We tell you about our experience during the first hours of play in Wid Rift, the new MOBA for mobile devices and consoles from Riot Games
A few months ago Riot Games surprised the entire League of Legends community of players: after ten years of silence, they brought to light numerous projects of the most varied and, although linked to their flagship in terms of lore and setting, of totally different genres. One of the titles that was announced at that time was Wild Rift, Riot Games’ MOBA for mobile devices and consoles that proposes a fundamental change in the format. After playing a few games and talking to Design Director Brian Feeeney (better known to fans as FeralPony), we bring you our impressions of the new Riot Games title.
A new but familiar experience
The first thing we notice when starting a game in Wild Rift is a sense of strange familiarity. It is obvious that the Riot team has made every effort to make the player who has been a regular at Summoner’s Rift feel at home. The map is similar, with some changes in its size and in the jungle. The roster of champions available are familiar faces, although not all of the PC title are there. How quickly the games go affects the pace of the game, but is adjusted to be an experience of equivalent depth and strategy.
As for the graphic, we have to say that, as they had warned during the different promotions of the title, we are facing a game made entirely from scratch. With a more modern and optimized engine, we can see attractive and unique animations every time we choose a champion, their models are similar but adapted to smaller resolutions and more simplified color palettes. It is obvious that the original base has been treated with care and that all the cosmetic and mechanical changes are intended to more faithfully adapt the League of Legends experience to other devices without a keyboard and mouse. We’ll talk more about the controls, minimum requirements, and possible limitations later, but overall the feedback has been very positive.
Champion squad and their controls
Like the map and controls, the champions that we can use to win victory have been adapted to the new controls and screen sizes. For example, there are several camera modes that we can choose from: fixed on our character, semi-fixed to be able to move it manually in the direction we want from the upper right corner of the screen … If we aim with a definitive one that covers the entire map With its range as is the case with the R of Lux and Ezreal, the target will be automatically shown to us so that we can aim with greater precision. Even with ultimates like Ziggs’ we can select that the impact of the bomb appear in a momentary box that frames the place where it has fallen. All this variety of options is appreciated since, depending on the screen size in which we play, it can be more or less difficult to adapt to the gameplay and vision.
The controls are similar to those for other titles in the genre. We move the character with a left joystick on the screen, while on the right we will have a series of buttons. Three of them are destined to auto-attack with different priorities (minions, champions and turrets), another four to the abilities of each champion, one for the active of an object in case we have bought it and others for the summoner spells. This button layout facilitates mechanics such as minion farming and minion farming, making it more accessible for new players. The active object button that we have mentioned means that we can only buy an object with active (for example a redemption) and, if we want to use another, we will have to get rid of the first. A curious fact is that as part of the changes in the objects, in this title the boots are an activatable one.
Another interesting issue that has arisen from the removal of mouse and keyboard control is skillshots (skills that require the player to aim). This factor has been solved quite impressively by implementing two options. The first is a quick tap on the button for the skill in question, which will automatically cast it to the location of the closest enemy champion the instant we cast it. That is, if the enemy moves far enough he can dodge it. The other option requires more practice and skill, but it helps to maintain the depth and psychomotor ability of the player as an essential part of the duels: we can press and hold the button of the skill and direct it with an indicator. In this way we can make predictions based on where we think the enemy will be a few seconds later. In short, the controls have been adapted and somewhat simplified, but this does not detract from the depth of the gameplay.
The title comes to us with 47 champions available, each of them unique and with specific mechanics. For this reason, we encourage you to try all those that are in the free rotation to see which one best suits your game mode is touch devices.
Changes towards adaptation
In addition to the abilities we mentioned above, there are more aspects of the original game that have been modified to make Wild Rift a better experience. The map is smaller, so returning home to shop and getting back online takes much less time. In order not to obstruct the visibility with the player’s own fingers, a mirror effect has been implemented on the map: both teams see themselves playing from the blue (left) side. This means that the outer lines are no longer called toplane and botlane, but dragon and baron line, and one of the teams will see their location reversed.
As for the dragons, their visual appearance is similar to what they had in the ninth season and the types are the same: ocean, infernal, mountain and cloud. Purchases in the store are faster because we can configure the build in advance and acquire the objects with a single button.
Continue with the free to play model from Riot Games
From 2009 when League of Legends was born to 2020 with Wild Rift and passed through Teamfight Tactics, Legends of Runeterra and Valorant, Riot Games’ monetization philosophy has remained stable. Wild Rift is completely free to download, and without investing a single penny you can become the best player in your region if you have enough skill and time. The improvements that can be bought for real money in the game are very varied and in a wide price range, but purely aesthetic. Undoubtedly, the skins, poses, emoticons, emblems, icons and trinkets together with the graphical improvements of the game are a great incentive to spend money, but this will not influence the game experience at all.
