Since 2009, free to play MOBA League of Legends has done incredibly well for itself having earned developer Riot Games over $600 million in 2013. It’s huge. At peak play time in a day, over 7 million players can be found duking it out on Summoner’s Rift (one of the game’s maps) and almost 70 million people play the game each month helping to both buff up the impressive revenue figure and stress test Riot’s servers.
The problem with League of Legends’ success and its highly competitive natureis that getting into the title five years on is a mighty challenge for newcomers because unfortunately, there’s no friendly handbook doled out to players as they go through the door. Players can practically stumble into League of Legends’ ranks and bust their hips (or at least bruise their egos) trying to figure out what the hell ‘csing’ is.
That’s undoubtedly a lot easier if you have a friend who’s played it before you but that’s not always the case and even for groups of budding League players who stick to bots games (players vs AI), it’s going to be a struggle. Riot Games has realized this and is finally going to do something about it. After years of players asking for it, Riot is set to make the world’s second highest earning free-to-play title a whole lot more accessible.
Joining Beginner and Intermediate Bots (the existing players vs AI modes) will be Intro Bots, which Riot says will “do a much better job of exposing the intricacies that make up a game of League of Legends and letting new players more smoothly build up proficiency” as players aim for the professional eSports playing stars (or simply to get a better kill/death/assist ratio). Not only will Intro Bots offer easier AI to train against, it will also be “more forgiving” and include multiple systems to help new players learn the ropes.
One way Riot will do this is by ‘making learning fun’ so in Intro Bots there’ll be no pop-ups as there is in Battle Training (another League of Legends tutorial mode) and new players will learn in an engaging way, so don’t expect it to be League of Snoozefest Seminars then. Death timers will be reduced too so players will be able to get right back at it and face enemy champs in the short term, while in the long term Riot will provide objectives on the fly to keep them on track (and show them how games are supposed to work).
For example, the art of leveling up abilities will be taught, as will the need to go back to base to buy more items once you’ve farmed for gold or the necessity of rallying your team around an objective (such as working together to destroy a turret or clearing a lane of large minion waves) all of which are vital to get your team to victory.
Other vital information such as not walking into a turret’s range without a minion will also be offered to Intro Bots players as this isn’t something that Battle Training tells you (nor is it something that you know without having died from it a few times or if another player has explicitly explained it). Battle Training primarily teaches ‘winning tactics’ rather than ‘winning tactics that aren’t going to get your champion killed.’ The new Intro Bots will address this by simply offering these objectives on the fly according to what the player is doing, so it shows them good practice in the long run.
Furthermore, Riot Games also recognizes that dumping too much information on a new player can turn out “very poorly” and if any game is at risk of that it’s one with the lore and history of League of Legends. The LoL learning curve does teach you skills anyway, which is one of the great things about the title and a huge reason for its success, so they’ll try to emanate that on everything from the recommended items page as it removes trinkets and support items because learning to run the map like a city planner is something that will become second nature regardless after a few weeks of play or so.
Intro Bots are meant to be enjoyed multiple times and they’ll see you play until the basics (at least) have stuck like starchy pasta on a really enthusiastic, grabby wall. That’s a stark contrast to Battle Training which League of Legends puts players in once and is often failed at (Riot says a “non-trivial” amount of players have been unable to complete Battle Training) before being forgotten about, and from the wording of Riot’s announcement post in which they say Battle Training is “undermined by jarring interruptions and nebulous goals” it sounds as though the mode is on the way out with Intro Bots being the successor to the onboarding throne.
We won’t know for sure until League of Legends’ Intro Bots mode is formally released, though as the mode is “headed to the PBE [Publish Beta Environment] soon and is due for a Live launch shortly thereafter” League players will find out what the mode is like soon enough.