Riot explains why popular Wild Rift swap feature isn’t in League of Legends

Porcelain Amumu in League of LegendsRiot Games

League of Legends players are looking at Wild Rift’s pick order swap feature with jealousy, wanting it for the PC version. However the feature won’t come to League any time soon, Riot says, unless developers see it as a must-have.

It can be infuriating in League of Legends to load up into a game and be in the completely wrong spot in the draft. You might only own 40 champions, but you are first pick and someone on your team really wants the meta choice you don’t own before the enemy takes it.

That’s where Wild Rift’s pick order swap function comes in handy, with teams being able to change around freely in champion select. This makes sure no one gets shafted by randomness when loading into champion select.

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This feature very nearly made it to League of Legends on PC, but ultimately didn’t. Developer Kam ‘boourns’ Fung said there were initially plans for League of Legends to get a pick order swap feature on PC ⁠— ones he designed ⁠— but it was “too complex” and was shelved.

However building the feature from the ground up in Wild Rift allowed the team to explore the concept further: “They did a great job of simplifying it and making sensible limits so it was shippable. 

“It’s always been our hope that we could experiment with some new features in Wild Rift that were riskier on League and inspire some changes if players enjoyed those features.”

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Wild Rift trade pick orderRiot Games
Wild Rift has a trade pick order feature allowing players to adjust draft priorities.

Porting that over to PC isn’t as simple as one would think though. It requires a big time investment to transfer the system, but that’s not the ultimate barrier. The biggest hindrance is ultimately where it falls in development priority ⁠— and given the system isn’t broken, it’s not very high. The value (to players) would be better invested in new systems.

“The answer is not actually spaghetti code. It’s really more about the opportunity you have when rebuilding the game from scratch for a new audience. When we are looking at features we often use a value/cost lens. You want to do stuff that has a high value to cost ratio,” he continued.

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“On PC where a position trade feature might deliver some new value to cost, you have to compete against a lot of new features that have a more favorable value to cost. On Wild Rift we had to make some kind of trade function from scratch, and updating to position trade didn’t cost any more.”

While eventually Riot might turn around and give League of Legends a new pick order swap function, it won’t be for some time ⁠— despite the chorus of players demanding such.