Riot Games had a lot to show off in today’s Season 2021 Opening Day livestream, revealing its plans for the upcoming year for League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, and Teamfight Tactics, as well as its esports initiatives, which include a return to China and a live World Championship event.
Viego, the Ruined King, was revealed at the top of the show as League’s next champion. He’s a jungler, with “mist-commanding, death-dominating abilities” that you can see in action here. He’ll be added to the PTR soon and will go live later in January. The next three champions will also tie into Viego’s return.
In ranked play, Riot is removing promotion series between divisions and has changed it so that you’ll start each season closer to where you were last season. More attention has also been paid to players who are ruining your ranked experience, as Riot increases its detection of throwers and reduces penalties to your rank if you had an AFK-er in your match. Clash players will enjoy being able to play them on weekends, with this weekend’s tournament not requiring people to be placed in ranked. Finally, there will be a yearlong focus on the various forms of progression, to make them feel more meaningful and a little less overwhelming.
League’s item system has been revamped this preseason, with the shop UI changing to help with recommending items and new mythic items being added to have a greater impact on each game. If it’s just pretty skins you want, Riot’s got you covered. Over 140 skins will ship this year, including a new thematic based on Lunar New Year and coming in February. Later in the year, you’ll see another new thematic, described as “psychodelic retro-futurism in space.”
Featured game modes will return alongside every major event, with a new mode coming this year. Speaking of which, the Spirit Blossom event convinced Riot that players will want more lore-heavy events, some of which for this year will revolve around Viego and his return.
League of Legends’ mobile version, Wild Rift, will head to open beta in the Americas in March. It currently has 50 champions, and the intent is to add about two more ever month. Some champions will have their abilities slightly changed to account for the different control scheme on mobile. ARAM and ranked play are also coming to the game soon, and for you yordle fans out there, the Yordle Expedition Event is happening over the next few weeks, alongside the debut of a handful of yordle champions.
The deserts of Shurima will be Legends of Runeterra’s newest region, to be revealed in-depth later in the year. New champions on tap include Aphelios, who’s coming next month and uses a variety of moon weapons. Also coming this year is champion mastery, which will unlock new flair for your favorite champions.
On the competitive play front, there will be a new seasonal tournament at the end of February. In less-competitive news, there’s a new co-op game lab coming on the 13th of January, which sees players take on the advancing Noxian army. More co-op labs and social features are planned for later in the year.
Teamfight Tactics fans can look forward to two new sets, a better competitive experience, and new ways to play in 2021. The Fates mid-set will be available next patch, swapping out champions and traits, especially for primary carries, and new arenas. A new full set arrives in spring, with a strong darkness theme, and there’s a new fast-paced mode also on the way.
On the esports front, Wild Rift will and Legends of Runeterra will be joining the esports roster, with big events coming in 2021. For Teamfight Tactics, regional tournaments for the Fates championship are already underway, and a spectator mode specifically designed for esports viewership is on the way, intended to be ready for the next set’s finals — yes, each set will have a global championship event. And, of course, League itself is geared up for a big year, with the usual slate of worldwide events, including plans for a live finals event in Shenzhen, China.
It’s shaping up to be a busy year for Riot Games and League of Legend, in all its forms. Check out the video below for the complete presentation and description of events and upcoming updates.