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League of Legends is coming to mobile and console: What we want from Wild Rift

League of Legends is going mobile after 10 years on PC. It's also coming to console, but slightly after the mobile release. This version of the game is called League of Legends: Wild Rift, and it has some differences from the main game.
League of Legends is coming to mobile and console: What we want from Wild Rift

Have you ever wanted to play League of Legends, but couldn’t because the game was too complicated or your computer was not robust enough? Have you ever looked at your phone and thought it would be perfect for hitting Summoner’s Rift? Have you ever looked longingly at your Nintendo Switch and wished you could play League on it?

If so, console yourself -- League of Legends is coming to both mobile and consoles, according to a special edition of Riot Pls and a massive reveal this week. The game was announced on Oct. 15 as part of League’s 10th anniversary.

However, the game won’t be entirely the same. Called League of Legends: Wild Rift, this version of League will feature shorter game times, estimated to be around 15 to 20 minutes. Since it was built from scratch, there will be a number of champions and skins from the PC version that won’t make it to Wild Rift at launch, but it’s highly possible these could be added over time. From the trailer, it also looks like champions will have fewer abilities or ones that slightly differ from those in the PC version. The champions and skins that are in the game also look insanely good, another consequence of the rebuild.

Shorter game times could draw in new players

The shorter game time and improved graphics are both things we’re extremely excited for. There should be a large influx of players that have either very little or no experience with traditional League. Shorter game times means that people who are too busy to sit down and grind games on their PC can get into League and even play it on the go. It also caters to a whole new demographic of younger players that are more used to mobile gaming thanks to games like Fortnite

Also, since the game will have fewer champions with potentially more simplistic abilities, it’ll be easier for casual gamers to get into. League has a notoriously difficult learning curve that only gets steeper over time as more champions and new abilities are added to the game. Wild Rift presents a chance for people who always wanted to try MOBAs to play a simpler version and see if they enjoy it, which could translate to more people trying League on the PC, and a larger player base is always good. 

PC players might want to stay away

Not all is fun and games, however. For players already familiar with League, Wild Rift might not provide the same level of depth. Players who are looking to play League on-the-go might be disappointed to see their favorite champion is not in the game or are different than what they are used to. Since games are shorter, there’s also a large possibility that there will be less room for strategic expression. Dual-stick controls might also be disorienting or difficult to play with for traditional PC gamers.

It’s a thin line between keeping the game simple enough for new players to learn and enjoy while allowing League veterans to experience the same level of complexity that they crave. While we said earlier it is a possibility that Riot might add in new champions to Wild Rift over time, we hope Riot doesn’t decide to add League’s entire roster. While the game shouldn’t be too simplistic, too many choices for newcomers could definitely shut down hype for the game. 

Another aspect of mobile games that could turn players away would be hefty paywalls or microtransactions. We think it would be a good idea for all champions in the game to be unlocked initially -- that way, newcomers could try a variety of styles without needing to grind for new champions, while veterans could immediately play their mains. Riot could keep skins as a cosmetic bonus, allowing players to spend on the game when they want.

Still, Wild Rift represents a big and exciting step for League and Riot Games as a whole. The game is set to roll out to mobile devices in 2020, with the console release coming later that year. Limited alphas are expected to begin in the coming months.