Riot has published their “learnings” from Rise of the Sentinels earlier in 2021, promising players more League of Legends lore events despite the Ruination’s flop. The developers didn’t directly apologize to players, but did admit they “missed the mark”.
League of Legends’ Rise of the Sentinels event was meant to be the biggest lore event in the game’s history. However, it flopped right out of the gate, with players complaining about almost every aspect of the Sentinels of Light’s fight against Viego and the Ruination.
Since the July event, Riot has remained silent on the topic — pushing ahead with the rest of Season 11 before returning to the event’s failure heading into Season 12.
Riot stated in a December 14 blog post Rise of the Sentinels was “our biggest expression of core Runeterra lore in League in ages”, starting from the start of Season 11 with the Ruination and ending with the mega in-game event.
However, the experience “missed the mark” in Riot’s words. The visual novel medium, which worked well for 2020’s Spirit Blossom event, wasn’t the right way to tell the Ruination story, leading to the crux of the event’s major issues.
“In retrospect, the scope of a global Ruination was far beyond what we could deliver in a 5-10 hour visual novel,” lead champion producer Ryan ‘Reav3’ Mireles and events lead ‘84Slashes’ said.
“Most of the experience came in the form of dialogue between a handful of characters, which didn’t lend itself well to a world-encompassing battle.”
This included the controversial inclusion of the player-insert “rookie” character, who many believed just ended up detracting from the story with poorly-timed comedic relief — something Riot also touched on with the tone and writing in the event.
“Sometimes the story was dead serious with very high stakes, but other times it was comedy hour. This made it hard to get a feel for what kind of experience Rise of the Sentinels was supposed to be,” Riot said.
The grind for points and progression also left players wanting more. Riot were forced to patch the slow progression with an extreme 600-point-per-game mission, which removed all the rewards of progressing through each region.
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“We designed Rise of the Sentinels so progress increased every week, meaning hardcore engagers would still complete the early content faster, but normal engagers would be mostly caught up by the time we reached the finale,” the developers explained.
“We ended up patching the event part way through to greatly increase progression per game played, which removed the impact of deciding which regions to visit first, as well as basing progression around the Sentinels to begin with.
“We flat-out missed on event tuning: Not even the hardcore engagers were progressing at the rates we designed for.”
Riot also touched on how the story mischaracterized champions, was overly complex to progress through, and ultimately the storytelling experience was poor across all products because of inconsistencies, not just the League of Legends event.
However, the studio didn’t directly apologize to players, instead admitting “while there were a lot of things that could’ve been better, we do think there were things that went well.”
“We’re still happy to have launched an event at the same tier of scale as Spirit Blossom, including Ultimate Spellbook, our first new event game mode in years, and our first coordinated champion release across four Riot games at once.”
Riot has reassured players “lore events in League of Legends are not dead” — good news for players expecting more after Arcane’s hit release — and they’ve taken on feedback to “do better next time”.