LoL Gets Laser Turrets, A Crab And… Stranger Gifting?


Patch notes for League of Legends‘ 4.20 update have landed so we’ve been having a peek at
what’s new. Spoiler: it involves a terrified river crab, laser turrets and a reworked vision of Summoner’s Rift and its jungle.

The guiding principle for the entire patch is “strategic diversity” which is a phrase which sounds great but risks being meaningless without some swift contextualising. What it boils down to is that Riot want to offer greater variety to players in terms of how matches unfold. At the moment you might boot up LoL and have a fun game, but there’s a good chance the next few games will play out in a similar way. In that case you rapidly lose the desire to experiment.

Traditionally, Riot explain, their strategy had been to nerf or buff specific heroes, trying to fix tactical problem areas. The updates for 4.20 are being set up to “add a Death Star’s control room worth of levers to pull and push if balance does end up off”. In plainspeak: there are now lots of points in the game where Riot can make little tweaks which alter the game without punishing players who happen to like a particular hero.

You can find out more about that in the patch rundown videos and the EXTENSIVE patch notes Riot has produced themselves – including the aforementioned crab (a new objective which grants vision outside the Baron or Dragon pit), laser turrets (all your base are belong to a laser party company) and the jungle.

None of that stuff comes as a surprise – Riot has been pretty open about those ideas for a while now – especially the jungle focus – and we covered them in our LoL panel article amongst others. The thing which was new to my eyes and which I’m really interested in is “End of Game Gifting“. It seems to tie in with the work Riot have been doing on improving player behaviour and offers the ability to send gifts to enemies or allies via the post-game lobby.

On launch the feature will let you send other players mystery gift skins, mystery gift champions, skins for the champion the player was just playing with, or the champion they were playing with if it was a free rotation champ and they didn’t actually own it. The gifts cost the same as they would in the regular store and it seems like a neat way for other players to reward super positive play.

I’m wondering how many times it will actually end up being used. For me, a thank you to a particularly lovely/entertaining opponent or ally would be worth small change. That’s because I find it hard to imagine a situation where I’d rate another player’s contribution to the game – no matter how positive – as worth a couple of pounds but plenty where I’d throw something to the value of 50p their way. I guess it depends whether Riot envision this being a rare and special reward, whether the rest of the player base is just more generous than I am, or whether they might end up tweaking it to encompass cheaper options in the future.

Understandably, given the goodwill compenent, end of game gifts are non-refundable. Man, can you imagine the kerfuffle that could have caused?


  1. mukuste says:

    A large part of the lack of “strategic diversity” is simply the playerbase’s bullheaded refusal to budge even one hair from their sacred “meta”, passed down from their godlike idols (aka pro players). If you try anything new or even an unpopular champion, you just get laughed at or in the worst case reported.

    Sure, at the top tiers of play, even small imbalances matter. Al the level where 90% of the community are playing, though? Pure cargo cult.

    • jrodman says:

      This sort of thinking seems to be present in every online game I’ve played. In any team game where it’s possible to play poorly via choices, it seems there develops a very rigid sense of what it means to play correctly.

      it seems like a tragedy of the commons type of thing. The playerbase ends up requiring everyone to play like idiots because of the possibility of playing like idiots who play badly.

    • wengart says:

      As a Dota player this is super weird to me. Sure, in Dota, people play heroes that are popular at the top. However, the meta of the game isn’t hardened around how the top tier teams play. And in a lot of cases your team will play very differently based on how individual players on your team do. Playing a support hero in lane with a carry and find that the carry can’t last-hit for shit. Welp guess we’ve got a core Venge now.

      You definitely don’t get called out for strange picks.

  2. Premium User Badge

    samsharp99 says:

    League of Legends allows expensive trolling/toxicity: Gift a player who fed/sucked a mystery champion whilst saying “Gave you a new champion, maybe you will suck less at this one”.

    It’s like honouring a player for being terrible (ironically), only even more extreme/expensive.

    I’m not toxic in game…I heard about people honouring for bad play/feeding and figured this was just an extension of that for the toxic players with money to burn! In reality, I can’t imagine spending money to give strangers gifts and very much doubt I would get one in return.

    • Xocrates says:

      I don’t get the logic here. The troller gets nothing, and the troll-y, at worst, gets something he’ll never use.

      How is this even a bad thing?

      • Rizlar says:

        It sounds like the best possible form of abuse!

      • Premium User Badge

        samsharp99 says:

        It’s the same kind of effect as slow clapping someone I think is the best example I can give from RL. Essentially skin-based expensive sarcasm.

        • Xocrates says:

          Yeah, but slowclapping by a stranger is meaningless. This is the equivalent of someone you’ve never met, and probably won’t meet again, telling you “you suck”, give you a fiver, and walk away.

          I would be vastly more confused than annoyed.

    • jrodman says:

      If this were true, I don’t see how Riot would have trouble noticing and reprimanding toxic behavior attached to these gifts.

      • DogPawHat says:

        Would make for some wierd reports. “Said my Ahri was shite, gave me Ziggs”

  3. tormos says:

    as a DOTA player I think this is a good direction for League to be taking as the very restrictive metagame is something that turned me off from LoL previously (especially given that the good heroes in a given meta may not be free on any given week). I would really like to see DOTA in turn take the philosophy of having multiple big rewards in the jungle instead of just Roshan/aegis. It’s cool that there are enough games in the MOBA space now that they can take ideas from each other. More of this sort of thing!

  4. InternetBatman says:

    Is the river crab a reference to China?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It might be (they joked about it in the second vid, I think) a reference to Ghostcrawler, took his name from a World of Warcraft monster, a ghostly crab. Or maybe it’s not a reference at all.