As you may already know, the League of Legends development team includes Steve “Guinsoo” Feak, the original creator of DotA Allstars, and Steve “Pendragon” Mescon who started DotA-Allstars.com, and has worked closely with the DotA community for the past five years.
What you may not know, is that the League of Legends team also includes many game industry veterans, who collectively have shipped dozens of successful titles.
- Tom “Zileas” Cadwell (Design Director) – Formerly at Blizzard as the Play Balance Lead for Warcraft III: Frozen Throne, and a key designer on World of Warcraft, Tom brings his focus on mechanical and technical design, and his experience as one of the world’s most recognized Starcraft players to the table to help make League of Legends a balanced and polished play experience.
- Shawn “Babagahnoosh” Carnes (Lead Creative Designer) – Shawn has spent over 15 years working in the gaming industry, beginning his career working at Wizards of the Coast during the first four seasons of Magic the Gathering, and more recently working at Blizzard helping develop lore for World of Warcraft, and designing the World of Warcraft: TCG. He’s responsible for ensuring that League of Legends is set in an interesting world with unique and creative champions.
- And many more…
Riot is a company of gamers who have fallen in love with DotA and want to take the experience to the next level. We believe that League of Legends is helping to pioneer a new genre of games that we’re calling MOBA or “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena” that we’re excited to help bring to a global audience.
In addition to a dedicated team of developers for North American, we have partners in Europe and Asia who will help us establish League of Legends as a truly international title.
Our goal when building League of Legends was to evolve DotA beyond the limitations of the Warcraft III Engine and give players a new experience with entirely new content while capturing the familiar feel in an entirely new and expanded game. New features include:
- Automated matchmaking, to make finding a good game easy
- The ability to reconnect to games if you have disconnected
- Completely new and original playable champions
- Client-server network model with no host advantage
- Advanced stat tracking
- Built-in surrender functionality
- In-game interface and controls designed for this style of play
- Account-level progression, adding out-of-game strategic depth and customization, known as thesummoner system
- Regular updates with many more features to come!
- An improved mini-map that shows your Champions pathing
- Multiple maps, (Summoner's Rift, Summoner's Rift: Winter, Twisted Treeline, The Proving Grounds)
- Features that make teaching the game to your friends easier, (game tutorial, bots, suggested items)
- And more!
Since the development of League of Legends began, we wanted to focus on capturing the elements of DotA that made it fun and competitive while removing the elements that hindered the game or were unintuitive. Some of the biggest differences between League of Legends and DotA include:
- League of Legends is more aggressive – DotA includes many mechanics that incent defensive behavior. We want players to get right into the action, so we’ve made being more aggressive more rewarding such as increasing gold earned from Champion kills and assists. Top-level games often include 5v5 battles at level 1 with both sides competing for team objectives.
- League of Legends is more active – When you’re playing League of Legends, we want you to always have something to do. We’ve balanced the game around shorter ability cooldowns, and bigger mana pools, ensuring that you’re always able to do more than passive right clicking. This makes the game feel more active, and makes the average game shorter. Good players start using spells aggressively right at the beginning of the game.
- League of Legends is less random – In DotA, many abilities, runes, physical attacks, and terrain mechanics have a random component to them. We’ve removed many of the random elements of DotA's gameplay to make you more reliant on skill instead of luck.
- League of Legends has Brush – In League of Legends, Brush is a tall grassy terrain that provides a Champion with a form of invisibility, you can see out of it but enemies can’t see in! It’s great for ganking and juking.
- League of Legends is even more of a team game – We know that teamwork is one of the most important parts of DotA, but we wanted to put even more focus on it in League of Legends. In addition to the pre-game team decisions such as Summoner spells and Runes, we’ve added a number of team objectives to the map, such as epic monsters, (which replace DotA’s runes), and team experience for killing towers. Games are decided by which teams win team fights – not which guy solo farms an agility carry.
- League of Legends has a persistent meta-game called the Summoner system – In League of Legends, players are known as “Summoners”, powerful magic users who summon powerful champions to fight for them on their behalf on our various map scenarios called the Fields of Justice. The Summoner is a tied to the player’s account, and represents the in-game identity of the player. As the players play the game sessions, their Summoner will actually level up out of game and gain power which they can use to assist their champion in each match. The summoner system adds a tremendous amount of strategic depth to the game by allowing players to customize their experience based on their play-style through runes, masteries, and summoner spells. We will also track stats, rank, teams, and clans through the summoner system, reinforcing the players’ identity within the community and adding weight to a players reputation.
It’s true, even though League of Legends is based on DotA we’ve intentionally decided to remove denying from the game. We know this is a huge change for some people, but we have some really good reasons for removing it!
- It enlarges the early game imbalance between ranged and melee Champions, and we think it is more fun for all Champions to be at least somewhat competitive at all phases of the game.
- It leads to passive play, and slows down the game. We feel that high-activity; high-action faster games are more fun. By not having denying, there’s a stronger incentive to push. Additionally, it prevents strong lane control which is ultimately about passive play. Team fights more than anything else are what make this genre fun, and faster games mean more team fights.
- It is weird. Killing your own guys?
League of Legends has been designed and built from the ground up to be a competitive game. The League of Legends pre-season, which begins on October 27th 2009 is an opportunity for competitive players to begin putting together their teams, building their strategies, and polishing their skills for Season One which will begin in early 2010. During pre-season, many competitive features will be added to the PVP.net multiplayer platform including:
- Automated, and player-made tournaments
- Even more in-depth stat tracking and advanced player profiles
- Clans and pre-made teams with in-depth stat tracking
- Ranked play and ladders with unique and exclusive rewards
- Additional competitive game modes
- Replays and Spectator mode
In addition to having a design team full of competitive gamers, we are currently putting together a council of thought-leaders from competitive DotA community and other professional gaming organizations to help advise us during our development process to ensure that players like you take part in shaping the competitive experience. We've already engaged with many members of the competitive DotA community during our Competitive DotA Roundtable and the $15,000 cash prize DotA tournament at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany and these are just small examples of the type of events we have planned.
With these large-scale, international, cash-prize tournaments already in the works, some top DotA players are already putting their teams together for future competitive play. The competition is fierce, start training now to participate in these awesome upcoming events.
We view the pre-season of League of Legends as the beginning of a long journey. Our plan is to keep our full development team allocated to League of Legends for a long time to come, regularly releasing new Champions, Maps, platform features, and more. We are currently releasing updates weekly and have no plans of slowing down.