With the League of Legends Global Finals 2023 coming to a close, League of Legends has officially released its gameplay preview for the 2024 season.

Every year after the end of the season, the development team of Fist Games will design quite a lot of brand new content in the new season, so that the summoners who have been fighting for a year can experience the game content that has changed in the future.

Compared to the changes in Season 2023, the new season’s gameplay changes look a lot wilder - in addition to the removal of the “universal” Mythic equipment system, the canyon has also seen more interesting and fresh changes. In addition to the removal of the Mythic gear system, the canyon has also seen more interesting new things.

For example, the Baron’s Dragon Pit has received a new neutral creature, the Void Nest Worm, which replaces the first Canyon Vanguard and has a completely different function than the Vanguard; the Canyon Vanguard’s shape has been updated, and heroes can ride it to crash into towers. ……

Baron Nash has also received several new forms and the map terrain has been drastically changed.

Players can now punch each other!

Meanwhile, new music, a new mid lane mage hero “Comet”, and a ton of gear changes …… have all been made available in the beta and will be available to players in the near future.

Before that, we caught up with the League of Legends team during the Global Finals to talk about the changes for Season 2024.

From the drastic updates to gameplay and maps to the design of the new hero “Comet”, League of Legends Gameplay Leader Matthew Leung-Harrison (Matt) and League of Legends Hero Design Leader Lexi Gao (Lexi) answered quite a few questions for us.

1. Numerous tweaks for Season 2024 can be said to have made relatively big changes to the game’s base gameplay, why did you have to make such a big change?

Matt: The changes in all areas this year are actually pretty big, and the reason why we’re doing this is because we want to show players that we’re still making a very big ongoing investment in the future of League of Legends.

We’re going to be doing some big upgrades to the core sections of the game, including maps, neutral resource wilds, etc., which are all elements that go into the underlying logic of the base gameplay. With the arrival of the new season, we would like to make a relatively big change effect, we also hope that through this opportunity to solve some of the players have been the pain points of the problem, including the previously mentioned maps and neutral resources and so on. Normally, we don’t have the opportunity to make such a big change at once in a version update every two weeks.

2. The Mythic Suit is arguably the biggest equipment system innovation since the inception of League of Legends, and has gone through a lot of tweaking and rotation since its launch, what do you think about the effect and feedback of this system over the past few years? For what reason did the team want to roll back the system?

Matt: In the beginning, our original intention of designing Mythic Equipment was to set up an equipment system that is higher than the “Legendary Level”, and then allow players to get some things that they can’t get from their usual equipment or skills, such as Gale Force and Thirsty Blood Battle Axe, all of which are very powerful effects.

However, the main problem with Mythic Suits is that not all heroes have access to them in an equal way. Some heroes who find the right fit for Mythic Suit will shine inside the Mythic Equipment system; others may not be so suitable and seem weak in comparison.

After evaluating the system, we realized that if we wanted all heroes to have access to Mythic gear, we would need to add dozens of pieces of gear on top of what we already have, and that would be too expensive for players to learn.

So we decided that it wasn’t worth it to add more gear to support the Mythic Outfit system, so we went back to the original gear system. Of course, that’s not to say that Mythic Outfit isn’t a good concept, it’s just that it’s too difficult to implement.


Everyone will have to re-familiarize themselves with the new version of the store again

3. Season 2024 will see another map terrain change and new neutral resources, can you reveal what the purpose of these changes is? These types of changes bring new learning costs to players every time, have the devs thought about how to make it smoother for the playerbase to accept this “new stuff”?

Matt: To answer the first question, why are we making so many changes for the new season? There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is to provide players with more fresh and exciting content. The second reason is to address some of the existing gameplay issues with the new season version, including terrain and neutral resource changes.

One of the purposes of the terrain changes is to reduce the influence of the field in the early game, for example, the top laner will often be ganked by the field in the early game, the first wave of the Canyon Vanguard will also have a greater impact on the top laner’s experience of the game against the line, so we have removed the first wave of the Canyon Vanguard, and replaced it with the Void Nesting Worm, which the top laner can also be killed by themselves. Therefore, we removed the first wave of Canyon Vanguard and replaced it with “Void Nest Worm”, which can be killed by the top laner himself.

As for the issue of learning cost, for existing players, it is true that there is a certain learning cost. But for new players entering League of Legends in the new season, everything is the same and they may not have additional learning pressure.

People do need to re-learn and master the changes, but we think this is an important reason why League of Legends has been able to continue to grow for more than a decade. Evolving and re-learning is something that players love - but we need to make sure that we’re making the right amount of changes, and that they’re changes that move the game forward, not take it backwards.

4. I’ve heard that support players will get more positional weight and a better gameplay experience in the new season. Due to the objective limitations of economic distribution, the support experience has always been a difficult part of MOBA games to balance, what is the direction of the development team’s changes this time?

Matt: Like you said, secondary player satisfaction rates have really been one of the more struggling issues over the past few years.

For a long time now, we’ve been working on issues related to secondary player satisfaction. We’d like to create ways to make subs feel more comfortable in the game - and it doesn’t necessarily have to be about getting more powerful.

For example, we’d like to make some changes to the secondary loadout. In the existing version, quite a few support suits only differ in their attributes. But for the new season, we wanted to give them a clear “identity” and a special function - something that would make support players feel like they have something special, like a fielding outfit. The quests have also been changed to make the gameplay of support heroes more intuitive and interesting.


Support outfits get an overhaul for the new season with more functionality

By the way, we’ve also done some in-depth research on the Chinese servers regarding the auxiliary - compared to other servers, the auxiliary pick rate on the national servers is much lower. We’re hoping to find ways to make support heroes more desirable and make them slightly more powerful in the average player’s matchup.

