only has 15 so far. In fact, the only title that comes close is arch-rival Dota 2, with its hero roster now 121 characters strong after Dawnbreaker’s release on April 9.
Riot has no plans to give up their throne, either.
According to Riot’s lead champion producer, Ryan ‘Reav3’ Mireles, new characters are what keeps the game’s magic alive — without all the new releases, LoL would become less engaging, and eventually end up becoming “stale.”
Riot’s fear of League of Legends becoming ‘stale’ due to a stagnated roster, whether reasonable or otherwise, guides much of the studio’s long-term designs.
“We continue to make new champions because we believe part of League’s magic is its never-ending mastery curve. Learning new things is fun, and it keeps people excited to keep playing,” Mireles explained in Riot’s latest dev post on May 26.
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The champion developer continued: “Once you’ve learned the game and all its many characters, it can start to become less engaging.”
To combat that, Riot will keep shipping new LoL characters long into the future. That includes updating old champs — like Dr. Mundo’s rework in LoL patch 11.12 — and adding fresh faces; the “charming Sentinel of Light” and a “gloomy” mage from Bandle City are chief among them this year.
“Every new champion we create adds new gameplay to learn, which is one of the reasons why we ensure all new champions have a unique playstyle.”
Riot revealed they are also tweaking how they design new LoL champs. Players have been relatively outspoken about their desire to see more “monster” champions, and the devs have listened.
Here’s the plan: 70% “broad” designs, 30% niche.
“We’ve leaned a bit too heavy on humans in the last few years. Lately, we’ve been making one non-human a year, but that also included human-ish champs (like yordles) or semi-human champs (like Lillia), as well as creatures like Yuumi,” Mireles admitted. Now, Riot will be making champs in three categories, rather than just two — human, humanoid, and creatures.
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“This doesn’t mean we’ll do a full creature every year, as they are pretty niche, but we do want to make more non-human champions going forward.”