In League of Legends, players assume the role of an unseen “summoner” that controls a “champion” with unique abilities and battle against a team of other players or computer-controlled champions. The goal is usually to destroy the opposing team’s “nexus”, a structure which lies at the heart of a base protected by defensive structures, although other distinct game modes exist as well. Each League of Legends match is discrete, with all champions starting off fairly weak but increasing in strength by accumulating items and experience over the course of the game. The champions and setting blend a variety of elements, including high fantasy, steampunk, and Lovecraftian horror.
According to the VERGE, One of the big problems with League for lapsed players is that it’s constantly changing. When returning players log on after some time away, the landscape is virtually unrecognizable. Dragons in the jungle have changed, and so have the game’s largest monsters, which naturally means strategy and gameplay must change to adjust. Champions are also constantly tweaked. Old favorite champions, that were already mechanically demanding, to begin with, like the dagger-wielding assassin Katarina or the self-cloning sorceress LeBlanc, have been reworked so that old players must relearn them again.
And if you’re an older player that has grown up with the game but now must contend with the demands of work and family life, popping into a 30 minute or hour-long game just doesn’t feel real anymore. Things get even more challenging if you want to enjoy League competitively.
Riot’s response to feedback has been that it’s listening intently, and Nexus Blitz is subject to a lot of change even now that it’s out of beta. Even the approach the team has taken to developing the new model is different from how things were done in the past. As Chu says, “We have taken a more experimental, rapid-prototyping style of development while working Nexus Blitz, which means breaking some things.”
An ever-evolving game on Summoner’s Rift is cool, but it’s also incredibly demanding for players who just want to log on after a long day and throw a few punches. If League can adjust Nexus Blitz enough to let it appeal to more players, it could attract a whole new crowd — and extend the game’s long life even further.