Riot’s a great failure with the old champions forever changed the way they work

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

Riot Games’ interest in renewing old champions is not new. In the past, the developer tried to make big changes to older League of Legends characters. However, they did so with great clumsiness and resulting in a historic failure.

If the League of Legends community is liking something about Season 12, it is the complete renovation that many old champions are undergoing. Riot Games has devised new formulas to introduce a large number of updates to the video game that give a second chance to the oldest heroes or those who have endured the worst over time. An almost perfect process that is convincing the bulk of the players and in which the developer is making use of a large number of lessons learned in the past. In many cases, thanks to a previous failure.

The great failure of Riot Games with the reworks that changed everything

Before implementing the model that currently exists, Riot Games carried out what were called Class Reworks. This practice basically consisted of choosing an entire category of champions and updating them at the same time. For example, during the last stretch of Season 4 they made a general adjustment to the behemoths and a year later they decided to do the same with the marksmen. In this way, dozens of changes were introduced that renewed the video game overnight. The model was the most spectacular and the idea, due to the number of adjustments, excited the community. However, it never finished working.

The complete rework of the marksmen gave rise to situations as strange as the one with Kog’Maw and the one with the colossi is considered the worst patch in the history of League of Legends due to its impact on the competitive one. However, if we review the Riot Games change history, the real failure came in the middle of 2016. Following up on a practice that had already proven to be very problematic, a general update to assassins was introduced to the game. A total of nine characters received major changes including a complete playable rework for either LeBlanc or Rengar.

The update was a real disaster, with the aforementioned LeBlanc case being the worst of all. Only three abilities changed, but they were enough to make the champion feel too clumsy and it didn’t quite convince players. The idea was good in theory, as it modified the kit in such a way that the character would have to space out her spells more and there would be time to deal with her. However, the popularity of the champion, who was previously at the top, was drastically reduced as for the majority of the community she was too clumsy.

In fact, LeBlanc’s rework became the first major gameplay update that Riot Games rolled back. It is true that Rengar or Kog’Maw experienced similar situations, but in the case of these two champions, only one ability had been completely modified. However, if we cross out the failure update it is not only because of this character. In the big assassin update there were a total of nine champions that received changes. Of them, only two remain in the video game today: Heel and Katarina. A situation that suggests that it is no coincidence that this was the last major Class Update that Riot Games tried.

Following this disappointment, the developers changed the way they work on the old champions, significantly slowing down the pace of change. It was a process that lasted several years and was modified taking into account the opinions of the community. It was new errors, such as the Aatrox rework, and the criticism for the low rate of adjustments that ended up giving rise to the model currently used by the developer. League of Legends is in one of the biggest phases of updates to old heroes, but they’re done while preserving their identity and only releasing when they’re ready instead of feeling pressed by dates.


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