League of Legends To Introduce ARAM Queue, Skin Price Changes

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League of Legends is receiving a huge update with regards to how champion skins are sold, changing the cost of some of them (both up and down, but mostly reducing the prices) and making preparations for the new map, Howling Abyss. There are also a few incoming balance tweaks to help make every champion more viable.

First, let’s start with skin price changes. Skins are one of the main ways to show your love for a specific champion, and they usually cost 950 RP for normal skins or 1820 for legendary ones (with the exception of Pulsefire Ezreal, wich costs 3250, and a few older skins that cost either 390 or 520 RP). Only two of those (and both of them have in-game changing effects) cost 1350 RP. However, starting April 25, several skins will now have a different costs, decreasing and increasing some to the 520, 750 and 1350 benchmarks.

Here’s a breakdown of the new skin prices with what features you can expect for each skin:

390/520 RP skins

  • These are outdated tiers used for skins that only featured texture changes, a new splash image, and at times slight model changes.
  • 36 skins in the store at the 975 RP tier will have their prices lowered to 520 RP
  • No new skins will be created for these tiers, but existing skins in the store are eligible to be put on sale.
  • Example: Loch Ness Cho’Gath, Aviator Irelia

750 RP – New tier

  • Skins in the new 750 RP tier feature new texture and model work as well as a new splash image; and some skins in this tier will feature new animations.
  • 40 skins from the current 975 RP tier will have their prices lowered to 750 RP
  • We expect that 10-20% of skins in 2013 will be released at 750 RP, and they will be eligible to be put on sale.
  • Examples: Little Knight Amumu, Explorer Ezreal

975 RP

  • 975 RP skins feature a new model, textures and splash image; some skins in this tier will feature new animations, visual effects and sounds where appropriate for the theme of the skin.
  • We expect that 50-75% of skins released in 2013 will be 975 RP, and they are eligible to be put on sale.
  • Examples: Haunted Maokai, Jade Dragon Wukong

1350 RP

  • Skins in the 1350 RP tier will feature a new model, textures, splash image, visual effects and sounds. In some cases, these skins will also have processed voice overs.
  • This tier is intended for skins that go above and beyond the quality of 975 RP skins but don’t quite reach legendary status.
  • 3 skins from the current 1820 Legendary tier will have their prices lowered to 1350 RP
  • 18 skins from the current 975 RP tier will be moved to the 1350 RP tier
  • We expect that 7-15% of skins released in 2013 will be 1350 RP, and they are eligible to be put on sale
  • Examples: Blackthorn Morgana, Arcade Sona

1820 RP – Legendary skins

  • A legendary skin completely changes the look and feel of a champion.
  • These skins feature a new model, textures and splash image as well as completely new animations, visuals, voice over and sounds.
  • We expect that 6-10% of skins released in 2013 will be Legendaries, and they will not be put on sale.
  • Examples: Battlecast Prime Cho’Gath, Brolaf

3250 RP – Ultimate skins

  • An ultimate skin is a complete reimagining of a champion that includes an evolving model and additional features and bonuses, such as summoner icons.
  • 3250 RP skins feature a new model that evolves into different forms, textures, splash image, animations, visuals, voice over and sounds, as well as additional content.
  • We expect that 2-4% of skins released in 2013 will be Ultimates. They may have initial promotions or discounts, but will not be put on sale.
  • Examples: Pulsefire Ezreal

You can find the full list of price reductions here, or use this image to see the changes visually instead of reading the names.

Everyone loves the custom game All Random All Mid (even pro players love it, two teams played ARAM in the finals of a MLG tournament). That’s why League of Legends is finally receiving an ARAM queue including the new map Howling Abyss!

The queue is still being tested on the PBE servers, but it’s probable that with all that’s going on in the Freljord at the moment (recent Trundle & Sejuani visual updates, Lissandra the new champion who is from Freljord, Quinn’s journey through these lands, Anivia & Volibear’s upcoming skins) this will be one feature to be soon implemented. There’s also a new item named Poro Snax, which you can give to the lovely neutral creatures that live in the Howling Abyss.

While the random element is a really fun part of Howling Abyss, we also understand there are times you simply don’t want to play a particular champion. That’s why we created the reroll feature specifically for this queue. When you’re really not in the mood to play your particular champion on Murder Bridge, you can reroll and get a different random character instead.

Here’s how it works. As you play matchmade games on Howling Abyss, win or lose, you’ll earn points you can save up to purchase a reroll in champion select. You’ll earn a base number of points every match, along with some bonus points based on the number of champions you own. While there is a cap on the number of points you can store up, you’ll be able to reroll multiple times in a single champion select if you’ve got the points.

And don’t worry about wasting your hard-earned points on queue dodgers. If someone leaves your match at champion select, everyone in the game gets a refund except the player who dodged.

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ARAM queue is currently in preparation!

As a last thing, let’s remember that what’s most important in a game where there are over a hundred different champions to use, balancing is tremendously important, especially when there are different game modes across League of Legends. That’s why someone at Riot Games has recently told a forum member about what’s being planned. One of those changes is limiting the total amount of potions a player can have at any time during the game, which will give less sustain than what it was meant to give, bringing back champions like Irelia, who were countered by heavy use of potions.

At the moment, we are planning to limit the maximum number of health potions you can hold at any time to five. This change was intended to combat super high sustain starts, where champions (particularly those going top and mid lane) would buy as many health potions as possible (and a ward or two) in order to sustain in lane forever. The problem is that this really destroys any incentives players have to interact. Resourceless champions in particular benefited from these starts and, for champions with mana pools, we’ve actually seen that some literally do not have enough mana to burn through that much sustained HP.

Riot games also plance to address a problem with different game modes. Champions that work well as intended in Summoner’s Rift just get stomped in maps like Twisted Treeline (3v3) or The Crystal Scar (Dominion), for example. That’s why they have decided to implement map-specific balance changes.

We’ve been well aware of how the Dominion and TT communities have felt left behind and ignored, but we wanted to make sure we had a plan that we were confident in and committed to before commenting, because we don’t want to make any more empty promises.

Dominion’s fun (it’s fast). So is Twisted Treeline. But they both share one key problem – League of Legends is competitively balanced for Classic gameplay on Summoner’s Rift. Our original goal was to create rulesets that would result in balanced experiences across all game modes with the same champion stats. We’ve experimented with itemization, game pacing, map features, and other design elements. While we’ve had limited success here, there’s still room for improvement, so we’re going to take the plunge: in the near future™, we’re going to be implementing map-specific balance changes for individual champions.

This is going to take a few patches to implement, but we’re actively working on the tech, and we’re already got a bunch of specific balance changes in mind that we’re iterating on. We’re sure there will be lots of questions regarding the initiative, so we’ll announce more specifics when the time comes. Remember that this is just the foundation for support – we’ve got some other tentative plans that we’re exploring to enhance both maps farther down the line!

What  do you think about the skin price changes. Will you get a skin before its price goes up, or will you buy one because its price is getting reduced? Excited (as I am) for the new ARAM queue that’s being prepared for release? Post your comments below!

Also, don’t forget to check out the latest update notes for patch 3.5, now live.

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