Challenges have been out for more than a week now and I’ve had a blast playing around with them. Riot has definitely found something here that is sure to attract a lot of players and keep them playing the game for a lot longer. It’s still riddled with bugs for some part (which is becoming more and more prevalent these days) but I have high hopes that Challenges will inject some new excitement and fun, especially for the jaded veterans of the game.
League Reimagined as an RPG
Back in the halcyon days of League of Legends, the concept of a digestible MOBA was still new and fresh for people. The game was an easier, casual version of DOTA 2, which was populated by insufferable nerds whose self-worth is fueled by the difficulty of a video game. However, with the advances Riot has made throughout the years, both good and bad, League has gone astray from its roots. The biggest reason for this is Riot’s inability to balance the game for both casual and pro play, leading to a constant push and pull where casual players’ champions are being nerfed because of elite level play. Over the years, Riot’s trigger-happy esports nerf hammer, coupled with a conscious effort to induce more teamplay into casual games, has resulted in the single player experience being drastically different from how it used to be. Nowadays, players are painfully aware of how important all nine other players are in a League of Legends game and how one underperforming player can tilt the scales heavily in either favor. Every game feels more like a mini professional match minus the coordination and less like a video game that people find enjoyment in.
All this to say, Challenges, while not big enough to fix the greater problem, are definitely a step in the right direction. It adds more agency to the single player, who can play for something else other than simply winning or losing. That is the biggest drawback of League of Legends; the only metric for success has usually been winning or losing, making it very frustrating for losing players to feel any sort of enjoyment out of the game, especially when they feel the game is out of their grasp. Challenges add a single-player, RPG element to the game, where players can find fulfillment in accomplishing something that they have more control over, than worrying about how their teammates will lose them the game this time around.