The Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients is big. So big it inspired Demigod. So big that Basshunter made a song about it before he was conquering the UK charts with unintentionally comical Euro-house (which is one of the odder paths to musical fame of recent times). And now it's so big that the creators of DoTA Allstars - the most popular version of the mod - have gone off and made their own commercial game, League of Legends.
Unsurprisingly, LoL (lol!) sounds a little similar to the essential DoTA concept - it's a multiplayer RTS-RPG barney in which each player controls one super-powerful hero (selected from a roster of dozens), aided by AI-controlled lesser soldiers. Again, the same sort of idea as Gas-Powered Games' Demigod is playing with. Unlike Demigod though, LoL looks a liiiiiiitle bit similar to the game DoTA derived from. (Awaits baying how-dare-you hordes):
Nonetheless, making this is especially interesting is that Riot Games, as they are now known, have years of experience in exactly this kind of competitive multiplayer strategy game, and will have weathered the abuse of the very worst Angry Internet Men there are in order to come up with a near-perfectly balanced game. So while there's a reasonable chance League of Legends will be a tricky sell to DoTA newcomers, it could be bang on for veterans. The Fortress Forever to Demigod's Team Fortress 2, perhaps - though of course we don't know yet if Demigod's any good, and unlike the free FF, LoL will be a full commercial release.
On top of that, there'll be persistence for your Hero - or 'Summoner'. The idea is it evolves over time, and thanks to looted gear you end up with something ostensibly unique. An MMO character in a RTS, almost. Interesting stuff, and remarkably ambitious for a first-time dev. Let's hope they pull it off.
Beta testing kicks off next year - sign up here.
Oh, and I had to chortle at "integrated LeaverbusterTM technology helps ensure people stay for the whole game!" Clearly it saves annoyance, but really - gaming as a prison sentence?
Full press release:
LOS ANGELES — Oct. 7, 2008 — Riot Games, an independent developer and publisher of premium online video games, is currently developing its first title, League of Legends. In the online multiplayer session-based game, rival teams will compete against one another for victory on highly stylized battlefields and landscapes. The title combines elements of role-playing and strategy genres with addictive battle action that brings accessible, replayable, competitive gameplay into a whimsical universe that deepens with the player’s commitment. League of Legends is being designed by a decorated group of developers with credits that include PC & console blockbusters, as well as part of the team that created the popular Warcraft 3 mod DotA-Allstars. Riot will invite players into the League of Legends beta in 2009.
“League of Legends will bring gamers competitive battle-arena style gameplay that builds upon and expands on innovative gameplay concepts that were pioneered in DotA-Allstars, one of the most popular mods of all time,” Brandon Beck, co-founder and CEO, Riot Games, said. “The team is applying its expertise and passion to producing a game that fuses premium art and gameplay features with deep community tools.”
After an age of warfare, the superpowers of the land of Valoran have come together to form a governing body that will settle all disputes behind the closed doors of the Institute of War. Their task is a noble one — to lift the impossible weight of bloody war off the shoulders of the world and place it upon a select few — The League of Legends. On the Fields of Justice, legendary Champions forge alliances and resolve their differences in battle arenas. In the League there is one rule that reigns over all else: Winner rules all.
In League of Legends, players take on the role of a persistent Summoner avatar that gazes upon the battlefield from above and influences battles by taking command of a chosen Champion. During each online multiplayer play session, gamers will choose one of dozens of unique Champions wielding diverse skills and abilities, and engage in fast-paced team-oriented combat to bring their foes to ruin. Champions will gain levels, items, and abilities that enable them to slay their opponents and augment the strength of their allies by battling with enemy minions, foul beasts, deadly turrets and enemy Champions. Players also advance their Summoner’s rank and power to gain new abilities and items, assisting their Champions in battle.
League of Legends emphasizes team-oriented gameplay and players must work together in order to defeat the opposing team. Players will be able to communicate easily through in-game lounges and chat rooms, and forums will act as a conversational hub for a wide variety of discussions amongst community members. League of Legends will feature custom-built multiplayer support including matchmaking, stat tracking, clan support, anti-cheat systems, dedicated in-game ladders and Leaverbuster technology. In addition to extensive multiplayer features, League of Legends will include a single-player mode where players can learn how to play and practice new strategies by engaging robust Bot-AI.
The League of Legends community will feature an abundance of ongoing events including tournaments, leagues and contests. The Riot development team will open their doors for community input, allowing gamers to have their opinions heard, have their ideas implemented in League of Legends and continue to shape the game as it evolves post-launch. Gamers can already join the community forums at www.leagueoflegends.com to begin tracking the new title, engagewith the Riot team and other players and become a part of the development processforLeague of Legends.
About Riot Games, Inc.
Riot Games, Inc. (www.riotgames.com) is an independent Los Angeles-based video game development company, funded privately and through leading venture capital firms Benchmark and Firstmark. The studio was established in 2006 to develop innovative online next-generation titles for consoles and the PC. Comprised of industry veterans with a shared passion for creating fun, innovative gameplay, the company is currently developing League of Legends, which combines the best elements of the action role-playing and real-time strategy genres into a uniquely replayable and competitive multiplayer experience.