Millions of people play League of Legends every month. Most of them are just in it for the fun, but developer Riot is considering ways to better serve the small fraction of its audience that are serious competitors.
During a panel at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, League of Legends lead designer Ryan Scott touched on the possibility of forking his game into two, with one version for casual fans and the other for tournament-level players. He dismissed that idea. Instead, he explained that this team had considered a competitive mode similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
In that shooter from publisher Valve, players can either play for fun or join the ranked play in the competitive mode. This is a solution that Riot thinks could work for League of Legends. The game has more than 70 million monthly active players, and it generated more than $1 billion last year. It could continue that success by catering even more to its most dedicated players.
“[Counter-Strike’s] competitive mode is 100 percent tournament rules,” said Scott. “That’s how you get ranked.It also has a bunch of other modes that aren’t the ‘e-sports mode.’ Players can select in and out, and I think that’s a nice system.”
League of Legends does have a ranking system, but it’s not set up to totally emulate live e-sports competitions. The rules are slightly different. Scott said that he realizes some players see themselves as super competitive and want to get an experience that is identical to what they watch on Twitch.
Scott didn’t say whether Riot had actually decided to implement a competitive mode, but it is clearly an idea he likes.
He did confirm one thing.
“We’re not going to make League of Legends into two separate games,” he said.