Support players have always complained that their characters don’t have a particularly big impact in the game. At the same time, however, the impact of support heroes is critical in high-level matchups. We’d like to make some changes to increase the influence of support players in normal games, but not make it too strong in high level games.

5. When collecting player feedback, how does the League of Legends development team sift through the information: what’s important and urgent, and what seems important but actually makes less sense and is harder to implement?

Matt: We collect a lot of feedback from many different sources, especially from national players. League of Legends designers also often post on Weibo and answer questions from players - we usually gather these different perspectives and discuss them to determine what feedback is valid and what we should act on based on some design principles.

The main design principles that Fighter Games usually considers are rivalry, fulfillment, fairness, learning curve, etc. When evaluating these factors, we can usually come up with a pretty good result in a design team discussion.

Of course, we have feedback from national players as well as players in other parts of the world. League of Legends is a global game, so we need to make sure that the decisions we make are in line with the expectations of players around the world.

6. The new hero “Comet” is a traditional mid lane core hero that hasn’t appeared in a long time, does its appearance mean that our design team wants more traditional AP to return to the mid lane?

Lexi: We designed Comet because it’s been a while since we’ve done a traditional AP hero. I don’t think one hero can change the Meta environment too much, but this time it’s more of a gear system adjustment - of course, the design team actually has the intention of “letting the mage heroes return to the middle”, after all, nowadays a lot of mage heroes are now in the After all, a lot of mages are now in the support role.



7. When did the concept for this hero first come about, and why did you want to do such a painterly concept?

Lexi: It’s been about a year, we have a long cycle of making heroes.

“There were three opportunities that led to the formation of Comet. The first one was that all new Fighter employees were required to design a new hero in a group simulation during their first week of Denewb (onboarding). I’ve been there for every one of these discussions, I’ve been at Fighter now for 8 years, and almost every week for those 8 years I’ve had one person say to me, “We should be painters, take a big paintbrush, and paint something ……”, so I should say that the idea has been around for a long time.

The second opportunity is also very interesting, before a designer said to me: you know what? We barely have a real human mage in our midway mage.

I asked him what he meant by that, and he said, look Vigus is a Yordle; Thor is is a dragon; Malzahar is hardly a human mage, and we also have Ritz, who is …… also a human mage.

Which means that there isn’t actually a real human male mage in the middle.

The third reason is that we currently have a lot of very sunny and powerful mid lane heroes, but not a single characterization that is a bit melancholic and sad. Especially nowadays, many anime have a “second protagonist”, who may be more powerful and talented than the protagonist, but his backstory is a bit more tragic, and not as positive as the real protagonist, but I personally appreciate this kind of character.

These three things together are the origin of the “comet” hero concept (laughs).

7. Through the skill demo of “Comet”, we see that he seems to be a hero with quite a high learning cost because his skill set is very complex, does this mean that we’ll be doing more “difficult” heroes in the future? After all, the last three new heroes (Bright Candle, Hundred Split Hound, and Doomrose) have all been relatively simple.

Lexi: Not necessarily, because when we were working on the hero design roadmap, we already had three heroes this year that didn’t require a lot of maneuvering, and this time we wanted to make a more difficult character.

Different players will like different things, so we pretty much want to give all players a new surprise every year.

In terms of difficulty, we’re also going to do some tweaking and balancing, like Comet isn’t really that hard. We all see that he has 10 skills, but in fact, these skills themselves are very simple, very basic for mage players, just that it is more difficult to play 100% of the full utility of these skills.


Comet’s skill set

Since we’ve done Ephilius before, we’ve learned a lesson about the burden of complexity: the cost of learning a hero should be in the hands of the person who is playing the hero, not in the hands of their opponent.

The skills of Euphrasie are very difficult to understand for a new player, who doesn’t know what effect they will have.

This is not the case with Comet, which is a very intuitive hero. When a big fireball comes down on you, you naturally know that you have to dodge it; when a lightning bolt comes down, it definitely hurts, and the enemy shouldn’t be standing there. That’s why I said Comet isn’t too hard, because his skills are very intuitive.

8. You also mentioned the term “100% playability”, how do we balance the experience of a character like Comet, which is so difficult to play, between the experience of a professional player and the experience of a normal player?

Lexi: Because of the difficulty of play, Comet will definitely perform better in the hands of higher level players. However, some of his weaknesses are actually very obvious in multiplayer team fights.

After all, he appears to have 10 skills, but at a specific moment in time, only 4 skills are actually immediately available, and players need to prepare themselves for these skill sets. So his balance tweaks were actually quite simple in comparison, and we’ve been discussing and testing them for a long time - we really learned a lot from Ephilius (laughs).

9. What does the design team think about the opinions and comments from players in the national service, and does this feedback influence the subsequent hero design?

Lexi: I read a lot of player feedback myself, and the Fighter Games China team and our partners also help us collect a lot of data. But in terms of overall data, there’s not a big difference between the characteristics of Chinese players and overseas players, and the preferences of players in each region are pretty much the same - but Chinese players are really specialized, and many of them will only play the same heroes all the time.

This will really have an impact on our design ideas, like Yasuo this hero, in the absence of Yongen, probably 80% of the national service games will have Yasuo - other regions Yasuo is also very hot, but the game share is estimated to be 50%, 60%. That’s why we wanted to make a hero that’s very similar to Yasso, but different, and that’s Yongen.

Yongen is a hero that has completely different skills, but will make Aso players want to learn, so we can give Aso players more options. Veteran players can pick it up very quickly, but at the same time the playstyle is new enough that every player can access fresh fun.