On a recent podcast, Lead Designer Matt “Riot Phroxzon” Leung-Harrison hints that there will come a time when the development team will stop adding new champions to League of Legends in an effort to avoid new players drowning in an endless, unintuitive, and confusing pool of characters. This news of a champion cap comes as a shock to some, and while it isn’t coming any time soon, this is a sensible, inevitable decision that will maintain the long-lasting thrill that League of Legends possesses.
Hosts of the ‘Broken by Concept’ League podcast ask Riot Phroxzon “Will there be a cap on the amount of champs in the game?” Riot Phroxzon responds with a big nod and says “It’s definitely been a discussion, but we still have a lot of flex to go.”
Riot Phroxzon expands by saying that if their League of Legends team makes unintuitive new champions, making more champions is an issue because it exponentially multiplies what a new player would need to understand to enjoy the game. There’s currently 161 League champions, and that is already a ton of information to expect the average person to consume.
They combat this by making certain mechanics similar like hooks and magic skillshots, so new League of Legends champions still feel intuitive to players. He continues by giving an example of Gwen as unintuitive, specifically her W and the confusion around her invulnerability.
“It’s only when we completely subvert what a spell, VFX, or missile means, then we run into problems,” says Riot Phroxzon “Let’s say I run into Thresh, he throws a hook, and it looks like a hook, but it just goes over somebody. You’d be like ‘what the hell is that?’”
It’s nice to hear that Riot’s League of Legends team is proactively planning the future of the massive MOBA, and making easily accessible avenues for new players. When I started playing League in early high school they dropped like, a champion or two a year; now it feels like almost every month there’s a new champion or reveal. It’s a lot, and I’m someone who’s been playing for years! It’s hard to imagine a world where the League roster is capped and finite, but down the line this will lead to less bewildering interactions, and less of a headache for the balancing team. Now who could be the last League of Legends champion..?
[Both Riot Games and Fanbyte are owned by the same parent company, Tencent. We don’t often, like, chill together or anything, though. I think Riot’s office is pretty close to the L.A. office where our bosses work? That’s about it.]