On the other hand, it has been confirmed that the account that we will use in this game is independent from that of League of Legends and, therefore, we will not have available the aspects that we have acquired in that title. Of course, we can link them to receive different rewards depending on what we do in both games. In addition, the events of the two games are likely to go hand in hand, although the missions of each will be independent as well as the meta. In fact, during the first hours of play and by completing missions, we have unlocked a permanent champion skin of your choice and several characters with different free orbs.
A good opportunity for new players to join the community
If you are one of those who, after doing the League of Legends tutorial, got scared and never ran the game again or if, on the contrary, you are one of those who has not managed to get your friends to invest a certain amount of hours in understanding the mechanics to playing Q alone with you, you will be happy to know that this can be a good entry into the Runeterra universe. The change in format is accompanied by a series of helps and simplifications that broaden the range of players who can enjoy it.
To start with, you don’t need a computer to play it or a next-generation mobile. The requirements are quite affordable, but we will always depend on the quality and speed of the Wi-Fi network we have. In our case, we tested the title on a Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro and we have not encountered any significant problems that influenced the gaming experience.
The minimum requirements for the beta are as follows:
- Processor: 4 cores, 1.5 GHz onwards (32 and 64 bits)
- Ram: 1.5 GB
- Resolution: 1280×720
- iOS: From iPhone 6 Plus onwards
In addition to the technical, the entry barrier (the hours that pass from when you start playing for the first time until you understand it and can fully enjoy the title) has decreased considerably, although it is still present. A series of short tutorials have been added for the basics of the genre, options have been added in the controls to launch skills automatically, and some mechanics such as quiteo are easier to execute. The number of items in the store is considerably smaller than in the PC version (there are also new and exclusive items for Wild Rift) and a pre-game build can be configured. This speeds up the shopping time and can serve as a guide for those who have not studied the objects or simply want a casual and light experience.
The reduction in the time of the games to an average of fifteen minutes (although that time has been doubled on more than one occasion) means that losing by far is not as devastating at a mental level as it is in the forty minutes that usually lasts one of League of Legends. In a short time you can start a new game where the advantages are reset.
After completing the tutorials to unlock a permanent champion of choice and earn a few Blue Essences, we were able to begin our first match against real players. In it we discovered that the camera control and the positioning of wards is more intuitive at the controls than we might think at first. Predictive attacks like Jinx’s zap are perfectly suited to control, as well as his ultimate ability.
Both this game and the next ones we played were enjoyable, regardless of whether we were winners or losers. In fact, as the chat is less accessible than when we write directly on the computer keyboard, we have noticed that unnecessary comments through the text channel are considerably reduced. Thanks to a series of phrases that we can say to our teammates just by pressing them, communication in the game is more fluid and instantaneous. Keep in mind that everything happens much faster than in a computer game and we have no time to lose.
On the other hand, if we have noticed that after a few hours of play we become more imprecise with the thumb with which we control movement. This has been entirely personal and may not happen to most players, but we have found a solution with an external joystick that adapts to the mobile screen. We only had connection failures when we tried to move quite a few meters away from the Wi-Fi, and all our game time has been at a stable 30 fps. We were also surprised that even though access was limited to a few during patch 1.0, we found matches quickly, which is an indication that the matchmaking is good.
Regarding optimization, we must emphasize that it consumes very little battery to be an online game with graphics and 3D modeling. Each game has consumed us around 4% of battery, which allows us to play without having the device charging. Finally, it should be noted that the interface is very intuitive, working with different navigation tabs and quite reduced loading screens.
The long-term future
Feeney has ensured that the Wild Rift experience is focused on the enjoyment of both novice and professional players, and that they hope to generate a competitive scene. Without a doubt, the mechanics of the game and its basic conception give of themselves as to create deep strategies around them, and of course the macro strategy perspective is still present. There will be qualifiers, a total of 10 ranks like in League of Legends but adding an intermediate one between platinum and diamond. It will be possible to compete both in only Q and in more numerous teams.
After hours of testing the title, we believe that players can have a great time in this Rift both casually and competitively. Of course, the existence of a career scene depends on many business and community factors, but the concern that the title was too simple to even pose has evaporated.
They have assured us that they have the perspective of maintaining the project in the long term, updating it and taking care of it continuously. More champions will be added (they have hinted that some are even exclusive and independent to League of Legends) and the meta will evolve. Many Riot professionals have worked on this title, and with just a little play, it is obvious that it is a project in which every detail has been thought through and evaluated thoroughly. For this reason, we encourage you that if you are regulars at League of Legends or the computer MOBA has ever caught your attention, give Wild Rift a chance to draw your own conclusions. For our part, we will continue playing it and we look forward to the moment to give it back to find a game.