Riot responds to accusations they buff League champs to drive skin sales
Riot Games has come out swinging against claims the balance team buffs League of Legends champions just before they get all-new skins in a “sinister” attempt to drive up revenue via cosmetics sales.
League of Legends skins are a major driving point for Riot Games earnings, with the developers releasing more than 120 new cosmetics this year alone.
One of the longest-running League conspiracies revolves around these releases, with many players convinced champs getting cosmetics variants get buffs and updates in the patches just before new skins. These positive tweaks are to sell more skins, the fandom-fuelled theory claims.
Recently, these theories flared up again on Reddit, where players claimed the devs “factor revenue decisions into gameplay changes, like more attention to popular champs that have a skin coming out instead of others.”
League’s senior game designer Matt ‘phroxz0n’ Leung-Harrison has since come out swinging against those claims, stating they’re nothing but total fantasy.
Not only is the long-standing LoL theory nothing more than that — a theory — Leung-Harrison explained, he also revealed the balance team often has no idea what is being released skins-wise until they’re officially announced.
The divide between the balance team and skin designers is so large, he continued, that development plans barely crossover, especially when it comes to balance.
“I know you’re not going to believe me, but the game’s revenue is not even remotely a consideration for people making gameplay changes,” the senior developer said in response to the re-ignite LoL theory, “and I’ve been on the balance team since Season 4, including the live gameplay era.”
The surprise of each skin in each patch is shared by the devs and players alike, he says: “Sometimes skins come out and I didn’t even know they were coming.”
Before that, five LoL champions received “Dragonmancer” cosmetics. To put the controversial skins theory to the test, Dexerto has lined up these new variants and the buffs (or nerfs) each champ received pre-release.
- Kai’Sa — 11.18 (buffed)
- Thresh — 11.18 (nerfed)
- Volibear — 11.6 (buffed)
- Karma — 11.18 (buffed)
- Yasuo — Same patch (bugs)
Only a single champ, Yasuo, had bug fixes within the closest month, and Volibear was even forgotten for an entire 34 weeks before his Dragonmancer skin.