League of Legends has been a wildly successful game on PC since it launched in 2010, and now developer Riot Games is taking it to a larger mobile audience. League of Legends: Wild Rift is the mobile version of the PC game, but it's not a straight port. The game has been rebuilt from the ground-up for mobile platforms, giving players a well-rounded experience no matter their preferred platform.
"Our overall approach was to create an authentic League experience on new platforms, and we knew we had to make some adjustments to the game, the champs, and the controls to really deliver on that promise to players," Brian Feeney, the design director of Wild Rift, said in an interview.
Wild Rift is also meant to be a way for new players to get in on the ground floor and learn how to play. Riot developers also expect players to also feel at home on Wild Rift and in our review of the beta, we found that it does a great job with that balance. Here's everything else you need to know about this game, quickly becoming one of our favorite Android games.
What is League of Legends: Wild Rift?
League of Legends: Wild Rift is the long-running PC multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), but now available on mobile. It keeps the core gameplay — you play in a 5v5 match in a multi-lane arena, and the first team to get to the team's other side and destroy the "nexus" wins. Players get to choose from a variety of champions with different playstyles to take on the other team. Everybody starts at level 1 with one ability but as each round progresses, they can earn more skills and buy items.
Along the way, they'll level up and earn the chance to unlock more champions and rewards like cosmetics. Killing minions in the three lanes allows you to gain gold, which you can then use to buy items at homebase.
League of Legends is a game that takes skill and practice to master since players have to learn how each of the champions play, find one that fits their preferred style, and work with other players to strategize. The map even has other objectives you can complete to gain an advantage in battle.
While Wild Rift essentially brings the PC experience to mobile, it's not just a straight port. Riot Games rebuilt the game from the ground up for mobile platforms, on an entirely separate engine. That means certain changes had to be made.
Is League of Legends: Wild Rift fun to play?
Like League of Legends on PC, the mobile version of the game has been optimized to be friendly for beginners while ensuring a deep and satisfying progression arc for veterans. In our review, writer Alex Huebner said this about the still-in-beta title:
This mobile iteration of a popular PC game transferred surprisingly well. The controls are easy to pick up and the tutorials really do make it easy for beginners to join in. However, if you are just starting out you may have to do some research into the characters you gain along the way, as you won't continue to get that kind of instruction on everyone. If you've been playing League of Legends on PC, you should know also that your progress and possessions won't transfer. While the customizable chat options could be a big help in the previous community issues League of Legends is known for, I'll wait to be optimistic about it until League of Legends: Wild Rift has been out for a while.
As long as that welcoming environment persists once the game is out of beta, Wild Rift should be one of the best free Android games out there.
What are the differences between League of Legends and League of Legends: Wild Rift?
PC and mobile are two very different platforms for gaming. Shocking to hear, I know. While it isn't surprising, it does mean that Riot had to think about how they could best bring the game to mobile, and that meant rebuilding it with mobile in mind.
One of the big changes with Wild Rift being a separate version of the game is that there isn't any content parity. This means if you played on PC and wanted to check out the game on mobile, none of your items or progress would move over, even if both are tied to your Riot Games account.
Another smaller, but still significant, change involves the map. Unlike Summoner's Rift on PC, the Wild Rift map (appropriately called "Wild Rift") is smaller and each round is shorter (around 15-20 minutes instead of over 45 depending on how close the game is). It still has the three lanes and the Jungle, but the Jungle is more streamlined; there are no specific Jungle items and the dragons have been tweaked with different buffs. At the end of each round, there's also the chance to defeat an Elder Elemental Drake, which provides some large buffs that PC players are not familiar with. There are also no inhibitors or nexus towers.
Orientation is also different. Instead of moving left to right, you'll move from top to bottom.
There is also a new item for players. Baubles are small items players can throw at their enemies, sort of like an emote or as a way to brag to the opposite team. It's a part of Riot's way to experiment with decreasing toxicity on the platform. Considering how communication is limited on mobile vs. PC, it's also an easy way to drop a brag in-game instead of shouting in-chat. It also allows you to throw something like pizza around the map, if that's what you've always wanted.
