Don’t Start A: Riot Completely Overhauling LoL’s Map

By Nathan Grayson on June 6th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

For League of Legends players, Summoner’s Rift is the place. It’s where all the big things happen, the court, the rink, the parking lot where the cool patrol cop looks the other way because she was just like you once, when times were easier. Riot’s announcement that it’s overhauling the level, then, is like the NFL saying it’s decided to change up the American football field. And yes, I’m still American. Sorry. The changes to Summoner’s Rift are entirely visual, but they’re also rather sweeping. Video and details in the downthereplace.

The main goal of this overhaul is to lend added clarity to the map. Important things pop more, key locations, objects, and creeps have better visual identities. Riot explained:

“What clarity translates to is the updated map doing a better job of drawing eyes to the most important information of the moment. When fights break out, the environment should be the background, allowing particle effects and champions to pop off the screen and feed players the crucial data they need to make the right play.”

“Beyond this, Summoner’s Rift should help players and spectators stay oriented. The western half of the map looks damaged by the emergence of Baron Nashor, while the eastern half feels ancient and overgrown. This, alongside each quadrant’s respective buff, gives every jungle section thoughtfully placed landmarks and subtle color cues. Speaking of the jungle, a cadre of new monsters made Summoner’s Rift home, sporting designs that more accurately reflect their respective gameplay characteristics. For example, the Krugs’ (double golem replacements) rocky exteriors look like the damage soaking mini-tanks they are – and they appear weaker than the hulking Blue Sentinel.”

So it’s all about creating an environment that makes more immediate sense. However, for players who spent countless hours learning how to split-second react to the version that didn’t make as much sense, I imagine there’ll be an adjustment phase. Visual cues are sometimes weird to react to, especially when you’re already keeping track of so many other factors. It’ll be interesting to see how players adapt to these changes.

The new Summoner’s Rift is currently being tested on LoL’s PBE server, but it has no firm release date. LoL players, like what you see?

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26 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Hah. A while ago I thought that Dawngate looked very much like I would expect LoL to do after a complete visual upgrade, as indicated by more recent as well as updated character models, and the newer maps.
    Now this comes along and looks pretty much like Dawngate in colours and shades and all.

    Do like the more lively approach to mobs and scenery.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I agree although I don’t think its a bad thing. This new map should make teamfights better in my opinion as there will be less of a screen full of pastel colours. Might actually go back and play some LoL again when this comes out.

  2. 0positivo says:

    While I don’t like League myself, this is a good thing to happen. They’ve understood that they not only have to worry about more harcore titles, like DotA 2, but also other games that are trending to tap into the same pool they’ve been using so far.

    That’s competition at work. And it’s marvelous

  3. Spooty says:

    Looks like Riot finally played Dota2 and found their creation guides on the Workshop: http://media.steampowered.com/apps/dota2/workshop/Dota2CharacterArtGuide.pdf

    • Premium User Badge

      Lim-Dul says:

      Ha, ha! That immediately sprung to my mind as well! Sadly they only used it for the map. Their character designs and especially skins are still inconsistent and terrible.

  4. Xocrates says:

    Just a small correction: the map isn’t on the PBE yet.

  5. Rollin says:

    it looks really dark and gloomy, that’s what I never liked about the other Moba’s maps.

    • Bine says:

      I think it’s a good idea Rollin. If you look at the champs and the minions then look at the scenery there’s something neat about it.

      The scenery is a background that allows the champions and minions to really *pop*. They stand out on it. Old SR was as vibrant as the champs. Now, I don’t mind old SR one bit but this new SR improves readability :)

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I agree, it will also turn down the “explosion of colour” a bit when everybody uses their abilities at the same time and nobody can see anything.

  6. Bine says:

    I am going to miss my purple side lizard towers :(

    • Van13 says:

      Me too :(

      • darkath says:

        First reaction as a colorblind-ish person : “At last they used different colors for the opposing teams ! I can tell friend from foes !”

  7. vivlo says:

    seems nice, but afraid this will end in my computer not handlign it anymore (they say it will be optimised, but atm it uses more ram.)

    • Van13 says:

      I am afraid of that too… LoL was the MOBA game with lowest hardware requirements. Worked fine on single core machine with 1 GB. I am not sure what to expect ;/

    • Daniel Klein says:

      (disclaimer: I work for Riot and am biased as fuck)

      You may think you have a toaster, but the machines they play on in our largest territory (China) probably make yours look like a shiny quantum vision of the future. Our target specs are *low*. Yeah, the new map does currently use more RAM, but that’s one of the reasons we’re not done with it yet. If we raise required specs even a bit, we make a LOT of people unhappy and we’re very cognizant of that.

  8. Premium User Badge

    alexheretic says:

    I’ve been clean for months now, a shinier syringe isn’t going to bring me back.

  9. Tei says:

    That looks better, but LoL somehow has become incredible popular with some ugly and noisy rendering, so this clarity was not really high on the list of things everyone need.

  10. Polifemo says:

    I wonder how much the more “serious” map will contrast with the vibrant characters. Might create some dissonnance with the rest of the art style. I play Dota 2 only and I cant imagine them overhauling the map except for festive events (and even then you have to play on the vlassic map for ranked matches). Dont know how much it will affect LoL players.

    • Xocrates says:

      The new visual look is not significantly different from Twisted Treeline and Howling Abyss. In particular with Twisted Treeline being a lot darker, and Howling Abyss being a lot less colourful (being a snow map).

      Despite the stylistic difference, the new map is not a outside the pre-established lol art style.

  11. frobishlumpkin says:

    Not entirely visual! I sure don’t recognize that toad.

  12. Thepixellated says:

    Does anyone else think this overhaul looks a lot like Torchlight (the second iteration)? Every scene where something new came up I thought Torchlight, why have I not played Torchlight in a while?

  13. robotslave says:

    “Defense of the Ancients” was originally the name of the map Riot is updating here.

    I guess it’s a credit to Riot’s PR department that even the writers of a site like RPS don’t seem to feel this is worth mentioning in a post that’s entirely about that map.

    • Leb says:

      Don’t see why the name used for the map in Dota is at all relevant to what they call it in LoL (and have been calling it that for years since LoLs inception)