Hey folks. I’m Game Designer Evan “Revenancer” Humphreys, and I’m here to talk about our upcoming feature, Missions.
Most of us have played dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of hours of League. To stay fun over such a long time frame, the game can’t become monotonous or stagnant. When it comes to moment to moment gameplay on the Rift, a lot of what we do helps add that necessary variety—new champions, frequent patches, deep mastery curves, etc. Outside of the Rift, we address this with long-term goals reflecting your growth as a player—ranked and champion mastery specifically.
These long-term goals are fun to work towards, but progress usually takes months (or years), and important milestones are fairly scarce. On a week-to-week or day-to-day level, there aren’t many different goals to pursue to bring variety and character to your individual play sessions.
Historically, we’ve added these sorts of goals to the game periodically in the form of events, like Snowdown and Bilgewater: Burning Tides. But the difficulty of working with the old client made putting any parts of the events directly into the game impractical, and players were often stuck deciphering websites to determine what they could earn and how to get it. With each past event hard-coded and managed by hand, handing out event rewards required our Insights team to go through the database, check which players qualified, and then manually hand out each item (if you ever wondered why it takes a week for you to get that sweet summoner icon for Snowdown, that’s why).
The new client makes bringing these sort of features directly to the game much easier. This gave us the opportunity to build a way to deliver the same sort of goals players had seen in events, but faster and better (and more often). From there, it was a short step to opening up those goals to more than just traditional events—and thus League of Legends Missions was born.
- WHAT WILL MISSIONS BE LIKE?
Missions will offer players new challenges to solve on the Rift for rewards like unique skins, Summoner icons, and loot. Since this is uncharted territory for League, we don’t quite know where we’ll end up years from now, but we do have some guiding principles to separate a good mission from a bad one.
- PRINCIPLE #1: MISSIONS DON’T TROLL YOUR GAMES.
- This is a delicate area. It’s important to us that missions don’t negatively impact your games. This means missions can’t encourage players to play to lose or to play in sub-optimal ways. However, we’re making an exception for situations where all five players are signed up for the same challenge.
- Good mission: Win three games with at least 10 kills/assists.
- Bad mission: Win a game with 300 AD as Lux.
- PRINCIPLE #2: MISSIONS CHALLENGE YOUR SKILL, NOT YOUR PATIENCE.
- Not every mission will be easy to complete in one afternoon, but no mission’s condition of success will simply be how much you’re willing to play.
- Good mission: Win three games as Leona with an A grade or higher.
- Bad mission: Play 100 games as Leona.
Ultimately, we want players to come away from a completed mission having had fun—or feeling satisfied with the challenge they’ve overcome.
- WILL LEAGUE BE ABOUT COMPLETING MISSIONS?
Rest assured, League of Legends is first and foremost a PvP game that’s about battling it out on the Rift. It isn’t an RPG; we don’t want to make the game about questing or checking boxes off a list. We won’t be flooding the game with a deluge of missions just to keep shaking things up.
Our goal with Missions is to deepen all sorts of aspects of the game you already enjoy. Now regions and feature teams have the flexibility to add missions that enhance your experience with new goals and rewards. You might be able to do a chain of missions to demonstrate your loyalty to TSM (or CLG, if you’re a masochist like me) and earn a unique icon, or live a new champion’s story personally through a set of missions.
We’re just starting with Missions, and we’re going to start small. Ultimately, what you guys think of the feature will determine its place in League, so definitely leave us feedback about what you like—or don’t—as new missions roll out.
|“||In your missions dev blog Riot said that “kill X things”-type missions would be bad, but the VS. event had many events that changed the way people play (picking Riven, focusing on kills, etc.). Is Riot happy with the way these played out?|
|— Player Question|
VS. was the first foray into missions for Riot and we’ve looked at it as a learning opportunity that will help us refine missions in the future. Since then we’ve started using missions more, with the small Omega Squad event and the Kayn launch, missions are treading new ground and fueling better understanding. Our number one priority is to do no harm (because League doesn’t need missions to be fun). That said, we want to make the most fun missions we can. You’ll continue to occasionally see missions testing new boundaries that we’re pretty confident in, but we’ll always be ready to cut something off if it’s hurting players.
So how did we come to that conclusion? During VS., we looked at the effects of the various missions to ensure that we didn’t see significant negative effects on gameplay – longer game times, abnormal increases in kills – which would indicate that missions were causing problems. We didn’t find any indications we were changing the game in either our data or in player feedback, and we did see lots of players having fun with missions. The biggest change we saw was an increase in bot games and normal games as players sought to more easily complete their missions.