Finally, some of how champions work has been changed. Passive skills for each champion have been changed for mobile since keeping them attached to buttons on screen would result in crowding on the interface. The developers added active abilities instead. Some point-and-click spells have also been converted into skillshots.
What are the controls like in League of Legends: Wild Rift?
Instead of a mouse and keyboard, players have to use dual-stick touch controls. On the left is the control stick, but it moves with your thumb. On the right is a large attack button, along with each champion's four abilities. Spells cast are shown on the bottom. Movement works similarly to other mobile titles, with players tapping on the screen to direct where they want their champion to go.
To target specific enemies (a huge part of strategy in League of Legends), you can hit one of the buttons near the attack button. This helps you prioritize certain targets like minions or towers. Otherwise, once you target something, it becomes locked, meaning the game prioritizes it over any others.
There are also camera controls, although they are optional and customizable. You can choose between something like a semi-locked camera or one that automatically pans when you set up long-range shots.
All the controls are customizable to an extent, and this goes for tablets as well as phones. There is even a tablet preset inside the customizable control settings that resizes the buttons for larger screens.
While game controllers for Android have become popular over the past couple of years, Riot hopes that players will use the in-game touch controls instead since that's what Wild Rift was built on.
What champions are available?
Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned content parity issue, a lot of the champions you may have unlocked won't be playable in Wild Rift. This is partially due to them being two separate games, but mainly it's because not every champion will be available to play in Wild Rift.
In an interview, Feeney said that the team focused on transitioning some of the tougher champions first, just to see if it could be done, and has done a lot of experimentation on different champions. In the end, though, it's an issue with the sheer number of champions available.
When deciding which ones to move over to Wild Rift, Feeney added that it was less about "raw popularity" and more about how to get as many players as possible from PC to mobile. The team is seeking to have a variety of champion types and playstyles available.
However, new champions will be introduced in patches. For example, in Patch 2.2 the team is adding Galio (April 1), Rammus (April 22), Kha'zix (May 6), Rengar, and Renekton (May 12). There are plenty of recognizable champions already available, including Garen and Ashe.
What gameplay modes does League of Legends: Wild Rift have?
During beta, players can play unranked, ranked (it unlocks at level 10), co-op vs. AI, and a tutorial mode. However, in patch 2.2, players get the chance to play All Random All Mid (ARAM), which is when there is only one lane and you get a random champion. It'll only be available for a limited time.
What are the minimum specs for League of Legends: Wild Rift
● CPU: 4-core, 1.5 GHz and above (32-Bit and 64-Bit Support) ● RAM: 1.5G ● Resolution: 1280x720
● iPhone 6 Plus
The team is also expecting around 80-100ms ping for players, which should be fine for most Wi-Fi or 4G/5G connections.
Are there microtransactions in League of Legends: Wild Rift?
Just like in PC League of Legends, there are cosmetics and a battle pass available in Wild Rift. The battle pass costs around $6. The first season's battle pass reward is Hexplorer Jax.
There are two types of currency: Blue Motes, which can be earned by playing and can be spent on champions, and Poro coins, which are only for a special cosmetic shop. Players can buy skins, unlock champions, and, new for Wild Rift, purchase baubles.
League of Legends: Wild Rift release date
League of Legends: Wild Rift was originally meant to roll out in 2020, but the pandemic and other issues caused delays. The regional open beta kicked off a few months ago, but was unavailable to players in North and South America. The open beta is now available on Android and iOS in the Americas with Patch 2.2. As a thank you to players who waited during the delay, the game is launching an event called Wild Welcome, which features 30 days of perks like chests, rewards, and missions.
Riot Games is also looking into getting Wild Rift on consoles, along with cross-platform and cross-progression features. However, nothing is confirmed yet.
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