That doesn’t mean, though, that every mission we tried was a hit or a success. Looking at the VS. missions (and the Kayn missions which followed) we identified a few definite trends:
- Missions that require you to play a particular queue you don’t normally play (the daily mission to play a game of ARAM was easily the most disliked in VS.)
- Missions requiring you to play specific champs (Kayn) feel bad when players aren’t particularly interested in playing that champ
- Missions that are particularly hard to complete if you play a certain role
- Missions to win games
- Missions to get kills and assists
- Playing with (not necessarily as) a specific champion in your game
In general, missions that celebrate the achievements in-game that you already care about are the most successful, while in-your-face missions that require you to play a way you don’t want to are disliked.
By Riot Mort
Hey everyone. I’m Riot_Mort, one of the game designers who have been working on event Missions! Since we launched the system, we’ve tried a variety of different mission types. I wanted to go over some of our big takeaways, struggles, and where we’d like to go moving forward.
This is a new feature for us, and while we think there’s a lot of cool things Missions can bring to League and our events, we totally understand that we could do some really stupid things, too. What you’ve experienced so far, and you’ll continue to see for a while, is a lot of experimentation to see what resonates (and what doesn’t). We take all of your feedback very seriously, and we’re looking at every aspect of event Missions for ways we can improve.
- What Works and What Didn’t
- Asking players to play specific modes
- Missions can be effective at encouraging you to try new things, which has been one of our goals. However, forcing you into different game modes feels like it crosses the line for a lot of you. We want you to enjoy League how you want to enjoy it, and most of you enjoy Summoner’s Rift above all else.
- We think focusing Missions on Summoner’s Rift is a good thing. So, going forward, the majority of Missions will either target Summoner’s Rift or be a general Mission that will work on any map (such as earning 30 Assists, no matter which map).
- Rotating game modes are an exception because they’re time-limited. Creating a fun experience around a mode like Star Guardian: Invasion is one of the major benefits of the Missions. We’re able to challenge you and reward you for participating, and we are looking to do more of this in the future.
- Asking players to play specific roles or champions
- We knew this one was something we needed to be careful with. The example above can be completed by pretty much every role—except support. What we hadn’t counted on was how resistant some people are to playing their non-main position. This one had a lot of support players simply saying, “Oh well, I guess I don’t get to do this mission,” which was not at all our goal. We’re going to be really cautious about how many times we ask players to do this in the future, but we also have some improvements coming.
- We’re still really interested in designing Missions encouraging specific champs to be played, as we feel there is a lot of potential for these types of Missions, but are treading lightly. Even a mission like the above, which doesn’t actually require you to play the champ in question, created more difficulty than we anticipated.
- Many of you have suggested things like additional Missions for champions you’ve hit Mastery 7 on, and we know there are ways to have exciting Missions that ask you to play certain champs. We just need to find them and try more ways to do it.
- We like the idea of using the system to challenge you to try new things. With the launch of new champions like Kayn and Ornn, we saw an opportunity to reward you for trying them out. Kayn’s Missions turned out to be too far on the difficult side, and we’re still discussing if giving the Missions to players not interested in the champ was the right call. We think Ornn’s Missions turned out much better, as they encouraged you to try the unique parts of the new champion.
- We will likely be continuing these in the future since they encourage people to try champs they’ve never played. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new main along the way!
- Asking players to play as a premade group
- What has and hasn’t worked:
- We knew these missions would be divisive. We are definitely sympathetic to the solo player and understand that any time we ask you to go into a premade, solo players feel left out and can’t always complete the mission.
- Our intention is to make something memorable for the players who do play as five. There are few experiences as unforgettable as coming together as a group of friends and conquering a challenge. This has always been a part of League, and we want to find new ways to offer that fun.
- With Star Guardian, we were cautious about organically allowing groups to tackle the difficult goals. We were worried about how that would affect champ select when strangers may not be able to work out the goals—there’s not much time to agree on a comp and who’s playing who during champ select. But we heard a lot of frustration from solo players that has made us look back at that decision to see if we can do better next time. It is hard to coordinate as a group of solo players, so when you’re successful, we should probably celebrate that fact.
- We understand solo players feeling like they’re missing out, and we’re looking into ways to alleviate some of this. For now, it means these group Missions won’t have any exclusive rewards, except maybe a summoner icon to signify the amazing accomplishment. S-Rank in Invasion: Onslaught was tough! Our goal isn’t that every single mission will be completed by everyone, but rather that everyone has enough stuff to do during events.
- The new Worlds 5-man Missions are an attempt at creating compelling missions for premades, but they don’t have an exclusive reward tied to them. These Missions are designed to let a group of 5 players opt into a challenge and then work together to overcome it.
- This happens organically a lot (players who make an all Yordle team or a full Star Guardian team), and we think these missions can be a lot of fun. While we typically don’t want missions to warp the game, if a team of five are willing to opt into it, we’re more okay with trying that out. We’ll be paying close attention to feedback though, and seeing what types of experiences you get from these Missions.
- Asking players to win games and other goals
- Asking you to win games is pretty straightforward. You’re trying to win all the time already, right? While it’s true, having such a binary goal makes losing feel worse than it already does. A bland mission like this falls apart if you go on a three-game losing streak. We want to avoid this moving forward while still promoting winning, since winning games of League should come above all else. We’ll keep doing these types of Missions in the short-term future but are looking at ways to make it feel less bad if you have an off day on the Rift.
- What has worked:
- Missions that progress over multiple games.
- Missions like this one have felt pretty good. They ask you to do things that are already important to League, but you still make some progress whether you win or lose. It feels pretty good to fill up those progress bars and finally complete them, and it also feels good when those progress bars take quite a few games to fill up. Expect to see more of these in the future!
- Missions the team does together.
- These Missions don’t force you into specific roles, but instead ask the whole team to cooperate on things they should already be doing well. This way, everyone needs to work together to win—which is what League is all about. Expect to see some more of these as well.
- Upcoming Improvements To Missions
So based on all this information, we’ve got some improvements coming that we think will help Missions continue to be even more fun and will offer some cool experiences.
- More types of objectives
- With the launch of the Worlds 2017 Missions, you can see that we now have the ability to create Missions with a ton of new objectives. Things like dragons, ward placements, and item purchases are just some of the types of Missions you’ll see. With this, we think you’ll be able to try some more types of Missions (which should feel pretty good, we hope).
- Missions with options
- As we mentioned, we want to give players ways to complete things that fit their play style and choices. Based on this, we are looking into creating Missions with OR conditions, so that you can decide what objective you want to chase without being forced into something you don’t want to do.
- Example: Kill 500 Minions/Jungle Spawns -OR- Get 30 Assists.
- With this simple example, people who play in lane can complete the mission by killing minions, but support players will still be able to complete the mission without having to play an ADC or queue specifically to complete the mission. This will allow us to do some more unique mission types.
- Missions enhanced by winning
- As I mentioned, Missions that are just “win a game” are pretty binary. We think we can do better, so we’re looking into Missions where winning is still very desirable, but losing doesn’t mean you make no progress.
- Example: Get 100 Assists. Games you win count for double.
- In this example, if you get 15 assists and win, you will get credit for 30—which feels great. If you lose, you’ll still get credit for 15. This way losing streaks aren’t as painful, but winning is still the more desirable result (as usual).
- In Closing, Let’s Talk About Rewards
One thing that’s come up a lot is that the rewards don’t feel like they’re worth the time/effort you spend on completing the missions. This is something we’re taking very seriously and want to try to do better on. Admittedly, our goal was to get Missions and events out to you first, and now our next challenge is making the rewards better.
The way we see it, there are really three reward types:
- A standard reward: This is a typical mission like you’ve seen in our previous events and examples. Missions that take one or more games to complete usually reward things like:
- Tokens which can be used to make things in loot, like loot boxes
- Blue Essence
- Summoner Icons
- And in the future: XP in the upcoming leveling system
- A commitment reward: These are the rewards that show you played during an event and were one of the few who managed to play and accomplish a lot. These should be something cool and unique that everyone can push for, if they put the time in. Things like:
- Special Summoner Icons
- Launch Borders for Skins
- Ward Skins
- A skill reward: These are rewards for completing really difficult challenges. They indicate you were one of the precious few able to overcome an extreme challenge and let you show off just how awesome you are. This is the type of mission we will be careful to not do too often, but when we do it, we want the reward to be great. We are currently discussing our options on exactly how we want to reward this particular type of accomplishment and are open to you thoughts.
Overall, our goal is for Missions to open you up to new experiences and challenges. When you complete them, you should feel incredibly satisfied and proud—and have something to remember and commemorate your accomplishment. We hope we can deliver on that goal.
If you have any questions or feedback, we love hearing it (really).